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Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award FAQ

What has changed about the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest?

For 2014, the Manuscript word count has been changed to a maximum of 125,000 words. For full details on the Contest, visit www.amazon.com/abna.

Where can I find rules for the Contest?

Please see the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest Rules.

What are the prizes?

Please see the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Prizes.

What is the Contest timeline and process?

Registrations and submissions for Entry into the Contest will be accepted from February 16, 2014, through March 2, 2014, or until 10,000 eligible entries have been accepted. Amazon-selected editors will choose up to 2,000 top Entries (by reviewing pitch statements for Valid Entries) which will be announced at www.amazon.com/abna on or about March 18, 2014. Amazon-selected editors and Amazon Vine Reviewers will then read 3,000-word to 5,000-word Excerpts from each of the remaining 2,000 Entries to narrow the field to up to 500 Quarter-Finalists, who will be announced on www.amazon.com/abna on or about April 14, 2014. Publishers Weekly editors will then read the Quarter-Finalists' full Manuscripts to rate and review them based on the following Judging Criteria: originality of idea, plot, prose/writing style, character development, and overall strength of submission. On or about June 13, 2014, the Publishers Weekly reviews of the Quarter-Finalists' Manuscripts will be posted within each entrant's CreateSpace account; and then the top 25 Semi-Finalists will be announced at www.amazon.com/abna. Publishers Weekly reviews of the Semi-Finalists' Manuscripts may be posted on http://www.publishersweekly.com. A panel of qualified judges selected by Amazon Publishing editors will then read each Semi-Finalist's Manuscript and accompanying review and, using the Judging Criteria, will select one Finalist in each category to be announced on or about July 8, 2014. Amazon customers will then select the Grand Prize Winner who will be announced on or about July 21, 2014. Please see the Contest Rules for more details.

What are the terms of Amazon Publishing's contract?

Amazon Publishing is offering five publishing contracts: four First-Prize publishing contracts, each with a $15,000 advance against future royalties, and one Grand Prize Winner with a $50,000 advance against future royalties. Contract summary terms are available for review on the Prizes page. You will be required to accept the Amazon Publishing contract "as-is" if you are selected as a First or Grand Prize winner.

Who is Amazon Publishing?

Amazon Publishing is a division of Amazon focused on publishing a wide range of quality books, from children's books to international bestsellers, romance novels to mysteries. The Amazon Publishing family consists of the following imprints: StoryFront, 47North, AmazonCrossing, AmazonEncore, Amazon Publishing, Grand Harbor, Jet City Comics, Kindle Worlds, Lake Union, Little A, Montlake Romance, Skyscape, Thomas & Mercer, and Two Lions. More information can be found at www.apub.com.

What kinds of novels are you accepting?

We are accepting original (unpublished or self-published) English-language fiction manuscripts, provided they meet Amazon.com's content guidelines. Please review our How to Enter section for information about the submission guidelines.

What genres are you accepting submissions in?
  • General Fiction

  • Romance

  • Mystery/Thriller

  • Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

  • Young Adult Fiction

How do I enter?

Please read How to Enter and instructions on the official registration website.

How many entries will you accept?

We will accept up to 10,000 Entries and each contestant may submit only one Entry. We encourage you to enter as soon as possible.

What are the submission requirements?

To submit, you must have first registered at http://www.createspace.com/abna. Entrants must provide a full Manuscript (between 50,000 and 125,000 words), an Excerpt from the beginning of their novel (between 3,000 and 5,000 words), a novel Pitch of up to 300 words and accompanying contest and biographic information such as title, genre, book description, and contact information. Please review How to Enter and the Official Rules prior to entering.

What are the word count limits?

• 50,000 to 125,000 words for Manuscripts
• 3,000 to 5,000 words for Excerpts
• Up to 300 words for the Pitch.

What is a Pitch, and why is it being used to judge my entry?

A "pitch" explains your novel's concept. A pitch is required and must be 300 words or less. The Pitch is more than just a summary; it needs to be a well-written explanation of what the book is about. Talk about your novel's strengths. Think about the elements chosen on which to judge your novel for the purpose of this contest: its overall strength, plot development, character development, originality of idea, and writing style or prose. Take the time to study your intended market and make sure your Pitch demonstrates that you understand how your book fits within this market and how your audience will identify with it. Remember, the book should resonate with who your readers are. The Pitch should be a concise explanation of your book and why the reader would want to read your novel.

How will judging work?

ABNA 2014 will segment entries into the following genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Romance, General Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. Entries will be judged according to their specific genre. One finalist will be named from each of the five genres. Amazon.com customers will vote on one entry from all finalists. The Entry with the most votes will be named the Grand Prize winner; all remaining finalists will be named First Prize winners.

Can I submit more than one Entry?

No. You may submit only one Entry.

Can I submit a separate Entry in each category?

No. You may submit only one Entry.

Is there a fee for entering?

No, there is no cost to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Just register at the official registration website powered by CreateSpace.com, provide your book's information, and upload your files.

Can I submit a hard copy Manuscript?

No. We are only accepting digital copies. You must submit your Manuscript and Excerpt in a Microsoft Word compatible format (.doc, .docx, or .rtf files).

What does "retain global distribution rights" mean?

Your Manuscript may not currently or previously have been the subject of a publishing agreement or option with any publishing house in any format. If you engaged a designer to assist you with your cover, or if you incorporated a real person into your story, you must have obtained all the necessary permissions to do so and retain the ability to distribute your complete work in order to enter. Please refer to the Contest Rules for complete requirements.

Do I keep my content rights if I enter?

Yes, you maintain full content rights when you enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, though you will be required to provide Amazon Publishing the exclusive right of first refusal on any publishing contract until you are eliminated from the Contest if you are selected as a Quarter-Finalist, or until June 13, 2014, if you are selected as Semi-Finalist. If you are not a Winner and Amazon Publishing notifies you that it wishes to publish your Entry, you agree to negotiate the terms and conditions of a publishing agreement exclusively with Amazon Publishing for a period of 30 days after you receive notification from Amazon Publishing. See the Official Rules for more information.

Can I submit my Manuscript after March 2, 2014?

Entries will only be accepted until March 2, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The entry period will end earlier if the maximum number of entries is received before March 2. The maximum number of entries is 10,000. No late Entries will be accepted.

Can I enter on behalf of someone else?

No. In addition, minors must obtain permission from their parent (or both parents where required by law) or legal guardian to enter the Contest. See the Official Rules for more information.

Can I participate if I am represented by an agent?

Yes, you may enter provided you hold all worldwide distribution rights for your Entry, and on the condition that you—not your agent—agree to comply with the Official Rules. You must disclose your representation information in the registration process. Manuscripts submitted as entries to the Contest cannot be actively shopped by agents during the Contest period, which runs from February 16, 2014, to July 21, 2014. Note that if you are selected as a Winner you will be required to accept the Amazon Publishing agreement "as is."

Is this an international contest?

Yes. Please read the Contest Rules for eligibility information. Entries, however, must be in English.

I have a Manuscript I'd like to enter and I still own the rights, but it was previously self-published. Can I enter?

Subject to the Official Rules, you may enter provided your Manuscript is not currently, nor has previously been, the subject of a publishing agreement.

What does self-publishing mean?

Self-publishing is a form of publishing enabling the author to retain full content and distribution rights to their work. Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, an Amazon Company, enable you to self-publish and sell your book on Amazon.com and other channels without paying setup fees. Kindle Direct Publishing enables you to distribute your eBook to Amazon.com's Kindle stores, while CreateSpace enables physical distribution of your book. CreateSpace also offers professional services to help you create, publish, and sell your book on Amazon.com and other channels. CreateSpace services include custom formatting, editing, cover design, marketing, and more. Learn more.

What if I'm currently a member publishing with CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing and self-publishing now?

Subject to the Official Rules, you may enter provided you retain all worldwide distribution rights to your Manuscript and it is not currently nor previously has been the subject of a publishing agreement with any publishing house.

How will I know if my Entry was accepted?

You will be notified via e-mail and via your CreateSpace ABNA Account Page after you register and submit your entry.

How do I withdraw my Entry from the Contest?

You may withdraw your Entry from the Contest at any point prior to the announcement of the Quarter-Finalists on April 14, 2014. Amazon Publishing retains exclusive right of first publication to your novel until you are eliminated from the Contest, or, if selected as a Semi-Finalist, until June 13, 2014.

To withdraw from the Contest, please e-mail ABNA-admin@amazon.com from the e-mail address you used to enter the Contest, and include your ABNA ID for verification.

How is the Contest being judged?

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest consists of a qualifying period in which Amazon-selected editors evaluate the submission Pitch, a second round in which Amazon-selected editors and Amazon Vine Reviewers evaluate Excerpts from the submission, a Quarter-Final period in which PublishersWeekly reviews the full Manuscript, a Semi-Final period where a panel of qualified judges selected by Amazon Publishing editors review the full Manuscripts to choose the Finalists, and a final period in which Amazon customers vote to determine the Grand Prize Winner. Please review the Contest Rules for more details on the judging process.

How does customer voting work?

Voting will take place at www.amazon.com/abna using a standard voting mechanism where Amazon customers will select their choice for the Grand Prize Winner. Voters must have an Amazon.com account to vote. There is no charge for voting. Only one vote per customer during the Finalist Period (Grand Prize determination phase) will be accepted.

How do customer votes get counted?

A vote will be tabulated for each Amazon.com customer who selects one Finalist using the voting mechanism at www.amazon.com/abna. The Finalist with the highest number of votes will be the potential Grand Prize Winner.

Can I vote for my own Entry?

Of course! You may vote for one Entry.

Can anyone vote, even people who live abroad?

Yes, anyone can vote as long as they have an Amazon.com account.

How will I be notified if I have won?

You will receive an e-mail and/or phone call if you are one of the potential Finalists. Quarter-Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be posted in a downloadable PDF at www.amazon.com/abna.

I saw that I could participate in discussion boards. How do I do this?

If you would like to engage in discussion with authors and other customers at the same time, you can use the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Discussion Board.

What is CreateSpace?

CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company, is the leading provider of independent publishing tools that empower authors to produce, polish, publish, and distribute their work to customers around the world. For more information, go to www.createspace.com.

Can you tell me about the Contest sponsors?

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest is sponsored by Amazon Services LLC, Amazon Content Services LLC, and On-Demand Publishing LLC dba CreateSpace. Find out more about our sponsors

If I choose to publish my book with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing after the Contest, can my book still be published by a traditional publisher?

Yes. By publishing through CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, you retain your rights to your book.

Where do I go if my question is not answered here?

Visit the discussion board at www.amazon.com/abna.

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Amazon Publishing

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Publishers Weekly: Reviewing Sponsor

Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly is the leading trade publication dedicated to books and writing and the official reviewing sponsor of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Professional reviewers from Publishers Weekly will provide full-manuscript reviews for novels that go on to the Semi-finalist round.