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Amazon and Penguin Announce Breakthrough Novel Competition

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December 10 – 17, 2009 Edition Amazon and Penguin Announce Breakthrough Novel Competition

SEATTLE, NEW YORK/AUTHORLINK NEWS/ December 9, 2009–Amazon.com and Penguin Group (USA) today announced the third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The international competition seeks the next popular novel, and  for the first time will award two grand prizes:  one for general fiction and one for best young adult novel.  The 2010 competition will also now be open to novels that have been previously self-published. Writers around the world are encouraged to begin preparing their manuscripts for entry into the competition, which is scheduled to launch on Jan. 25, 2010.

“We are looking forward to working with Penguin again to engage a whole new group of novelists for the third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award,” said Jeff Belle, Amazon.com’s vice president, U.S. Books. “By offering two grand prizes and providing additional opportunities for self-published authors, we’ll be able to support an even larger group of talented authors and their work.”

“The success of the competition in discovering new writers has led to exciting growth and new directions in this third year, including the addition of a young adult prize.  This development is in response to the writing community, and it enables Penguin and Amazon to discover new fiction for readers of all ages,” said Tim McCall, Penguin’s vice president of Online Sales and Marketing.

Between Jan. 25 and Feb. 7, 2010, writers with an English-language novel manuscript can submit their work at www.amazon.com/abna. Up to 10,000 total initial entries will be accepted, with up to 5,000 each in the general fiction and young adult categories. Amazon.com editors will select 1,000 entries from each category to advance to the next round. In the subsequent round, Amazon.com editors and at least one top reviewer on Amazon.com will read excerpts of the 2,000 entries and narrow the pool to 500 quarter-finalists (250 in each category). Reviewers from Publishers Weekly will then read, rate and review the full manuscripts, and 50 semi-finalists for each category will be selected. Penguin editors will evaluate the manuscripts of the 50 general fiction and 50 young adult semi-finalists, and choose three finalists for each award.

Two panels of esteemed publishing professionals will then read and post their critiques of the top three manuscripts on www.amazon.com. The panel for the general fiction category includes Tana French, New York Times-bestselling author of “In the Woods”; Julie Barer, of Barer Literary, LLC; and Molly Stern, editorial director and executive editor of Viking Books. The panel for the young adult category includes New York Times-bestselling authors Sarah Dessen (“Along for the Ride”) and Nancy Werlin (“Impossible”); Amy Berkower, president of Writers House, LLC; and Ben Schrank, president and publisher of Razorbill. In the final stage, Amazon.com customers will have seven days to vote for a Grand Prize Winner in each category. The two Grand Prize Winners will be announced in Seattle on June 14, 2010. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

The 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition drew several thousand entrants, representing all 50 U.S. states and 21 countries around the world.  The winning novel, “Bill Warrington’s Last Chance” by James King, will be published in August 2010 by Viking, a division of Penguin Group (USA).

CreateSpace.com, part of the Amazon group of companies and a leader in self-publishing services, will again host the contest entry platform, which includes a community for authors that will keep them up to date on the contest and help them prepare their entries by soliciting feedback from the community and accessing online content through Preview. CreateSpace will also offer all entrants one free proof copy of their novel, and 10 percent off any one service for a limited time.

“We’re thrilled to once again be working with both Amazon.com and Penguin on the third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award—and for the first time to be including authors of fiction for young adults. As the foremost book review publication for the publishing industry, Publishers Weekly sets the standard in offering early insight on the work of new authors. It’s a pleasure to bring our expertise and perspective to bear on the new talent that will be a part of the 2010 competition,” said Brian Kenney, editorial director, Publishers Weekly.

For complete terms and conditions for the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and more information about the contest, please visit www.amazon.com/abna. For more information on the CreateSpace self-publishing service, or to visit the CreateSpace Community, please visit www.createspace.com.