Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pitch Perfect

Never knew I was fond of singing? 
Well, I’m not…at least not when I know anyone is listening.

No, the definition of a perfect pitch here is what is necessary to enter into a contest.  This is a big one…by Amazon for new writers and their “breakthrough” novels.  The contest offers big bucks, contracts, a trip to the venue for all finalists where the ceremony to name the winners will take place and also other smaller prizes for those who make second and third place.
This contest is limited to a certain number of entries…in the official rules it just states 10,000 entries but on the signup form I used it seemed to indicate 10,000 entries per category…that would mean 50,000!  There are five categories and they include general fiction, mystery/thriller, science fiction/fantasy/horror, romance and young adult fiction.  Of course, my entry will be for the mystery category.  I’m curious which of the categories will receive the most entries first.

I have been preparing my pitch to submit with an excerpt of my book along with the whole manuscript.  You might think the contest is based on the book but in this case, it all starts with the perfect pitch.  The pitch can be no more than 300 words and must relay enough information to pique the judge’s interests because only 400 from each category will be chosen.  If I can get past the first round of judging, I would then move to the second round which involves a review of an excerpt of my book.  This excerpt includes only up to 5,000 words of the book.  The amount of 5,000 words may seem like a lot but it really isn’t.  From the 400 entries for each category, only 100 will be chosen to move on.  That’s a bit scary.  Even if the pitch caught their interest, you really have to hope that the excerpt you send will keep the judges interested enough to move you into the next round. 
As a writer, it can certainly cause some worry if you fear the rule about too much back story in the beginning of the novel.  Whether it comes back to bite me, only time will tell but I will have to stick by my story as I wrote it no matter what happens.  Because this was the first in a series for me, I wrote the book as time progressed for the characters, knowing those who have read the first novel won’t need the back story as they continue to read each book in the series. 

Hopefully, the judges won’t use it against me.
From there the fat is really trimmed as only the top five from each category can move to the semi-finals.  From the top five, only one semi-finalist is chosen for each of the five categories.  So how is the grand finalist out of those five chosen?  By none other than Amazon customers.  Yes, they’ll offer up the manuscripts for people to read and vote on.  The finalists will be wringing their hands as they wait for the final count to be determined.  I can only hope I’ll be one of them.

The grand prize is awesome and the four first-place prizes are pretty good as well, all involving contracts and royalty advances.  Whether I’m knocked out at the beginning, become a finalist and enjoy a free trip and a few smaller prizes or actually make it to the end and wind up with one of five contracts, my plan is to enter the contest and keep an optimistic attitude. 
As I keep my optimistic attitude, all I can do is wait to see what happens.  I made a resolution to get my work out there and seen by publishers.  This is one way to do it.  In the meantime, it is time to get back to writing my second book.

Have a great week!



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