What You Should Know About the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Author:
Publish date:

The very narrow annual submission window is now open for the much-buzzed-about Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (learn about it here). If you’re an unpublished or self-published first-time novelist, you’re eligible to enter now through February 5 (or until the limit of 5,000 entries have been received) to win the chance to get your first novel published, along with a $15,000 advance from Penguin.

The appeal of this contest is obvious—in addition to winning publication, publicity from Amazon and the award’s other high-profile sponsors (Publishers Weekly, Createspace and Penguin) is pretty much a given. There’s no entry fee. Plus, there's always the chance that even if you don't win, your manuscript will catch the eye of a key judge--literary agent (and popular writing instructor) Donald Maass, for instance. So if you’re sitting on a polished novel manuscript and looking to get published, entering sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Maybe.

The contest IS a great opportunity for many writers to take a big chance on being discovered. But if you read Writer’s Digest (and I hope you do!), you’re probably familiar with our standard caveat that you should review the official terms before entering any competition--in part because with our long lead time, we don’t often have a chance to discuss specifics in print (which, by the way, is why I’m so glad we’ve recently reinvented this blog to better serve you—now we can let you know about potentially great new opportunities as they arise, and talk details in real time, too).

In this case, there's one caveat in particular that you should note:

"Manuscripts submitted as entries to the Contest cannot be actively shopped by agents during the contest period, which runs from January 23, 2012 to June 16, 2012." (Read the full terms of the contest here.)

If you’ve got a submission-ready novel manuscript on hand and are lucky enough to have or to soon find an agent, putting your submissions on hold for six months is not something to be taken lightly. Is it worth it? You’ll need to consider your ultimate publication goals as well as where you are in your submission process (Were you thinking of putting things on hold for some reason anyway—perhaps because of another commitment on your time, or to implement agent feedback? Is the hook of your book timely—could a six-month delay hurt its chances long-term? Is your personal timeline for this particular project flexible?). The payoff can be big, but when it comes to weighing the risk against the potential award, only you can decide. Just be sure to know the implications of whatever decision you make.

And if you do take the leap, good luck--from all of us at WD.

Learn More About Entering Writing Contests

• Check out our Complete Guide to Writing Contests, with submission tips and 300+ contest listings.
• Find out what Writer’s Digest Competitions are currently accepting entries.
• Get up-to-date contest listings daily on WritersMarket.com.

Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer’s Digest

Follow me on Twitter: @jessicastrawser
Like what you read from WD online? Don't miss an issue in print!

incite_vs_insight_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Cleland_1:17

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!

20_most_popular_writing_posts_of_2020_robert_lee_brewer

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

Malden_1:16

Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.

writing_mistakes_writers_make_talking_about_the_work_in_progress_robert_lee_brewer

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.