Friday, February 25, 2011

Words for Strangeness

I feel... erm... rubbery? Squiggly? Altogether not quite normal... but before I get to THAT, I should tell you THIS:

Denise Verrico (remember, the kinky Vampire romance writer?) is hosting me today where I'm talking about keeping it FUN. Surely I will be more coherent THERE than here (as I wrote it earlier), so I'd love it if you wanted to check that out, too!

As for here... why so strange?

ABNA (the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, for the unititiated)

They posted the lists of those passing to the next round yesterday afternoon. It was a manic day, hard to work... checking the page frequently, camaraderie among participants as we fretted and panicked... then, about one o'clock, the list went up.
 If you have friends in the contest, you can check for them here. Without even looking, though, I can tell you there is some FABULOUS news on there... several of our bloggie friends have made it. Last year I knew maybe 3 or 4 people who made the cut. This time I'm sure I know two dozen, and it isn't that I've spent that much more time on the boards... though it IS maybe, that I've nurtured a number of friendships over the last year of people I've come to learn are ABNA people.

What IS an ABNA person? Well, those of us with FOMS aside... they are a mix, but I think a great many of them are people who tried it once, before they were probably READY to have book luck with an agent, but they fell in love with the contest (or rather contestants) and so keep coming back, even though their writing has progressed and they are perfectly suited to go more traditionally... Some of them are a bit shy about the agent rejection thing, so in spite of doing well in the contest, they don't promote themselves as well... it's not in their nature. Whatever the case, it is a FUN group, a kind group, and they were 99.9% superstars yesterday, win or lose, in the sportsmanship department.

I know what it feels like to lose at round one. That's what I did last year. I loved my book (I still love that book) but I now know even if I'd had a coherent pitch, which I really didn't) the excerpt wasn't ready EITHER... it starts too early in the story. But even LOSING was informative. Last year I learned the benefit of extensive feedback on the pitch... and I learned something else.... for a mass market contest like this, you need to have a coherent, easy to present, catchy idea that can be presented quickly. It's why I was set on Kahlotus Disposal Site, even though it hadn't had an edit before January (and so in spite of 2 edits before entering, still isn't quite cooked).

And because I know what it feels like to NOT make it, part of me feels really BAD about making it... I feel sad for friends who didn't.

That said, when I opened the Young Adult List... I looked for ME first, of course (I'd hardly be normal if I didn't)--and there I was... I looked for
Michael (because I'd read his excerpt and wished him well)--THERE. I looked for Erica because she is a blogger buddy... THERE... I looked for
Tracy because she is one of my ABNA friends from last year... THERE... my percentage of first names I looked for was 4 for 4! Cruising that end of the alphabet, I saw
Roland (I hadn't even known he was entered because I can be clueless that way). In adult... Barbara is in! Donna is in!

Any new blog buddies or friends I didn't know to look for, if you're IN, give a SHOUT! Because right now we are pulling out the RUM, we are starting the Jamaican Steele drums, and we are going to LIMBO and PARTAY!!!

And congratulations to my friends who made it, and while I'm sad for those who didn't, maybe learn what I think I did... this is a FABULOUS contest, but it isn't suited for all genres, and certainly not for deep nuances or complexities of description—I ENCOURAGE people to enter, but maybe choose the work to enter with that in mind.

And to anyone who DIDN'T make it... don't get discouraged... another year, a polished pitch, another judge... we keep improving and learning, and  everyone will get their turn if they don't give up.


Dan said...

Congrats on making it through! That's got to feel really good. Didn't make it myself, but it was my first time and it was probably a long shot anyway.

Good luck! I'll be following your progress.


Melissa said...

Congrats on making it through girl!!!! ANd to all those you know as well for making it. I wish you luck!

Jan Morrison said...

Calloo Callay oh frabjous day!
This is so heavenly - I'm proud of you girl! Pleased to know ya! I don't know the others of which you speak but I'm pleased for them too if you are BUT mostly I'm doing my very special naked happy dance for you!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations! That's fantastic, Hart! Fingers crossed as you move ahead with it. :)

CherylAnne Ham said...

Yay! That is so awesome. Congrats & good luck.

Anonymous said...

you are so deserving of this, Tart - you, the nurturer, the second-time go-for-it-girl. I DID learn a lot from my entry (boo-hoo, didn't make it, but by the time I had rewritten my pitch several times, I now know why). I agree with your attitude to the contest --but it's the people/contestants that make it special-- you are right. Shall be watching for you in March! go-go-go

Mary Vaughn said...

CONGRATULATIONS! It was thrilling to see the names of people we converse with almost daily.
Best of luck to you and te others in the next round.

Hart Johnson said...

Dan-sorry you didn't make it this round. I know it's sad--hopefully you learned and had fun!

Melissa-Thank you!

Jan-YAY for the naked dance! Those ALWAY help! *hugs*

Elizabeth-THANK YOU!

CherylAnne-Thank you and Welcome! (you're a new face, yes?)

Marian-I'm so sorry! I'm glad though, you feel like you can spot what the problems with the pitch were and that you enjoyed it!

Hart Johnson said...

Thank so much, Mary! It IS fun to be among friends! Each time someone is missing I'm sad, but SO MANY people I enjoy are still in!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

yay!! COngrats to all of you! I'm cheering you on! (naked)

VR Barkowski said...

Congrats to you, Tarty, and the others who made it to round two. I was thrilled to see so many familiar names on the list. Best of luck to all!

Old Kitty said...

Watery Tart!!! It's time to get NAKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Naked Domination IS here in a bookshop NEAR YOU! YAYYAYAYAYAYYAY



Take care

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Congrats and good luck.

Chary Johnson said...

Congrats Hart!!!!!!!

*pops champagne and flings a pink, sparkly boa to Hart*

Congrats to all the entrants, win or lose, at least you submitted a completed project. Can't say the same for myself but I plan to enter next year.

*crosses fingers for next round*

Angela Scott said...

It's been so fun to see crusaders on the ABNA list. I look and go, "Wait I know that guy/gal!" (Well, in the blogging sense.

Last year I didn't make it through either and like you, I still love that book. Always will. But this year, different book, I made it to the next round. Yippee. So I'm here to party and clink virtual glasses with you :)

Nicki Elson said...

Hey, I read that you passed round one on erica and christy's blog so just popped over to say CONGRATULATIONS! I love that you shared your story about not making it last year---every experience is there to teach us something, and you obviously learned from that one. :)

I admire the camaraderie I see among the ABNA group I've met here on Blogger and will be rooting you all on! Where my limbo stick...

Deb and Barbara said...

Because I knew you entered, Hart, you were the first other person I looked up (as you know) and was so thrilled to see your name there. It's always more fun with your playmates on board. I am thrilled that so many buddies got in, but always sad it's not the whole gang. See you there, baby!
xo B

Kari Marie said...

Congratulations on making it through! How exciting. What's next?

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you everyone!

Chary-Good for you to commit to next year!!! I'm excited to hear that!

Angela-congrats to you! *clinks glass*

Nicki-thank you! and I know that 'learning' isn't always adequate--there are people in there with great pitches who didn't make it, so there is an element of luck on the reviewer you get, but there are also a ton of things that increase or decrease odds. Wahoo, for a taker on the limbo!

Hart Johnson said...

Barbara-so happy for you! It IS more fun with playmates to share it with, eh?

Kari-the next round is judged on the 'excerpt' which is the novel's first 3000-5000 words (for me that was 4 chapters and 4000 words) and we hear March 22. Thank you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

And you made it as well - get excited, Hart!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Congratulations to you and your friends!

Simon C. Larter said...

Awesomesauce. *fistbump*

That's all I got today. :)

Talli Roland said...

Wooooo! Naked domination - maybe time to start writing that Naked Lit now? :)

Theresa Milstein made it through, too! Not sure if you follow her blog... congrats to everyone!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hart, you made it to the next round? Awesome!

Julie Musil said...

Yay for making the cut! That's so awesome. Sort of reminds me of American Idol :D

Good luck to you and our other bloggy friends as you all go through the next round. Fingers crossed!

Holly Ruggiero said...

CONGRATS! That’s awesome news. How exciting that so many fellow bloggers made the list too - I know a lot of them as well. Party is right.


Cutest group hug EVER!

gideon 86 said...


I left my party for just a sec to come over and officially congratulate you! TO all of our friends who entered .... we are all winners for the mere fact we tried.....

Now I must get back to my guests..... I'm glad you made it over Hart.


Ciara said...

Woot! Major congrats, Hart!!!!

Cheeseboy said...

Wait. I am confused by the fire dancer???

Nice job. Cyber pat on the back to you.

Elena Solodow said...

I'm happy to say that I made it through!

LTM said...

I'm so psyched for you!!! xoxo <3

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations to you and all the others! I'm always kind of relieved that I can't participate (since I live in Quebec) cos I'm not sure I could handle losing - oh no, not another rejection!

Adina West said...

That is so cool, not just for you but all the other bloggers you've pointed out who I *know* through the Crusade who have made it to this round in ABNA! Well done all!

Katherine Sainz said...

I was so pleased with the general 'family' atmosphere in the ABNA threads, especially as a Newbie to the ABNA process/experience. Clearly you are propelling that here to even greater heights, and I thank you for that. I got through the first round and I am humbled. Here is to a wonderful learning process! I wish everyone a good run! All in the Family!

erica and christy said...

YAY to last year's losers-gone-good, hehe. Yeah, I tried really hard to believe I was ready last year, but I wasn't. Now I think the ms is about as good as it gets unless I don't look at it again, pitch the entire thing, and start over with the same idea, but a whole new ms. And I'm not doing that, so it's as good as it's getting. Here's hoping it's good enough!!

Thanks for the shout-out, Hart - my son's b-day is over, the relatives are gone, and I can FINALLY catch up on blogs and writing (7 hours before bedtime, let's hope at least a little writing!). Good luck to all of us (and I haven't looked at the GF file yet, yay for Barbara!).