Wednesday 15 June 2011
ABNA in retrospect
So now that the winners have been announced, was it worth entering? Definitely. The odds of winning are low, after all there are 5,000 entries in each category. But there is a certain amount of buzz when you get past each level. I made it into the quarter final stage, which is roughly the top 5%. Before I entered I was a mass of neuroses about my work, so to actually get through to that point gave me a more confidence in my work. The reviews from the Vine reviewers were helpful, and I even got some constructive criticism from Publishers Weekly. I may not have won, but I got some confidence and my manuscript will be in better shape as it goes off on query.
I also met a lot of nice people on the ABNA forums, and discovered a lot about building a platform, self-publishing, and how to write queries. I started my blog here, after seeing how many entrants had their own already.
The negative parts of the competition? ABNA is an international competition, and some of my criticisms in my reviews said that I had many spelling 'errors' when in fact I was just using British spelling conventions. If we have to use North American spelling conventions, we should be told at the start.
Another issue, though not in the control of Amazon, is that when you cull so many entries in each round you're going to have some very disappointed people. 8,000 entries are cut in the first round, 1,500 in the second, 400 in the third. A lot of disappointed people started criticising other entries, and saying the contest was unfair. This took some of the good away for those who had gotten through. Fortunately, these people were a minority.
All in all, I'm happy with my ABNA experience. I'd definitely recommend it to any aspiring novelist.