The last time I entered this competition, it was the first time this thing was held. The event was disorganized, had some issues and left a lot of writers feeling frustrated. I was one of those writers who walked away early from that competition with hurt feelings. Despite that experience, some friends of mine and people whose opinions I respect a great deal insisted that I try again.
This time out I did actually have a lot more material to pick from, considering that I’ve written over eight books since the last time I entered this competition. In the ends, I went with a go big or go home attitude when it came to submitting something into this hear’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. The novel I submitted was the romance novel I wrote a few years back, my first one titled ‘Completing the List’.
I was still married when I started to write this novel. The reason why I chose to write a romance novel was because of the lady who is in the process of becoming my ex-wife. Prior to this book, all I wrote were adventure/suspense thrillers. I liked the action and I had some great ideas and went with them. A lot of those books got some great feedback but had failed to land a major publisher. My wife at the time, Leah, reufsed to read my books because she didn’t like the genre. She wasn’t lying and never took offence to this because I was well aware of her reading preferences. She read a lot of Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts and all the mush stuff. Leah was into the chic lit.
The fact that she didn’t want to read my novels disappointed me a little, but rather than ask her to read a genre she really didn’t like… I decided to instead show her what I could do by writing a novel that was in her reading preference. I thought if I wrote a chic lit, then she’d be eager to read this new work and finally be able to see what kind of novelest I was. So for that year’s Nano, I was going to write my first romance novel.
The end result was ‘Completing The List’, which in the end turned out to have 30 chapters and clear over 250 pages. I was actually very, very happy with how the novel turned out. I wanted to tell a mushy story, but at the same time I did my abosolute best not to fall into the eye rolling cliches that most people are frankly tired of. Another first for me was the main character, which was a woman. Up to that point, I have never written a novel where the main character was a woman and the entire story was hers. It was a challenge, but based on the feedback I received from the people who’ve read it so far… I seemed to pull it off rather well.
The one person who I wanted to give this book to, the whole reason why I wrote this book, refused to read a single page. To say my feelings were hurt would be a complete understatment. With her biggest excuse tossed aside, the truth was finally clear to see: Leah just didn’t want to read any of my novels. Several months later after that Leah and I separated as I walked out on an eleven year marriage. This book wasn’t the reason why I left, but I can assure you it didn’t help.
Up until now, only a handful of friends and a few potential agents have read portions of this novel. Only three people I trust a great deal have read the manuscript in its entirety, and the feedback from the has been amazing… especially consider that they were all women, the people who I would want to read this book in the first place. One of my friends also did a huge favor and painstakingly combed through the book for errors and for major point flaws. Having a lady actually comb through my book and ‘authenticate’ my character’s attitude and approach to the book was a nice finishing touch. The book is a lot better thanks to her efforts, which I have greatly apprecaited.
Now back to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I submitted ‘Completing The List’ three days after the submission period opened. I learned from previous experience that the sooner you submit your novel the better off you are. The way the contest works is the first 10,000 entrants are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Then after the submission period is over they look at the pitches for each novel and narrow the field from 10,000 to 2000 entrants for round two.
This morning, Amazon released the list of the 2000 novels that have moved on to the second round.
My novel, ‘Completing The List’ is on that list. My book has broken through to the second round.
To say that I am pleased to make it further than my previous submission is an understatement. When I scanned the list and realized that my book has made the cut, I was overjoyed. 8000 novels were given the heave ho today, and mine was not one of them. Now I move on to the next round of eliminations, which takes place on the 12th of March. That day Amazon will narrow the field from 2000 to 500. I’m a little nervous but still in a mood to celebrate. Even if my book doesn’t go any further from here I can be happy that I did better this time around.
Now we’ll have to wait and see how far we’ll go down this rabbit hole…