Amazon Announces Sixth Annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award


All the details are below with links. This is a golden opportunity for new authors and self-published authors! We encourage you to read all the information to first (particularly, self-published authors check out Official Rules section 3(e) to understand their definition of self-published). In a nutshell, finalists will be chosen in five categories—general fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, science fiction/fantasy/horror, and young adult fiction—and receive publishing contracts with Amazon Publishing, with a $15,000 advance.. One Grand Prize winner will be chosen by Amazon customers and receive a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing, with a $50,000 advance.


This year’s ABNA contest is open to unpublished and self-published English-language novels, which can be submitted from January 14, 2013 through January 27, 2013. The five finalists will be announced on May 21, and the Grand Prize winner will be announced during a special ceremony at Amazon headquarters in Seattle in June.

Up to 10,000 eligible entries will be accepted for the ABNA contest this year. The top 400 entries from each category will advance to the second round. Amazon reviewers will then read excerpts of the entries and narrow the pool to 100 titles in each category. In the subsequent round, reviewers from Publishers Weekly will read, review and rate the full manuscripts to find the top five semi-finalists for each category. Amazon Publishing editors will then choose a finalist in each of the five categories. In the final stage of the contest, customers will vote for a Grand Prize winner.

For the complete Official Rules for the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and more information about the contest, please visit Visit the Prizes page for the full list of prizes and details.


The categories to include five popular genres: General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Young Adult Fiction. And we’re accepting entries from more countries than ever before. For complete eligibility details, view the official contest rules, or read details on how to enter.

Amazon Publishing is the official publishing sponsor for 2013 — which means a faster publishing timeline, higher royalties, ability to launch the books in multiple formats (print, audio, ebook) and worldwide distribution. Visit CreateSpace to learn more.

Preparing Your Entry

1) Prepare a strong pitch. More than a summary, your pitch should highlight your concept, protagonist, setting and writing style—all the elements that make your story unique. View sample pitches from past entrants.

2) Select the Genre that best fits your book: General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, or Young Adult.

3) Stay within the word-count limits — pitch, up to 300 words; excerpt, 3,000 to 5,000 words; manuscript, 50,000 to 150,000 words.

4) Remove all identifying information from your pitch, excerpt and manuscript, including: your name and/or pen name, contact information, any awards received for your book and an author bio/resume.

5) Submit all your materials in the English language.

6) For complete entry requirements, view the Official Contest Rules.

7) Create an account with CreateSpace (if you haven’t already).

Fiction in a Nutshell Contest

Most of you out there probably know and “compete” in things like NANOWRIMO [writing 50,000 words of a novel in a month] or NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction [writing a story in 500 words] or even The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest [writing a really bad sentence]. Well, this month, we’re introducing you to Fiction in a Nutshell, a contest put on (almost) annually by our local paper The Acorn. The word limit here is 100.

You can read the 2009 winners in each category, or 2010 winners for some idea of just how powerful 100 words can be.

The rules are as follows: Entries must be 100 words or less and fiction — scifi, drama, adventure, romance or anything else from the world of make believe. No poems! You’ll be judged on writing, creativity and topic.

One entry per person. All entries must be received by Noon [California time!] on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. Email the entry to and include your name, address, age and phone number — this information must be included.

There are two categories: under-18 and 18-and- over.

Each winner will receive a $50 prize and their 100-word story and brief bio will be printed in The Acorn. Winners will be announced Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.

Whatever kind of nuts your into, hazlenut, walnut, macadamia, peanut, pine nut, coconuts, cashew, almond, pistacio, chestnut or something completely different, this is your opportunity. Go nuts! And you know what they say, big oaks grow from little acorns!

Published in: on August 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Ok, ok, we know you’ve been wondering. So, here it is. Observations Upon “The Religion of Doctors” — Your end of summer read about a FABulous wedding on gorgeous Prince Edward Island awaits!

No, we didn’t plan it this way, but apparently theRoyal couple, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine nee Middleton) are beginning their Candian Tour tomorrow and making a stop on beautiful  Prince Edward Island * for the Fourth of July weekend.

If you’d like to enter the contest to win a trip to PEI, the good folks at Tourism PEI are sponsoring a “follow in Royal Footsteps” contest, allowing the winner to go to all the charming spots in Canada the Royal couple will visit.

Observations Upon “The Religion of Doctors,” Book 5, of the series we’ve been publishing about the Gardner Museum heist (by Acascias Riphouse), had been rolled as of today. It is the penultimate book of the series, and features a contemporary Labor Day wedding on Prince Edward Island (home of LM Montgomery’s famous red-headed Anne of Green Gables).

If you’re wondering what it would be like to vacation on PEI, pick up a copy now and tag along to find out about all the PEI summer hotspots while solving the mystery.  Or, hang on to it for your own end of August getaway (or that destination wedding your dreading) and see how your adventures stack up with ours. Hopefully your holiday / wedding won’t end in murder!

If you want to check out the first few chapters, you can do that on our main website, or check out Google Books.  Haven’t read the earlier books in the series? No worries, you can always catch up. If you want to see just how beautiful the island really is, click Dan James’ CEO Blues Gallery link and see our favorite shot. Dan, amazingly is not a professional photographer, but CEO of silverorange web systems.

This book is only available in Trade paperback or e-Book formats, because really, who buys hardbacks these days?

Next month we’ll be devoting some blogspace to an author interview. So, fasten your seatbelt, we’ll be asking all the ugly questions about the Welsh, autoimmune diseases, auction houses. And the most important, did you know Whitey Bulger was living in Santa Monica? And hopefully we’ll have some dish on the final book of the series Loose Fantasies:  The Memoirs which will be available at the end of August.

*(Yes, it really is Prince Edward Island, not Prince Edwards Island, but we probably messed that up at least once somewhere in the book, or on the website, or even on the cover. Sorry.)

2011 Hillerman Mystery Novel Competition: $10,000 advance + Publication. The Deadline is Looming so Get Your Entry In Now!


Sponsored by the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (THWC) and St. Martin’s Press

A word about self-published mysteries:

Although the judges make the final call, in general self-published mysteries are allowed. If a self-published book sold thousands of copies, got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, or otherwise made a big splash, it would be disqualified.

1.      The Competition is open to any professional or non-professional writer, regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a published mystery (as defined in subparagraph 2(a) below) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a mystery. Only one manuscript entry is permitted per writer.

2.      All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original, previously unpublished works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language by the entrant; b) must not violate any right of any third party or be libelous; and c) must generally follow the guidelines below.

Hillerman Prize Guidelines

1. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the crime.

2. The story’s primary setting is the Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Southern California and/or Utah.
(The decision of the competition’s judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.)

3. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press, with the assistance of organizers of the THWC, and the winner will be chosen by St. Martin’s editors. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the Competition will be final. St. Martin’s reserves the right not to select any winner if, in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality.

4. An attempt will be made to notify the Competition winner, if any, no later than October 31, 2011.

5. If a winner is selected, St. Martin’s Press will offer to enter into its standard form author’s agreement with the entrant for publication of the winning manuscript. After execution of the standard form authors’ agreement by both parties, the winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the St. Martin’s Press standard form author’s agreement will be determined by St. Martin’s Press at its sole discretion. The entrant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but St. Martin’s shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin’s may, but will not be required to, consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other entrants.

6. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than June 1, 2011, and must include:

  • a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable) with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. The authors name should appear only on the title page and otherwise not appear anywhere on the manuscript pages.
  • b) A letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, email address and telephone number of the entrant and the entrant’s previous writing credits, if any.
  • c) The application form, duly completed, and a self-addressed letter-sized envelope for our response.

All entries must be mailed to St. Martin’s Press at the address below. For additional copies of the rules and to request an entry form, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

St. Martin’s Press/ Hillerman Mystery Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin’s Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10010

Each entrant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. St. Martin’s Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions we receive, the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have the work in their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes for return of your manuscript.

7. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff, evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.

8. This competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible. Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most expensive way. We judge its on-time performance by the post-mark or equivalent, not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.

Good luck!


Sponsored by the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (THWC)

and St. Martin’s Press, LLC

I have read, understood and agree to the foregoing rules. I affirm that the enclosed manuscript is original and was written by me. I further affirm that I have never written a published mystery novel of the type described in the rules.

Signature of Entrant: ____________________________________________
Name of Entrant: _______________________________________________
(please print or type)
Manuscript Title:__________________________________________________

Address of Entrant:________________________________________________

Please send your manuscript to:

St. Martin’s Press/ Hillerman Mystery Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin’s Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10010

And mark the outside of the package HILLERMAN MYSTERY COMPETITION