It's that time again. Thousands of writers from all over the world are flocking to Amazon to enter their book babies in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Can you feel the excitement? I sure can.
This year, ABNA has changed. There will be five categories: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, Romance, and Young Adult. One finalist will be named from each of these five categories. Penguin is out. The grand prize winner now gets published by Amazon Publishing and this includes a $50,000 advance! Wow! And the rest of the finalists ALSO get a publishing contract with Amazon (and a $15,000 advance). ABNA has really stepped up their game this year. These are amazing prizes, you guys.
As one of last year's finalists, and a person who has entered ABNA a grand total of three times, I have a lot of advice to pass on to the new crop of entrants:
1. This should go without saying, but make sure your manuscript is 100% finished, edited, and polished to a high gloss shine.
2. Need help with your pitch? Take a peek at mine or ask for help on the ABNA forum pitch thread.
3. Yes, you can enter your self-published book. At least half of last year's finalists were/are self-published.
4. DO NOT...I repeat, DO NOT...put your name anywhere on your pitch, excerpt, or manuscript. You will be disqualified.
5. Your excerpt must be the FIRST 3000-5000 words of your manuscript. Stop it at a good point. Leave them hanging.
6. Don't be discouraged if your second round reviews aren't the greatest. Mine weren't.
7. If you're not from the US, and you make it to the semi-finals, make sure you have a current passport, just in case. I didn't.
8. Participate in the discussions on the ABNA forum. The people there are not only interesting and hilarious, they are also extremely supportive. There's a lot of waiting involved in the ABNA contest, so why not pass the time with other writers who are going through the same thing?
9. If you're anything like me, you might want to blog about ABNA so future entrants can read about the process.
10. See #4 again. This mistake knocks out at least one person every year.
Have fun and GOOD LUCK with ABNA 2013! You're in for a wild ride.