It’s official. Mother Fracker is an award winner.
For the record, I am not traveling to San Francisco tomorrow (May 17) to accept my certificate for topping the General Fiction category in the 2014 Green Book Festival.
But a win is a win by any other name, to misquote Yogi Berra.
Or is it?
So, OK, the Green Book Festival is NOT the Pulitzer Prize or the Robert F. Kennedy Award. In fact, it’s hardly a festival. GBF is more like a $110-per-ticket cocktail party staged by a California company that has invented a packed calendar of “book festivals” in NYC, LA, Hollywood, Paris, etc., purporting to be real events for real readers. In fact, they’re lukewarm competitions luring publishers and authors, many of them independents like me, to enter (I paid $50 and send two copies) in 19 — count ‘em, 19 — categories like YA, fiction, nonfiction, sci-fi, children’s, poetry, etc. In the case of GBF, they pick one overall winner and give a cash prize that amounts to travel to SF for the May 17 cocktail party at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square. Other Winners (me) and Honorable Mentions are “invited” to pay for the privilege of using the festival’s imprimatur for marketing, PR, etc. Attendees get a promise of air-time at the podium to talk about their book. Winners can even join the prestigious Table of Honor (for a price). From Long Mountain Road to SF, the weekend’s trek to the Mecca of Book Festivals would have run between $1,500 and $2,000.
GBF purports to be a sanctioned competition. The sanctioning outfit turns out to be JM Northern Media LLC of Hollywood, Calif. — organizer of the Green and all other such “festivals.”
The announcement of the festival came this winter via a weekly email I get pitched to self-published authors. Seemed legit. I didn’t look under the hood until I got the email announcing the winners and saw, to my surprise and delight, that — WOOT! — Mother Fracker topped the General Fiction category. Six Honorable Mentions were listed. The “news release” on the site had all the pizazz of boiled okra, and the responses to my email inquiries were sketchy at best. A quick Google search found a Writer Beware blog detailing the awards profiteering of JM Northern Media and its lucrative “festival” empire. Here’s a link to the post:
I guess I can play this several different ways. 1) Admit I fell for the scam. Got punk’d. 2) Any recognition is good recognition, and Green Recognition is Good Recognition for a new author trying to make a name with environmental drama. 3) Seize any opportunity to get established in the marketplace.
I asked my Kickstarter backers what they’d do, and many of ‘em said: A win’s a win. Celebrate! I asked if they’d put this recognition on the dust jacket. Those who responded said yes.
I’ll admit that while I’m dithering, here’s the thing. It’s a fact; MF won General Fiction in Something. Even it’s not the most credible competition, it topped at least six other works of fiction in a competition that claims to encourage writing respecting the environment. So you’ll see the word WINNER on Mother Fracker‘s home page for now. And maybe it’ll catch somebody’s eye (as the book’s title does) and welcome new readers to Team Mother Fracker.
Meanwhile, I asked the “festival’s” organizer to mail me my winning “certificate.”
My guess is I’ll never see it.