The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest: Did you make the first cut?

The top 400 pitches in each category have been listed.  Did you make the cut?

I didn’t recognize anyone on the YA list, but congrats to everyone who made it.  I wish you the best of luck.

And, yes, that means that my name was NOT on the list.

Am I upset?  Honestly, not really.

The only thing I could really be upset about is that I stopped doing what I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING and spent two weeks polishing my manuscript, rewriting the beginning, and writing an (unsuccessful) pitch.  I am now behind on a writing project that I should have finished and sent to beta yesterday. (I haven’t even written the climax yet)


My Fire in the Woods manuscript now has a KICK BUTT beginning that I believe fixes everything that was wrong with my first draft, and I also have a pitch that I know needs some tweaking, because there were 400 out there that were better than mine.

So, yes, I am behind on my current Work in Progress, but my “Big Tamale” Fire in the Woods is now quite a bit closer to being ready for query land.

So, am I mad I didn’t make the first cut?  Nope, not at all.  It was no reflection on my novel.  They didn’t even look at it.  My pitch didn’t grab them.  No harm, no foul.

Thanks, Amazon, for giving me that extra pressure to fix the overall problems.

What about you guys?  Did anyone make the first cut? Are you in the same boat as me? What do you think about all this?



29 responses to “The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest: Did you make the first cut?

  1. Sadly, I didn’t make it again. It’s ok, because I’m focused on my new fantasy series, a bunch of shorts that I will combine into one novel. You have the right spirit, Jennifer. Just gotta keep writing!

  2. It’s always a tricky balance between working on what you should/need/want to be working on, and polishing work for submissions. Confession: I used to interrupt my novel to write short stories for competitions although I had no interest or talent for short stories. But well done for taking part! And now you probably know a lot more about pitching! Good luck with your other work!

  3. This was the first year I entered and I luckily made the first cut. I just think it’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s not the *only* opportunity, just one that is easy to enter. With 10k entries, as someone else said, they could probably review them all again and a whole slew of other books would make the cut that didn’t before. Lots of factors involved. I think for me it won’t start to feel legit until I make the next cut. Good luck on your next attempt, and I certainly wouldn’t take it as a reflection on your writing/book. The pitch was all they read for the first cut, so they have no idea if the story is fantastic or not.

    • Congrats Tim! Let me know how you do! May I ask which Genre you are in?

      • Thanks Jennifer! I’ll be updating on my blog as the rounds progress. I think the next round they’ll have some critique on the excerpt, whether we pass or not, so it’ll be interesting to hear what they say either way. The genre is Sci-Fi, but it could have been under YA too…I just think it’s more Sci-Fi than YA, so I chose that category. 😉

  4. I did not enter into Amazon’s contest. I will enter a story from the story collection related to my novel at the end of March. You’ll be just fine though. You are super talented and I know because I always enjoy your posts!

  5. I too, tried and didn’t make the cut. But it gave me some practice writing a pitch, which is something. 🙂

  6. Congratulations on entering. Next year for sure!

  7. I didn’t enter. Last year, I thought about entering this year, but it came around too quickly. Well done for submitting in the first place. Maybe next year 🙂

  8. I didn’t enter, so there was no cut to make for me. 😉 But as Widdershins and Kford say, kudos to you for the attempt! This is why queries are so darn tough. On a different day, the judges might have chosen yours over someone else’s. It’s sooo subjective! A great book can be hiding behind a query that didn’t make the cut and a so-so book can make the first cut because the query rocks. So you’re absolutely right—the pass on your query says nothing about the quality of the novel!

  9. You’ll get them next time. I know it.

  10. I’m sorry you didn’t make the cut – you deserved to and well done for entering. Bet they had so many entries, they didn’t look at half of them!

  11. I didn’t enter. I must take a look at the pitches that made it through.

  12. You can’t win if you don’t play the game. Kudos to you for playing!

  13. I give you big kudo points for entering! You ‘showed up’ and you tried. Can’t ask more than that. I give you a huge Gold Star for going for it. Heck, you never know unless you try. Now get that Fire in the Woods published!