Tuesday, January 31, 2012

High Hopes Once Again

Last week I diligently upload a novel to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA). This will be my fifth entry into the annual competition: an effort that is not without emotional angst. Honestly, what would be the point of entering if I didn’t at least have some hope of winning, or at least making it through to subsequent rounds of judging?

The first year I entered I did not advance beyond the first round: a round which does not actually look at the novel but merely a three hundred word pitch. Yes I was disappointed but continued to submit elsewhere. The second year I was informed that I had made it through the first round, only to be notified a few days later that they had made a mistake and I had not advanced from the pitch round. Having the rug jerked out from under me hurt worse than not making it at all. They made up for their mistake by offering me a five dollar Amazon gift certificate. That made me feel better (NOT). The third year found me cautious when I received news of my advance to the second round where they judge the first 5000 words of the manuscript. It was true this time, but I did not advance to round three. I did receive a prize, two critiques from the amateur reviewers they have judge the first round. They had some good things to say but they also helped me see what I had done wrong. So after reworking the first section, I entered the revised manuscript in year four, only to find I did not advance beyond the pitch round once again. How could the same pitch advance one year only to fail the next?

So basically, here I am at year five; still holding out hope but not holding my breath.

What do you think of writing contests? Worth the stress?

Jim