Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pushing the Manuscriptlet Back Out of the Nest

So this morning I woke up, checked my email, and found an email from Amazon that was actually useful for a change. For once, they weren't trying to hock me titles like Microbiology Made Easy from the one time I ordered a few textbooks for my med student boyfriend. On the contrary, they told me about the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, which is a very legitimate contest (sort of like an American Idol for manuscripts) involving a grand prize of a lovely large advance and publication from Penguin Books.

The judges? Very respectable authors Sue Monk Kidd and Sue Grafton. The genres? The novel manuscript could be from any genre. Better still, there was no entry fee.

The only drawback? It seemed it was the last day of 6 that one could submit (deadline was midnight tonight or until 10,000 entries had been submitted), and one needed to submit not only the first 3000-5000 words of the manuscript, but also the full manuscript, and a 300-word pitch statement. Optionally, in case one got to the part where people voted on one's manuscript, you could also submit an author photo, synopsis, bio, and story about the experience of writing the book.

And Sunday is ALWAYS my day off.

But it was exciting--I figured, why not? I'd been a bad mama bird, not having pushed my 81,000-word manuscriptlet out of the nest for the last 6 months, but I had most of the elements sitting ready to be dusted off and relatively quickly readied for online submission. No time to re-revise the manuscript or the excerpt for the sixteenth time, of course, but when I re-read the opening excerpt, I was much happier about it than I'd expected from my recent negativity regarding it. So I spent my day quite delightedly revising the pitch and polishing up the other optional elements, just in the extremely off chance that my little pages stayed aloft long enough for the voting round.

And it's now submitted. I feel good about having sent it off again. I'll be extremely happy if the little thing makes it past the first round, in which all but 2,000 entries are pruned away on the basis of the pitches, to the second round, in which they actually read the opening excerpts to get it down to 500 quarter-finalists. No matter what happens, though, it's just nice to have it out there in the world again. It's so good to be creatively active.

Oh, and you'll definitely be hearing if it gets to the point where people need to vote for it.


Anonymous said...

Good luck little chick! I will certainly vote (and vote and vote) if it gets to the point where I can!


Deborah Leiter said...

Thanks, Em! (Says the little chick.) The first results are announced in mid-March, so I'll keep you updated for sure.