It's official: I entered WIN OR GO HOME in ABNA, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Here's how it works. The contest accepts up to 5000 entries in general fiction and another 5000 in YA. The first cut comes on February 23rd based on a 300 word pitch. I entered ABNA three years ago and failed to get out of the first round. I felt humbled, devastated, spurned.  I learned the power of the pitch. It's like an agent query. Shou
For this entry I wrote, re-wrote, submitted for criticism and revised my pitch before sending it in. I also got the idea to use the pitch for the WIN OR GO HOME Amazon page. Right away I sold some books after four months of zero sales. Not enough to quuit my day job, but a sale is a sale. Potential readers felt attracted in a way they hadn't before.
The 500 entries face a second round of selection by Amazon reviewers reading a 5000 word excerpt in order to make it to the quarter finals. Only 50 will survive a total manuscript review by editors of Penguin. Out of those, three become semifinalists and Amazon customers will vote on the outcome. The winner gets a $15,000 book deal with Penguin and a trip to Seattle to accept the award.
Do I think I can win? Of course. Is it likely? No, but remember that old saw about a man's reach should exceed his grasp? If I can finish as a quarterfinalist I can use that for marketing.
I titled this post Changes, didn't I? The changes are two: I just submitted an alternate cover to Amazon for WIN OR GO HOME. If you are reading this blog post you will recognize the image from the Main Page. I admit it looks a bit rough around the edges, but I intend the effect. I also raised my price to $3.99. I figure, increased demand deserves a higher price, plus I can get back into the 70% royalty column again.
I have been disappointed by Amazon Prime. Nobody has borrowed my book so my share of the big pot of gold is zero. Think I'll become a free agent next month and put my book back out at Barnes and Noble. I had some sales there.

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