GoodeReader reported recently on the announcement of the upcoming Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, which opens for submissions next month. This year’s staging of the competition, however, carries with it several key changes to the contest guidelines and the prizes for the winners. Daphne Durham, editor-in-chief of Amazon Publishing, and Libby Johnson McKee, the Managing Director of CreateSpace, explained the changes to GoodeReader.
“From our launch of Amazon Encore in 2009,” said Durham of the switch to its own imprint rather than the advance and contract from Penguin as in years past, “Amazon Publishing has aimed to connect writers and readers. Authors are at the heart of every decision that the Amazon Publishing team makes, and sponsoring ABNA allows us the chance to shine a light on, and support outstanding, overlooked, as-yet-undiscovered writers.”
Where prior winners were awarded a $15,000 advance and a publishing contract for their novel from Penguin, this year’s grand prize winner will receive a $50,000 advance and a contract from Amazon Publishing; the winners in each category will still receive a $15,000 publishing advance from Amazon Publishing.
Those other categories will include General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, and Young Adult Fiction, with as many as 10,000 entries for the total competition. The breakdown of the contest categories and scoring came from a press release about the contest:
“The top 400 entries from each category will advance to the second round. Amazon reviewers will then read excerpts of the entries and narrow the pool to 100 titles in each category. In the subsequent round, reviewers from Publishers Weekly will read, review and rate the full manuscripts to find the top five semi-finalists for each category. Amazon Publishing editors will then choose a finalist in each of the five categories. In the final stage of the contest, Amazon.com customers will vote for a Grand Prize winner.”
“This was driven directly by author requests and feedback we’ve received from previous contests,” explained Johnson McKee. “By offering more categories, we’re able to focus on books of similar genres and compare them to each other rather than against other genres. Finalists will be chosen in each category – all of which will receive publishing contracts from Amazon Publishing – and then Amazon.com customers will choose the Grand Prize winner.”
The increase in entries was a decision that was made based on customer and author feedback over prior years of the ABNA awards. This increase in numbers resulted in a need for more qualified readers to make the early rounds’ selections. “With more potential submissions in more categories, we’ve brought on more pitch reviewers to accompany and learn from veteran reviewers.”
The contest opens January 14th and runs through January 27th, or until the predetermined number of entries has been met. The contest is staged in rounds where entries will be judged and advanced, with the final winners announced in late May.