My “smooth prose” beat the writing of 9,500 others, but …

Too bad! My draft thriller HOG-TIED didn’t make it into the semi-finals of the
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA). Still, it did make it to the quarter-
finals last month, so I’ve had an exciting time and still feel quite proud.

Amazon accepted about 10,000 entries in January, of which a first cut of
2,000 was made in February based just on the author’s pitch for the book. The
anonymous reviewer waved HOG-TIED through, judging the pitch
to be “one of the best I’ve read in this competition.”

HOG-TIED on Amazon
The text looked great on screen …

The next selection, the top 500 going for the award, was made on the basis of the first 5,000 words, which the same reviewer judged to be “of a high quality in all regards. Despite my minor criticism, I was annoyed when there was no more text on the screen after I reached the end of the work. This is a novel that I’d like to read.”

I was through to the quarter-finals!

“Overall, I thought this was a great excerpt,” a second Amazon reviewer chimed in. “I really enjoyed it. It’s interesting in its historical detail, which is a bonus to an intriguing tale. I thought it was clever to have Kim writing about bloodshed and terrorism for her publication, while trying to find out what happened to her father and why he was murdered. The discovery of a fresh body at the dig, makes me think that a recent murder might be related to what befell her father and I’m eager to find out if that’s the case. The first portion of this novel is engaging and I would like to read more.”

But when the cut from 500 to the top 25 was published on 16 April, HOG-TIED wasn’t there. So where did I go wrong?

The prize for getting to the quarter finals was a review from Publishers’ Weekly, so I got a partial answer. The PW reviewer felt that “several intriguing plot threads go mostly unresolved in this oddly compelling contemporary tale…”

I did know the manuscript needed more work, but the review makes me wonder if the reviewer read the whole manuscript, or – God forbid – did I send the wrong version? I thought I’d taken great care to develop and resolve all the ramifications of the story. Clearly not enough! I will continue working on HOG-TIED. Meanwhile I comfort myself with Publishers’ Weekly’s conclusion that my debut English novel “is, nonetheless, eminently readable thanks to the smooth prose.”


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I think this is amazing. Plot lines can be fixed, it’s much more difficult to be ’eminently readable’, ‘high quality in all regards’ and ‘oddly compelling’. Leaving readers wanting more? Priceless. Fabulous!

    1. Thank you! I’m blushing 🙂

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