Literary Intentions 
A writer can’t simply write a great novel and send it off to the first publisher he finds and sell his work. It just isn’t that simple. So, besides the dratted process of querying literary agents and publishers to “please, please, please” request pages, a writer is constantly looking for other ways to promote his work. Contests are one of those avenues. However, not all contests are created equal and writers must read the rules and then, reread to ensure they haven’t unwittingly relinquished their rights.

I’ve entered several contests and have scored a first, second, and third place victory. Woo-hoo for me, but as nice as my total prize winnings of $150 is, it is not publication. Winning or placing in a contest does help a writer feel like their work is legitimate and worthwhile literature, but . . . it is not publication. Then there is the ABNA. It is like American Idol for aspiring writers and the best part is the no entry fee and (dun, dun, dun, duh) publication is the grand prize with a $15,000 advance from Penguin Books.

The first stage is the pitch round and begins on Jan. 24-Feb.6. I hate this stage. If we refer back to American Idol, this round would be similar to the bare bones audition round without musical accompaniment. In ABNA terms, it is a 300-word pitch/summary of your proposed novel and the 5000 entrants from each category (YA or Adult) become 1000. Sounds easy, right? It’s not. A writer has to whittle down his or her 90,000 word novel into 300 words that’ll make someone want to pick up the book. I didn’t make it past this round last year. L Does that mean my novel stinks and I should really reconsider my bliss? Not necessarily. My pitch just didn’t entice the judges to want to read more.  

The second stage—Hollywood round for A.I—is the excerpt round. In this stage, judges review the entrant’s 5000 word excerpt, which in my case will be my first two chapters. They judge on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following areas: overall strength of excerpt, prose/writing style, plot/hook, and originality.

The top 250 then advance to the quarterfinals where Publisher’s Weekly reviews/judges the excerpts from the previous stage, sending the top 50 to the semi-finals. If a person can make it to this stage but not advance further in the contest, they still have the benefit of a Publisher’s Weekly review to include in queries (If the review is good, of course). During the semifinals, the Penguin judging panel will take 50 contests to 3 in each category (YA or Adult General Fiction) The final round is open to Amazon customers to review and rate excerpts as well as a celebrity panel.

Last year at this time, I was a nervous wreck getting ready to submit my entry, which was the first full manuscript I’ve written. This year, I’m a little wiser, have written nearly three completed ‘scripts, and have a much tougher skin. So, I won’t be threatening an imaginary, literary version of Simon, or shedding tears because I didn’t make it. I will simply keep trying, perfecting, and submitting, and maybe one day, I’ll get lucky.

Here's my pitch:

Hagan Perry will do whatever it takes to escape her kidnappers on Scout Mountain, not only for herself but for the other woman fighting to survive the Caretaker’s evil games. Unfortunately for Hagan, getting out alive means trusting the one person who has always let her down—her father.

To many, James Perry is nothing but a troubled ex-con whose word is about as good as a campaign promise. He’s fine with that, on most days, but when his daughter disappears, no one believes she’s in danger, especially his own brother who’s too busy polishing his badge to do him any favors. Even after James receives a call from his daughter and reveals an important clue, he’s branded a manipulator.

Without help from the police, he must save Hagan on his own. Little does he know exactly how far the kidnappers will go until dead bodies pile up and he becomes the number one suspect. If James can’t figure out who’s targeting them and why, he will wrongfully return to prison for not only the deaths of a few innocent people, but perhaps for his daughter’s death as well.

Even if Hagan survives THE CARETAKER’S KISS, she will have to face something just as insurmountable and bleak as the mountain—the truth.



01/25/2012 5:14pm

Nice one info, thx

01/27/2012 10:54am

THX for info

03/10/2012 11:44pm

Nice one info, thanks

03/27/2012 6:04pm

will return quickly

03/31/2012 12:47pm

Great info, thanks


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    My name is Diana (a.k.a DS Tracy) I am a wife, mother,  and wannabe writer. One day, I hope to delete the wannabe part--no one likes a poser!  

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