Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ABNA Update

Well, it's a good thing I was "realistic about the odds" because Leonard didn't make it into the quarter finals. Naturally, it would've been nice if it had, but that's okay. There's always next year and if my Kickstarter project is successful, the manuscript will be in even better shape than it is now (and published!).

A nice thing about getting as far as I did is that I'll be receiving feedback from the two Vine reviewers who read my manuscript. Last year's Vine reviews (one snarky, the other gushing) were very helpful and I took them to heart during a subsequent rewrite.

Congrats to all who moved on to the next round -- a very impressive accomplishment.


Allison M Simon said...

Hope your comments were constructive! I'm always happy to see writers with a healthy perspective. That's one of the main things that drew me to the ABNA community.

Roger Eschbacher said...

Allison, I agree. This is the third year I've done ABNA and I've been struck from the very beginning with how helpful and nice everyone has been. I've made some good friends on the forum who I stay in touch with during the "off-season."

Of course, we'd all love to make it to the final round, but I figured out early on that it was better to view this as a communal learning experience than a do or die contest. Like I said, even the snarky review helped make my manuscript better. :c)

Roger Eschbacher said...

Oops! Just realized my 2011 Vine reviews are already up. Last year there was a gap between the quarter-finalist announcement and the posting of the reviews.

Both reviews are very thoughtful and once again offer excellent suggestions for improving my manuscript. The tone of each review was very positive, too (last year one of the reviewers, although helpful, was kind of snarky). I'm also grateful the reviewers were not hostile to the fantasy genre, having read some horror stories from other ABNA forum posters.

All in all, about as good as it can get short of moving on to the next round. Thanks Vine reviewers!

Allison M Simon said...

I was fortunate to get pretty good comments. My first review was fantastic so that was nice. The second one wasn't bad, but it wasn't very helpful either. The gist was basically "I don't read this genre, I don't really understand this genre, I didn't get this, but the writer is clearly a good writer so good job." Haha, from the other horror stories I saw, I was thrilled with this.

Keith Robinson said...

Sorry you didn't get through, Roger. Not to diminish the idea, but sometimes I wonder if ABNA is worth the bother. Basically we're at the mercy of seemingly random people (as Allison said with the reviewer who didn't read her genre!) and there are so many writers entering that one could argue it would be better to pitch directly to a publisher or agent and have less competition in that space of time! (Not sure if that's true, but it might be.)

I did enjoy the ABNA experience last year, but I don't think I'll be doing it again. Plus, as it turned out, my agent sorta-kinda wanted to pitch to Penguin at the time and had to hold off until the competition finished. He was actually worried I'd win because the competition offered a boilerplate contract, no negotiation at all, whereas he would possibly get a better deal on his own. As it turned out, neither one of us got anywhere.

Oh well. Onwards we march. :-)

Roger Eschbacher said...

Thanks, Keith. I think you're right. ABNA shouldn't be assigned too much importance or taken too seriously. Along those lines, I'm always surprised at how mad some of the people on the forums get!

I'm still having fun with it so I guess I'll continue entering the contest for the time being. I think it would be extra-cool to reach the quarter-finals as you did last year.

erica and christy said...

Congratulations! I didn't make it past the pitch round. I hope your comments are helpful! christy

Roger Eschbacher said...

Thanks, Christy! Yeah, those pitches can be tricky. I think my background in animation writing helped me get past the first round. In cartoons, you submit all of your story ideas to a show in pitch form so I've had a lot of practice.

Also, I really recommend checking out the Evil Editor site for help in putting together a tight pitch. He and his minions will rake your query letter over the coals and give you tips on improving it as a sales tool. I basically used my tweaked query as my ABNA pitch.

FANTASY BOOK REVIEW: Heroes of Perpetua by Brian Clopper

Three misfit middle-schoolers travel to the mystical world of Perpetua to do battle with the evil Baron Orb and his vicious army of shadow c...