If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quick Question about ABNA

Okay...so, I never blog on Saturdays, but I have a  question for you guys. I am entering the Amazon Breakout Novel Award  in two days--as I'm sure a lot of you are. I was reading the rules tonight and I noticed that, when you get to the higher level (or maybe it was just the highest level--I'm not sure) that the winner is determined by popular vote.

I know there are no names/contact info. allowed on the entries, but--if someone got that high up--what is to stop them from telling all their friends/family to vote for them? Some people have a TON of friends and family. That could conceivably tip the vote. And, it seems like a lot of contests that are determined by "popular vote" turn into nothing but popularity contests.

Still, I understand that I'm talking about the biggest writing contest in the industry. So, I'm assuming they have some kind of safeguard in place for that? This cannot possibly be all on the good ole' fashioned honor system? Somebody please tell me it's not.

You guys might remember the Kissing Scene contest I was in a few months ago. I talked about it a lot. And, in the end, someone cheated so much that the whole thing ended up going in front of an impartial judge and the "popular" vote was discounted.

I was really happy I won, but it sort of tainted the experience. And made me a little wary about entering anything where the popular vote determines the winner. And that was for a three chapter critique by an agent. This is for a fifty-thousand dollar prize!!! Fifty thousand dollars. Hell, even the four first place winners get fifteen thousand dollars. People WILL cheat for that kind of money, if given any opportunity to do so. I'm sorry to sound all jaded and such--but it's the truth.

So, am I missing something here???

Does anyone out there have any information on how this is run, or any thoughts about it?
The motto of too many people


  1. This is a very difficult question. I know nothing about Amazon contests but I have entered other contests. In my experience, yes, popularity counts more than quality. I've come to the conclusion art is not an exact science. It is subjective to many factors. Being so, one must be ready to outcomes not based on quality but on who gets the best contacts. It is not always so, but it does happen more often than not.

    1. *looks around* Did I beat Alex? Gosh! Must be because it's Saturday and clones start later...

  2. online contests are tough. you should advertise for votes, we want to vote for you! but my cousin entered a cute photo contest and came in second place with her cute baby to a teen - it turned into a popularity contest of who could get their friends to vote the most...sad but true. i'd rather have industry judges, but they would have to pay for that probably...and for 50000 smackers, you are right, money makes people cheat. then again, i wonder about am idol, et al. and i'm not even getting into the obama buying homeless people cell phones rumor!

    entering cant hurt. if you make it to the popular round, you are agent/pub ready in my opinion! win or lose =) good luck!

  3. Sorry, clones sleep in on Saturday. Besides, this posted WAY past my bedtime!
    Even with the popular vote, if you consider the thousands and thousands of people voting for each category, I don't think too many people have enough family and friends to really tip the vote.
    Good luck, Tamara!

  4. I am wary of wins being decided by votes too. In fact, I never feel quite like I "won" something fully, if it's a "popular votes" contest. I want a judge to look at the entries and say mine is the best due to xyz, etc.

  5. Popular vote is never fair.

    I know several authors who have entered every year and they might be able to offer you some insight: Hart Johnson (at Confessions of a Watery Tart) and Roland Yeomans (at Writing in the Crosshairs.)

  6. I'm entering too. I have no idea how its going to work, but I like the idea of advertising for votes, should we make it that far...good luck!

  7. ABNA has its thorns. Alex is right: it would be hard to sway the vote with family and friends. There is an AMERICAN IDOL-itis to a great many of the critiques from "readers." It seems that many of the reviews are petty and mean-spirited, often bearing little resemblance to your novel.

    Popular voting is unfair. What of a talented writer producing a great novel with little fan base? You will certainly lose if you do not try. Give it your best efforts and focus on other projects, for it is a long shot! Hope this helps. :-) Roland

  8. Thanks Everyone!!

    That's kinda what I was wondering...if it was American Idol-esque. If it was SO big that it would be really hard to cheat in that particular manner. And, I'd like to say that it's not like I have some misbegotten belief that it's easy to even make it to the point where voting is happening. I know it's not. It was mostly just a curiosity thing, and you guys have satisfied my curiosity.

    And mean-spirited "reviews" in a contest of this magnitude doesn't surprise me. I'm sure a lot of disappointed people walk away from this. I'm entering, but I know it's strictly a shot in the dark--my main focus is on writing and traditional querying. :) Good luck to all the other entrants!!

  9. Publishing and book-buying are popularity contests. Strange (and very unworthy) things can make it onto bestseller lists. I know someone who made it to the end of ABNA, and their book was pubbed by Penguin this year, but she had to rewrite the whole thing and change the plot according to what the publisher wanted. There's no such thing as "fair," especially when you're dealing with a subjective industry like publishing. Good luck if you decide to enter. :-)

  10. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)