In case you are not familiar with Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award, here's how things work. There are five genres, General Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror, Mystery/Thriller and Young Adult. Each genre is allowed a maximum of 10,000 entries which would be winnowed down until only one from each genre remains. Each round would judge a specific part of the manuscript, or be judged by different methods and the one who survives gets a publishing contract, which is really cool.
So I entered my book into the contest on January 14, 2013 and had to wait until February 13, 2013 to find out if I made the first cut. It was based on my pitch, which I agonized over not sure if I was even doing it right or if it was enough for me to make the cut. A cut that would be from 10,000 possible entries to 400. Yeah. Making 4% didn't seem that possible, but somehow I did. I can only assume it was a combination of luck, with a smidgen of talent, a sprinkling of a happy reviewer and a giant heaping of miracles from God.
Once I made it I had to wait until the next round which would focus on the first 5,000 words of my novel. Originally this was the round I felt the most confident in because I worked hard at making the first two chapters in my book shine, but as I started to look at the numbers (of the 400 only 100 would move on) I began to wonder if I would be one. Despite my fears March 12, 2013 rolled around and my name was on the list.
Which leads us to now. This round is based on my entire manuscript. The cut is from 100 to 5. Yep, just 5! Only 5 manuscripts will be moving on. As much as I would like to think my book is a good, solid story, I have a hard time thinking it would be in the top five of the contest. There are so many good writers out there and so many writers who can do things I would never be able to imagine in my wildest dreams for the simple reason that I am different from them, as they are from me.
If by some miracle I do make it to the top five, then I would need your help and the help of anyone you could find because the next round is judged by you! Everyone with an Amazon account can cast one vote for the story they want to win and the story with the most votes moves on to the next round and a publishing contract. Not that I would expect you to vote for me, I hope you would vote for whichever one you loved the most even if that is someone else's story. In fact, don't vote for me at all unless you really, truly want to. It would actually be a greater honor to know all the votes I received were sincere. Then I can rest in the knowledge that people honestly do like my story and aren't just voting for it because they feel like they have to.
This is a bit off topic, but have you ever had someone come up to you and tell you something really nice and at first you were happy, yet when you had time to think about it you weren't sure they really meant it? If you've had that experience, I'd love to hear about it!