Crossing All My Digits

I tell you, it’s kind of hard to type with all my fingers crossed, but I’ll give it a shot because I need all the luck I can get. My toes, arms, and legs are crossed, too. I’m even thinking about braiding my hair so the strands are crossed. Why do I need all this luck? Because I’ve gone contest crazy!

The big one is that I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) again in January. I’ve had a rocky road with this contest, and if you want to know the details you can read this post and this post. But the short version goes like this:
 
1st time – booted in the first round (based on just the pitch).
2nd time – made it to the quarterfinals (based on excerpt) and got a great Publisher’s Weekly review (based on entire novel).
3rd time - booted in the first round (based on just the pitch).
4th time – made it to the quarterfinals (based on excerpt) and got a devastating Publisher’s Weekly review (based on entire novel).
 
ABNAAfter trying so many times with the same novel, I wasn’t going to enter again; but in December, I decided the January deadline was just what I needed as motivation to finish the rewrite. I was finally able to focus and do some major revising that I’m really happy with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish rewriting the entire thing by the deadline, but I did transform the first third, which all my beta readers have agreed was the weak part in the original. 
 
In mid-February, I was excited to find out I’d made it past the pitch stage. Even though I used the exact same pitch that got me through last year, I was nervous because I never seemed to get picked during odd years. I was now one of 2,000 picked from 10,000 pitches anxiously waiting while our excerpts (the first two chapters) were read. I’d made major changes to these two chapters since the previous times I’d make it through, and this was the first time the new version was being read by strangers, so my stomach was in knots. They announced this past Tuesday – 2,000 were whittled down to 500 (100 of those YA ) – and I made it!! I’m a quarterfinalist again, and it seems like the rewrite didn't make the first two chapters worse. Whew!
 
Customer reviews don’t have any bearing on the contest at this point, but if you’re interested in reading the new first two chapters of THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF, you can get it here for free from Amazon. You don’t have to have a Kindle, since they offer lots of other ways to read it. And if you do have feedback for me (either positive or negative), you can either leave a review or send me an email. I’m trying to make these opening chapters the absolute best they can be.
 
And now it’s waiting time again as Publisher’s Weekly reads the entire novel. Gulp! Although I’d love to make the semifinals, only FIVE of the 100 quarterfinal YA novels are moving on, and as much as I love my silly little novel, I know it’s not the type of book that wins these awards. So I’m basically just hoping for a PW review that is helpful (and doesn’t reduce me to tears). 
 
writeoncomI’m also playing the waiting game with WriteOnCon’s Pitch Fest. They randomly selected 350 pitches to be assigned to agents for feedback and to be voted on by readers for prizes, and my pitch was lucky enough to be selected. My usual pitch is 300 words, so I had to whittle it down to 200 words for this contest. It’s another contest where reviews don’t help or hurt, but if you want to take a look at mine, you can read my pitch here and let me know if you have any feedback to help me make it stronger. Also, they have smartly set up voting so it’s not a popularity contest, so no one is able to go vote for a particular pitch, but if you’re interested in being one of the official voters, you can sign up here.
 
To keep from worrying myself into an anxious puddle of goo with all this waiting, I’m working on submissions for two more contests. I’m putting together my packet for the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant, and I’m also turning one of my short stories into a short script for the PAGE International Screenplay Awards. Both deadlines are at the end of March, so they should keep me busy enough not to check online every five seconds for new tidbits about ABNA and Pitch Fest. At least in theory . . . *hurries off to check twitter one more time* 
 
What’s keeping you busy these days? Did you enter ABNA? Do you have a pitch in Pitch Fest? Are you applying for one of the SCBWI grants? Have you ever tried your hand at screenwriting? 
 

Comments

Rebecca Petruck's picture

Good luck! Fingers and toes crossed, but only to an even number. :)

Adriana Ryan's picture

Yay!! :) You're going to get some great feedback, and they'd be silly to not pick you for the next round!!

Kathleen S. Allen's picture

I entered the Pitchfest too and Pitch Madness. My YA book didn't make it past round 1 of ABNA so congrats! And yes, puddle of goo sounds about right.

Medeia Sharif's picture

Awesome. Good luck on these. :)

Tia Bach's picture

Wow, what an amazing journey. Kudos to you for sticking it out through the tears and fist pumps.Wishing you all the best with exposing your work to more scrutiny. It can be so tough -- like an open wound. 

Deborah Kreiser's picture

I've said it before and I'll say it again: writing is what makes us real writers. Publication is just icing on the cake! So glad for your success! I'm sure it will continue if you keep at it.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

 

Rebecca - Thanks! And it really was surprising to make it through - not only is it an odd year, it's the number 13!!
 
Adriana - Thank you!  But my book isn't very "deep" so I'd be completely shocked to make the semifinals. 
 
Kathleen - There's a lot of pitch stuff going on this month!  Good luck to you!
 
Medeia - Thank you!
 
Tia - Thanks, it can be tough, and that's why it's be so awesome finding so many supportive blog friends going through similar journeys.\
 
Deborah - Thank you! Icing is my favorite part of the cake, so I want my icing now! :-) But you're right - the important part is to keep writing.
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