Amazon Breakthrough Contest–I Made it to Round Two

It’s banana pancake drizzled in honey with vanilla ice cream good news.

I made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest!!

I didn’t mention entering because I’ve entered a few contests and never made it beyond the initial round. But this time out of 5000 possible entries, only 1000 moved on to the next round. And I was among them!

The first round was judged solely on pitch, which makes me so grateful to Backspace for helping me hone my pitch.

At the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar in November, the talented and insightful Louise Fury and Lois Winston dissected my query and helped me see what wasn’t working and why. I came back the next day with a revised query that a new set of agents said was very strong and my writing group complimented.

That pitch went on to the Writer’s Digest Conference to get me 5 partial. So a huge thanks to Backspace for bringing me one leap further in the query letter and the pitch. ๐Ÿ™‚

By making it to the second round, I win the third prize which is an Amazon Editors excerpt review. I can use that for marketing materials if I decide to self publish and don’t materially change the book. That’s pretty cool. I’ve never won a prize before in a writing contest.

So what happens in round two? Expert reviewers (Amazon editors and one Amazon Top Reviewer) review and judge an excerpt of my novel. Only the top 250 move on to the quarter finals. They post the results around March 12th. *Fingers crossed I’m among them*


I had a residual blonde moment while trying to figure out if I place in the 2nd round….

I open my email from Amazon announcing that they posted the list of authors who made it to the second round of the contest. Excited and nervous, I click on the link. It’s a huge pdf file where the contestants are listed alphabetically by first name.

I’m K so I start scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Suddenly I get to J. My stomach plummets. I didn’t see any Ks. I guess I didn’t place. That disappointed feeling rolls over me.

Wait, something is off. I pause. But what? I recite the alphabet aloud. Ah, K comes after J. ๐Ÿ˜›

I scroll some more and see my name!!!!! Do my happy dance, print out the list of names, check it again and run to show Mom.

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68 Responses to Amazon Breakthrough Contest–I Made it to Round Two

  1. Marc Schuster says:

    Congratulations! Best of luck as you move along in the competition!

  2. Cat Forsley says:

    :))))))))) “RESIDUAL BLONDE MOMENT ” :)))))) I can relate ๐Ÿ™‚
    NICE ONE ๐Ÿ™‚
    happy Dancing for You :))))))))))

  3. Laura says:

    Oh what great news! Congratulations and good luck. Dontcha hate blonde moments like that? They happen to me far too often ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks Laura! I had hoped when I changed my hair to red they would stop. But the darn DNA won’t let me be. ๐Ÿ™‚ I confessed it to my friend and he laughed hysterically over a writer who momentarily messed up the alphabet. Glad to know I’m in great company!

  4. Michael says:

    Congratulations. Keep excelling. !!!

  5. Congratulations! That’s really great news. I’m keeping my fingers firmly crossed that you’ll get through to the next round.

    • Thanks! It’s nice to have news to share. Most of the time, I’m querying and waiting. The life of a writer is pretty dull but for moments like this when it really rocks. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really appreciate the support.

  6. Really happy for you! You beat out 4000 other people–that’s a huge accomplishment! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for round two. Good luck!

    • Thanks Jess! I was shocked when I found my name (and by the fact that I temporarily forgot the alphabet)! I can’t believe I made it into the second round. Thanks so much! I really hope I make it further but the next round goes from 1000 to 250. But I’m delighted to be in the 1000. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Jenny says:

    Congratulations on the next round!!!

    Any tip you want to share from the Backspace seminar on how to make your pitch/query the strongest it can be? I still have trouble with mine and can’t seem to find the right words to knock the socks off of someone.

  8. 4amWriter says:

    Wow! Congratulations! And I had only just read and commented on your “nice” rejection letter.

    Is it for the same piece?

    Backspace definitely sounds like it is THE conference to attend. I soooo wish I could afford it this year.

    Anyway, I hope you will keep us all in the loop and I am really, really, really, really, really, really x 1,000,000 HAPPY 4 U !! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Kathryn! LOL. It’s always feast or famine with news on the writing. For months my family will ask what’s going on and I say, “I’m querying.” This past week I actually had some traction and news to share. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, it is the same book I got the nice rejection letter on too.

      I’ve been going to Backspace since November 2009. In November they have a 2 day Agent-Author Seminar and in May they have the three day conference. I’ve been to both. The November event is a tad less expensive since it’s only two days. But if you can’t attend, they also have an online forum for $40 a year where agents and pubbed authors can be found. They have a query critique there too. I’m a member but I’m more of a lurker on the forums.

      I’ll definitely keep you updated. Thanks so much for your support. It means so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. amymarie says:

    Wow! Iโ€™m so happy for you, Kourtney! Good luck!

  10. lascitas says:

    how exciting!! congrats!!

  11. Lucas says:

    What deeeeeelishous news!

  12. Samir says:

    Congratulations! That’s really cool… fingers crossed ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Congrats Koutney! So excited for you! ๐Ÿ˜€ I entered too, but alas didn’t get beyond round one. I’m going to look into the seminar you mentioned sounds like something I could definitely use! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks Traci! Congrats on having the courage to enter. Contests are a scary thing to me. I’ve entered a few before and never ever made it past the first round. ๐Ÿ™‚ Backspace provides a terrific testing ground for the first two pages and query letter. You get 8 different agents’ feedback, plus 12 other writers who are in your genre group.

  14. buddhafulkat says:

    Congratulations! And those pancakes look delicious =)

  15. Congratulations!!! (And I passed on your 7×7 blog award today + gave you a shout out – thanks!)

  16. It's the little things that make life great.berry says:

    Congrats …..yes. u deserve it.

  17. crubin says:

    First: Big, big congrats!! What a wonderful affirmation of your work!

    Second: Where can I get me one of them pancakes?!

  18. jmmcdowell says:

    Congratulations, Kourtney! That’s an awesome accomplishment already! Fingers crossed for you for the next round!

  19. I’m thrilled for you! And thanks for the reminder about the fact that this round was judged solely on pitch. (I entered and didn’t make it.) I’ve always had a hard time describing my own work in a compelling way, so I know I have to work on this.

    And why on earth did they arrange that list alphabetically by first name? Anyway, I’ll be eagerly looking for your name on the list from the next round.

    • Thanks so much Audrey. Sorry to hear you didn’t make it, but congrats on having a finished manuscript and having the courage to enter. Those are both huge huge things. ๐Ÿ™‚ Pitch is really hard. You can have a killer novel and not be able to write a pitch that does it justice. I had many false starts and failed starts with pitches. But I’ve been to lots of workshops and find that feedback (though painful) always helps.

      LOL. I don’t know because I’m used to everything by last name. I hardly ever need to remember where K falls in the alphabet. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Aw thanks Audrey! I hope I make it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Congrats, Kourtney! Yippee!

  21. Fantastic news, Kourtney! My fingers are crossed for you . . .

    • Thanks Simon! I’m so happy to get some affirmation that my pitch is good. I hope the manuscript excerpt does well in the next round. But if it doesn’t at least I get some feedback. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. limebirdbeth says:

    Congrats K! Good luck from all of the Limebird Writers!


  23. Emmie Mears says:

    That’s so awesome, Kourtney! I’m so psyched for you. What great news! Bask, bask, bask!


    • Thanks Emmie! I was brain blanking surprised when I saw my name. I think my exacts words were, “Huh. Really?” Then I checked again, thinking I imagined it.
      ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m happy to make it to this round and get feedback on the novel excerpt. And fingers crossed, I make it another round. ๐Ÿ™‚

      *Huggle back*

  24. klynwurth says:

    Congratulations Kourtney, on making the cut! What an accomplishment. Keep us posted…

  25. Pingback: Friend or foe or friendly foe? « Audrey Kalman

  26. juliemyr says:

    Kourtney, Congrats to you on your exciting news! And thanks for getting me going on the blog for my novel, The Archangel of Hamilton Beach, since I was embarrassed that you were there and it was blank! You’re an inspiration for lots and lots of reasons. You will go far :- )

    • Julie, thanks so much! And thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. Glad to give you a little push. I figured you were just starting out and setting up things, but I wanted to be there on the ground floor. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw, thanks. Fingers crossed all the hard work pays off. But no matter what I’m loving writing and learning and meeting amazing fellow writers like you!

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