Australian literary prizes convert to sales, some sales
8 March 2023
In the ten years since its establishment, winners of the Stella Prize have seen pleasing increases in sales of their books, says Jaclyn Booton, executive director of the Australian literary award:
She says the impact of the Stella, on writers and readers, grows exponentially over time. The criteria for the prize are to recognise original, excellent, and engaging books; it is open to works of fiction, nonfiction and, as of last year, poetry. Worth $60,000 to the winner, short-listed authors receive $4000 each. Analysis of data in the week after the prize winner is announced shows a 200 per cent increase in sales.
Literary prizes have always been a great form of book promotion, maybe the best in my view, and I’ve always thought every nominee, from the time they’re included on a prize longlist, is a winner. This is why it would be great if there were more excitement, more profile around local literary prizes, as is the case with the Booker Prize in the United Kingdom.
I read last week that Grimmish, originally a novel self-published by Michael Winkler, which was shortlisted in the 2022 Miles Franklin award, sold fifteen hundred books, as a result of being listed. While any sales of a book are good news, fifteen hundred units seems to be on the lower side. Is Australia really a nation averse to books?