The contest runs annually and accepts 10,000 entries worldwide in five categories – general fiction, mystery and thriller, romance, young adult, and science fiction, fantasy and horror. The Cherry Blossom Murder is in the mystery and thriller category.
In the first round, entries are reduced from 10,000 to 2,000. In the second stage those 2,000 compete for a place in the quarter finals, open only to the best 500 (the top 100 in each category). That means that 95% of entries fail to make it to the quarter finals.
So you can see, it’s pretty exciting to still be in the running as one of the top 5%, especially as a competition as prestigious as this, run by the biggest publisher in the world, attracts a mass of high-quality entries.
It’s a long, slow process, the ABNA. It began back in February when it opened to submissions and it won’t finish until July when the eventual winner is announced. But just now I’m savouring the taste of victory and crossing my fingers for the next stage. Wish me luck in the semi-finals!