Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Contest Pitch Results

If you read my post from last month, you know I entered my book, No Mother of Mine, in a yearly contest held by Amazon.  The contest goes through several tiers in the elimination process and your work is judged on several levels, starting with a pitch, then moving on to the first 5,000 words of your book and finally, your book as a whole if you make it that far.
The pitch was the first level of judging and it was very difficult to come up with something I hoped would please the judges so that they would advance my work into the second round.  You can only rework and reword something so much before your eyes begin to cross and you constantly question any changes you make.  Eventually, you just have to enter what you feel is the best and then all you can do is hope for the best. 

Actually deciding on which draft is the best out of each rewrite is easier said than done.  Especially since it is the selected pitches which will land you in the top 400 chosen out of 10,000 in your genre category. 
So how did I do?

I finally received an e-mail the other day informing me that the second round selections had been announced.  I was instructed to visit the website, download the list from my genre category and then look for my author name and title.
I hopped right on the website, found the mystery/thriller category and clicked on the link to download the list. 

I first scrolled down to the H’s, believing the author names would be categorized by last name but I soon discovered authors were instead in alphabetical order by their first names.
So I scrolled further down to the P’s…

I looked for my author name, P.J. Howell…
And discovered I wasn’t on the list.

Oh, I won’t deny it.  I was crushed.  I was so hoping to get much further than the first round.
Just then, my husband walked into my office and he immediately saw the expression on my face.  He asked me what was up.  At first, I didn’t want to say anything.  I thought I’d wallow in my own self pity for a bit but I knew I had to tell him eventually. 

I told him I hadn’t made the cut.
As I was showing him the list to prove my name and book were not on the list, I was scrolling down through the P’s…

Suddenly another name caught my eye…


And yes, under author name was Paula Howell with the book title, No Mother of Mine.
I made the cut!  

So you might be wondering…does it take a judge or two in a contest to make me believe my work is worthwhile? 

But as a writer, you have to be brave and get your work out there.  You have to make it available to others.  You also need to experience feedback from others in the big bad book world of publishing.  And hopefully, there comes a day when you make your work available to the right people so that eventually, you hit the rewarding domino effect the right distribution can get you.
I won’t deny it.  I am very delighted I made the first cut and am now in the second round of judging.  I’m proud of the fact that all the work I put into my pitch landed me into the top 400 out of 10,000 in my genre category.  But this is a tough contest and I’m certain I’m up against very stiff competition.  Whatever happens, happens, but I’m thrilled to enjoy the ride a bit longer. 

The next round of selected entries will be announced next month so I will share the news when I receive it, good or bad.  I will try my best not to expect too much…but it won’t be easy.



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