Waiting for Amazon

After successfully submitting "Verbosity's Vengeance" to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, I now have nothing more to do on that front than wait. Of the 10,000 entries, 400 will be selected in each category based on the 300-word pitch (mine was 297 words). Of those, 100 books in each category will be selected based on the 3000 - 5000 word excerpt (mine was 4200 words).

Those 500 books will be read in their entirety by reviewers, with five books in each category sent along to Amazon's editors. Of those 25, one from each category will be selected for the final judging by Amazon's customer base. The excerpts will go up on the website, the public will read and vote. The one with the most votes gets a big advance and a publishing contract; the other four get smaller (but still five-figure) advances and a publishing contract.

I started this blog post because I wanted to talk about my chances, how I feel my novel might fare in this contest. This is not a random distribution series of events, so it doesn't make sense to look at the numbers up there and say that the Grammarian has a 0.01% chance of coming out on top. My novel is 1 out of 10,000, but it doesn't work like that.

A breezy adventure novel about a superhero who has grammar and punctuation as his main weapons will be sorely outmatched if this is to be an Octagon of Orotundity. I suspect that emotionally freighted coming-of-age stories will, alas, provide more toothsome fare for editors and publishers looking to wrench a tear from the eye of the sensitive reader.

And yet...

I'm proud of my novel, come what may. Advancing into the next round would be nice, but I have a plan for going forward regardless. No, it's the presence of my work out in the marketplace that is the point of this exercise.

There comes a time when you have to take a deep breath and go ask the girl to dance. When you have to shake on the de rigueur loser-buys-the-beer and start the game. When you have file the papers that say you want the job.

I'm hardly the first writer to take this step. Countless people have written and published books. As I think about them all, I feel a little silly to make such a big deal about my first novel. Others have trod this path before me, others will follow me. That's OK, though. Long before I did it, other people have fallen in love, been punched in the face, bought a house, stared death in the eye, found God, and done every one of the thousand other intense experiences of life. That doesn't diminish the intensity of my own experience.

So, the Grammarian and I will wait for Amazon. Results of the first round are announced to the 10,000 hopeful writers on February 13; once I get the news, I'll let you know what happened. Wish me luck.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. Good luck, Tony! You don't know unless you try, right?

  2. Yup, everyone has to stand on that metaphorical cliff edge, strapped to this contraption that's supposed to let you fly, and decide whether to jump. Just because so many others have had the same decision to make, whether it be marriage, career change, or shopping that novel around, doesn't make your decision any less important. There will be millions coming after, with the same decision to make, and it will won't be any less important.

    So I've got my fingers crossed for you to get that updraft, and that the contraption doesn't snap a weld. ;-) And hey, if you end up free-falling, it's like Wile E. Coyote… shake it off and try something else!

    1. I like the image of snapping a weld. Been there, done that, got that scar. ;-)

  3. Good luck, Tony! I wish you and the Grammarian the best. I truly hope it finds a good home where it loved and appreciated and nurtured, wherever that may be.


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