A couple of months back, I learned about a novel contest co-sponsored by Amazon.com and Penguin Books. It's called the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, where they would allow up to 5,000 entries consisting of completed, but unpublished novels (plus an excerpt with only the opening chapters). Of these 5,000 entries, up to 1,000 Semi-Finalists would be chosen. The excerpts for these 1,000 entries would then be posted on Amazon.com. They will also each receive a full Publisher's Weekly review of the entire manuscript. Base on these PW reviews, and customer reviews of the posted excerpts, the top 100 Semi-Finalists will be chosen by Penguin editors. Of these, 10 Finalists will be chosen. The final prize: a $25,000 book deal with Penguin for the winning entry.
After discussing this with my agent, we decided it was worth a shot. The timeline for judging is relatively short, and the prize: a contract with Penguin, one of the largest publishers in the world, bar none, was worth it.
So last Fall I submitted Margaret's Ark.
I've just been informed it has made the first cut, and is now a Semi-Finalist along with 836 other entries. The excerpt is currently posted online, and here's where you can help: the purpose of posting these excerpts is to garner as many customer reviews of the entries as possible. These will have some bearing on which is selected for the top 100 entries (perhaps how well the author can pimp... I mean promote him/herself, more than anything most likely, but they definitely can’t hurt). The excerpts can be read online, downloaded, all FREE.
My entry for Margaret's Ark can be found at:
If you like what you've read and are so inclined, you can post a short review blurb for it. The more the merrier!
The General ABNA (the abbreviation for the contest) site is http://www.amazon.com/abna - from here you can click on the various genre categories, read and rate all of the other Semi-Finalists. Note that Amazon is running a side-contest for reviewers, customers who give the most reviews are eligible for some cool prizes (listed on the main page).
Speaking of Margaret's Ark: the original short story on which the novel was based, "Lavish", is soon going to be appearing in a Hungarian anthology of stories (translated into Hungarian and published overseas). I'll let you know when I learn more on this one.
In other news, I hear that Apex #11 (containing my short story "Ray Gun") is being reviewed in the most recent Locus Magazine. I can't find Locus in any of my local stores: if anyone subscribes and finds the review, I'd love to hear how it went.