But see, these writing events have an additional purpose besides proving I am paranoid about what goes on in my absence... They provide structure to my writing life.
I've written 12 books, right? But the only ones I've polished adequately to SHARE have had deadlines to get them polished by... I have my writing contract, so those fit, but the others? This Amazon Contest...
So you want the Scoop?
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is a novel contest whereby the winner(s) get a $15,000 writing contract with Penguin for their book! Now just to be clear, that $15K is an advance, so if you sell the heck out of the book, you get more money... and as advances to debut authors go, that is relatively generous, though it depends of course on genre. The only type of books that regularly do better than this, though, for an unproven author, are award winners and thrillers.
Who Can Enter?
I think you have to be 13... There are a handful of excluded countries and I don't KNOW why... You need to ENTER the book under the name you want it published under. You can't be an Amazon or Penguin employee... mostly though, it is first come first serve within the two week period submission is open.
WHAT Should Be Submitted?
Fiction. Novels. No non-fiction, no anthologies or collections. There are two categories, general and young adult. Each category will take 5000 entries. All entries should be between 50,000 and 150,000 words. This is a HUGE range (though I confess to having to pare mine the first time I tried). But honestly, this is more leeway than you will ever get from publishers, normally, (though some YA books, particularly 'middle grade' are shorter). There is a 'nothing offensive' rule that seems to be an 'only applied if...' but they don't include erotica, though sex and language that fit the story have never disqualified anyone that I know of. I think it is just 'genre erotica' that is out. Books can have been SELF published or NEVER published, but not published through anyone. (they ask you not to shop it while it is still in the contest, but that is shopping for PUBLISHER as I understand it--you can still query it. In fact that was how I ended up with Fabulous Agent #2--querying my semi-finalist.
When Does This Happen?
|it happens when it's like this outside...|
HOW does one submit?
Go HERE and they will have the link and up to the date instructions. They don't currently have the entry links, probably because they are not yet open.
How is it Judged:
Round 1: 5000 per category becomes 1000 based on a 300 word PITCH. (hint: get a ton of feedback. The discussion boards have a spot for it. There is a facebook group for it. Ask experienced people. This is the round where your BOOK is not speaking for you—your marketing device is, and it is a different skill, so get help!)
Round 2: 1000 becomes 250 based on the excerpt. This is the FIRST 3000 – 5000 words. (hint: if your book hasn't reached the 'exciting part' yet, you will want to revise... but you would want to revise ANY book that takes that long if you are hoping for traditional publishing. Hint 2: leave it on a cliffhanger if possible. You want them craving more. So 3000 words that leave them craving is far better than getting every last word allowed in there... in fact I'd err toward the shorter end ANYWAY—the feeling of 'is it over already? Helps you.) [note: everybody who makes this round gets two reviews on their excerpt]--those who get past this round are 'quarter finalists'.
Round 3: 250 becomes 50. This is based on the whole book. Just make it as good as possible. Winners this round are semi-finalists (note, 50/5000 is top 1%, so this is a big deal)
Why the Heck Would I Subject Myself to This?
It's FUN! It is actually set up to mirror the agent or publisher process well—pitch, partial, full, so it is a good experience, but when you query, you are ALONE. HERE, you do it with 9000 of your closest friends. Seriously—very supportive. It's a great bunch of people. And of course it provides the infamous deadline some of us really need.
If you have questions about rules and such, they are all here.
So who's in?! (Come on. All the cool kids are doing it!)