Last Thursday saw the announcement of the first cut for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA). As I mentioned previously, the first round was judged on a ~300 word pitch. Of the 10,000 or so entrants, only 2,000 advanced to the next stage, meaning there were 8,000 very disappointed writers when those lists went up.
I was one of the lucky 2,000. MOTHER OF MONSTERS is going onto the excerpt stage where the first 3,000-5,000 words will be read and judged by two Vine Reviewers. On March 20th, the next cut will take place, allowing 500 writers to continue onward while the rest will be joining those previously cut.
After my initial celebration over seeing my name, I started searching for other names I excepted to see. I had a whole list of fellow writers I had convinced to enter. Pitches we had all helped polish until it was impossible to make them shine anymore. My disappointment increased with each name I searched for and failed to find.
This is the biggest downside to this contest - celebrating your own advancement then realizing others didn't. Last year it didn't hit me as hard. I was new to the contest and hadn't joined many online writing communities. The number of fellow entrants I knew was close to none. This year was different.
Over the past year I became friends with several of my fellow ABNA entrants. I joined online writing groups and made lots of friends, very talented friends, who I cajoled into joining me on this adventure. When they didn't continue on, I was crushed. It's hard to celebrate your own achievements when you know others aren't.
The bittersweetness of the whole contest is making friends along the way when you know in the end only one out of thousands will win. There are still many others still in it who I will be cheering and checking the list for when the time comes. And with each list, the number of names I'll find will shrink. But, I can always hope at least one name on my list continues all the way to the end. For whoever it may be, I'll be standing in the sidelines when my time to be cut comes, cheering you along.