Not the Booker Prize 2013

Well what an exciting and fun journey it’s been. Not least because I’d never actually heard of The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize until Little White Lies and Butterflies made its long list, so imagine my delight when it went one step further and made the short list.

ntb shortlist

Of course this was all down to you, the readers, for being kind enough to vote for me in the first place and for this I really do thank you. Furthermore, according to commentators this is the first time a Chick Lit novel has ever made it this far in the competition, which by all accounts has to be an achievement in itself.

But that’s what makes an award like this all the more interesting because let’s face it, no-one likes a foregone conclusion when it comes to these things.

Although another interesting element that’s been evident to me throughout this Not the Booker process, is the reviewer versus reader issue.

On the one hand, it’s fair to say that the judging panel didn’t particularly like Little White Lies and Butterflies. One judge felt it was competently written and ticks all the boxes, another badly written, the lead reviewer not getting the book at all! But what they did agree upon was their dislike for the book’s protagonist, Lydia, a woman who makes an informed choice to flout the modern day norm of ‘having it all’.  (See reviews here) To the point that some responders began to wonder if a few personal politics might be coming into play.

Yet amidst all of this, bone fide readers have enjoyed what Lydia has had to say. Not only did the book buying public place their votes to begin with, when I did a reading at the Wood Green Literary Festival, the audience response was wholly positive.

ntb reading

Me treating the audience to Chapter One

They understood the tone of Little White Lies and Butterflies, laughed out loud at its humour and some even made a point of talking to me afterwards, congratulating me on the book… although to be fair, this difference in reader/reviewer response was acknowledged by the judges when it came to choosing their overall winner.

(Fast forward to 17.50 to hear what the judges say about Little White Lies and Butterflies)

Naturally, this tells me that as an author I’ve done my job. I’ve written a book that readers rather than just reviewers can enjoy, which is why I’m proud to say I came third in the final public vote.

Kate Atkinson: Life After Life – 2
Neil Gaiman: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – 2
Lucy Cruickshanks: The Trader of Saigon – 3
Suzie Tullett: Little White Lies and Butterflies – 20
Meike Ziervogel: Magda – 31
Zoe Venditozzi: Anywhere’s Better Than Here – 37

Of course, I’d like to say well done to everyone who took part in this year’s event – the authors, the organisers, the reviewers (who despite their harshness turned out to be lovely people) and the contributors. And a big congratulations to Kate Atkinson, whom the judges awarded the overall Not the Booker Prize 2013 for her novel Life After Life x

18 responses to “Not the Booker Prize 2013

  1. I can imagine that being under this kind of scrutiny would be so nerve wracking. Congratulations to you for withstanding it and it must have done so much for your book sales. Getting your book out there for people to enjoy is the important part, right? Keep going, Suzie! You’re an inspiration.

  2. Good for you, Suzie, for giving as good as you get. From what I can see the judges were very impressed with your performance at the festival and for sticking up for your genre…

    • It was a great evening, Marilyn. The judges were open to changing there minds on a couple of points, particularly the audience response to my reading… I think that was a little surprising to them x

  3. Suzie, thank you for sharing, the good–and the bad. I recently had a very successful KDP giveaway that opened the door to people who “didn’t get it,” and left negative reviews. My books are satire and written for women in menopause. So if they didn’t fit that category, they probably wouldn’t “get it.” I have a feeling your reviewers don’t like to laugh much, and were looking to be so served something you didn’t have on the menu.

    • I think Little White Lies and Butterflies making the short list was as much of a surprise to the judging panel as it was to me, Linda, and to be fair to them they fully admitted they wouldn’t normally read this kind of novel. But that’s the things about books and reviews, how they’re perceived is subjective and because we know this, I was able to find some of their remarks more amusing than offensive x

  4. Good on you Susie for hanging in there! I read one of the Guardian reviews which was unnecessarily scathing, and I never buy unnecessarily scathing. It automatically makes me turn on the reviewer. So good on you for winning the readers’ collective heart, which you have done! xxcat

  5. Way to go! What a super experience and one which will help you in your writing. I agree with you, it’s the end user that is the most important factor. Bravo! Well done you!

  6. Wow, I don’t know how you managed to sit through this but I am sure you have taken a lot from it and disregarded a lot too. You cannot please all the people all the time but as long as you make new fans and keep those you have you must be doing something right. They love you and your books and that is all that matters. Gutsy stuff but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Forward and ever onward. 🙂

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