So, ABNA posted their Quarterfinalists last week. The top 250 YA authors and the top 250 adult authors moved on, after having their excerpt read by top Amazon.com reviewers.
This is a big round. This means that the author's writing, not just the pitch, was good enough to rise above the other 5,000 entrants for that category (10,000 total). Whoever makes this round also gets the entire novel read and reviewed by Publisher's Weekly.
Wow. Big deal. Really cool.
For the previous round, ABNA emailed all the finalists to let them know. My husband didn't get any such email. I went and checked the list anyway, scrolling down through the Hs, looking for Mark Heiner. Nope. Nothing.
I didn't tell him. I knew he didn't know when the dates were, and I didn't want to mention it. Coward. I figured he'd realize in July that the contest must be over and he didn't make it.
Then today, he got an email from ABNA--just saying the quarterfinalists had been announced and the list was available. He got on and checked the list. No Mark Heiner.
But he's smarter than me. He also checked for his pen name, Markus Hawke.
OH MY WORD! HE MADE IT!
He came in and told me this morning and I was shocked. And tickled pink. Let me explain why I was shocked: after he submitted, I read through his excerpt (and thus his entire manuscript) and found a horrifying amount of typos. Big errors, like, "He lifted his bloodstained his bloodstained sword." And "Are we leaving in the morning" he asked? So maybe I just didn't expect him to get in. Bad wife!
But the reviewers overlooked his typos. Rather, they noticed and chose to ignore them. One reviewer said, "This is a strong excerpt in need of some fine tuning and editorial work." Yeah, that! The reviews were overall so positive and wonderful! You can read the full reviews here. You can also download the excerpt and read it on your computer (using the Kindle app you download from Amazon). You can rate and review just as you would any other Amazon product, though we haven't reached the part of the contest where that's necessary yet.
For everyone else that made it, CONGRATULATIONS! I'm totally using this in his queries now.
Oh, and don't forget about my super contest. It's open through Saturday!
P.S. Here is an awesome interview about David J. West, a WiDo author whose book is coming out this month. He's got a contest going on. Check it out!