I asked this question on Twitter earlier on and was very interested in the range of responses. What is clear is that:
a) we still have no idea how to treat self-published novels in the realms of literature
b) there is massive stigma associated with self-publishing still
c) at the moment we have no clear criteria for judging the worth of a self-published book (clearly, reviews on Amazon are not going to help massively, unless there are more than ten, since friends and family are perfectly okay pitching in and helping to generate reviews).
Here are some of the responses:
@LizUK: Can you IMAGINE the onslaught of books you'd receive? It would make AR submission month look like a cakewalk.
@DarrenGoldsmith: But an award doesn't necessarily weed out the bad traditionally-published books? So much of this is about personal prefs.
@KTScribbles: That sounds like a good idea.
@AaronPound: That's an interesting question. Most of the self-published works I've read have been pretty bad (that doesn't mean all are).
@SamaelTB: Good luck to anyone given the job of shortlisting for that. Sounds like a nightmare job.
@E_M_Edwards: I don't think so. It will be a retrograde & ultimately futile effort to sub-categorize self published ebooks. #thatshiphassailed
@Colin_Barnes: how would it be judged? Could cause all kinds of worrying issues and skewing of data.
@LouMorgan: One could argue that better self-published books sometimes get picked up and re-released by a publisher... is that enough?
@Pallekenl: And what would be the criteria to be eligible? Like Liz said you'd be deluged by subs if you don't have criteria to exclude titles
Having seen those responses, what are your thoughts? Do you think there is a way to start awarding self-published novels? Do you have any ideas as to how to winnow the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the thousands of self-published being put out these days? How can we legitimise self-publishing? Do we want to - or is traditional publishing all we want to see?