Monday, January 23, 2012

If at First...

You all know the old adage. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There’s been a lot of debate as to where the quote actually originated from, but the message is clear. Never give up.

As an aspiring writer, this is a phrase I’ve been uttering since trying to secure an agent for the last seven years. It’s a message I’ve taken to heart again and again along with several other time honored clichés meant to encourage people not to let go of their dreams. Today, I’m taking that message literally.

Today, marks the opening of the submission period for the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. If you’ve been following my blog since last year then you’re familiar with this contest. It’s one I’ve entered every year since its inception in the hope of winning a publishing contract, which is part of the grand prize package.

For those of you who don’t know, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards is an annual contest. Each year, two winners are chosen, one in the general fiction category and one in the young adult category. Round one is the submission round, which began today. The first five thousand entrants in each category are accepted provided they meet all other submission requirements. From there, the top two thousand are chosen to move to round two. The next round is the quarter finals in which the top five hundred entrants are chosen to move on. After that comes the selection of the top one hundred for the semi finals. Six finalists are then chosen before the winner in each category is chosen.

Last year I didn’t even make it past the first round. I have a theory as to why, and that’s a topic for another time. The first round is based on a three hundred word pitch in which authors are charged with the Herculean task of hooking potential readers, outlining the entire novel, showing character and plot development and demonstrating an understanding of the target audience. That’s a tall order for three hundred words considering I’ve put that kind of detail into my ten plus page marketing plans. Despite the challenge this task presents, despite what I know is a controversial plot line and despite my past shortcomings (it’s a nice euphemism for failures), I’m try, trying again.

You see, it’s not in me to give up. Being a professional writer has been my dream since I first understood what it meant to have dreams. Entering these sorts of contests is one means in which I can achieve that dream. At least it is until or unless I manage to secure a literary agent who then lands a book deal for me.

So, if at first I don’t succeed, I’ll keep trying until I do because I have to believe I will.

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