Today concludes my posts on entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, which is sponsored by CreateSpace, the book-publishing arm of Amazon.
The contest opened on Monday, January 14, at 12:00:01 AM—United States EST. For me that was Sunday, 11:00:01 PM, because I live in the Central Standard Time zone. When I entered before—in 2010—I had to keep trying for nearly two hours before I could get on line and submit my entry.
Remembering that, I camped out late last Sunday in front of the computer with a pot of hot Chinese oolong tea and three freshly baked scones, ready for a long wait.
You’ll understand my saying that the words Submit Entry startled me when they appeared within ten minutes of my going on line. In fact, I dropped a half-eaten fruity scone on the floor, where the crumbles remained for the next forty-five minutes while I completed my entry.
What took me so long? The saga of entry!
The entry form had four sections. The first section asked for my name, the name of the book, whether it had been previously published by me, and a “description.” The latter hadn’t been mentioned in the contest rules and so came as an unwelcomed surprise.
Thinking that the word description was perhaps another word for pitch, I inserted those 264 words, over which I’d labored for a week.
Then I filled out the second section of the form and got to the third, which asked for the pitch, excerpt, and completed manuscript.
Clearly, the pitch and the description differed.
Returning to section one, I deleted what I’d inserted just a few moments before and went to Microsoft Word so I could write a spur-of-the-moment description/plot synopsis.
Fortunately, the synopsis I’d been sending out with query letters to literary agents needed only a little tweaking to get it less than 300 words. That done, I pasted the 287-word description into section one and returned to section three to insert the three entry requirements: the 264-word pitch, the 4848-word excerpt, and the 122,074-word manuscript.
I had trouble with the latter because it wasn’t in a docx form. But once I figured out how to do that, the form accepted the upload. I breathed a sign of relief, clicked on save, and completed my entry.
So, it’s done. I’m officially entered in the contest and now eagerly await February 13.
Here’s the calendar of events, which I’ve copied for Amazon’s website:
Jan 14 - Entry period opened at 12:00:01 AM (U.S. EST)
Jan 27 - Entry period ends at 11:59:59 PM (U.S. EST)*
Feb 13 - Round 2 entries are announced
Mar 12 - Quarter-Finalists are announced
Apr 16 - Semi-Finalists are announced
May 21 - Finalists are announced. Customer voting begins on Amazon.com
May 21-29 - Customers vote on Amazon.com
Jun 15 - Awards ceremony and Grand Prize winner announcement
The maximum number of entries is 10,000.
As you can see, the next important date is Wednesday, February 13. That’s when I’ll discover whether I’ll be in the second round of the contest. During the first round—from January 27 to February 13—the judges read only the 10,000 pitches and choose 2,000 entries to continue in the contest. That’s the first elimination. You can be assured I’ll let you know what happens.
If I’m eliminated in this contest—at whatever stage—I’ll simply continue to work on the novel that’s engrossing me now. Perhaps I’ll have it ready next January for entry into the 2014 contest. We’ll see whether the words come, the characters share themselves with me, and the plot “thickens.” If all that happens, the book will complete itself and the teapot will be replenished often and ever.
Are any of you writing a novel or considering doing so? If so, are you thinking about entering this contest next year? I’d so enjoy sharing all this excitement with you. Peace.