Monday was the first day for a week to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I had been preparing for a month to enter my next book. After I finished writing the story, I went over and over it. Even taped the book for a friend in the nursing home. Reading the story out loud helps me catch mistakes that I missed when I read the sentences to myself. So by Sunday, I had the book ready to enter. A 300 word pitch and a copy the first 5000 words to the story had to entered in a separate part on the form.
I’d be the first to admit that blurbs for book covers and pitches are not my strong point. For me, trying to condense the whole story into a few words is hard. I entered the Amazon contest last year. My pitch was not good. Once I found out about the contest, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to work on it. This year I was better prepared. That 300 hundred words is what the judges look at to pick the 1000 contestants to go on, or how ever many have a good pitch up to a 1000. Next the judges look at the first 5000 words in the story and narrow the entries down again. Finally, three are picked and from that three one gets a book deal with Penguin.
This contest takes place until late June. In late February, the writers of the 1000 pitches are announced. Do I expect to be in the running? Yes, I think this year I’ve a good chance of getting into the first round. I’ll update you on that when I find out. If I’m not in the running, I should have a new self published book on the market in a few months. My pitch entry will work well as a jacket blurb so I have that out of the way. Look for the next book in my Amish Series Nurse Hal Among The Amish - Nurse’s Hal’s Rainbow.
As usual, anything that has to do with the computer does not come easy for me, but I didn’t expect the entry to take me all day. Once, I started I had to stay with it. The first entry was contact information. I filled it in and saved it. Time after time, red words warned me I need to enter the complete address or that my zipcode was wrong. Finally, the last time the form came up the space for state popped up. I filled that in, and I was ready for the next form. Copy and paste for the pitch and 5000 word entry went well, but no way could I get the form to accept my manuscript. My word processors weren’t compatible. I have Open Office and an outdated Lotus that no one has heard of lately. I could buy Microsoft, but once I figured out what I was doing with what I had, I didn’t want to take the time to learn anything new. I’d entered in this contest before so I knew I could if I figured out what I needed to do. After hours of trying, finally the manuscript was accepted, but the form didn’t think my pitch was right. I cut and copied the same pitch again and clicked save. That did it.
Last year, I received two reviews from the judges based on the first 5000 words. One judge was very complimentary about my original idea. The other pointed out my piece was poorly written with grammatical errors which didn’t surprise me since the story was no way near ready to turn in. That was the review that was the most helpful. I took the review to heart and went over my story to clean it up before I published it. I’m hoping this year’s entry is in better shape, but no matter what, I’m looking forward to the expert reviews if they do that again.
Now I’m working on short stories for the writing contest that is due the last of April. That gives me plenty of time to tighten the stories up to fit the word criteria and theme. I have some luck in those contests, but even if I didn’t it’s fun to compete with other writers.