1st post on here: 2010 ABNAs

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MelPetres
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1st post on here: 2010 ABNAs

Post by MelPetres » January 25th, 2010, 10:25 pm

Is anyone entering the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award writing contest? I got an email about it today and entered right away. They are only accepting 5000 entries in each of two categories, General Fiction and Young Adult Fiction. The finalist in each category wins a $15,000 publishing contract with Penguin USA.

Has anyone entered this contest in the past? I'm just curious since this is my first writing contest to ever enter (entering a full novel manuscript). What has anyone else experienced with entering writing contests? To be perfectly honest, I became anxious the second I hit the "submit" button! Is that normal for most writers entering their first writing contest with their beloved first novel?
I've self-published my 1st novel, Awakening of a Guardian, a YA fantasy romance. I'm working on the sequel and a novel dealing with teen depression and suicide.

Check me out: http://www.melissapetreshock.com or http://melissapetreshockwrites.blogspot.com

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Matera_the_Mad
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Re: 1st post on here: 2010 ABNAs

Post by Matera_the_Mad » January 25th, 2010, 11:29 pm

I entered. Never entered any contests before, but I have a novel at the right stage so -- pow. I figure the worst that can happen is that I lose a few months of agent-hunting.

Anxiety is normal. I even felt a twinge.
A drum is empty always, and when the skin is rightly taut it gives right noise, right sound. Attention is like that.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Seamus
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Re: 1st post on here: 2010 ABNAs

Post by Seamus » January 26th, 2010, 12:45 pm

I seem to recall Nathan warning people about the rights you give up in some of these contests. I'm sure it's easy to find on his Blog. However, I think there was a strong admonishment to read the fine print.
J. Seamus Welsh
welsh.john.seamus@gmail.com
Blog (a playful place to experiment with character voices): http://oh-thereyouare.blogspot.com/
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Kaitlyne
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Re: 1st post on here: 2010 ABNAs

Post by Kaitlyne » January 27th, 2010, 11:56 pm

I wouldn't have entered last year even if my manuscript was up to snuff at that point because the contest rules stated that the contract was nonnegotiable. That was more than enough to turn me off. I figure if you're good enough to beat ten thousand people in a contest, you're good enough to find an agent who can help you get published the old fashioned way for a potentially better deal that you'd be getting from the contest.

Apparently, the rules have changed slightly and from what I saw yesterday, state that the contract is negotiable for up to thirty days, which is an improvement. Interestingly, it also states that Penguin isn't required to offer a contract on the book, so I'm guessing if the winner was something they felt didn't have a chance for some reason they could say no. Okay, I take this back. While the contest rules say this, the prize rules clearly state still that the prize is a nonnegotiable contract, so I still stand by my argument against it.

Quarterfinalists receive a discount to self-publish. Um...no thanks. The odds of actually winning would be incredibly slim, and even if I could make it in the top few, I wouldn't accept the prize anyway. And unless you win, it doesn't give you anything in terms of credentials. There are other novel contests out there with more favorable odds.

I've also heard that last year's contest was essentially a popularity contest and was not based on the quality of the work because of the voting system employed. If I'm going to win a contest, I want to win because a professional who knows about publishing and writing has chosen my book as the best, not because I managed to convince the most people on Amazon to look twice.

I also think the contest is essentially an advertising tool for Create Space. I have no problem with people self-publishing, but the fact that so much of this contest is focused around or mentions Create Space, it feels to me like the motivation behind it is not so much to highlight a new writer's skill, but to highlight this service that Amazon is offering with hopes that those entering who don't win will say, "But I could always just publish it through Create Space." I imagine there are an awful lot of people out there who don't know much about publishing who have written books and don't realize that simply having a book listed on Amazon doesn't mean that anyone is going to buy it.

There are other contests that I've considered, but I'd never use this one. I dislike the requirements, the prizes, the judging method, and think that the sheer scale of it makes winning a near impossibility unless you have one of the best things out there, in which case you'd probably be better served by finding an agent.

I guess I feel like if you want to enter it just for fun just to see how far you get, that's cool. I wouldn't do it if I was going for a win, though. Just my two cents.

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