Tuesday, December 4, 2012


See, it’s like this… there might be a few of us ABNA junkies… wait… you might need a definition if you are new around here…

ABNA: Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The contest that begins every January and consumes the first 1 – 5 months of the year, depending on how far you advance. Note that it can also consume the 6th month, too, but I have never been a finalist.

So now that you know what’s what… I have been doing ABNA since 2010, which isn’t so long really… I’ve done three, coming up on my 4th. But heck, the thing only started in 2008, so I’ve done more than half of ‘em, right? I’ve got clout!

But more than clout, I’ve made a bunch of good friends who are ALSO ABNA junkies.

Disclaimer: I am not JUST an ABNA junkie. I actually suffer from FOMS (fear of missing something) so am a joiner in general.

And there are discussion boards related to ABNA, so sometimes I hang out over there.

Well yesterday (note: this is where the actual blog begins, as opposed to the pre-information you needed just to follow the blog, but never mind) I was hanging out over there. There’s been some speculation about whether the contest would change this year. The speculation happens EVERY year, but this year there is reasonable reason—Penguin, one of the contest partners, merged with Random House this year (sadly NOT choosing the name Random Penguin), but part of the PURPOSE was to better compete with Amazon. (Ouch… business partner doing the nasty to smite you, eh?) So some of us feared…

I mean heck, we have an ADDICTION!

Gratuitous llama picture
Well anyway, we sneaky peekers SAW some stuff… and then they removed it and put up something else, and then they removed it. They are TOYING WITH US, MAN!

So the following may or may not be accurate and will probably be subject to change, but it LOOKS LIKE:

1) Contest opens January 14 and entry closes January 24. Note these dates are about 10 days EARLIER than last year.

2) We SAW (I swear it) that the GRAND prize (just one) will be a $50,000 advance contract.

Now for the past two years young adult and general fiction have been SPLIT and there were two grand prizes… this goes away.


It looks like the OTHER FINALISTS ALL get $15,000 advances… so five people get money rather than two, and one person gets a pretty nice deal.

3) Now SOMEBODY (not me) saw (maybe misunderstood?) the finalists might be from different categories?

Public service: Do NOT do this to your llama
But whatever the case, if you are interested in joining (and I strongly recommend it) there are 6-8 weeks to knock something into shape. They take books 50K-150K (or have in all past years) and take all ‘non obscene’ genres. (I don’t find erotica obscene, but somebody there does—I think this would also cancel out… maybe mutilation if it’s too graphic, incest or child sexual relations if it’s glorified, you know if you write on a fuzzy line)

I love this contest for the DEADLINE it gives me every January and for the writerly interaction in my life. There are also great threads for getting feedback on pitches. I’m sure I will be talking more of it as it approaches, but I wanted to give the heads up while there is time for you to do something about it.

UPDATE:  Contest still on but PENGUIN not participating... and it is YES on the genre thing.


Nessa said...

I can't wait! This will be my second time entering and I just have to finish my NaNo novel and some (a lot) of polishing and I'll be good to go.

Loved the boards last year :-) Must get stuck in again.

Jessica Bell said...

Sounds frightening! lol

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww those poor coiffed llamas! LOL!!! But they're adorable!

NAKED Tart!!! You are AWESOME!! GOOD LUCK with the ABNA!!! Yya! Take care

Em-Musing said...

Hey! Thanks for the heads up on this. I think I'll enter.

SA Larsenッ said...

Sneaky peekers are awesome!

Hart Johnson said...

Nessa-Oh good look prepping it!

Jessica-HA! Yeah, a little bit, maybe...

Kitty-I think a llama hairdresser needs some training, eh?

Em-YAY! Glad you're entering!

SA-True, dat!

mshatch said...

re: "sadly NOT choosing the name Random Penguin" lmfao!

lbdiamond said...

Wow, yeah, I'm not brave enough for that, LOL!

Best of luck to all the entrants!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hart, hope you become a finalist this year. And Random Penguin would've been a great name.

RaShelle Workman said...

Hart - you crack me up. Good luck on ANBA. I hope you take it all this year, friend (only because I know it's what you want. We could have a total other conversation about the advance and blah de blah, but because you are a self-proclaimed junkie, I want you to win it all!!!!).

Cherie Reich said...

I wished they'd gone with Random Penguin too!

Good luck with ABNA!

Helena said...

If the prizes are going up that high, maybe I should take a plunge. Sure, I flunked out before, but it didn't hurt much at all 'cause all that was rejected was my pitch/query, not by novel.

Maybe, if I drink enough over the holidays, I'll say what the hell, write a much better query for another manuscript o' mine, and take the plunge. As for you, Hart darling, I know that like last year you'll get extremely far in the contest AND very likely be, at the very least, a finalist, which means a contract and advance!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Thanks for posting this - I'd forgotten ABNA was just around the corner. This is just what I need to motivate me to finally finish my (hopefully) final rewrite. It's good to see that they've added more genre categories. And I guess I shouldn't complain, since there IS actually a YA category, but I wish they had the same breakdown there as well, since a judge who prefers contemporary YA is probably not going to like YA horror and vice versa. Oh we'll, they're making tweaks every year trying to improve things, so good for them!

Trisha said...

I've only entered once. Maybe I'll do it again this/next year :) I do have stories that are closer to being ready this time!

Tamara said...

Thanks for the heads up on this. I'll definitely be checking it out!

Michael Di Gesu said...

OH! NO! NOT AGAIN! I'm with you... three times too. BUT I could NEVER get past the pitch round. Never made it once to the quarter finals.

DO I want to try for four? I'd have a a lot of work on my hands if I did....


erica and christy said...

Hmm, I could've sworn I was a year ahead of you and Michael, but this would be my 4th, so I guess we're in the same boat.

Except I'm not entering. Nothing's ready except the one I've already entered and my co-written novel with christy that we are *thisclose* to pitching with agents. Not sure if the new rules count out cowritten books like the old rules did, but

*weep* *sob* *wail*

I'm out. And I took the forums link off my favorites, so I kicked that addiction last year. :)