Still Chuffed

Apologies to those of you who've seen this on Facebook or Twitter already, but I have a few things to say which need to be said within Veg Plotting itself.

Firstly, a huge thanks to all of you who've contributed to this blog in some way this year - as a guest poster, by leaving a comment or contributing to #saladchat or Salad Days. This award is because of you :)

Secondly, a number of you took the trouble to get in touch by email after the awards last year re the judging. Like you, I was extremely disappointed not to have been shortlisted. However, it gave me a chance to look again at the way in which I'd submitted Veg Plotting's nomination. Whilst what I'd said was OK, I hadn't really told the judges enough about why Veg Plotting was special (to me anyway!) and different to any other blog out there. I set out to change that this year.

With a change of event organiser for 2012, the opportunity's been taken to do things slightly differently this time and all blog entrants were listed in the 'book of the day' given out to all attendees at the awards lunch. From that I see the number of entrants was down this year and I strongly believe a number of 'independent' bloggers who deserve to get the recognition I've had are missing from the list.

If you value your blog and what you write about, I urge you to enter in 2013. I know some of you aren't keen on the entry fee or the self-nomination process. The entry fee covers the admin and postage needed for the awards process and is comparable with the fees I've seen this year for writing competitions. As for self-nomination... well you have to be in it to win it. Besides, we don't have friendly editors or publishers to shove us into the limelight - we're those things as well as being the author and photographer!

Going forward I hope to encourage the judging process to include feedback for all entrants in some small way. Hopefully this won't be too onerous a task for the judges (who are probably queueing up to throttle me now) and means we'd have something to work on (if we want to) in the future. If you have any observations you'd like to add, do let me know. I've just been elected onto the Garden Media Guild's committee and so have the power to make your views known!

Finally, huge congratulations to the Guardian Gardening Blog on their win. They have an extremely talented set of regular bloggers, so were always going to be the one to beat. It's been a pleasure to write a guest post for them this year :)


  1. I think the entry fee, the feeling that you won't stand a chance against the 'media' blogs such as The Guardian and ultimately the cost of the awards dinner are all barriers to independent bloggers who probably aren't earning anything from their blog. I agree wholeheartedly that there are blogs out there that deserve some recognition but if their blog is a hobby they are unlikely to think they have a place at an event that is primarily about recognising people who earn a living from writing or broadcasting. I so very nearly didn't enter but was, in the end, a finalist like yourself. I am so chuffed with that, after only a year of blogging and it shows you really do have to just go for it. I would say though that you are unlikely to get bloggers becoming members of the GMG and for myself, and I'm sure others, the cost of the awards dinner ticket of £175 plus travel costs was just too much. I would have loved to have been there, particularly as I was shortlisted and do now feel like I missed out on what would have been a special day for me. The GMG did offer me a reduced price ticket which I appreciated but it was still too much. I do think the GMG need to look at the cost implications being a barrier to those outside the garden media.

    I just wanted to say congratulations once again. It was well deserved. Just hope I get my finalist certificate soon!!

  2. I just wanted to say congratulations once again

  3. We are chuffed for you too my friend. Your blog definitely is an award winner. So excited for your success, and I love reading it.~~Dee

  4. Congratulations - changing the way you put forward your nomination obviously bore fruit. Are you hanging the certificate somewhere you can see it on a regular basis....might as well extend that glow of achievement for as long as you can :-)

  5. Congratulations VP - if I am honest I thought you were going to win! Your blog is so very good.

    I agree with wellywoman's comments - if the Guardian hadn't agreed to pay for my ticket, I wouldn't have gone to the awards as the price tag (£174 for a non-GMG member) was too high. I did like the way the handing out of the awards had been streamlined, though - there was a lot less bum-ache and listening to lists of names, which has to be a good thing!

    I still haven't joined the GMG - I am never quite convinced the membership cost is worth it. But with a certain VP now on the committee, it'll be interesting to note how things change over the coming year.

  6. Oh I'm so pleased that your blog has achieved such recognition VP and congratulations on being elected onto the committee too. Well done you! xxx

  7. Very well done :)
    Well deserved - and I am so happy for you.
    I was also delighted to see Wellywoman among the finalists
    PS Garden media guild committee! :)

  8. Marvelous! I am very excited for you! xogail

  9. Congratulations on getting to be a finalist, VP - very well-deserved!

  10. Well done. As you say, you have to be in it to win it. That is my view of the lottery, but it hasn't done me a lot of good yet!!

  11. Congratulations on being a Finalist! Maybe next year, all finalists' trip and costs to the event will be fully sponsored. GMG should look into that possibility.

  12. Congratulations! I'm very happy for you!

  13. Thanks for your good wishes everyone and a warm welcome to Ismail and Jay :)

    Wellywoman - I know exactly what you mean. I've gritted my teeth over the years about the cost of the ticket, but if I hadn't have gone last year, I wouldn't have got my piece in The Guardian on Saturday. I have had so many opportunities through attending. NB membership + a member's ticket is cheaper than a non-member's ticket, which I think is the intention.

    Having thought about it a lot (especially after last year) I don't agree there should be a separate award for independent bloggers. The Guild is about promoting professionalism is garden writing, therefore to have a separate category might suggest independent blogging is a lesser form of blogging. I'm happy to have my work judged alongside The Guardian and the others - it's taken quite a few years for them to achieve the accolade of winning, so the competition is tough! Looking at the other categories and what was entered, there is a wide diversity in most of them and I can imagine everyone clamouring for sub-divisions, books in particular.

    Jane - I joined because I wasn't sure what members get out of it and I'm keen to help the Guild be more open with its membership. With the new chairwoman in place, I'm confident the Guild will be a better deal for joining in the future.

    Ismail - GMG is always trying to attract sponsorship. It's been an especially tough year for that this year.

    1. PS it's also interesting to note there's always a hiss of what seems like disapproval when the blog award is announced.

      EG - I've still to find the perfect, prominent spot ;)


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