IT'S OPEN! EVERYBODY PANIC!
Yeah, sorry about that. It's just... this is the only thing I've ever done that combines the TENSION of Querying with the Adrenaline and Group support of a WriMo. It is the good and the bad of writing tension all rolled in one pretty little package. Only it isn't pretty.
But what I want to do here is a little bit of COUNTERING. I've seen some former ABNA entrants nod out this year. They site the rules and how much authors give up, and I admit, it isn't for everybody.
People I Believe should FOREGO ABNA
1 – People who have written a sure best seller. If you look at best seller charts, these are mostly thrillers and books by Jodi Piccoult. If these apply to you, this may not be your contest. Seriously though--some books are going to get nice big advances and sell millions--if you have one of these books, chances are the prizes here will not look all that great to you. James Patterson need not apply.
2 – One trick ponies with intentions to sell this and only this NOW. The contest puts you on hold with THIS WORK. If this is your ONLY work and you want to market it to publishers, you will not be able to for 6 months. That seems a very long time if you only have one book. You CAN during this time seek an agent. You can also write other books, shop other books, polish other books—heck, you can polish THIS book—the only time that isn't helpful is if they loved the earlier version so much they won't take your changes.
The things you give up are:
The right to negotiate IF YOU WIN. The contract is the contract is the contract. But you know what? They can't afford to have it not be a FAIR contract. I HAVE a Penguin contract, and I just don't believe they gain anything by screwing over a winner. AND if you win, you take that through your WHOLE career. Listen to it: “Tara's first books won the Amazon contest in 2012.” Isn't that a tag you'd love to carry forever?
[I am picking on Tara, as this is her first year entering—I finally managed to lead one of my fellow Burrowers into this addictive thing.]
TIME: As mentioned above, while you are entered, you can't shop it to publishers. If you are a finalist, Penguin gets the right to offer for 30 days and if you can't come to terms then they have the right to counter any other offer you get. (hello, bidding war)
But here are the things you GAIN:
Understanding of the PROCESS of selling a book: This system is very much like the query—you are judged first pitch, then partial, then full.
Networking: This is a truly supportive system of people (though there are places on the discussion boards that can be contentious, so beware)
Professional feedback: now this is a reward if you get past the pitch stage, but it is REALLY NICE. It is ALSO to be taken with a grain of salt, as readers are NOT matched by genre with their interests, so there is some crap shoot to it. Still, it is a good learning experience.
And if you WIN? A HUGE marketing coup--all the support of Penguin behind you, all the marketing credentials of winning a contest this huge... It's really big. Even being a semi-finalist last year got me an agent.
So don't be afraid, my friends... Dive in!
And just for the fun of it, this is my entry this year:
|Cover designed by Joris Ammerlaan|
In downtown Portland, Athena Garnett, a street-smart runaway, helps them defuse a gang situation that is turning ugly. Tasha takes a fondness to thirteen-year old Athena and Athena helps them gather some resources they need. They invite her to hide with them as the weather turns colder. In exchange, she offers to help solve the clues they believe will help find their mother: clues that lead them on an unusual treasure hunt through Portland involving stolen art, hidden money, and foreign gangsters. But the most ominous clue is a name that suggests all of their lives have been intertwined since long before they were born and that their legacies place them on opposite sides of a mob war.
Legacy, a young adult suspense novel combines the gritty adventure feel of Melissa Marr, the difficult sibling journey of Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming with the art theft and high adventure of Ally Carter's Heist Society. Ultimately, it is about what happens to children who are left holding the pieces of their parents' explosive lives.
I'd love to know what you think--there is still time to tweak it.