Winning a literary price can mean fame and success for the winner, but with the Scotiabank Giller Prize that scenario doesn’t necessarily apply.
With the recent announcement of the Giller Prize shortlist of five authors, some were surprised to see the list of relatively unknown authors and smaller publishing houses.
One such publishing company is Marc Cote’s Cormorant Books. The two authors nominated are Pascale Quiviger for her book The Perfect Circle, translated from French. The other is Carol Wimbley who was nominated for her collection of short stories titled Home Schooling.
“While the Scotiabank Giller Prize is about writers and their writing,” Cote said. “It is an enormous boom to the lucky publisher of any short-listed book. The typical nominee will sell no fewer than 5,000 copies in the year immediately following the nomination.”
In 2004, Cormorant Books author Pauline Holdstock was nominated for her book, Beyond Measure. The publisher reprinted the book with the Giller Prize medallion on the cover and sold over 5,000 copies.
“When a book is nominated for the Giller, interest in the book and the author increases significantly,” Cote said. “First, the media picks up and asks for review copies and the author is reviewed and interviewed as, pretty much, never before in her career. Bookstores of all kinds suddenly re-order in substantial numbers.”
Nicholas Hoare, a bookstore on Front Street in Toronto, will be carrying more novels by the two Cormorant Books nominees. “I was carrying zero copies of Carol Windley’s book and now I’ll be starting with three,” said Ben McNally, manager of Nicholas Hoare said.
“And we’ve sold five copies of Pascale Quiviger’s since it came out in April and we’ll be carrying three copies of that once we get more.”
Having had authors nominated for the Giller Prize, it has led to more authors submitting their pieces to Cormorant Books, according to Cote. He also says this added publicity won’t change what his company is.
“Cormorant Books is a literary publisher. Because we’re not very old (20 years), we cannot become something we’re not,” he said.
“Cormorant will always be a small publisher because it’s not in the smaller houses that authors receive greater editorial attention.”