October 9th, 2007

Headache Lorelei

Writing a breakthrough novel isn't so easy ...

It took me the better part of five days to make my submission to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest (the contest is here):


There were 7 pages of FAQ's, and I read through all of them, some several times. Some of the requirements were very confusing, and I won't really know if I got them right for awhile -- apparently rejections because of technical and/or formatting issues are common. In addition to that, Amazon.com required the submission to be in Word format. I hate Word. I don't understand why *everyone* doesn't hate word. I usually use Appleworks, and apparently I'm spoiled by its simplicity -- it's like going from driving my car to trying to drive a 1908 Ford delivery truck; all those extra levers and controls!

In addition, my laptop doesn't have Word -- just Works, and for some reason Works documents don't travel well in this contest. I ended up using the work computer, and even there had to fight to figure out some things I've never had trouble with before. Between the Word fight and the confusion over some of Amazon.com's submission requirements, I'm really drained and edgy right now. For instance, they required four documents: the manuscript; a 5,000 word excerpt; a "bibliography"; and a cover art image. They made it pretty plain that a cover art image wasn't necessary, but the "bibliography" requirement wasn't clear at all, and I struggled for some time to figure out what they meant. It turns out that's not a document at all -- when you go to submit, they ask you the specific questions for that section -- no document needed! Gah.

Then, when I did hit "enter", they had sections requiring a synopsis (I should have seen that coming, but I had to come up with it on the fly) and a description of why I was inspired to write the book. Why I was inspired? Duh -- to get published. :-) But I think I did okay with that, too.

In other words, it was a lot like submitting to a regular publisher: It's important to have a good story, but the devil is in the details.

I'm not overly confident of winning, as the story I had ready was a rather simple, straightforward romantic comedy of the type that doesn't win prizes; this may explain why I never actually checked to see what the prized were. For those of you who are interested:

Collapse )

I'm kind of stoked about the possibility of getting a second prize.