As part of its strong push Down Under, digital reader and e-book major Kobo has launched the Kobo/NZ Authors E-Publishing prize, through its Kobo Writing Life identity, in association with the New Zealand Society of Authors.
The competition “offers two budding New Zealand authors the opportunity to be professionally published in e-book form through the Kobo Writing Life platform and offered for sale throughout New Zealand. ”
Kobo Writing Life, Kobo’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, claims to “reach out to millions of readers in over 190 countries.” Kobo has in fact already built strong market share in non-U.S. markets, and unlike Barnes & Noble‘s Nook platform, shows no signs of pullback or retrenchment. Indeed, Kobo has just launched a Kobo scholarship with Booksellers NZ to enable two young Kiwi booksellers to fly to the U.S. and gain work experience in the American bookselling sector.
“The competition allows applicants to enter a piece of writing of fiction or non-fiction between 30,000 and 120,000 words,” the launch release continues. “Manuscripts are to be judged anonymously by a panel comprising representatives from Kobo, The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) and an independent bookseller. Members of the public will be able to vote for their favourite shortlisted manuscripts on-line and these winners will each receive a free Kobo reader.”
According to Maggie Tarver, CEO of The New Zealand Society of Authors, though (she’s pictured at right), it was her society, not Kobo, that initiated the competition. “The idea grew following the success of the NZSA/Pindar Publishing Prize in 2010. This offered a print publication and it seemed a natural progression to move into e-publishing in the current environment. I approached Kobo with the idea of publishing a book, and they were so enthused by the idea they wanted to offer not one but two publication opportunities—one for fiction and one for non-fiction.”
The two first prizes, one each for fiction and non-fiction, are each worth a claimed NZ$10,000 (USD $7,748). Submissions must be unpublished, and the closing date for authors is end July 2013, with winners announced in November 2013 and the books scheduled for publication in March 2014.