Thursday, January 13, 2011


I had to take a break from the endless hours of writing. How are you all doing today? Fine, I hope. Well thanks to all of your encouraging words I am down to the final chapters of my WIP. I'm only a few thousand words from target goal, but I might have to add a few more thousand to round the story off with a bang.

Several people have commented about ABNA so I thought I would repost my original Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards to inform those who haven't read the first one I posted a few weeks ago.

But before that, I would like to welcome some wonderful bloggers who recently visited and became friends. Thanks for following, I hope you'll leave my blog with something happy and positive.


Frankie, Casey, Margo B., Dan, Margo K., Florence, Misty, Mohnoutka, Tony, Dani, Stephen, and my newest follower, Jennifer. I am thrilled to meet all of you and hope to see you here often.

Now for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. JAN. 24th Mark that day on your calendar. I kept the original post just in case you'd like to read about my experience. If not, feel free to scroll down to the pertinent information.

Now it's time for me to get back to writing ....

Good day fellow bloggers. Today I am going to inform you about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards: affectionately known as the ABNA.

Last year I was introduced to this amazing writing contest by a friend. I had just finished what I thought was a polished manuscript. A 125,560 word Y/A fantasy. Needless to say I spend over a year to really polishing my novel. A WILLOW'S TALE is now at a slim 68,000 words.

Before I tell you about the contest itself. I would first like to tell you how this contest launched me into the writing world.

It began with the entry. After finding out I made it through the first/pitch round, I was flying high. I began to visit the threads, eventually commenting. At first my comments amounted to nothing. Many of the contestants knew each other from previous years and chatted back and forth with each other. While waiting for the second round announcements, I managed to be heard here and there. Even though I wasn't "in" the group, I still enjoyed being in the thick of things.

On one faithful day I had the courage to start a thread. I had just received my critiques from my excerpt. And asked the community for some feedback. I was upset because one of the reviewers called my writing amateur. In the thread someone commented that I didn't add to the conversation and then it happened.

Erica from erica and christy came to my rescue. Thank you Erica!  Kind, supportive, and boisterous, Erica told them what of .... that the reviewer never should have wrote that, and theoretically we were all amateurs until we were published.

Eventually she and a few other kind souls helped me with what later became a major edit and restructure. Months of twelve hour days it took to pull my novel together. So you see, this is where it all began.
Erica then joined Christy and created there wonderful blog erica and christy I began to follow the blog world and three months ago I created In Time ...

Now for the contest .....

As you might have guessed it is sponsored by Amazon and Penguin Group and Create a Space. This is their fourth year running it. There are two grand prizes, one for Adult Fiction the other for Young Adult Fiction. The winners receive a $15,000.00 dollar advance and a publishing contract with Penguin. The contest is open to unpublished novels. Yes, self published authors can enter.

Open submissions for manuscripts begin on January 24th, 2011 and run through February 6th, 2011.  They take the first 5000 received in each category. And you must register with Create a Space ... it costs nothing to register. Manuscripts can be from 50,000 to 150,000 words

What you need to submit is a pitch: max-300 words. An excerpt up to 5000 words. Personal information on entry form. And of course, the manuscript itself. There are specific and there are a lot of do's and don'ts. Expect to put in some time. It is well worth your effort. Here is the link to the rules.

After submission the waiting game begins. You wait to see if you make the first cut. Everyone's on the forums relieving their stress and anxieties. You will meet some fantastic people. Threads run like fire, so don't be intimidated. If you feel like participating do it! Eventually you will find your niche.

Here are the dates and phases in the contest.

Submission: Jan. 24- Feb. 6

First round: Feb.7 - Feb 22 ... They read the pitch and select the top 1000 entries in each category.

Second round: Feb. 24 - March 13 Reviewing and judging of excerpts.

On or about March 22nd excerpts are posted on Amazon for everyone, yes everyone ... your friends included, to read and score. Top 250 make the quarter finals. Not the easiest thing to do....

Quarter finals are judged between March 22nd and April 25th ... the full manuscript. Top 50 in each category advance to Semi finalists.

If you are lucky enough to make it this far you advance to Finalist. On or about May 16th you will be notified. Only 3 from each category. Finalist are flown to the host city and judged.

In June the winner is announced.

Well that's the Reader's Digest version everyone. I highly recommend it to all of you that have polished manuscript. It doesn't have to be perfect, but if you want to win, I suggest your perfect it.

This contest is excellent for getting your work seen by our community as well as the publishing community. So take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Good luck and please let me know if you plan on joining me in the contest! I hope to see you there.


  1. Good luck Gideon, I didn't make it out of the Quarterfinals last year, but it was still a great experience. "Met" lots of cool people, scored a positive Publishers Weekly review, and got lots of feedback and suggestions. I plan to reenter to same novel this year (out of laziness) - don't expect different results, but want to be involved in the excitement/drama of the ABNA board!

    Hope to celebrate with you in the Winner's Circle, or commiserate in the Loser's Lounge - either way, it's worth it

  2. That's also the date of my blogfest - who knew?
    Keep writing - you're almost there!

  3. You can do it! The end of your novel is near! :D

    Thanks for all the information on ABNA--I'd heard of it of course, but I hadn't known that much about it.

  4. You're a great blogger not to hog the information lest someone win over you. I wish us both luck in the gauntlet. It is the journey that teaches more than the destination anyway. I wish you luck and success in finishing those last chapters. Roland

  5. Looks like you're going to make it with time to spare! I'm still on the fence about partaking in ABNA but I'm leaning onto the side of jumping in and doing it!

  6. I've heard of the contest before, but I still don't have a polished manuscript to send. Next year I will, though.

    I wish you so much luck this year! Good luck with the final chapters, and that's fantastic you made it beyond the first round last year. And, slimming down your novel from 125k to 68k is amazing! Great job!

  7. Wow good luck Gideon! I hope you rock that contest!!

    I'm so glad Erica and some others stuck up for you. I'm convinced some people just hop around from thread to thread just to be negative and hateful. So I'm glad you had some voices on your side!

    And those two really are awesome ladies for sure!

  8. Well, I hope you have a lot of success with it. I know that I've thought of submitting something but never did.

    Wow, 125 to 68... that's amazing.

  9. Oh I see how it is -- you listen about as well as my son does when I tell him no XBox until his homework's done. Haha.

    But it does sound like you deserved a break. I'm glad it's going to well, and more than anything I hope you're enjoying the immersion in your story. ;)

  10. thanks for the reminder about amazon's contest :)

  11. Michael, a friend sent me the link for the Amazon/Penguin contest yesterday. Don't know what I will do. I wanted to share. In another life, I thought I could be a poet and sent poems to such as The ATlantic Monthly. During those times, you could get lots of little notes scribbled on rejection notices.

    I had enough rejection notices to cover the bathroom wall behind my comode, which is where I thought they belonged.

    One day I opened one of my SASE and found another rejection with a note that my work was not suitable and he found it "prosaic." My heart broke.

    Two days later I got another and on this rejection notice a man wrote ... I suspect you are a new writer. I can feel something in you that wants to come out. It will not be in poetry, but when you find it, I think you might be a very good writer. Don't give up writing. Just give up writing poetry. I saved that note and once in a while I take it out and read it.

    Needless to say, I no longer write poetry.I write funny genre fiction and I love it.

    Good luck to you with the amazon contest and keep at it. :)

  12. Florence I hope you stop back. I tried to find you but couldn't this is a sad but wonderful story. I am very glad that you received that letter from that agent.

    Sometimes we just have to change genres. I sent in a short story to a Open City magazine in New York in a different genre and I places as a finalist in their contest. See you just don't know.

    Next time you pop by leave me your blog or email.