Four years ago, Amazon teamed up with publishing giant Penguin Putnam to create the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The gist of the contest is to give a new and unpublished author a nominal cash prize along with a publishing contract. Last year, they added an additional prize and now give two grand prizes, one for a general fiction author and one for a young adult author.
I'm not quite sure how I stumbled on this, but I've been entering this contest every year since its inception. Not only does it provide a valuable opportunity to get exposure for your work, but it's one of the few contests that's free. That is to say there's no monetary cost. There is a great deal of emotions that authors invest in this. I confess I'm one of them.
Last year, for the first time they not only offered two grand prizes but they also opened it up for self-published works to be entered. Though I've been self-publishing for some time, I've never entered any of my self-published works in this particular contest. I've always gone with the new entries.
Having been told my latest book, After All These Years, is my best work yet, I decided to take the plunge. I've entered it in the Amazon contest. Now, I just sit back and wait until February 24, 2011 to find out if my concept is good enough to move me to round two. That's right. They won't even be looking at the story unless the three-hundred word pitch I sent them was enough to convince them I have a good story. This layer, known as the pitch, was added to the contest in the second year. I have to admit it's my least favorite. I'm not a fan of having the merit of an entire novel based on three-hundred words. Be that as it may, I don't make the rules. I just follow them.
I will say I'm a lot more confident in my entry this year. I know the work is polished and well thought out and initial reviews have been good. So it's time to put everyone's words to the test and see if Amazon thinks After All These Years really is my best work yet and if that's even good enough to move me on. Here's to hoping the fourth time is a charm!