The submission period for the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award began yesterday and ends on February 8, or until ten thousand entries have been received. The grand-prize winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin Group, including a $25,000 advance.
Entries may be uploaded through a link on Amazon’s site, which also includes information about the multi-tiered judging process. Amazon readers will vote for the winner from three finalists. During the finals, an expert panel—made up of novelists Sue Monk Kidd and Sue Grafton, Penguin Press editor in chief Eamon Dolan, and literary agent Barney Karpfinger, whose client list includes Bill Loehfelm, winner of last year’s Amazon Breakthrough Award for his book Fresh Kills—will post comments for customers to consider while voting. The winner will be announced on May 22.
Also included on the site are tips for submissions, such as this one about the importance of choosing an excerpt to post on the site: “The first ten pages of your book are some of the most important that you will write. Imagine a reader looking through the first few pages of a book to decide whether or not to purchase it: Something special needs to happen at the start—whether that's a sharp plot twist, the introduction of a fascinating character, or a beautifully crafted opening scene—to make the reader want more. When you select your excerpt text, choose where to stop judiciously: It doesn't necessarily have to be at word 5,000. Quality counts. Be careful that you don't leave readers hanging mid-sentence.”
The award is given for an unpublished, English-language work of fiction, between 50,000 and 150,000 words in length; there is no entry fee.