Publishers' outcry at Guardian prize fee

<p>Small publishers are concerned about the <em>Guardian&#39;s</em> new levy on entering titles for its First Book Award, with several saying they &quot;can&#39;t afford&quot; to take part this year.</p><p>Publishers are now expected to pay &#65505;150 plus VAT for each book entered, with a maximum of three permitted. The deadline is 16th July. A number of smaller presses <em>The Bookseller</em> spoke to said they would not be entering. Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley, who scored a shortlisting for Matthew Hollis&#39; <em>Ground Water</em> in 2004, said he could not afford to: &rdquo;All the smaller publishers are really concerned.&quot; He added: &quot;It really affects poetry . . . For fiction [an entry fee] may be part of the promotional budget but not poetry.&quot;</p><p>Salt publishing director Jen Hamilton Emery said: &rdquo;I can understand why they have done it, but it&#39;s a lot of money. It&#39;s putting off a lot of people [from entering]. . . We always put in three entries. . . we may only put in one.&rdquo; She added: &rdquo;It will exclude a lot of authors not published by big publishing houses.&quot;</p><p>A Guardian spokesperson responded: &quot;Like all publishers, GNM is not immune to difficult trading conditions and this fee, which is in line with other literary prizes, will ensure that the competition can go ahead. We hope to continue to attract a wide range of entries from a diverse selection of publishers and our prize money of &#65505;10,000 for the winner is not affected.&quot;</p><p>The Orange, Samuel Johnson, Man Booker and Orwell prizes do not charge for entry, although the former three do ask for a contribution fee towards PR once titles have reached the shortlist stages. </p>