Worldwide talent search. Extremely tough competition. High profile sponsorship. Is it American Idol or the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award?
Every year, Amazon.com hosts this talent search for the best unknown novel out there. During the first step, you submit your excerpt, download your manuscript and wait. It’s free. The catch is that only 10,000 writers can enter. ONLY 10,000. I think that’s a lot less than American Idol, but I could be wrong. Then, unknown judges, (sadly no Steven Tyler) goes through the entries and picks the next group to go through. That phase, I think, is like getting the golden ticket to go to Hollywood (or is it Las Vegas?)
I was STRONGLY encouraged to enter this year by my critique partner. It was fast and easy. I made it to the first two rounds. Now I’m in the quarterfinals! Less that 5% of that original 10,000 have made it this far. By making it to the 3rd round, that means I’ve not only gotten my golden ticket, but I’m in the top 20 (or whatever they’re calling it this year). Unlike American Idol, no one will call me “pitchy” or say something nonsensical that’s supposed to sound profound. (Randy Jackson would LOVE me, I know he would!)
What the judges DID say was this:
Also, unlike AI, ABNA’s final decision is based on judges, not fans. But LIKE AI — first prize is SWEET! A $50K publishing contract and career boosts. (Runners up don’t do too badly either!) On AI, the singers get their fans to call in and vote. I can’t do that. But what I CAN do is ask you, my sweet, awesome readers, to go to my ABNA sample page and leave a few sentences as a review. This will increase my exposure, get more people aware of Falling For Your Madness and of course makes this happy author even more happy.
But more importantly than that, this victory comes after years and years of doubts. This comes after years and years of plugging away at this. This comes after decades of battling inner demons and wrestling with fears and carving out ten minutes here and there. It comes after getting upsetting reviews from other judges from other contests. This is a very sweet place to be.
I find out whether I make it to the semi-finals on April 16. I already feel like a winner. I don’t need to go any further to feel very satisfied with the success of my book.