Children's Fiction Competition: Selling winners around the world!
The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition is one of the most long-lasting and exciting publishing initiatives that Chicken House has done in terms of getting people interested in our new titles abroad. And to help this, we always make sure we have at least one judge who is a highly experienced publishing professional who knows the market overseas.
I remember the first competition very well indeed … all of us at Chicken House went nearly blind reading hundreds of manuscripts. The battle over who should win the competition within the office fraternity was fierce but I think we all felt that Reavers Ransom (now Flood Child) by Emily Diamand – the book and author that finally won – was absolutely unique, with an interesting and exciting new voice for people all over the world, and somebody who we all felt hugely good about supporting.
We managed to get the whole world of publishing excited about the first competition, and we had as many interested publishers waiting with baited breath for the news of the results as there were participants … and there were A LOT of participants!
Within an hour, I had broadcast the news around the world and we had the most incredible response overseas, with pre-empts from three countries in three days, publishers stalking me at book fairs, as well as non-stop emails and interest from the rest of the world – and we ended up selling the book to 19 countries in two months.
It really made the world take notice of new titles from Chicken House.
And this has continued! It is such a testament to the success of this prize that foreign publishers still stop and consider very carefully any book that has won the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.
I look forward to selling the next great prize winner around the world!
Follow Elinor on Twitter for all the latest rights news: @elinorwellingto
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