Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ABNA part 2: Bottom of the Literary Food Chain?

I guess what sparked my wanting to write about ABNA this week, was not only the fact that the first cuts are Thursday, but a Publishers Weekly article that I was interviewed for also came out this week.

In this article, the author, Doree Shafrir reminds us of another article in which the contestants were described as "writers at the bottom of the literary food chain". Without question, this comment pretty much offended everyone who has ever entered the contest.

Is that what we are? Tiny crustaceans being eaten alive by the publishing world? Maybe. But those at the bottom of the food chain don't have the ability to work their way out of their predicament. We do.

Take ABNA I for instance. Out of the top ten finalists, five were published. ABNA II all three finalists are being published. And wouldn't it be lovely this year if all six finalists find themselves with book deals?

Plus, four others from ABNA 2009 are being published through Amazon Encore.

The first ABNA I made the top 100. It was my first book. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it. I got tons of good reviews, including my publisher's weekly reviews. This gave me the confidence to keep going. To write more. I wanted to put myself out there. I started making writing videos, doing book reviews, revising the things I've written. It made me plunge headfirst into this crazy writing industry.

Just because we're entering the contest does not automatically mean we are bad writers. Some of us may be, that much is true. But others have been ignored, passed over, and rejected not because we can't write, but because literary agents are swamped. Because they don't have time to read our work. Because most the time we are judged by a one page query. Which is too bad, because so many wonderful books will never be published, same as horrible books by well known authors will hit our shelves.

But bottom feeders? I think not. Take a look.

Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan
Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
Butterflies of the Grand Canyon by Margaret Erhart
Casting Off by Nicole Dickson
Fresh Kills By Bill Loehfelm
Bill Warrington's Last Chance by James King
Greyhound By Steffan Piper
A Cruel Harvest by Paul Reid
Crossing By Andrew Fukuda
Pages from a Tennessee Journal by Francis Thomas Howard
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