Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award ABNA

Timing is so important, some people have said, “Timing is everything.”

I’d no sooner finished my interview with Mary Metcalfe concerning the new genre of Antediluvian Steampunk and Amazon announced the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA). My writing and this contest have a history together which began in 2007:

After experiencing the sting of new-writer rejection from TOR, I surfed across an announcement for the first ABNA. Submissions were open to the first 5000 authors starting on that very day, October 1, 2007. Believing my writing was publisher ready, I submitted my manuscript, which eventually placed in the top 836 semi-finalists, but was eliminated when the field was cut to 100 in February 2008. The grand prize winner was Bill Loehfelm with his murder mystery/thriller, FRESH KILLS.

Metaphorically hanging my head in sorrow, I slipped back into my writer’s cave. Adapting to the critiques I’d received during the 2008 contest, I eventually crossed the threshold of repeat contender, and entered ABNA 2009.

I discovered that many other budding authors returned with their improved manuscripts. While mine made it to the top 250, it was eliminated when the cut to 50 was made. The grand prize winner was James King with his road trip novel, BILL WARRINGTON’S LAST CHANCE.

Somewhat encouraged I’d placed higher than the previous year, I survived. Along the way I acquired friends and allies to help me hone my craft until I returned in 2010 to discover the field was expanded to 10,000 entrants. I had to chose either Young Adult (YA) Fiction or General Fiction for my manuscript. Still uncertain how to classify my Antediluvian Steampunk novel, I chose YA. We made it to the top 50, but elimination came with the cut to the final six. Amy Ackley won the grand prize for the YA Fiction category with her SIGN LANGUAGE and Patricia McArdle’s FARISHTA won the General Fiction category.

After that, life got really busy for me. I didn’t participate in the 2011 or the 2012 contests. My writing eventually produced THE DRAGONEERS, published by Narrow Way Press. Though published on a shoe-string budget, it sold well over 17,000 copies in 2012. That same year, I wrote the sequel: THE LOST DRAGONEER.

My recent interview with Mary Metcalfe explained how I intended to have the novel in circulation in time for a Christmas read. With the novel in the final stages of editing, I heard of Amazon’s ABNA 2013 having a $50,000 advance as part of the grand prize.

Over on the sequel’s Facebook fan page, (you’re invited to go there and LIKE the page) we floated the idea of postponing the Christmas 2012 publishing and entering THE LOST DRAGONEERS into ABNA 2013. Thankfully, all comments were positive and encouraging.

More important than the $50,000 advance is the prospect of getting the support infrastructure of  Amazon Publishing behind the novel. Narrow Way Press has limited resources, the advantage is clear.

A few questions remain:

1. Does THE LOST DRAGONEER honestly have a chance to win?

The story and writing of this series has vastly improved since the early years. THE DRAGONEERS evolved into a clearly superior product when compared to the manuscript entered during previous ABNAs–nearly 18,000 copies are in circulation and for the first 279 days of 2012–it was a #1 top-rated book. Today, all of our trusted proof-readers and editors agree, THE LOST DRAGONEERS is superior to the first book. Ultimately the answer depends on the opinions of the judges, however if I have ever written a book which can win ABNA–this one is it.

2. What if THE LOST DRAGONEERS don’t win?

Then we’ll collect our lessons learned, adapt and overcome. Most probably, Narrow Way Press will publish the book shortly after elimination. Being Executive Editor has its privileges.

3. What will become of Narrow Way Press if you win and Amazon Publishing becomes the primary publisher for the remainder of THE CHRONICLES OF SUSAH series?

The bittersweet of a the victory will change the focus of Narrow Way Press, everything to this date has been gearing up for the production, marketing, and distribution of the eleven Sutherland novels. The company could continue to operate using a genre expansion plan and a proposed children books line.

If THE LOST DRAGONEER is published by Amazon Publishing, common logic suggests it will be able to climb upward more rapidly than it would via NWP. With the expected success, it is logical to assume Amazon Publishing will want to negotiate and win the continuing books of the series. It is also logic to come to acceptable terms for that to happen. NWP will not be destroyed, but it will have to change focus toward alternative projects.

What do you think? Will ABNA 2013 be the event where I return with elixir, or one where I get sent back to the dragon writer’s cave?

Only time will tell. I’ll keep you posted here and over in the book’s Facebook Fan Page and on my Amazon Author’s Page.

Taking this chance is the logical course as . . .

It just makes sense.  

2 Responses to “Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award ABNA”

  1. A very interesting and exciting story but it ends off in a very unsatisfying way. Wanted to buy the next book but there is no next book 🙁

    * Updated my review from 4 to 5 stars seeing as the next book is now available. Yay!!

  2. gemsdb says:

    This book really grabs you from the start. The setting is biblical pre flood. Mr Sutherland takes you on an unforgettable journey through a fantastic land filled with dragons, giants and Noah’s family. There is good and definitely evil. The rough characters are so vividly described that you will be amazed that there is no foul language. The battle sequences are incredible with air to ground combat highlighting military tactical and strategic attention to detail. The only thing I found disappointing was the last page. I was not ready for the story to be over. Guess we will have to wait for book 2…..

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