It came to my attention yesterday that once again, Amazon.com is preparing for their ABNA contest. This is where I break my Amazon boycott and jump headfirst into the contest.
For those of you who don't know what ABNA is, a quick recap: It began two years ago, give or take, in 2008. You must have a completed novel, which you upload to Amazon.com's self-publishing agent, Createspace (this is free, with no commitments to self-publish). The novel goes through a couple of judging rounds, with the final winner receiving an advance and publishing contract from Penguin books. The logo up there is a link.
I have entered every year. There are some major differences between each year. In year 1, the advance was $20,000. There was one publishing contract offered. Each entrant had the first 5,000 words read by Amazon top reviewers, and semi-finalists were selected (or semi-semi-finalists, to be exact). Each of these semi-semi-finalists also had the entire manuscript read by Publisher's Weekly, and were given a critique on their novel. There was some silly thing where each person tried to get as many votes for their novel as they could, but in the end the votes didn't count for anything, so a lot of writers felt a bit conned by that.
I got my book read by Publisher's Weekly that year. They gave me a lot of ideas for revisions.
ABNA changed their policy in 2009. Apparently they had overloaded their top reviewers and Publisher's Weekly the year before, so ABNA decided entrants would be judged solely off of their 300 word pitch, rather than an excerpt. Of those that made it, only the would have their books read by Publisher's Weekly. The voting thing was done away with except for the finalists, as well.
My pitch wasn't good enough. I didn't make it in that year.
This year, the biggest difference I noticed is that there are TWO publishing contracts being offered. One for general fiction, and one for (yay!) YA. Finally! It's like YA was ignored the previous two years. Because of this, I'm sure, the advance for each is $15,000.
I will be entering, of course.
This is a great way to get feedback. And there's the small small chance you'll get published! This year, here's how the judging works.
1) Submit. Do this fast, as soon as it opens for submissions on Jan. 25. It's only open to the first 10,000.
2) It is once again based on pitch. So make your pitch as good as you can. On Feb. 8, the judges will choose 2,000 semi-finalists, based on your pitch.
3) On Feb. 25, top reviewers will read and judge your excerpt of 5,000 words. The top 500 will move on.
4) On March 23, your excerpt and the reviews will be posted online for all to see. People can read and comment on your excerpt. Publisher's Weekly will also read and review your entire manuscript.
5) Based on the Publisher's Weekly score, the top 50 will advance.
6) On April 27, Penguin will select 3 finalists from these 50.
7) On May 25, readers can start voting for one of the three finalists.
8) Finally, the two people who get publishing contracts will be announced.
Give it a go! You've got nothing to lose!