Sunday, 15 January 2012

Breakthrough Opportunity for Writers from Amazon and Penguin

A free competition for novel writers, Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award is an ideal opportunity for writers to take their chances upon a manuscript languishing in a drawer or a self-published novel as yet unnoticed on Kindle. The prize is a publishing contract with Penguin.

Opportunities for Fiction Writers

Amazon’s annual novel writing competition is an unmissable opportunity for writers wishing to get their manuscript read and seen by agents/publishers who could make a difference to their writing career, not least by Amazon itself and Penguin publishers.

Submissions are held in January/February every year limited to 5000 entrants of each category, so it is a good idea to submit your novel as soon as the competition opens. The two categories are: the adult fiction category (for readers between the ages of 12 and 17) and the general fiction category (for readers over the age of 17. Once the number of entries has exceeded 5000 in each of these categories, Amazon will stop accepting more entries.

How to Register for the Breakthrough Novel Award

To enter this writing competition, you must first register with Createspace/ABNA, Amazon’s platform for self-published writers who wish to sell paperback copies of their books. Once you have registered, you must have prepared:

The first 5000 words of your manuscript (or not less than 3000 words) excluding the copyright details of your book or the table of contents. This will be referred to as ‘the excerpt.’ You must not put your name or pseudonym anywhere on the excerpt.

You must also have prepared the pitch of your manuscript, which will be the synopsis of your story, outlining the plot and the backbone of your novel. The pitch is critical, as it will be used to judge whether your entry deserves to go through the next round. The pitch must inform on what the book is about and hook the reader. How to write a great synopsis can be found in a separate article. The pitch must be no more than 300 words long.

Preparing for a Big Annual Novel Competition

You will need to fill in your personal details upon a separate form to the novel itself. You should also have prepared the full manuscript of your work should your novel get through the next round. Collectively, these items will be known as the ‘entry.’

The novel must be between 50,000 and 150,000 words long and the work must be a full-length work of fiction, not a short story, poem or novella. The work must also be your own original creation, be in English, without images or be involved in a publishing contract elsewhere (previously or imminently). Your work may however, be self-published so long as you retain all publishing rights.
The excerpt and the full manuscript can be uploaded as Word (either as .doc or .docx), rtf or txt format.

Free Writing Competition for Novel Writers

There is a writers’ forum dedicated to the ABNA for tips and ideas. You can also watch a short presentation to help improve your book’s chances of getting through the next round. This is broken down into writing a great pitch, writing the first ten pages of your novel, writing the author bio and hooking the reader. Of course, the excerpt should be as perfect as possible, that the pitch is tight and that the novel is original and compelling. The finer points of crafting a novel can be found on my sister site, novel writing site.

Competitions Deadlines

You can sign up for updates to the ABNA competition where you will be kept informed on the competition’s progress. There will be several ‘rounds.’ The first round, (based upon the pitch) will narrow the entries down to 1000 per subcategory (or in total, 2000). The next round will narrow the numbers down, (based upon the quality of the first 5000 words) to 250 entries (or 500 in total.) For this reason, the first pages of your novel are crucial. By the quarterfinals, only 100 entries will remain, where the judges will read the full manuscript. Works who make the semi-final round will be read by Penguin Publishers, where the number of entries will be thinned to 6 semi-finalists.

Finally, Amazon customers will vote upon the best entry in each category, resulting in two grand prize winners of a Penguin Publishing Contract.

Great Opportunity for Writers

The Breakthrough Novel Award sponsored by Amazon and Penguin is a free fiction writing competition that could yield a turn in the writer’s career. An excellent pitch, the first 5000 words of the novel and the full manuscript are the requirements. Uploading the novel as soon as the competition opens would be wise, as only the first 5000 entries per category (or 10,000 in all) will be accepted in the competition.

Helpful Articles for Writers

Writing the perfect pitch for your novel
The perfect beginning to your novel

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