Late last night, between rampant coughing and inability to sleep because of said coughing, I entered the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
The beautiful thing about self-publishing is that you have the freedom to enter those sorts of competitions. Per the rules, your manuscript cannot be shopped around to publishers while it’s tied up in ABNA, and I will admit that while I’m lukewarm towards the idea of trad pub in general, the thought of a $15,000 advance and a contract is a very, very good thought to entertain. It won’t make me quit my day job, but the post-tax amount of that 15K is a very, very welcome thing for my finances.
I’m also thinking about entering the Beach Book Festival, which is run by the same individual who had once hosted the Nashville Book Festival, wherein I had once received an honorable mention with Book 1. I would love to see how Books 2 and 3 do in that mix.
Now, a comment in a prior post had brought up that, if I have little chance at winning ABNA (which is true), and that I am not a big fan of Penguin (also true), then why bother entering? Myself personally, I enter because 1. it’s fun to try your hand at a contest now and again, 2. whether it’s Penguin or any other of the Big Six, it’s an advance.
The thing is, knowing what I have been learning about book copyright, I’m starting to wonder if the contract that will be offered by Penguin can be amended. I am very glad that I had taken business law in college, and I want to be sure that if – and it’s a pretty major if – such a contract is offered to me, I know what to look for and how to phrase certain things to safeguard my ability to reclaim the rights to my work in the event that this goes south. Because so many authors who have gone trad-pub and want to go self find themselves caught up in a contractual mess because of a fine-print clause or two. Or ten.
Apart from the contract, I have a few thoughts on the review process. As I learned the hard way in 2010, the reviewers pick the books at random. While I see the benefit in it – if someone who’s not typically into a genre is grabbed by the excerpt well enough, then that does give a point to the overall quality of the book – some great work goes by the wayside only because the reviewer doesn’t like the genre, and rejects the book for that reason. Case in point, both of my reviews of Book 1 in 2010, where neither reviewer was a fantasy/sci-fi fan. Okay, I understand – not everyone’s cup of tea. First reviewer admitted it, and I’m happy with that. Second review still makes me laugh. I get it, you don’t dig the genre, but if that’s the case, why not make like the first reviewer and just admit it as opposed to comparing me to things who had zero influence on my writing? (Still don’t watch BSG…lol)
But hey, them’s the breaks. Not my first barbecue.
At this point, though, it’s just fun for me to enter. I’ve had readers come back to me and bug me about the storyline because I’ve got quite a soft spot for writing cliffhangers, and that makes me happy. I have a dedicated audience. If I get a contract and an advance, that’s icing on a cake that I’ve been baking since 2009.
So. I will find out on February 23rd if I’m in or not. Until then, I will relax and keep plugging at the prelim edit/rewrite of Book 4. Soon to receive some more cover art too. :)
PS: the first story of the soon-to-be-anthology is out on Smashwords.