Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who made the Quarter-Finalist Cut?

If you read my initial post in January about my decision to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, you already know that this contest goes through various rounds.  The first round, I was judged on what I hoped was the perfect pitch for No Mother of Mine.   After waiting a month to learn the results, I was ecstatic to learn my pitch had earned me a spot in the second round as one of the top 400 entries in the Mystery/Thriller genre.  
This next round I waited with bated breath as the excerpt of my book was reviewed and rated by the judges.   Oh, how I waited…

It was this round when I feared I might not make the cut.  My book starts out strong, with my prologue working as a great hook, but because I am writing a series, the beginning of this first book also spends time molding the story and the characters.    
So I waited and I did my best not to think about it but I was truly hopeful I would make the cut.

After I arrived home yesterday, an e-mail was waiting for me to inform me that the chosen entries moving on had been announced.  I opened the e-mail, clicked on the link provided and I downloaded the list of the top 100 in the mystery/thriller genre now moving to the Quarter-Finals of the contest.  To make the top 100 in my category when the contest allowed up to 10,000 to enter, how much of a thrill would that be?
It was not long before I found out. 

Scanning the now much shorter list than the one I scanned last month, I was able to quickly find my name and the name of my book as one of the top 100 now moving to the Quarter-Finals.  I’m a Quarter-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest!
If you’ve entered a contest of this sort or of this scale, you know how I feel.  It is an amazing feeling, a great accomplishment and a terrific validation for my work.  Whether I move on from here or not, the title of Quarter-Finalist is a great title to have.  On top of that, the excerpt of my book was reviewed by expert reviewers and the reviews were very good overall and also offered helpful critique.  

Here’s a sample of the reviews I received: 
The writer knows how to unfold a story…I am following the story and delighting as the writer carries the story seamlessly from strength to strength, and if the writer succeeds in delivering the early promises, the reader will be rewarded.  Good work.” 

The sequencing of the story, along with the character arc for Jorja are both written well.  I think the story’s set-up is well done, and that the author is doing a terrific job exploring Jorja’s character.
So what’s next? 

Now, Publishers Weekly will read, review and rate our complete manuscripts based on certain criteria.  From the top 100 Quarter-Finalists in each category, the ratings offered by the judges will decide who will make it as the top 5 in each category.  Top 5 out of 100…that’s a huge cut.  Yikes!
Either way, it will be great to receive a review from Publishers Weekly.  As a new author, any professional critique I receive will be humbly acknowledged and put to use to the best of my ability. 

It’ll be another month before we receive the results of who made it into the Semi-Finals.  Good or bad, I’ll be receiving the news the day before my birthday.  *Sigh*  I’ll do my best not to let the news determine how well I receive my birthday.
If you want to check out the excerpt of No Mother of Mine the judges reviewed for the contest, you can find it here.  You can read it (download it for free), rate it and review it if you’d like.  It won’t be my book cover you’ll see, instead it will be the Amazon contest cover for the mystery/thriller genre but if you click on it, you can download the excerpt of my book. 

I’ve gone on long enough but it just goes to show, I’m excited about sharing the news.  If you want to help me spread the word, please tell your friends and family to check out my contest entry.  Any ratings or reviews I receive will be very helpful and appreciated.



  1. YAY! :D Congrats PJ! That's so awesome and beyond impressive!!! Extremely proud of you and your accomplishments. I can imagine how surreal this must be from taking an idea that you've had in your head, bring your characters to life, setting them free and finally receiving news that you're a quarter finalist in one of Amazon's contests PLUS getting professional feedback from expert reviewers! Just thinking about how excited I would be must be multiplied by 10x or more for you! :D Congrats once again and I cannot begin to say enough how proud I am of you :)

  2. Thank you! Yes, very excited...more than I can probably put into words (if you can believe that)!