Last year I participated in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition or simply ABNA. There are two fiction categories: adult fiction and YA, and the prize is a pub contract, including a $15,000 advance from Penguin—not too shabby! The panelists for the young adult fiction contest are Gayle Forman, journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller If I Stay, literary agent Julie Just of Janklow & Nesbit and Jennifer Besser, Vice President and Publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.
It’s a great chance to have lots of readers read and review an excerpt of your work. In fact, it’s also super-fun to download your fellow competitors’ excerpts and review them. You’d think it would get very competitive, but not so much. It becomes more of a great big writing community where everyone is egging each other on. And there are constant threads with lively chatter. Think Nano with a prize. The competition launches on January 24th. Here’s the link:http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Novel-Award-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=332264011
Another contest already ramping up is “Dear Lucky Agent”, sponsored by Writers Digest. The top three winners get the first 10 pages of their mss read by agent Lindsay Clemons of the Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency in San Francisco. This contest is up and running from January 9th through the 23. They are looking for any literary fiction (no genre fiction). Here are the details on the Guide to Literary Agent blog:http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/8th+Dear+Lucky+Agent+Contest+Literary+Fiction.aspx
Have you heard of other good contests for authors of middle-grade and YA fiction? Share them here! What about great winter or spring writing retreats? I’ve attended the SCBWI winter conference in NYC for years. (There’s also a summer one in LA. Lots of fun, with good swimming pools and spas during downtime!) Tell us which retreats take the snowy chill off of you and inspire you to write.