Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's ABNA time again. Maybe.

Today's announcement of the fifth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards has got me wondering whether I'll enter the contest again in 2012. If I do, Sultana's Legacy will be my submission. Since it just debuted this past October, the entry qualifies under the rules that allow self-published novels into the contest. Submissions are open January 23 to February 5; sorry, English-language only.


What are the merits of this contest? It's one of few where you can participate without an entry fee. On a modest writer's budget, free becomes very appealing. There are TWO grand prizes in each of the categories, general fiction AND young adult fiction. In addition, you'll meet some great people in the forums and discussion pages, many of whom have done this contest several years running. All that camaraderie bolsters you as the judges start winnowing the entries from 10,000 manuscripts to 5,000 until the final two are chosen for the grand prize sometime in June. Writers are amazingly supportive of each other, even when we are effectively competing. Penguin co-sponsors the contest, and did I mention those grand prizes include a publishing contract with a $15,000 advance? Also, a self-published entry can elicit some new eyes on your available work and generate those reviews we need.


So why am I less than super excited about this contest in just a few days?    


I truly was eager for an announcement of it. Since Sultana's Legacy is so new, having it in the contest may boost its presence and spark some interest or sales. Or maybe not. If I make it as far as the quarterfinals like last year, Publishers Weekly will read and review the manuscript in full. Oh joy. If you want some of the great and gory details of my previous entry of Sultana, click here to understand why I'm not thrilled to bits at the prospect of PW dissecting my work again. Yet, there's one factor that looms above all other concerns - the contest's end game, that contract and advance - I don't know if I'm so interested in the hype surrounding that.

WTF? Is she being serious?
Yes, I'm actually serious. Don't get me wrong - the chance offered by the contest is great. I'm not making a killing at self-publishing, and the marketing aspect is making me nuts. Yet, I'm not wondering when or if I'll ever get good reviews, great fan mail or a nice royalty check. Honestly, I'm just not aiming for a publishing contract, nor do I hold out much hope I'll garner one. Something about not querying agents or thumbing up my nose at certain tactics in the industry may seal this as fact. Odd how the possibility no longer bothers me, when three years ago, it was all I wanted. Plus, I don't know if the masochistic control freak in me, who actually enjoys all the hard work that goes along with self-publishing, is ready for a publisher's timetable and their oversight of the financial aspects.

The only valid reason for my entry would be further exposure of my work. At no cost, that seems pretty good. I have two months until February 5 to decide.

Will you be entering ABNA 2012?

5 comments:

Jen McPeek said...

I'm totally entering, but I'll be entering the same story as last year because I pretty much redid it. Also, I got hit with a big case of new-novel fear and didn't create anything new until NaNoWriMo (which I will spend parts of 2012 editing and getting ready for 2013's ABNA).

Lisa Yarde said...

Jennifer, good luck with your submission for 2012. I'll be following your journey.

Christine Murray said...

I'm not sure if I'm going to enter. I've decided to self-publish, so like you if I enter I'll probably be doing it mainly for exposure. That and the nice people that you meet.

jbchicoine said...

I entered it for the past three years, but not this year. My nervous system doesn't fare well with competitions...

I think that submitting Sultana'a Legacy to garner some exposure is a terrific idea--and free! And who knows, maybe you'll land that contract!

Lisa Yarde said...

Christine, if you do enter, I wish you good luck. I'm likely to be there with you as JB says for the exposure.

Ebook Release Day! Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree is here!

After a year and a half, the ebook version of the novel is out. It's been like giving birth to a really big baby, who had some troubles...