Not too long ago, I shared with you my failure to make the quarter final round of this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. If you recall, the key to advancing in the contest hinged on my ability to convince the judges in three hundred words or less that my novel was worth a look. They weren’t even going to look at it if I couldn’t summarize the entire novel and demonstrate that I understood my target audience in this paltry word count. Given that I’ve bemoaned this in prior posts, I think it’s best if we move on.
The point of this stroll down a not so fond memory lane is simply to remind you that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t make the quarter finals, and it left me pondering whether that failure was a sign of things to come. I contemplated the notion that my inability to advance in the competition could perhaps be a sign of things to come. Of course, these weren’t good things. Instead, it was the worst case scenario of never breaking the glass plane and achieving mainstream success. Ultimately, I decided I was happier taking control of my own destiny and not putting stock in supposed signs. Now I find myself asking if that can work in the reverse. Let me explain.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I recently revved up my social networking skills and became an active member of Wattpad. For those of you who don’t recall, it’s an on line writers web site that’s been called “the You Tube of ebooks”. There, I’ve shared my latest novel, which wasn’t the same novel I entered in the Amazon contest, and I’ve found a measure of success. I’ve garnered a number of positive reviews as well as the fans to go along with it. Wattpad often hosts contests for their members, both writers and readers. I happened to be trolling the site one day when I discovered one such contest. It was a young adult novel contest consisting of three rounds. In round one, writers are invited to post at least the first thirty pages of their YA novel by March 30, 2011. Those who earned the most votes were then reviewed by staff and would be invited to post the next thirty pages by the end of April. Those who do well in that round are then asked to post the remainder of their novel by the end of May with the winner to be announced in June. The prize is five hundred dollars. The sum didn’t interest me as much as the exposure. Some of the top literary agents in the business are participating as judges, which means if I do well enough, my work is in their hands. That sets my pipe dreams in motion. Maybe one of them will love my work and the reviews it’s getting and contact me and offer to represent me. If viral videos can allow the unknown artist to be discovered in the music business, why can’t this contest allow the same thing for an undiscovered author?
With that in mind, I entered the contest and set about advertising my novel. I wanted to show the judges that it could be marketable and successful. Either I accomplished that or they liked my work or both because I’ve advanced to round two. On hearing the news, I was overjoyed. I still am, but it left me asking that same question with a twist.
Is this a sign of things to come? If I accept that it is, does that mean I accept that bad signs exist as well? Am I allowed to pick and choose the signs I heed, or must I either accept or dismiss them in their entirety? Having given this much thought, I’ve decided I’m much happier with the notion that success is mine to make. I want to believe when I succeed or fail it’s based on tangible factors and not the mystical notion of signs. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if advancing in this latest competition was a sign of many good things to come?