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Thread: [Contest] America's Next Author

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    [Contest] America's Next Author

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new to this forum but didn't see a better place to post this. Has anyone heard about this contest America's Next Author? The website is only letting you pre register right now. I'm wondering if anyone has pre registered, and whether you got any additional information. Is the company that runs it reputable?

    http://www.ebookmall.com/americasnextauthor

    Thanks for any insight!

  2. #2
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    I don't know about this one. This is the first time I've heard of the company sponsoring it, so I have no idea of their reputation or what winning a contest they sponsor would do for yours. They're pretty sketchy on the details, as well. And a "social media" voting system sounds rife with the possibility of people rigging votes. Color me dubious.
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  3. #3
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    From their about page...

    About America's
    Next Author.


    Read about the first social
    writing contest!



    America's Next Author is the first social writing contest! The winning story will be chosen based on votes from fans and readers. There is no entry fee. Grand Prize: $5000!

    This is not your average writing contest. In most writing contests, authors are left in the dark without ever knowing what other people entered or why they didn't win. We wanted to change all that and make our writing contest a transparent and social experience. Instead of being boring and frustrating, America's Next Author is fun and exciting.

    The competition will have ten nomination rounds in which the top-ranked author of that week will be nominated for the finals. Well-written, engaging stories are important, but authors can also influence their chances of winning by mobilizing their fans online. This gives contestants the opportunity to gain exposure as an author by building an online following, and winners will get press coverage and the chance to have a book published.

    Each contestant will get their own Author Page. This page will display an author photo, bio, and the full text of the author's story. This means that all of the contestants can read each other's work, and each author can build an online profile and gain worldwide exposure.

    Our panel of judges is made up of experienced professionals from the publishing world, and they will be reading the entries and providing authors with valuable feedback. Participation in America's Next Author will be a career boost and an excellent learning experience.

    America's Next Author is organized by veteran eBook retailer eBookMall.com, reseller of eBooks from some of the world's biggest publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Random House and MacMillan.
    I have to agree with Ben, they are very vague about terms and conditions of the contest. I suspect this is still being put together and they are just searching right now to see if there is any interest. And trust me, there will be interest from writers who have no clue as to what they are entering.

    Me, I would want to know who the judges are, if they will be requiring any rights and for how long. I am also weary of the fact they are mentioning MacMillan and Random House, as if they are part of the contest. If they are say so. But mentioning they sell their books on this site does not make them a sponsor or even approving of this contest.

    I would steer clear of this contest until more information becomes available.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW htrent's Avatar
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    Kind of reminds me of those beautiful baby contests: you send a photo in and have to harass your friends and family to get daily votes for your kid because that's the only way the contest staff will "see" them.

    Well-written, engaging stories are important, but authors can also influence their chances of winning by mobilizing their fans online. This gives contestants the opportunity to gain exposure as an author by building an online following...
    Red emphasis mine. Seems sort of like talking out of both sides of the mouth there. If you don't have any fans, how can you mobilize them? And if you DO have fans, why do you need to build an online following? You already have a...okay.

    It seems like Authonomy with a cash prize, though it doesn't say how long (or short) the stories should be. I wouldn't DARE post an entire novel online. Short story? Maybe.

    Participation in America's Next Author will be a career boost and an excellent learning experience.
    Overstatement. Pretty sure agents and editors have better things to do than scour these contest entries looking for the Next Big Thing. I think READERS have better things to do, too. They can go to Amazon and download the hundreds (thousands?) of freebies already available and read those.

    Perhaps a better line would be "Winning ANA will be a career boost." I won't speculate on how much an entrant will learn or what they'll learn.

  5. #5
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    What usually happens with these contests is writers "mobilize" their friends, who go vote for them and don't read any of the other entries.

    Perhaps a handful of people who don't know the authors take the time to read all the entries and vote, but in general it seems readers have other things to do.

    This one could be different, sure, but historically...
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  6. #6
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    Looks worthless to me. You could put up a page of gibberish and, if you had enough 'fans', win the contest.

    Internet votes have no value.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    Looks worthless to me. You could put up a page of gibberish and, if you had enough 'fans', win the contest.

    Internet votes have no value.
    Hmm, if I could mobilize the entire AW community to vote for my gibberish, I could win to prove a point. And I'll cut you in....
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  8. #8
    Just Another Transman Chris1981's Avatar
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    I suck and fail at Internet popularity contests, which is what this looks like to me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffo20 View Post
    Hmm, if I could mobilize the entire AW community to vote for my gibberish, I could win to prove a point. And I'll cut you in....
    I'm so there.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Cool

    I decided to de-lurk for this: I've published a few books through ebookmall over the last 3-4 years, they can be trusted - I've received regular payments from them - and are around for a long time (10 years that I know of).

    I've asked one of their staff about this contest and I was told the real launch with all information will happen before the end of next week. She didn't want to go into details, except that it will be a short story contest and that the so-called social elements are just an element. I mentioned rigging and quality selection. Submissions do have to go through a quality check first and I was told they will remove people trying to rig the system.

    I'm not 100% sure about joining because I don't know how well my writing would perform in a popularity contest. Depends on the specifics of the contest. I do like that there is no entrance fee, so there's no real risk involved. Would like to know the jury too first...

    -WR

  11. #11
    Just Another Transman Chris1981's Avatar
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    Wearywriter, thanks for joining in.

    Quote Originally Posted by wearywriter View Post
    I'm not 100% sure about joining because I don't know how well my writing would perform in a popularity contest. Depends on the specifics of the contest. I do like that there is no entrance fee, so there's no real risk involved. Would like to know the jury too first...
    No entry fee does not necessarily mean there's no risk.

    The social-networking element, big or small, usually means that all the entries--the ones that, in this contest's case, pass the quality-control check, anyway--will be published to the Web site for lodi dodi, anybody to read.

    If that happens, first-publication rights are gone and the authors whose stories don't win have nothing overly useful to show for it. Sorry, but my electric company doesn't accept, "My story got XX votes," as payment.

    On the other hand, I can write a story and submit it to a suitable publication--a paying market looking for that kind of piece. If my story's published there, I get paid. Later, I can offer reprint rights to interested publications, which means I can get another check/PayPal deposit for the same story AND get more exposure.

  12. #12
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    thanks

    Thanks for all the insight, guys. I think it's worth at least seeing how it goes once the contest actually starts. No harm in entering since there's no fee. If anyone puts in a story, let us know!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainebook View Post
    Thanks for all the insight, guys. I think it's worth at least seeing how it goes once the contest actually starts. No harm in entering since there's no fee. If anyone puts in a story, let us know!
    As Sarah1981 already stated, no fee does not equate no harm. The most obvious "harm" that's already been mentioned is the loss of first rights. Other things that you need to consider are specifically what rights ANA will be taking and for how long.

    I will definitely be taking a wait and see approach.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearywriter View Post
    Submissions do have to go through a quality check first and I was told they will remove people trying to rig the system.

    I'm not 100% sure about joining because I don't know how well my writing would perform in a popularity contest. Depends on the specifics of the contest. I do like that there is no entrance fee, so there's no real risk involved. Would like to know the jury too first...

    -WR

    Yes, who's judging on the quality before submissions are permitted?

    And how do they remove people trying to game the system, when the point is to get a bunch of your friends and family etc. to vote for you? I guess they'll only allow one vote per IP?


    Again, I'm not saying anything is wrong with or unethical about this particular contest, or ebookmall in general. Certainly if they intend to monitor IPs that at least is something. I'll be interested in seeing the complete rules/info when it goes up. But again, in my experience these don't tend to go very well.
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  15. #15
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Ming View Post
    As Sarah1981 already stated, no fee does not equate no harm. The most obvious "harm" that's already been mentioned is the loss of first rights.
    First rights matter A LOT in the short story world.

    Many good short stories go on to lead lucrative lives in the reprint arena, but many don't. You want to think long and hard about giving away first rights for nothing.
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  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    First rights matter A LOT in the short story world...You want to think long and hard about giving away first rights for nothing.
    Exactly. Based on what I see at the contest website, any story entered in the contest could only ever be sold as a reprint.

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  17. #17
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah1981 View Post
    I suck and fail at Internet popularity contests, which is what this looks like to me.
    Me, too, and this is exactly what I thought.

    I wish anyone luck who does enter, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    update

    Hi again guys,

    Not sure if any of you are interested since it sounds like the first publication rights is an issue for most of you, but I checked on this site again today and noticed that it's now open for registrations and there's a lot more info posted.

    The FAQ page addresses most of your other concerns:
    http://www.ebookmall.com/americasnextauthor/faq

    Personally, I'm not bothered by the publication rights. I mean, I have two choices:
    1. I could submit a story to a magazine and *maybe* get it published for like $50 or $100
    2. I could submit a story to a contest and *maybe* I'd win $5000

    If you know for sure that every story you submit to a publication will be accepted and you'd make money, then I see why you wouldn't want to try a contest. But I personally don't know that would happen.

    Again, thanks for your feedback.

  19. #19
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I think the difference for me is that if I submit my story to a magazine and get rejected, I can submit it to another, and another, and another, till I finally get accepted (and get paid a hundred dollars or whatever). If I send it to this contest and lose, I can't send it anywhere else. Hell, I can't even claim to have written it, since they take both publication and moral rights.

    By submitting an Entry you grant eBookMall the publication rights to your Entry during the contest and 12 months after the completion of the contest.

    By submitting an Entry, you grant us and our respective affiliates and agents permission to use, without charge, portions of your Story along with your name and stated reason for writing the submitted Entry (if provided) for any purpose in connection with this Contest. You also grant us the right to edit the formatting and display of your Entry, and to create literary or any other types of effects in respect to your Entry without compensation or approval. In addition, to the extent that any moral rights (for example, the right to attribution and the right to integrity) apply, you waive (and to the extent that these rights may not be waived, agree irrevocably not to assert) your moral rights in your Entry for purposes of this Contest, including, without limitation, our use of excerpts from your Entry in connection with this Contest. You represent that you have received the consent of any person whose real and actual name or likeness is used or featured in any Entry that you submit. If you fail to obtain the consent, your Entry will be disqualified. We have the right at any time during the Contest to request proof of consent, and to disqualify your Entry if you cannot provide the requested proof. Your Story and Excerpts, along with your name, city, and state of residence, and portions of your Entry which relate to the submitted Story, may be posted on any website owned or operated by us or any of our affiliates (“Our Site”), any other website or other online point of presence on any platform through which any products or services available on or through Our Site are described, syndicated, offered, merchandised, or advertised. Our decision to post an Excerpt or any portion of an Entry on any one of Our Sites does not mean that the selected Entry has been selected as a winning Entry.
    captainebook, are you in any way affiliated with this contest or the website/company running it?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    captainebook, are you in any way affiliated with this contest or the website/company running it?
    I found myself wondering this after reading over this thread, too. My "is this an innocent query or a sneaky attempt at advertising?" senses are tingling.

  21. #21
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Hmmm...submit to a magazine for $50 and know outright how my rights stand vs. submit to a contest for $5000 and have to worry about a foggy potential rights grab that affects my work just for entering? Gosh, it's so obvious.
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  22. #22
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    1. I could submit a story to a magazine and *maybe* get it published for like $50 or $100
    2. I could submit a story to a contest and *maybe* I'd win $5000
    I could submit it to a magazine, then another, then another ...and know that eventually it would be published (for $300-$500), or submit it to a contest, probably not win anything, and lose all my rights. Decisions, decisions!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainebook View Post
    ...

    I mean, I have two choices:
    1. I could submit a story to a magazine and *maybe* get it published for like $50 or $100
    2. I could submit a story to a contest and *maybe* I'd win $5000
    False dichotomies are not your friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by captainebook View Post
    If you know for sure that every story you submit to a publication will be accepted and you'd make money, then I see why you wouldn't want to try a contest. But I personally don't know that would happen.
    If you don't believe your story will eventually be accepted and you will make money, what makes you think you can win this contest?

  24. #24
    Just Another Transman Chris1981's Avatar
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    So I could offer up a grab bag of rights and not get squat in return? No. Just...no.

    Why should I generously donate rights to my story? What's in it for me? A chance to get $5K. The odds, by the way, worsen (for me) every time the number of eligible/allowed entries increases.

    Want to use my writing? Cut me a check or transfer money to my PayPal account. Don't want to use my writing? Don't touch even one of my rights. I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Doubts...

    Like some of you said above: might be advertising. But either way I find this discussion interesting.

    First of all: I write because I have to.

    I also write because I think my writing appeals to a larger audience. It is very satisfying to get responses from readers. For me personally the financial aspect is less important and I'm not focused on short stories or selling them to magazines. In all honesty: I'd love one of the big publishers to pick up my writing and I'm considering using a modified part of my manuscript to join this contest. As it seems a different, interesting way to get my name out there.

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