ABNA 2012, and the Importance of Long-Term Revisions

First of all, a delightfully happy New Year to everyone! It is now 2012, which means…if you’re reading this, the world didn’t end.

Ahem. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. :)

Anyway, let’s dive right in with the news du jour.

For my fellow self-published authors, A.B.N.A (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards) are coming up. If you’re unfamiliar with this, you can click the ABNA tag on my blog for past ramblings on the subject, or this link that explains it nicely.

For those who don’t feel like clicking, Penguin Publishing sponsors this shindig every year. If you’re unpublished or self-published, you submit your pitch, an excerpt, and your manuscript, and it gets vetted through multiple rounds of the contest (pitch, excerpt review, manuscript review) towards a $15,000 advance from Penguin and a publication contract.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

This contest is something I’ve done before. I entered for the first time in 2010, and got through to the second round, only to be booted at the review stage. Second time was in 2011, and I didn’t make it. I kind of expected both of those outcomes, really, but I won’t lie that I was surprised when the reviews had come in. The reviewers, who I might point out are paid for this gig, are not matched by genre at all. So my urban fantasy/sci-fi series went to two people who don’t read it at all, and made it clear in the reviews.

Bummer. But them’s the breaks, and you can’t please them all.

The thing also is, I’ve entered the books of my series in sequence on this one. So this will be Book 3’s chance to prove its chops, and I’m feeling good. Book 3 has been an absolute hit in the e-circles, and for those who have glanced at the hard-copy books, the front cover alone had drawn them in, and Marion Meadows gets props for designing that one. (small spoiler: he’s helping out on Cover 4 as well). It’s also a lot funnier than the other books in the series, even though it takes a lot of what happens in Books 1 and 2 and begins to paint the picture of what’s really happening. And if you are a reader and you’re still wondering what the hell was going on in Book 1? Well…your patience with me is about to pay off. Together, though, all of these factors make for a really great possibility for Book 3 getting, hopefully, to the full-manuscript review stage, and that is when it will shine.

However – and you knew that there was a however involved in this – this is a Penguin contest.

Who remembers the Book Country issues?

Penguin’s credibility had been sliding for a while. Some of the worst-edited manuscripts that I have seen recently were Penguin books, and to release a vanity-press subsidiary is a nice sneer of contempt at authors, both at the self-pubs who are trying to get to the market,and the published authors, who had seen a steady decline in how much Penguin manages for them. More and more do I see authors – trad-pubs! – running their own marketing. This is with a Big-Six publishing house. Um, what the hell? I thought that the reason that people would go trad-pub would be to avoid having to do their own deal.

So if the prize is a publication contract with them, I’m hesitating. The $15K advance would be fantastic, considering that it would solve a good bit of my financial issues, but it’s the contract itself. On one hand, it’s great publicity for the series. On the other hand, how long would it take me to wrestle back my copyright if the book doesn’t do as well as Penguin wants it to?

Food for thought, that.

Now. recently, I’ve wrapped up the manuscript for Book 6. It’s an interesting story, in the sense that the plot had started to evolve – and I mean really evolve – closer towards the end. This, of course, means that I will have a nice time in retroactive editing next year, but the fact is, I wrapped everything up in time. This is only the second time that I had finished a NaNo manuscript in the same calendar year as starting one (the first time being with Book 1), and this actually leaves me quite a bit of room time-wise to play around with my writing.

Of course, this is keeping in mind with the fact that I want to take KG Creative Enterprises and make it a real money-maker…but I digress.

I have been thinking, and the more I think about it, the more I feel that I ought to shop the books around in film form. While Book 4 is getting put together and prepped for publication, it’s time for me to start researching and learning how to write a screenplay and actually putting together Mages as a movie. I’m not, however, too sure how to shop this around, which means that I will have to do a metric ton of research once again.

A lot of you who had read the books would likely be saying, “ABOUT TIME!!!” right now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, been a while coming, but I got where I’m going. :p

Musically speaking, let me be the first to say that the jazz scene, which I had adopted as my home away from home, is pulling me in different directions. I’ve done the write-ups. I’ve done the graphic design. Now I’m getting into the photography, and I’m still keen on doing all of the above. Will it pay off? Possibly. Will it replace my day job, somehow? Hopefully. But one thing is for sure, this was a year of change so far, and I am finding it extremely important to keep focus on what’s coming up, and how to keep a close eye on what’s happening.

There’s a book I’m about to start up, before my fellow self-pubs, and it’s one written by Bob Baldwin, who took his knowledge and organized it into a music-business survival guide. As someone on the sidelines, and kind of sort of peripherally involved in the music world – at least in the imaging/writing capacity – I am keen on acquiring and applying this knowledge to the best of my ability. It can, and one of these days will, save my skin, I think.

I can’t even tell you how much I’m looking forward to doing all of these things. Of course, this means that this would very well be another year in which my personal life is nil, but I am confident that this will be for a good cause. Besides, if The Index will become a title that you will one of these days see on the silver screen, then I am sure that my efforts now will be worthwhile.

All of this, from screenwriting, to jazz writing, to photo, to graphic, to noveling – my stylistic flexibility is getting quite a workout. I will be the first to admit that I have never written a full-length movie script. I’ve read them plenty, and I think I will be able to figure it out if given enough time. It’s been some years since I’ve written poetry, and there’s a pretty good chance that I will be writing nonfiction in due time. I need to work out my style muscle very frequently, and very often.

Not that I make New Year’s Resolutions, I want to be able to write a vignette, a short story, or a prompt, once a week. If I manage to release an anthology, much like my editor had, then awesome. If not, then at least I will be able to say that I have had practice in multiple avenues of writing.

Happy first day of 2012, everyone, and at the risk of outing myself as a total nerd…may the Force be with you. :)


ETA: WordPress was having issues in regards to the scheduling. I apparently had an auto-save that overwrote the entire second half of this post. Big no-no. Fixed. Sorry.


2 thoughts on “ABNA 2012, and the Importance of Long-Term Revisions

  1. If there’s every chance that you’ll lose anyway due to piss-poor judging (judges should know their genres, IMO) and the “prize” is just a chance for Penguin to exploit you, why bother?

    1. At this point, it’s pretty much for the hell of it. I won’t lie, the $15,000 is a major reason why I’m bothering to begin with. I know that it’s not really big money, but it’s not an amount to sneeze at if you’re hurting for cash. Even after taxes, it’s a weighty enough sum to alleviate certain things. That and (cue my inner optimist) there’s always the odd chance that it’ll do better than just be another mid-listing. I’m entering out of fun and practicality. Plus, I’m kind of sort of morbidly curious as far as the reviews are concerned.

Comments are closed.