ABNA: One Way to Break Through

First prize in the 3rd Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Contest for previously unpublished works is a publishing contract with Penguin and a $15,000 cash advance.  Almost any opportunity to get your work before interested readers, share a good story, gather some feedback, and connect with other writing professionals is good. ABNA is such an opportunity, yet its modest profile ensures that many writers will miss this chance to break through.  The contest's low profile is surprising – ABNA's sponsors are three of publishing's leaders: Amazon, Penguin Group (USA), and Publishers Weekly

Here's how the contest works: 

During the submission time window, ABNA accepts up 5,000 submissions in each of two categories: General Fiction and Young Adult. They specify 'up to 5,000' because ABNA closes submissions upon receiving 5,000 or after two weeks, whichever comes first. 

Initial Round: Amazon editors read 300-word pitches and select 1,000 from each category. 

Quarter-Finals: Expert Amazon reviewers read 3,000-5,000 word excerpts from entries and select 250 from each category. 

Semi-Finals: Publishers Weekly reviewers read and rate complete manuscripts, and select 50 from each category. 

Finals: Penguin editors evaluate the final 50 manuscripts in General Fiction, the final 50 in Young Adult, and select three finalists in each category. 

Amazon customer voting: Amazon customers have seven days to vote for their favorites in each category. 

Grand Prize Winners will be announced in Seattle on June 14, 2010.  Each will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance. 

For every writer but the winner, the benefit is feedback.  Novel writing can be a solitary enterprise and feedback about work-in-progress can become the difference between good and great writing. 



25 Feb 2010:  Initial Round - Pitches  

23 Mar 2010:   Quarter-Finals 

27 Apr 2010: Semi-Finals 

25 May 2010: Finalists 


2009 ABNA Winner:  Bill Warrington's Last Chance by Jack King 

2008 ABNA Winner:  Fresh Kills by Bill Loehfelm