Thursday, April 17, 2014

Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

So, I don't even know if I mentioned that I entered this contest again. This is the...wait, I need to count...1,2,3,4,5...6th time I've entered the ABNA contest. The first time I went to to the semi-finals. After the first year, they changed the way they did things drastically. The 2-4 time I got past the pitch phase. If you make it that far, you received reviews from the first round of reviewers, I think in the 2nd year it was Publisher's Weekly, but since, it's been Amazon Vine reviewers. The 5th year, I didn't make it anywhere.

I was trying to locate the reviews I received, but alas, could not, except for the scathing one I received in year 4. You see, although I was ousted in year 2, both my reviews were good. Year 3, the reviewers like my writing, but not the subject matter (school shooting, graphic violence, meh).

However, year 4...oy. I don't even remember my 2nd review (though I think it was pretty good) because this one blew my mind. If there was every a person that didn't "get" my writing, or the voice, it was this guy. And I only say guy because that's the vibe I got from the review. I will add that the reviewer though I was a teenager,
which I take as a compliment to the voice of my character being spot on, although he didn't get that.  But this is also a sad statement because if I had been a teenager, this person probably would have made me quit writing forever. The following is not constructive criticism. It is an attack and would do no writer any good. I will also add that by the time I entered this contest, I already had my book contract for Never Eighteen.

 Here are a few of my favorite lines from that review.

"Unfortunately you have failed to pay attention in the one class required to be able to write well - English."

Um, really? I think Houghton Mifflin Harcourt would disagree.

"It's a shame that you didn't write anything that hasn't been written hundreds of times already this year."

Yes, because in 2010 I'd seen tons of book out there about girls who wanted to play high school football to gain the attention of their estranged father. O.o

"If this was a school paper, I'd have to give it an 'F'."

Well thank god it wasn't!

"It is way too easy today for people to get published and sincerely hope you do not see that as an option. Frankly this is no where good enough to be called a "book" and you to be called an "author.""

First of all, really? It's too easy to get published today? What alternate reality are you living in? And um, you think I'm like 16 and you're going to say something like that to me. Yeah, way to dash the hopes and dreams of tomorrow's future. I'll think I'll go shave my head, put on some black clothing, read some Plath and cut into my thighs. Sheesh.

In a word, this guy(woman, whatever) was a douche. I've learned to handle bad
reviews and criticism, but I was like, bewildered. *Blink Blink* Did I really just read that?

So anyway, I digress. The point of writing this blog was to tell you that I have made it to the quarter finals of the ABNA contest for the first time since the first year I entered and with the same book I entered that received this scathing review.  Girl in Motion - football book. So, there you have it.


  1. Congratulations! I will definitely read your excerpt. I didn't make it to the Quarterfinals this year (first time I tried) and received equally head-scratching comments. One question: Did you submit the same novel each year, and did you make any changes to your excerpt from year to year? Again, congrats!

  2. I entered a different novel every year but this year. It's the same novel I entered the year I got this horrible review. But I did revise it some since, but not based on these criticisms, lol.


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