9146LOKgNIL._SL1500_The Guardian announced the first winner of its new monthly self-published book contest. The winner was “Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers,” a debut novel from Tom Moran.

On Amazon, the book’s summary reads: “Enter the mind of Walton Cumberfield, an amateur gas and electricity meter-reader who is about to discover a cow that is independent of the space-time continuum. The debut novel by comedian and writer Tom Moran, Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers is like nothing else you’ll ever read – beautifully bonkers and bizarrely brilliant. It has to be read to be believed.”

But that doesn’t really say a lot about the book. According to The Guardian, the book is “a comic fantasy about a bumbling time-traveler in search of his missing dog Keith.”

The winner was chosen by a panel of expert judges, including the literary agent Andrew Lownie and Legend Press’s commissioning editor Lauren Parsons.

But what does winning this award mean?

When it comes to sales, maybe nothing. The award was announced on June 4. Nearly a week later, Moran’s book sits in the 100,000s in the rankings on both Amazon and Amazon UK. The book has received excellent reviews on Amazon UK, totaling 26 opinions on it – and none of those reviews came after the announcement. In fact, on Amazon UK, the book hasn’t had a written review in more than a month.

This isn’t an indictment on Moran’s book. Based on the reviews and The Guardian’s award, Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers seems to be a well written and enjoyable book. I am just trying to figure out what will come of these books.

While there were a number of comments on the review (most of the comments were about the review rather than the book), the question I have is how many people care that it’s a self-published book?


  1. Reviews of the book on the site range from fairly positive to mildly negative. Some of them point out that the author drops many ‘clangers’ and that his phraseology is idiosyncratic — something perhaps a professional editor may have been able to fix. But maybe the reason for the poor sales figures is that the Guardian itself has very little influence outside its own shrinking pond. Nobody who isn’t besotted with the left would trust it for a microsecond.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.