Monday, January 16, 2012

ABNA starts January 23: is your pitch ready?

The 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award will open to entries next Monday (January 23). I spent part of my day preparing the submission of Sultana's Legacy, after weighing whether or not I should participate. Last year, the prequel Sultana made it to the quarterfinals and remains my best-selling title. Since the contest remains open to entries that have already been self-published (provided the author owns all the rights) I'm hoping to give this latest novel some much need exposure. Up to 5,000 entries each in the General Fiction or YA categories will be accepted.

Contest information is here, but I'll sum up. Between January 23 and February 5, all entrants must submit:
  • A completed manuscript in either of the categories, between 50,000 and 150,000 words.
  • Three to five thousand words in an excerpt.
  • A pitch that must not exceed 300 words.   
All submissions must be submitted as a Word .doc, .docx, .rtf or .txt file. Only original works of fiction authored by one person in the English language will be considered. No clues to the author's identity can be included, such as a real or pen name. Be sure to remove your name from the headers, the copyright page, author's note, references to additional or related works, etc.

Based on the strength of the pitch, entrants will move on to the second round. Here's my first draft of the pitch for Sultana's Legacy - thoughts?

SULTANA’S LEGACY, a completed novel at 118630 words, is an epic historical set in thirteenth century Moorish Spain. The novel’s themes of loyalty and faith, and empowerment and sacrifice explore the fragile ties that bind and fray between families. The protagonists Fatima, the daughter of a Sultan, and her beloved husband Faraj offer differing perspectives on fast-changing events. The novel provides an adventurous escape into the past, with rich details about the period’s most unpredictable and dangerous historical figures.   

The matriarch of her family, Fatima’s love for her husband and children rivals an overwhelming devotion to her cherished father. When his death occurs unexpectedly, the kingdom faces a bleak future. Fatima’s brother, a corrupt maniac, seizes the throne. Cruelty abounds, as former rivals and trusted retainers alike fall victim to his machinations, including almost everyone whom Fatima once held dear. A choice awaits her: acceptance or defiance.

In the ensuing rivalry for the throne, Fatima risks her personal safety and even her marriage. The years of love and trust she has enjoyed with Faraj erode, as treachery and intrigues divide the couple. A thin line between justice and revenge blurs. As Fatima’s noble quest devolves into bitter violence, the cost of victory may prove higher than she anticipated. Even in her triumph, the root of a final heartbreaking betrayal takes hold, one that may destroy the legacy of the Sultans of Granada forever.   

Historical fiction audiences will find the Moorish period in SULTANA’S LEGACY fascinating and unusual. Complex characters run the gamut of genuine good to uncompromising evil. In particular, the heroine Fatima is multifaceted. Her greatest strength, her devotion to family, is also her fatal flaw. Her struggle against overwhelming odds and cunning adversaries will appeal to those who admire strong female personalities. 

I'm wishing everyone who decides to enter the best of luck, especially my #ABNA tweeps on Twitter!


Kristen Taber said...

Looks great! Good luck, and of course, looking forward to seeing your name on the winners' lists.

Jen McPeek said...

Good pitch, but just for the sake of brevity, I would skip the stuff about themes and who would like it and just jump right into the main characters, the conflict, and its historical basis.

I'm re-entering last year's novel with some much needed edits, and I still have to work on my pitch (read: must start it). It feels entirely more daunting this year than it did last year.

Good luck!

Lisa Yarde said...

Thanks, ladies, I'm looking forward to your entries too. Did either of you notice something different with rules where Penguin has the right of first refusal on the semi-finalists? Never noticed that clause.

Jen, I thought the last part about who the book would appeal to was an ABNA requirement.No idea where I got that from, but I did relatively the same last year.

Patricia O'Sullivan said...

Jen, what is your entry title? Is it going to be in general or YA? Mine is general and called Legend of the Dead.

Lisa, I love and hate this contest. Last year I told my husband to shoot me if I even think about entering again.

And yet, I've got the pitch, the excerpt, and the full ms ready to go.

Alison said...

Best of luck, Lisa! I'll be rooting for you! Still polishing my own entry and thinking 2013....

Lisa Yarde said...

Patricia, I'll be sure to read the excerpt. Thanks, Alison, hope you'll be back in the contest next year.

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