So you can read my books

Friday, January 11, 2013

PITCH PERFECT? Do you have your ABNA pitch ready?

This year, ABNA has changed.

There will be five categories:

General Fiction
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Young Adult.

One finalist will be named from each of these five categories. Penguin is out. The grand prize winner now gets published by Amazon Publishing and this includes a $50,000 advance! Wow!

And the rest of the finalists ALSO get a publishing contract with Amazon (and a $15,000 advance). ABNA has really stepped up their game this year.

Your first hurdle will be your  300 word PITCH.  Get this wrong, and there goes the ball game!


     Make it short and riveting, evoking the spirit and mood of your story.


     Whether your tale is horror, literary fiction, or in-between, your words must reach out to touch the
     heart of the judge. 
Think universal hurts and longings.


     Make the judge want to read more, to wonder what happens next.


     and get to the hundred more pitches on their hard drive before night's end.  Do not give them
     an easy reason to reject.


     Believe that there are good writers still out there, that there are fresh stories waiting to be found,
     and that they have just found one.

Here is my 300 word pitch for THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH:

How do you live a life you no longer need?

If you are 13 year old Victor Standish, you live it with cold laughter and sharp wits.

His mother, who is the blood and bone of his life, treats him like a yo-yo. 

She abandons him on harsh city streets, only to reclaim him months later to dump him in yet another city states away.  Her sole explanation is the back of her hand across Victor’s mouth.

New Orleans is the seventh city and looks to be the last.  The haunted French Quarter is deadlier than anything Victor’s ever encountered.  He smiles.  Finally the fear and loneliness will end.

And they do … just not in the way he expected.

An old derelict feels beautiful once more in Victor’s eyes.  A disillusioned jazz club owner finds something worth living, worth dying for.  An undead priest learns to laugh again.  A gypsy nun finds a new son to fill the void left by her long dead boy.

And one dark midnight in a cursed cemetery, Victor finds love.  It is the old story:

Boy meets ghoul.  Boy loses heart to ghoul.  Ghoul wants not just his heart but the rest of his body … until the ghoul, Alice Wentworth, realizes she sees a kindred lost soul in Victor. 

She can always find flesh to feed her body, but will she ever find another boy who sees in her more than just a monster?

Their love breaks the chain of reason … which matters not at all to Victor since life never made sense to him anyway.

What matters is that somehow their love threatens the plots of the various feuding supernatural clans in New Orleans.  And as Hurricane Katrina nears, it seems their only hope is the love that dooms them.

So which of the five categories do you think I should enter?  Did I put my prose where my mouth is?


  1. I like the pitch, you've consolidated his background well. Good Luck, Roland.

    Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror.

    Does this mean all is well in computerland?

  2. D.G.:
    I still have a corrupted file in my temporary Internet files of all places. It slows everything down, and Windows keeps gnawing at it like your tongue on a broken tooth.

    But mostly my computer is running well. I will just have to copy all my files onto a second drive to back me up should that one corrupted file further ruins my day!

    I was leaning to SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror, too. I hope I managed to write an evocative pitch that touches the heart. I'm crossing my fingers! :-)

  3. Eek, ABNA - so exciting!!! Good luck with your entry, Roland. I'm not ready but I want to enter anyway. We'll see...

    From what I know of your writing and Victor, wouldn't it be the SF/F/H category for you? Then again it could be YA too. Weird that YA is separated from the genre fiction categories.

  4. Good luck with that problem, you're lucky you have a techie friend. I don't post anon comments, since they're usually spam.

    And yes, I've seen Midnight in Paris. I didn't like the casting for Gertrude, though, too far off.

  5. Trisha:
    Yes, I think SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror are the genre for Victor. Wish me luck. Why not enter ABNA? It might be fun.

    Don't tell me that since Nick fixed my computer that my comment to your blog came out as anonymous?

    I loved the casting for Hemingway in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS though.

  6. No no problem, your comment came out fine. Have a great weekend!

  7. Hi, Roland.

    OH, NO .... NOT AGAIN! Yes, ABNA has certainly come a LONG way since I had first entered in 2010... THREE TIMES I had entered and THREE TIMES I was lucky enough to get through the Pitch round.... AND THREE TIMES I was dropped in the following round.

    I don't know if it's worth trying again.... SO MUCH anguish just to get dropped. IF they still have the same PRUDE VINE readers judging I am not going to bother.

    WE shall see I still have time. I wish I had my NOVELLA finished. I would really like to enter something new. Amber once and BG twice. It would have to be BG again because Amber is not ready.

    ANYWAY... ALL THE BEST TO YOU! AT Least you made quarter finals last year....

  8. Michael:

    Yes, AGAIN. LOL.

    You were the one who convinced me to enter the first time.

    Since Amazon has changed the contest so, the readers judging our submissions may be changed as well.

    I have no hopes for ABNA. I'm just entering because I am so stubborn.

    Why not enter again? Enter and put it in the background of your mind. ABNA certainly makes you wait long enough so that forgetting becomes easy for me and my wild life! :-)

  9. You're back!
    Definitely science fiction-fantasy-horror. Think it's too strong for young adult.

  10. Alex:
    Yes ... for the moment. That corrupted file is like a timebomb, waiting to explode my poor hard drive.

    I think you are right about SciFi/Fantasy/Horror. I have terrible luck in choosing between two choices. I always get it wrong that is why I deferred to the wisdom of good friends like you. :-)

  11. Genius! You are an amazing writing talent Roland. I love it!

    I think you'll perform well in whatever category you choose. If you ask me, Romance is always hot and you handle that genre well from what I've seen. Give it a shot.

    I don't know if I'll enter. Not unless MG is allowed? I'm focusing on that genre right now. Maybe I can enter my Adult Romance if need be. I dunno... Ill have to think about it.

    Good luck Roland. Not like you need it. ^_^

  12. ...great advice on the pitch rounds, Roland.

    I can remember sliding with ease through the first rounds back in '10, only to get ousted in the quarterfinals, or whatever they call it these days.

    Wishing you the best, my friend ;)


  13. T.D.:
    I'm a genius at over-working myself! I've worked 12 hrs straight 2 days in a row!! oUCH!

    Your nice words made my weary evening. Thanks. And I need all the luck I can get! Enter your Adult Romance. You never know.

    ABNA is a crap shoot. So much depends on which judge reads your material. Why not try it this year?