If you don't already know, I'm a firm believer in entering writing contests. For writers who are just starting out, top contest finishes provide a good alternative to publishing credits. That's not to say I enter every contest I hear about, but there are some that I think are more valuable than others.
One of the contests I've participated in since its inception is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA). It's an annual contest that provides budding writers a chance to showcase their talent and build an audience. With judges familiar to the industry, the contest can also be a way to get noticed by agents and editors and maybe even publishers. Many a career has been launched thanks to this contest. Not to mention, there's no entry fee so the only investment writers make is one of time.
As much as I love and appreciate ABNA, I've been giving serious thought to not entering this year. Earlier in the year, I made the decision to take a different approach to my work. Rather than writing with the goal of mainstream publication, I'm going to write what makes me and my fans happy. Sure, this approach won't make me wealthy or well known, but it will make writing more of a passion and less of a job.
Along with this, I decided I wasn't going to enter anymore writing contests, especially those that come with an entry free. Two months ago, that was an easy decision to make. Last week, I got the email from the ABNA administrators announcing the 2014 contest and providing me with all the details I'd need to enter. My finger hovered over the delete button, but I just couldn't do it. Instead, I opened the email and found myself thinking that maybe I should give it a shot.
I have a couple of manuscripts ready for submission. All I have to do now is make that final decision as to whether I throw my hat in the ring or not. If I do enter, I'm not going to spend my days obsessing over the results as I have in the past. I'm just going to upload my entry and let the chips fall where they may. If I enter that is.
One part of me says that I should stick to my guns and just learn to let go. The other part says I have nothing really to lose and there's always that chance that I could have a lot to gain. I still haven't made up my mind yet. When I do, you can rest assured, I'll let you know. Until then, the great debate rages on.