I found out about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest three days before the submission deadline. At that point, I picked up my completed novel, that still needed some typos weeded out. I spent one day editing the hell out of it, making sure I got every last typo out of it that I could (and generally enjoying reading it again). Then, I spent one day killing myself over the pitch. When I finally submitted, I still hated my pitch, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and I was making myself sick. So I just had to go with it like that.
At that point, I figured there were two paths for my novel in this contest. Either my sucky pitch would knock me out when they cut down to 2000, or I’d make the quarterfinals. My excerpt was solid. I know I have a great beginning to my book. So the only question for me was whether or not they’d let the absolute wretchedness of my pitch through. And, thankfully, they didn’t. Not that I didn’t want to be a quarterfinalist. Hell, I wanted to win the damn thing. But, I knew my pitch was crap. And if I’d gotten through with it, I’m not sure I could have respected the judges in any way. I deserved to be eliminated for the swill I submitted as my pitch.
Also, I’ve been antsy lately. Submitting to a contest was good. And it got me thinking about stuff like queries and what the next step is for me as an author. Yes, my goal for this year is to finish up five projects. But why should The Mansion sit around waiting for a year while I finish up other things? I can spend a week now putting together a solid query and sending it to my agent of choice. Then, while it’s off doing its thing in an inbox, I’ll be able to concentrate on the other projects in my queue without feeling like I’m holding myself back. And really, that’s what I’ve been doing. I tell myself that I need to just edit it one more time. Or I need to finish the next one in the series. Or maybe I need to finish the whole series. Or maybe I should finish up editting one of my stand-alones, since a publisher is more likely to want one book than five. But in the end, it’s all just excuses. Excuses to keep from sending out this book that has been such a huge part of my life for the last 5 years. By sending it out, I’m opening myself up to things I’m not sure I would’ve been ready to hear before now.
I almost feel like being eliminated when I was in ABNA did something weird inside me. My pitch sucked (it was really bad, seriously). I knew it sucked. I knew my excerpt was good. And even though I didn’t make it far enough to see if people agree with me on the excerpt part, the fact that they agree with me on my pitch, makes me feel a little more confident in my ability to decide if what I’m writing is good or not. And no matter how many times I read The Mansion, or watch the videos that Blessed made for me, I always love it. I think I was also afraid of what rejection would feel like. But really, it wasn’t so bad. I was disappointed for like, two seconds, and then started thinking about where to go from there. So, thank you, ABNA people, for eliminating me. Because I really really feel great about it this morning.
And now I have a query to put together.