The announcement of the books that had reached the second round of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest came out on March 18. As mentioned elsewhere, I submitted a story into the contest this year, so I checked the ABNA site with not a little trepidation.
The contest accepts 10,000 submissions. From that starting point, 8,000 are cut in the first paring. Each of the five categories are then left with 400 titles in the second round. Being one of the one-fifth titles that are left is an accomplishment in and of itself.
At this stage in the contest, the titles are arranged in a simple list in alpha order, by the author’s first name. I clicked the romance button and the list came up in PDF format. Four hundred names is still a lot of names, so the list went on for pages. And pages. And pages. Sixteen to be exact.
My last name begins with “C” so I’m used to being toward the beginning of lists. However, “L” is not only near the middle of the alphabet, but more first names begin with letters in the first half of the alphabet than last names do. I scrolled down the list and as the pages rolled by my nerves increased. Self-doubt took root with the help of my hyper critical internal editor. Obviously, I hadn’t made the cut.
“You’re only at H,” my creative muse reminded me. “All is not yet lost.”
Okay, so I’m brewing a historical project at the moment and the creative muse is a bit grandiose. Still, she was right. I was only at H. A few letters left to go before I got to L. I breezed past the names beginning with “I” then on to J and K, both letters with a substantial number of names. Finally I reached the Ls. I paged through the letter, my heart beating hard. There, on page ten, almost halfway down the page, I found my name.
I’d made it to the second round.
I stared stupidly at the listing for thirty seconds or a minute until it finally registered. I’d done it. I’d survived the first cut. Excitement flooded me and I’ve been bouncing off the walls ever since.
I don’t know if my story will progress any further. I hope it will, but for now I am going to celebrate this success.
Bravo to all the authors with the courage to make a submission to this year’s contest and congratulations to those who have advanced to the second round. Good luck going forward!