The Alternative Self-Publishing Awards
It’s awards time again, but this time I’m taking charge of the nominations.
I’ve just discovered the joy of browsing through self-published children’s books on Amazon, Lulu and other such sites. It’s fair to say that the range on offer is truly astounding. There are many amazing books that deserve greater recognition for their artistry, writing and imagination. There are also many amazing books that deserve to be recognised for their ability to bring a smile to your face, although not necessarily intentionally.
Well, that’s about to change. I’ve trawled through hundreds of books to find the most weird and wonderful for my awards. As far as I can tell, none of these are parodies, although please let me know if I have been duped.
Please also note that I am not passing judgement on the quality of the writing; I’m sure many of these books are truly excellent and self publishing is a big commitment. However, as you will see, at least one interesting quirk has landed them a place amongst the nominees for the following categories:
Most optimistic use of an exclamation mark
Book titles trying to make a difficult topic exciting!
Outside of the title, I think my favourite part of this cover is the moustache of the guy on the left. That wouldn’t look out of place on the front end of a mountain bike.
A relatively niche take on the whole floating/sinking genre; sticking firmly to the middle ground. The only slight irony is that everything on the cover is floating, making it positively buoyant.
I can’t really deny that babies may well love dreidels and other spinning tops, and that their joy is derived from the high levels of angular momentum experienced by said spinning tops, so I suppose this title is reasonable. More importantly, however, is how is that baby levitating a dreidel above its head?
Most ‘imaginative' title
Books that ran out of imagination by the time the title came round
Cow seems to be a common name; there’s also A Cat named Cow and A Horse Named Cow.
I haven’t read the book, but I’m sincerely hoping the cow (named Cow) gets out of the way of the train in time…
It is true to say that books can contain many things. You can have picture books, cheque books and even matchbooks, but I don’t think this title really narrows things down much, and it definitely loses a bit of impact.
Most intriguing title
When you absolutely, positively, need to find out more
I really want to know the answer. I’m going to be disappointed if it turns out that they come from their mummies’ tummies like everyone else.
This is a very specific request. Is it okay if Mr Mosquito is in your T-shirt?
If I wrote this book, it would just be called ‘Bog Off, Mr Mosquito.’
It’s not the title, so much as for warning just below it:
Warning: contains guns, knives and sorcery
Sign me up! The table of contents does little to put me off. I’m fully expecting Netflix to make this into a series sometime soon.
Most disturbing book
Books that probably don't belong in the children's section...
It’s really important for kids to understand that, however beautiful mommy is, she can always be a little bit more beautiful with the help of plastic surgery.
American children’s books on guns are an easy target (ironically) but I’m going to take a shot anyway.
But I’m not going to take a shot of subject matter; I’m going after the quotes on the back cover. The third one is from Stephen Colbert, the famous US satirist, who featured the book on his show and was less than complimentary about it. However, thanks to some deft selective quoting, he now appears to be endorsing it.
I can only assume this was deliberate; if not, it’s hilarious.
Why have one book about guns, when you can have two?
There are many arguments for and against gun ownership but, according to this author, owning a gun just isn't enough; it has to be an assault rifle. Less accurate than a rifle, less portable than a pistol and less versatile than a shotgun, I think I may need to read this book because I’m literally drawing a blank as to why anyone outside the military needs an AR-15, let alone everyone.
I initially thought this was a parody, but apparently not. Neither is the author’s other meisterwerk:
I'll leave you to pick the winners. If you've come across a self-published book worthy of an alternative award, let me know in the comments.