Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/14/blooker_prize/
Will you blother reading a bloring blook?
Emergent Literary Award in ambitious rebranding bid
Some press releases are so simply, staggeringly indescribable, we print them without comment. These are most often related to corporate makeovers or rebranding exercises, which is quite appropriate in this case.
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And we'd better warn you: there's a lot of SHOUTING at the start, and odd emphasis throughout - but that's very much its charm.
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ANNOUNCING "THE BLOOKER PRIZE" THE WORLD'S FIRST LITERARY PRIZE FOR "BLOOKS" (BOOKS BASED ON BLOGS OR WEBSITES) LAUNCHES 10TH OCTOBER
"BLOOKS" ARE THE FASTEST GROWING NEW KIND OF BOOK - AND THE HOTTEST NEW PUBLISHING AND ONLINE TREND
Prominent Internet Figures Will Judge Inaugural Prize - For Fiction, Non-Fiction And Comic-Blooks
BLOOKS ARE A NEW HYBRID LITERARY FORM, FOR A NEW PUBLISHING ERA: "BLOOKS ARE THE NEW BOOKS"
GLOBAL PRIZE MARKS 450TH ANNIVERSARY OF GUTENBERG'S INVENTION OF MOVEABLE TYPE
AFTER BLOOKS WILL COME "FLOOKS" - FILMS BASED ON BLOOKS
(blook n. blook. A printed and bound book, based on a blog (cf. web log) or website; a new stage in the life-cycle of content, if not a new category of content and a new dawn for the book itself. cf. The Lulu Blooker Prize, ("The Blooker"), a literary prize, founded 2005, for blooks. [der. Eng. book, a bound collection of sheets of paper; blog (abbrev. web log, an internet journal, diary or personal website)])
Susan MacTavish; Best Public Relations
ANNOUNCING "THE BLOOKER PRIZE" THE WORLD'S FIRST LITERARY PRIZE FOR "BLOOKS" (BOOKS BASED ON BLOGS OR WEBSITES) "BLOOKS" ARE THE FASTEST GROWING NEW KIND OF BOOK - AND THE HOTTEST NEW PUBLISHING AND ONLINE TREND
October 10, 2005 (Raleigh, NC): The world's first literary prize for books based on blogs or websites - known for short as "blooks" is launched Monday, 10th October, 2005 by its sponsor, Lulu (www.lulu.com), a website that enables anyone to publish and sell their own book. The Lulu Blooker Prize ( www.lulublookerprize.com) - alias "The Blooker Prize" or just "The Blooker" - will be the first contest to honor blooks, a new, hybrid literary form and the world's fastest-growing kind of book.
"Blooks are the hottest new publishing and online trend," says Bob Young, CEO of Lulu. "So, the newest thing in publishing is the oldest thing: the printed book, reinvented as the blook."
Lulu is launching the Blooker - whose name is an affectionate nod to another important literary prize - as a global contest to mark the 450th anniversary this year of Gutenberg's invention of moveable type in 1455. "Blooks are the latest landmark in the history of books", says Young. "They are a new stage in the life-cycle of content, if not an whole new category of literature, with its own creative process and emerging literary style."
Cory Doctorow, the noted author, speaker, activist and blogger, will chair a team of team of three prominent Internet figures who will be the judges for the inaugural prize. The prize will reward blooks in three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Comic-Blooks (based on web-comics) but with one overall winner. It is open to blooks published anywhere by anyone, provided they are in English.
As co-editor of BoingBoing ( www.boingboing.net), the world's most linked-to blog, Doctorow is a prominent blogger, with years of successful blogging to his name. Doctorow's fellow judges are both Internet luminaries. Robin Miller is one of the creators of modern interactive journalism and, among many other things, editor-in-chief of Slashdot (www.slashdot.org ), the hugely influential technology blog. Paul Jones is the director of iBiblio (www.ibiblio.org) - a large, contributor-run digital library - and an internationally noted speaker.
Although the word "blook" itself is new, scores of blooks have already been published, including examples by both well-known and unknown authors; and their number is growing fast. "We have already identified well over 100 blooks - almost half produced by mainstream publishers," says Doctorow. "But this is just the start of something much bigger."
There is, in a sense, nothing new about the works of great writers starting life in one medium before transferring to another, points out Doctorow. The Bible, for example, was originally produced as a scroll. "And Dickens originally intended his work to appear in newsprint, not as a book."
What is the new is the creative process involved in producing a blook. "Blogs encourage their authors to publish in small, partially formed chunks," says Doctorow. "Previously, such jottings might have been kept in the author's notebook but something amazing happens when you post them online: readers help you connect them, flesh them out and grow them into fully-fledged books or blooks."
Doctorow is also the author of several acclaimed books, both fiction and non-fiction, all themselves written using notes posted on his various blogs. "My novel-writing process is one of "bricolage" - of picking up little bits and pieces everywhere and combining them as a I go. There are too many bits and pieces in my head to remember them. So, I write them down on my blog, where I also get feedback. I know of other writers who blog stuff as they go". Doctorow's latest novel is Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town' (Tor Books), a contemporary, magic realist novel about wireless networking.
Like the Internet itself, blooks cover an unlimited subject-range: from 'Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi' (Grove Press), the eye-witness accounts of the Iraq war by the blogger known as Salam Pax, and 'Small Pieces Loosely Joined' (Perseus Books), David Weinberger's spiritual interpretation of the Internet, to actor Wil Wheaton's memoir 'Just a Geek' (O'Reilly), and Jessica Cutler's 'The Washingtonienne' (Hyperion), a novel based on her scandalous blog of the same name. More scandalous still is 'Belle de Jour: The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl, by Anon' (Phoenix), which started life as an infamous blog, describing the life of a north London prostitute, and read by 15,000 a day.
[That rings a belle - ed.]
"Blooks differ from books in several ways", says Doctorow.
Blooks, are, for example:
Some blooks are written as the product of multiple voices and perspectives, filtered through discussions and feedback from online communities. Chris Anderson (longtail.typepad.com), editor of Wired magazine, is working on a much discussed book called 'The Long Tail' (Hyperion 2006), which he is developing through a series of blog postings, feedback and online discussions.
Some books are written and published at great speed. An example is "Katrina and the Lost City of New Orleans" (www.lulu.com/content/167324), a blook just published with the help of Lulu itself. Written in less than ten days by Rod Amis, a journalist and (now former) New Orleans resident, it is the first blook to give an insider account of the New Orleans disaster. It draws heavily on a daily blog written by Amis as the disaster unfolded.
More Likely To Take A Serial Form
Some blooks, especially those based on online journals or diaries, take a serial form, which harks back to the Victorian heyday of the novel when Dickens and others first published their novels as serials. 'Belle de Jour' is a good example.
'Belle de Jour', what's more, is now going to be made into a film - or, strictly speaking, a "flook", as in a film based on a blook. So, the question on fashionable lips may soon be: "Have you seen the flook of the blook?"
Meanwhile, grand publishing houses that were once proud to preach the sanctity of the printed book are now frantically mining blogs and websites for the next big name author. At least one significant new publishing company has placed blooks at the heart of its publishing strategy, making it arguably the world's first dedicated "blook publisher". The Friday Project (www.thefridayproject.co.uk) is a new London publishing house that bills itself as "a completely new breed of publishing house, specialising in turning the Internet's best-known brands into the world's finest books"
Next month (November) sees the launch of its first three books.
Although the Lulu Blooker Prize prize will be awarded in three categories, one of the three category winners will also be selected as the overall winner. The prize money is relatively modest - a total of $4,000 in all - comprising $1,000 for each of the category winners and $2,000 for the overall winner. This is expected to grow over time. Meanwhile, the winner of the inaugural prize will also receive a little piece of literary immortality.
Although the prize is sponsored by Lulu, the judging is independent of Lulu and no favor will be shown to blooks published on Lulu.
The rapid growth in the number of new blooks reflects, on the one hand, the growth of the blogosphere and of the net as a whole, and, on the other, the growing ease and simplicity of turning the contents of a blog or website into a blook. It also heralds the maturity of the first generation of independent publishers - writers who self-publish their work on the Internet and develop their own talents and audiences without the help of the traditional publishing industry."
Both trends are enabled by the growth of web-based publishing services such as Lulu itself, which now hosts the publication at no up-front cost of almost 1,000 new titles a week, including a fast growing number of blooks.
The Lulu Blooker Prize will take place annually. The short list of books for the inaugural prize will be announced in March 2006 and the winner on 3 April, 2006.
ABOUT LULU (www.lulu.com): Lulu is the world's fastest growing source of print-on-demand books. Founded by Bob Young, who previously co-founded Red Hat, the open source software company, Lulu provides independent publishers with free access to on-demand publishing tools for books, e-books, DVDs, music, images and calendars.
Details for submitting blooks for the prize can be found at www.LuluBlookerPrize.com.
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