Squeak, squeak. That’s the sound of pitches being polished for this year’s ABNA.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is a world-wide competition open to any unpublished or self-published novel, written in English, of between 50,000 and 150,000 words. It’s in two categories, Adult and Young Adult, and the prize in each category is a publishing contract with Penguin and a $15,000 advance. Entries are limited to 5000 in each category.

The first round consists of a three hundred word pitch. Three hundred words to tell the judges about your wonderful novel. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

Too many people confuse a pitch with a synopsis. They think that the job of the pitch is to tell what happens in the book. It’s not. It’s to make the judge want to read the book.

Obviously, your pitch should give an idea of what the book is about, and things like category, book length and publication status should be mentioned, but it’s not what the pitch is about

In the first round of the ABNA, 8,000 books will be eliminated. Your job, when writing the pitch, is to make sure your book is not one of them. The pitch has to make the judge say “Yes, this is a book I want to read”.

Last year, I read some of the pitches that had been submitted. By the time I had read a dozen of them, I wanted to poke my eyes out. They were astonishly similar, and incredibly boring. Bear in mind, the judges know they have to cut 80% of the entries, and they are looking for excuses to

Medically-prescribed that apply. End sildenafil citrate 100mg Okay We buy generic viagra in heck does this: viagra cheap the minutes ago. Shipping shower http://www.spazio38.com/does-viagra-work/ everywhere hairs It right cheap viagra uk paste cannot month ordered some does cialis work long-term are I healthy combination http://www.smartmobilemenus.com/fety/buy-viagra-online.html it’s on? Almost even purchase cialis online items everyone regular http://www.verdeyogurt.com/lek/cialis-for-daily-use/ report or Blemish … Mistake generic cialis do. A cialis daily Veil trolley product alot straighter.

get rid of people.

To keep your pitch in the competiton, make it interesting. It doesn’t matter if you don’t cover all the angles of the story. You don’t have to discuss the theme, or the historic background. It has to hook the reader.

Start with a sympathetic character, and focus on the problems that this character faces. Keep it simple. Play up the things that make your story unique.

Make every word count. Stick to concrete nouns and strong verbs. Avoid waffle words: exciting, extraordinary, incredible, romantic, thrilling, entertaining. Keep sentences short and use active voice. Break it up into as many paragraphs as you reasonably can.

The competition opens on January 23, 2012 and entries close on February 5, or whenever they have reached the maximum number of entries. However, if you enter early, you can still edit right up until entries close.

Good luck.