Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Victoria Strauss -- Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest Redux

Last February, I blogged about the Canadian Aid Charity, which was sponsoring a fundraising raffle whose prize was a contract "for a manuscript of the winner's choice" from a publisher called BookLand Press. Though they presented themselves as separate organizations, I discovered that BookLand (a publisher with a tiny list and POD prices) and Canadian Aid (a registered charity strangely lacking in organizational specifics, such as a staff list and a list of its Board of Directors--I worked in the not-for-profit field for years, and it's incredibly unusual for a charitable organization not to provide this info) appeared in fact to be related, sharing a contact person and a fax number. What kind of publisher offers a publishing contract based on a raffle win, anyway?

Possibly someone at these organizations saw my original post. The contact name for Canadian Aid has since been changed, and it no longer appears to have a fax--so the connections between the organizations are no longer easy to trace. I'm also not finding any sign or mention of the raffle or its winner on either website. The raffle drawing was to be held April 27th. What happened?

At any rate, Canadian Aid and BookLand are advertising another fundraiser--an actual contest this time, with a panel of judges and everything. The entry fee is $45 in Canadian dollars (a little more than the $40 per ticket charged for the raffle), which works about to about $42 US. That's pretty steep for a book contest.

Even leaving aside any questions about interconnectedness or nondisclosure, I have serious questions about the publisher. The cover prices average $25 US for trade paperbacks, and there's no sign of trade reviews (trade reviews are evidence that a publisher is marketing to the book trade). And based on the information available at BookLand's website, as well as the inconsistent availability of its books at online vendors--for instance, one book with a pub date of February 2007 doesn't show up at either Amazon or B&N (in fact, only one of BookLand's published books shows up at B&N, which is listed as one of BookLand's "suppliers"), and another with a pub date of April 2007 lists as shipping in 4-6 weeks--I'm guessing that distribution is limited, to say the least.

One last note: the back cover of that one book available through B&N, Christina Kilbourne's 2006 novel The Roads of Go Home Lake, includes this interesting bit of text: "This project was made possible by the joint efforts of the author and Canadian Aid Charity."

5 comments:

--E said...

Wowee, look at that duck walk and quack!

I'll be very surprised if this doesn't turn out to be migratory waterfowl. Perhaps someone ought to ask the Canadian authorities how they feel about this sort of thing.

Termagant 2 said...

Sounds like a typical shoestring small-press or e-press to me.

T2

Checked It Out said...

I checked the the charity's # and it is registered in Canada. I can get more public record info if you want.

I_Am_Canadian said...

The charity is legit. It is duly registered in Canada. So is BookLand Press - registered, legit and member of the Association of Canadian Publishers.

Marianne said...

I am the first winner of the Canadian Aid Literary Award (2006). Check out my website if you wish - I am a writer with a long list of publishing credentials AND I've been delighted with my experience with BookLand Press since winning the contest. In any case, just thought I'd dropped a line.