It's official! They finally announced it. Amazon will be hosting their annual Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA) again this year. But, they've made some big changes.
First of all, Penguin is not part of this year's contest. Instead, Amazon Publishing will be in charge of the winning manuscripts. This means a more streamlined process with a faster timeline. It may also lead to more aggressive marketing of the winners, given that Amazon stands to gain more from the published books than when Penguin was the publisher. This is, of course, speculation. We'll see how it all plays out once we get there.
Second, the categories have been shaken up. Where there once was two categories to chose from (General Fiction or Young Adult) there are now five (GF, Mystery/Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror, Romance and YA). The hope is that by dividing them up this way, all entries will get a fair shot at the top prize. It also means that all categories will be represented in the winning entries.
Which brings me to the third change. MORE PRIZES!!! Previously, only two entries were guaranteed a publishing contract, one GF and one YA. This year, five entries will have that chance. Amazon will award one overall winner with a $50,000 advance, and four first place prizes with an advance of $15,000. For those who haven't followed along in the past, $15,000 advance was the top prize. This is a huge change for us writers.
Fourth is the competition will be tougher. More countries are being allowed to enter and with the change up in the categories, fewer entries for YA will be taken.
Most of the other rules are still in place. Word count MUST be between 50,000 and 150,000. Excerpt is between 3,000 and 5,000. Pitch is 300 or less. Elimination rounds are run the same way with Amazon
Publishing going through the semi-finalists instead of Penguin.
With all the changes, I've decided to jump ship on Young Adult and enter the Mystery/Thriller category with WHAT THE WHOLE TOWN KNEW. So, you can all stop voting on it now. At least until it makes it into the final 5. Then you can all vote like crazy.
Interested in entering with me? Check out the rules and important dates here. Read through the discussions and meet some interesting people. Then, prepare for the opening of submissions on January 14th.
Good luck and happy writing! ;-)