Quarter-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition

Back in January, I entered my first unpublished novel, A Useful Life, in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) competition, along with about 5,000 other fiction writers (there is a separate competition for Young Adult manuscripts). I didn’t have high hopes for advancing to the next step because the judging was only on the 300-word pitch, but I did make the cut to 1,000. A few days ago I learned that I made the quarter-finals cut to 250. This was unexpected.

I have queried some agents with this novel. I had revised it and was about to start sending it out again when I entered the contest. I do have some ambivalence about the contest route versus the traditional agent-seeking route, which I’ll blog about at some later date. In the meantime, reviewers from Publishers Weekly are reading the entire manuscript and will decide whether it goes on to the semi-finalist round.

Update: 4/26/11

My novel did not make it to the semi-final round. I did get very positive reviews from the Amazon reviewers and the Publisher’s Weekly Reviewer. In the meantime, I’ve been rearranging and editing again, and I think it’s stronger now. I’ll begin querying agents once again soon. Thanks to everyone who reviewed my excerpt while it was posted on the Amazon website.

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