Sunday, March 2, 2014

ABNA – It’s all over except for the crying

The Amazon Breakout Novel Award competition is closed. No more entries. No more editing of existing entries. It’s all over except for the crying.
My chances aren’t great…one in 2500 approximately for a First Prize award, about 1 in 10000 to win the Grand Prize. But heck, it certainly beats the odds for winning the lottery, right? 
I’m sure my entry isn’t perfect. I have gone over my MS numerous times and still I find those niggling mistakes. A few days back I was looking at the first page and I saw where the UPS guy delivers “a square brown box.” (Really Clary? A square box? Square boxes are so rare. And it is brown too?) Geez, I’m an idiot. How many more of these goofs are in there? How many will it take before the reviewer says “I’ve had enough!” 
So, my chances aren’t great. Besides, the ABNA award really isn’t even a ‘prize.’ It’s just an advance on future sales. It’s like a McDonald’s manager telling a pimple-faced boy, “Congratulations, you’ve won $12,000. Here’s your apron. Your prize will be awarded in weekly installments throughout the year.” Okay…not exactly the same. They don’t give the boy the $12,000 up front. (Would they see him again if they did?) 
Still, I want to win. I have fantasies about winning. I imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling me, a tremor of emotion in his voice, saying that my novel The Globe is the best book he’s ever read. The fantasy is eerily similar to Ralphie’s in A Christmas Story when he imagines the teacher’s response to his Why I should get a Red Rider BB-Gun for Christmas essay. Remember the teacher grading the paper A++++++++++ with a dramatic flourish?
In any case, it’s been a good experience. ABNA really made me look at my pitch. Study it. Improve it. ABNA put a fire under my feet to edit and re-edit The Globe (and, yes, I know, I really should invest in an editor.) Finally, ABNA has encouraged me to work on my social networking. If, against the odds, I’m a finalist, my social networking platform will mean the difference between the Grand Prize and First Place. 
So…thanks Amazon. Even if I don’t make it past Round 1, the competition has really helped me.