OK, so I didn't make it to the next round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. I am disappointed, but I knew I wouldn't win. Not that my book, The Vampire's Daughter, isn't good (I think it's great), but going against so many other great books is really a long shot.
Two good things came out this:
1) I am able to start requerying it again and try to find a real publisher sooner. I say "requery" because I originally queried the book about 5 years ago when I first wrote it. I actually had many requests for partial and full manuscripts back then, but they all ended with rejections. What I learned from that experience is that my query was amazing, but the book was weak. After working with my friend Jennifer Clark on a line-by-line edit, I think the book is much stronger now. Also, the publishing industry has changed dramatically in the last 5 years. There are many more digital-first-print-second publishers out there with good reputations and strong sales records out there. I have already sent out about a dozen new queries and I have high hopes.
2) I got some amazing feedback from the Amazon expert reviewers. One said, "The best foreword pitch any author can write. I like that it hints so much more than is revealed. You just know this one will truly be just as historical as it is fiction." My forward pitch was basically my query letter. So just more evidence that my query is good. She also said, “I really like the idea of a traditional vampire romance, but blended with a wonderful historical perspective. This reminds me of the old Dracula movies. This one should appeal to a wide range of ages. I think my grandma should very much enjoy this one too." I think that the heat levels in later chapters might be too much for some grandmas, but I'm glad that the reviewer thought it would have wide appeal. Another reviewer said, “This excerpt is very atmospheric and presents its locale sensuously. The combination of gothic description and danger should prove irresistible to the right audience." Irresistible! I like that summary!
So even though I didn't make it to the next round I'm not down and I am hardly out. It's just time to put myself out there more.