This, at least for me, is a big part of the contest. It's a chance to talk to other writers, to help each other, commiserate, and celebrate each other's successes.
The first ABNA started in October. I saw the forum that Amazon put in place for its contestants and said, "huh." Yep, that's pretty much it. I was not savvy where online forums were concerned, I had only participated in one other before, on a writing sight, and this was a whole 'nother ball of wax altogether.
I started lurking. There were definitely charismatic persona's one was drawn to. You found yourself following them from thread to thread, laughing your ass off by yourself in your computer room. I lurked until January, then I just jumped right in and acted as if I'd always been there.
The thing about the ABNA forum, is you can find just about anything there. There are 1,023 threads. There are threads about writing, of course, threads about books, threads about agents and publishers. But there are also the silly threads. These seem to be the ones that I'm drawn to. I get enough serious in real life. I tend to trust very few when it comes to advice on writing. So, I go there to goof off.
I'm a step ahead of myself, as that last statement isn't entirely true. The first year, I used the forum also as a way to promote myself and my entry. You see, back then, we thought our customer reviews counted for something (which they didn't unless you made the top ten).
So, I would trade reviews with people. I traded reviews with other YA writers, with others from the Pacific Northwest. I did as many reviews as I could that year, I think it was about 66 total. In return I received 94, which was always in the top ten of review totals. I thought I was a shoe in for the finals. But whatever.
So back to the forum. It's been, especially that first year, like a second home for me. I met some really wonderful people, got loads of useful information about writing and the publishing industry, and had a lot of laughs.
Some of my favorite threads (you on the forum will know what I'm talking about):
The Stupid Question thread
Will somebosy tell me what thisis about
The lovely girl thread
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