Galaxy Awards make comeback with November promotion

Galaxy Awards make comeback with November promotion

<p>The Galaxy British Book Awards are to be reborn as the Galaxy National Book Awards, with a televised ceremony due to take place in November this year followed by five 30-minute shows over five weeks.</p><p>Galaxy will sponsor the awards, with the deal finalised just last week after nine months of negotiations. The new awards were unveiled to the trade this afternoon (16th September) by Amanda Ross, m.d. of Cactus TV, which will produce the awards show for More4, and Alastair Giles, of Agile Marketing.</p><p>Ahead of the presentation, Giles told <em>The Bookselle</em>r: &quot;It&rsquo;s pretty exciting, we&rsquo;re just going to announce it, and then do it. This is supercharging, what will hopefully be a very exciting Christmas. If this works, then next year we&rsquo;d aim for it to be part of retailers&rsquo; Christmas planning.&rdquo;</p><p>In April, <em>The Bookseller</em> reported that the Galaxy British Book Awards, last presented in April 2009, had been put into the hands of a cross-industry steering committee, headed by Craig Hillier, then W H Smith Travel trading controller for books. <em>Publishing News </em>founded the awards in 1990, with the trade awards split from the consumer side of the event in 2004. Galaxy has sponsored the consumer awards since 2007.</p><p>Following the consultation, the new awards will be held in the autumn to capitalise on the Christmas peak selling season. They will take place on 10th November at BBC TV studios and be broadcast on More4 on 13th November. They will be followed by five shows broadcast in the run-up to Christmas. Each will focus on one celebrity book, plus two category winners.</p><p>&ldquo;The main thing is that it&rsquo;s going to look very different&mdash;more like the Oscars.&rdquo; Ross said. &ldquo;There will be a pre-show party and more of a theatre-style environment.&rdquo; The previous awards &ldquo;were a celebration of the industry&rdquo; whereas her brief this time was to create &ldquo;a much wider appeal&rdquo;. The new event aims to showcase UK publishing, with categories such as &ldquo;new writer&rdquo; and &ldquo;international author of the year&rdquo;.</p><p>The awards were previously criticised for celebrating stars rather than books but Ross said the new awards would be &ldquo;using celebrity in a different way&rdquo;, pointing out there was no celebrity books category. &ldquo;You need [celebrities] to have populist appeal. A lot of authors are faceless, but celebrities [awarding prizes] elevate the position of the authors.&rdquo; She said she hoped the authors of the championed celebrity tomes will present awards on the night. Giles added: &quot;We are trying to keep both ends of the publishing spectrum happy, and we hope this will slightly reposition the awards so that they are supported by both.&quot;</p><p>Galaxy has signed a two-year sponsorship deal, with publishers expected to pay a shortlist levy for marketing costs. The organisers claimed publishers&rsquo; costs will drop by about 40% compared to the previous awards. The initiative is being run on a not-for-profit basis.</p><p>Galaxy has upped its investment in the awards, with &pound;3m going towards reading, including TV and print advertising, as well as book offers on 40 million chocolate bars. It will launch a dedicated awards website and promote winners on social media. TV presenter Claudia Winkleman will be its &ldquo;face&rdquo; for its book promotions.</p><p>Giles said Galaxy&rsquo;s commitment was &ldquo;only really good news&rdquo;, but warned it needed trade support &ldquo;otherwise it will be a hugely disappointing missed opportunity&rdquo;.</p><p>Submissions must be made by email to merric@agile-ideas.com by no later than midnight Sunday 3rd October 2010. Six-strong shortlists (for titles published up to 5th November, except the international category), picked by an industry-wide &ldquo;academy&rdquo;, will be unveiled to the trade on 12th October and announced officially on 28th October. Books published in hardback or paperback in the UK during 2010 up until 5th November are eligible and awards are based on current year performances.</p><p>The ceremony will be followed by five televsions programmes with 30 minutes devoted to two winners, and a celebrity interview. Viewers will be asked to vote online for an overall book of the year. The shows will go out after &quot;Come Dine Wine With Me&quot; on Sunday evening, giving a one million hangover audience. </p><p><strong>The award categories</strong><br /> </p><p>Popular Fiction Book of the Year <br />Non-Fiction Bk of the Year (History/Travel/Illust/Sport/Humour) <br />Food &amp; Drink Book of the Year <br />New Writer of the Year <br />Children&rsquo;s Book of the Year <br />Auto/Biography of the Year <br />International Author of the Year <br />UK Author of the Year <br />Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement Award </p>