Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 ABNA Judging - Update #1

I blogged last year (here and here) about the fact that I am one of the contracted Quarterfinalist judges for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award each year.

As with last year, Amazon allows entries in five categories: General Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and finally, Young Adult. Like last year, I'm judging in the Science Fiction and Fantasy category. I love it because I've always been a sci-fi/fantasy enthusiast...ever since I could first read.

A few weeks ago, I received five anonymous manuscripts that I have to read and review by the middle of next week. It is such an interesting process to judge for this contest because not only am I reading to see if the premise is intriguing and the characters engaging, etc, but I also have to take tons of notes as I read so that when I go back to do my review, I can cite each piece of information that I use to discuss the work.

While I have a lot of fun reading each new story (it's so fun to just read a book with NO prior knowledge of its content sometimes), the critical skills necessary to reading for this specific contest can become fatiguing. It's absolutely rewarding at the end, though, like when I found out that one of the books that I read and pushed forward two years ago (Regina Sirois' On Little Wings) actually went on to WIN the category. Then last year, Rysa Walker's YA book won the whole contest... which I found thrilling, as well! (GO YA!)

So...for the next week or so, you may hear almost nothing from me as I finish up my last two books and their reviews, but I'll try to keep you posted...

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