Posts Tagged ‘ABNA’

Pikes Peak Writers Conference This Weekend

Last year, I went to my first writers’ conference – Pike’s Peak, down in Colorado Springs, CO. To summarize, I was terrified that I was either unprepared or would come out of feeling dejected, but I had a lovely time, learned a lot, and promised to go again.

So we are.

I made a list of things to do different this year, last year:

  • Register early so I can get pitch appointments with people who represent my genre
  • Try to get the panel critique instead of the individual critique
  • Bring earplugs and shoes that are not boots
  • Get business cards earlier than the day before (where Ian and I were, literally, at Kinko’s at 10 PM)

For the most part, I have done all of the above. I got the pitch appointment I wanted and the panel critique (though, alas, at 8:30 am Friday morning – very first thing). There is a circumstance I am not talking about here on ye olde blog that means I am staying at my sister-in-law’s instead of stuffing in a hotel with three of my friends, so the earplugs and not-boots are less necessary. And I ordered my business cards last week. They are supposed to get here today. Not the best, but still earlier than last year.

On the other hand, I still feel unprepared. The book that I’m pitching this year is not as ready to go as the one I pitched last year (that one’s in ABNA at the moment). I hoped to be further through my edit than I am, but alas, I am not. I’m far enough for pitching and first-page critiques, but if I do get partial requests, well, there is yet more polishing to be done.

I don’t know what workshops I want to go to, and I need to figure out when I’m heading down. I need to pack. I need to print out all sorts of things and wonder why UPS has yet to bring me my business cards. Instead I will probably run around for a bit, flailing wildly and babbling incoherently. Somewhere out there, there are writers who have been ready for weeks.

I dislike those people.

Wish me luck, Squiders. Oh, and by the by, no Friday update here as I’ll be busy learning (and possibly panicking). But except fairly regular tweets from the conference itself, assuming there’s decent wifi.

ABNA Musings

I had a friend say that whenever she saw “ABNA” she thought “ABBA” and that it’s been a very strange week.

So the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award submission opened last night.  For those of you who don’t stalk the internet like I do, Amazon accepts 10,000 entries (5000 general, 5000 young adult) and through an elimination process ends up with one in each category that gets a publishing contract with Penguin and $15000. (Your advance.  Pretty generous from what I hear.)  They do accept self-published novels (Hidden Worlds is too short, for those wondering why I didn’t do anything with it) and any single-author novel that has never had a traditional publishing contract as long as it’s between 50 and 150K words and meets a variety of other requirements.

I first heard of the ABNAs last year.  I watched a couple of friends go through the process of entering and decided I would enter this year with WLBtB.  It’s probably my favorite of my own novels – I adore the characters – but I haven’t gotten around to doing an in-depth edit.  I’m still working on getting BM out to agents, so I’ve been putting WLBtB on a back-burner as kind of a “if this never gets published, this is my back-up plan” sort of thing.

I still didn’t really edit it beyond fixing typos and grammar and clarifying some scenes.

Here’s the thing – I don’t really think I want to win.

First of all, the ABNAs seem kind of random.  From my friends’ experiences last year, it seems like your chances of moving forward to the next round really depend on who’s assigned to read your entry.  It’s not really a commentary on the quality of your writing or your book as much as whether the reader you get is a good match for your topic/genre.  (Well, I take that back.  I’m sure some of it depends on writing quality.)

Secondly, let’s assume I somehow manage to win this, and Amazon says “here is your $15000 and your publishing deal.”  I wouldn’t know what to do with either.  I would want an agent to look at things.  I’ve read places that if you have a publishing deal, you can contact agents and ask if they’ll take you on, but man, pressure and streeeessssss.

One would wonder why I even bothered entering if it makes me nervous and I’m not even sure I want to win.  Well, a couple of reasons.  It’s practice.  I’m trying to get more things out there.  I can’t hoard my stories forever.  I would like them to be read, and the more I practice and the more I get out there, the more likely it is that some of them will escape and prosper.  The story I submitted isn’t my most polished piece of work – after I rewrite the first chapter (again) I’m going to continue submitting that and I didn’t want it tied up in this contest for however many months it takes before I get knocked out.  I’m kind of interested in seeing how far I can go on a first draft.  I am a masochist.  Things like that.

Did you enter ABNA?  Why?  What do you hope to get out the contest?