Wednesday 15 August 2018

Popular author? Vogue Williams' book sold 883 copies but still bagged 'popular' Book Awards nomination

Vogue Williams, left, and Maia Dunphy, right
Vogue Williams, left, and Maia Dunphy, right
Vogue Williams & Spencer Matthews attend The Marketing Society Annual Christmas Lunch and Research Excellence Awards 2017 at The Shelbourne Hotel
Vogue Williams & Spencer Matthews and Nicky Byrne attend The Marketing Society Annual Christmas Lunch and Research Excellence Awards 2017
Vogue Williams at Robertas in Temple Bar
Stefanie Preissner
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Three out of five authors in the popular non-fiction category at the Irish Book Awards sold less than 1,000 copies, Independent.ie can reveal.

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards took place on Monday night at Dublin's Clayton Hotel with expected aplomb - big names from the literary community including David Walliams and Cecelia Ahern rubbed shoulders with tv presenters and models, most of whom are relatively new to the publishing industry.

Vogue Williams & Spencer Matthews and Nicky Byrne attend The Marketing Society Annual Christmas Lunch and Research Excellence Awards 2017
Vogue Williams & Spencer Matthews and Nicky Byrne attend The Marketing Society Annual Christmas Lunch and Research Excellence Awards 2017

Newcomers like Vogue Williams and Maia Dunphy were among the more recognisable on the red carpet, but both of their respective works weren't among some of the best-sellers in the room, or even their category, despite both of them bagging a nomination in the Popular Non-Fiction category.

Vogue's' book Everything, a lifestyle advice guide which covers everything from "her weekly workouts, to her go-to recipes for healthy eating, to make-up looks, tips on skin, how-to hair styles, packing for weekends away and dressing for different occasions", sold 883 hard copies in Ireland, according to Nielsen sales figures.

You could argue that it was a missed opportunity for Vogue, who, instead publishing a memoir about her personal life, instead focused on topics she largely covers on her social media channels, which followers can find free of charge. It still made €16,369.54.

RTE broadcaster Maia's book sold the worst out of the five nominees. Her work The M Word, the same name of her website, which again offers content free of charge, is inspired by her life as a new mother in which she "shares her experiences of dealing with unwanted advice, sleep deprivation, competitive parenting and dirty nappies". Its sales are valued at €6,425.

In fourth place came Dustin the Turkey's Wikibeaks, which sold 551 copies.

Writer Stefanie Preissner's book Why Can't Everything Just Stay The Same? And Other Things I Shout When I Can't Cope sold 1,867 copies in Ireland since it was published in October. The book details her personal experiences as she navigates through adulthood.

"From birthdays, to friendships, to Christmas homecomings, to social media (she's more JOMO than FOMO), to the importance of asking WWNSD? (What Would Nicole Scherzinger Do?) when faced with big decisions, to the changes you can't prevent like when someone breaks up with you, Why Can't Everything Just Stay the Same? is the hilarious and honest account of one woman's journey through the biggest change of all: adulthood," its description by publisher Hachette reads.

Eventually, the top prize on the night went to Motherfoclóir by Darach Ó Séaghdha, which "takes an irreverent, pun-friendly and contemporary approach to the Irish language". It sold 4,391 copies and made €53,047.65.

But the biggest seller in the group by a mile came in the form of journalist Caroline Foran's book on mental health, titled Owning It: Your Bulls**t Free Guide to Living with Anxiety, which sold an impressive 12,124 copies since it was published in May.

A spokesperson for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award did not comment, but when asked about the selection process for the popular book category, directed us to its website which explains how books are selected in each category.

"It should be noted that The Irish Book Awards are different in character from conventional literary awards where winners attract the subjective approval of a jury normally comprising 3-5 judges. To decide fifteen awards in this way would be impractical and inimical to our aim to canvas the widest possible sector of the reading public," the website reads.

"The aim is to​ select the books which, on merit, represent the best of Irish publishing in a given year including titles which have raised the profile of books, both in terms of publicity coverage and performance. These will often include books published late in the year which are widely expected to make a substantial impact. Such books will have been presented to ​individuals on the​ panel​s​ months before publication date."

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