I have so many mixed feelings about this, I hardly know where to start. On its face, the contest sounds like an attempt to help new and self-published authors get exposure for their books. The first prize is nice – a publishing contract with Penguin Press and a $15,000 advance. So, why the mixed feelings?

Well, maybe it’s because only one novel in each category of 5,000 entries can win anything except being an also-ran. Does that sound like they’re trying to help authors? So it feels about the same to me as buying a lottery ticket. You see, I put a lot of myself into writing, and there’s something offensive about feeling like a ball in a bingo machine. I guess my recent experience with Create Space, the Amazon subsidiary sponsoring the contest (https://marylanddreamweavers.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=428&action=edit), has left me suspicious about whether Amazon is interested in anyone’s success but its own. It makes me think the contest is nothing but a marketing ploy for Create Space. Duh!

Why then, did I just enter “The Portal” in the contest? It didn’t cost anything to enter and it didn’t take very long, so why not?

And it forced me to read through the manuscript again and catch the few remaining errors.  And to remind myself how much I really like this book. It still makes me cry. Maybe I’ll make the first cut to the top 1,000. I should know by February 24th.