Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards

You may have heard people discussing this in the last few weeks. But, what is it? The amazon Breakthrough Novel awards is a contest held by – you guessed it – Amazon, Create Space and Penguin Group (yes, the book publishing house).

So how does it work?

Entrants submit their manuscripts – formatted to the specifications stated here – on one of two categories: Young Adult Fiction or General Fiction.  But don’t get too excited just yet.

First, Amazon Editors will read through the pile of 5,000 300 word pitches.  Of those, 2,000 entries will be passed on to round two, where Amazon Top Customer Reviewers will narrow the field down to 500.  Next, Publishers Weekly reviewers will knock the entrants down to 100. After that, Penguin Editors will go through the entries and narrow it down to six (three in each category) and finally, the winning entries will be chosen by Amazon Customers. The winners will get a contract for the book with Penguin, including a $15,000 advance.

What does this mean? If you can’t pitch your book, then forget it? I’m not going to tell anyone to skip entering, but I do want to point out how important that 300 word pitch will be for entrants. If you’re just coming up to the plate on this, I suggest some serious cramming to get it just right.

The short entry window also means something else: Your book needs to be already finished , edited, and polished, like, now. (Yeah, a little valley girl, there.)  But, on the bright side, so long as your novel has never been the subject of a publishing agreement with anyone, you can enter it, even if it is self published.

To enter the contest you need to visit this site: .  There you can also find out pretty much anything you might need to  know about it, and even watch a walk through video on how to enter.

Last question, am I entering? That would be a big “No”. With only one winner in th general fiction category, I really don’t see paranormal Fantasy doing well. Am I missing “an amazing opportunity”? maybe. So, don’t let my decision influence yours.

what about you?Are you entering this year? Did you enter last year? if so, what was your experience with the contest?

12 thoughts on “Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards

  1. Mari Miniatt January 24, 2011 / 9:49 am

    Not this year, but maybe next year with Never Got Paid (if it doesn’t get picked up by an agent before then). Don’t plan to win, that one is fantasy. I don’t think it will do well either.

    • Joleene Naylor January 26, 2011 / 3:17 am

      Yeah, it seems to be more “literary” stuff that wins.

  2. Lovelyn January 24, 2011 / 3:34 pm

    I entered it a couple years ago, but not this year. I don’t that signed by a big publisher dream any more.

    • Joleene Naylor January 26, 2011 / 3:18 am

      I’ve toyed with the idea, but, eh. I don’t have time for a big publisher, LOL!

  3. Ruth Ann Nordin January 25, 2011 / 12:11 am

    Maybe I’m going to come off as cynical, but I think it’s a huge waste of time unless you write a really boring fiction book. I’ve seen their past winners and would only read those books if I had insomnia and needed to fall asleep. I know. That sounds so mean, but it’s how I honestly view those books. Maybe if I wrote something called ‘Hey, There’s a White Elephant in the Room’, I’d enter.

    I did enter last year, but I did it to get a coupon for a free CreateSpace proof. 😛 This is the same reason I entered and pushed myself to win NaNo. This year, I figure I’ll save myself the grief of trying to polish up a 300 word synopsis and just fork over the $10 for the proof copy at CreateSpace.

    Thanks for this post, Jo. I love how you keep us all in the loop on what’s going on. 😀

    • Joleene Naylor January 26, 2011 / 3:21 am

      Hmmm… I like that title! Heh-heh. Sounds like a winner to me 😉

      They kind of lost me when it was right back to a query letter. It’s kind of promoted as a “fair shake” contest where you;re judged on the manuscript and writing, but then it boils right back to that 300 word letter. In my experience, novelists are not concise by nature. A naturally concise author writes short stories. I realize they use the query stage to “cut the entries down fast”, but it’s still the same thing as trying for an agent.

  4. Melanie Walsh January 26, 2011 / 1:19 am

    I would enter except my historical fiction is still a long way from being good enough to publish let alone enter in a competition, although I probably have a good chance of winning since my husband thinks it’s boring 🙂 He’s into spy/thrillers so historical fiction puts him to sleep … or maybe it is just my writing!


    • Joleene Naylor January 26, 2011 / 3:22 am

      Husbands never appreciate their wife’s work. Mine’s never finished either of my books. If I ever get the satire done, maybe he’ll read that, though I’m not optimistic 😉

      • Ruth Ann Nordin January 26, 2011 / 10:59 pm

        My husband won’t read my work either. It must be a husband thing. lol

        • Joleene Naylor January 27, 2011 / 8:00 am

          I think it is! It’s like that saying about not being a prophet in your home town 😉

  5. Melanie Walsh January 27, 2011 / 1:33 am

    I just realized the $15,000 is not prize money for the ABNA as I thought – it’s just an advance on sales and I have no intention of going down that path. I can’t wait to self-publish my book, and I’ve already developed some cover concepts.

    • Joleene Naylor January 27, 2011 / 7:59 am

      yeah, I did a double take on that , too, when I wrote the blog up. I originally had it as “prize money” and then noticed it was just the advance…

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