Congratulations to the three ABNA finalists in adult fiction. I am looking forward to reading the excerpts from their novels. One thing that quickly came to my attention is that all three finalists have a so-called "platform" whether it is Chinese adoption or growing up along the Calexico-Mexicali border. I found both the Afghan book and the "border" book appealing, but I'm sure many will find the adoption book likewise riveting, esp. after the recent publicity about a Russian adoption gone bad.
My so-called platform used to be technology and computer crime, and these have advanced so far since I've been retired(4 years) that it would be hard to claim them.Look ma, no platform. Does suburban life count?Maybe for "cozies" and literary fiction.Not so much for other fiction.
Take a look at the Amazon ABNA award finalists.They beat out a HUGE number of competitors, even with a good platform, you need excellent writing to get this far.
check this out