Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 5, 2013

Get Ready to Enter the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest


Over the past five years, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award has helped thousands of authors realize their dream of writing a novel, while connecting them with their peers and readers and providing the opportunity to be discovered. 

The winner of Create Space and Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest was TIMEBOUND by Rysa Walker.

The 2014 Breakthrough Novel Contest is coming up in January. It is a narrow window of two weeks, so I thought I would get you thinking about whether you want to submit and give you more time to prepare if you do.

They haven’t announced the exact dates, but here are the dates for last year to give you and idea of how it lays out. Entries must received between January 14, 2013 at 12:00:01 a.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and January 27, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time).  Once they receive 10,000 entries, they will close the contest.

Each Entry must include one of the following genre selections to be categorized and judged throughout the Contest:

a. General Fiction

b. Mystery/Thriller

c. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

d. Romance

e. Young Adult Fiction

You must register at   to enter the Contest.  Once you have registered, follow the instructions on the entry form and upload:

(1) the complete version of your manuscript that is between 50,000 and 150,000 words.

(2) up to the first 5,000 words, but not less than 3,000 words, of your Manuscript, excluding any table of contents, foreword, and acknowledgments.

(3) a pitch of your Manuscript consisting of up to 300 words.

(4) the personal information required on the entry form. They will not review any Entry that does not comply with these Official Rules.

They will not accept entries written by two or more authors. Additionally, poems, short stories, and collections of works are not eligible.

MANUSCRIPT SHOPPING. Manuscripts submitted as Entries to the Contest cannot be actively shopped by agents during the contest period, which runs from January 14, 2013 to June 15, 2013.


First Round (January 28, 2013 – February 11, 2013).

Between January 28, 2013 and February 11, 2013, our editors will read the Pitch for each Valid Entry in each of the 5 categories.

Our editors will select the top 400 Entries from each Category to advance to the second round by rating each Pitch on the following three criteria:

originality of idea

overall strength of the Pitch, and

the quality of writing.

Second Round (February 13, 2013 – March 9, 2013).

On or about February 13, 2013, we will post the names of those moving to the Second Round online at

Between February 13, 2013 and March 9, 2013, our expert reviewers,  including Amazon editors and at least one Amazon Top Reviewer, will review and judge the Excerpts of each second round Entry.  The expert reviewers will rate each Excerpt on a scale of 1 to 5 on each of the following criteria:

a) Overall Strength of Excerpt

b) Prose/Style

c) Plot/Hook

d) Originality of Idea

Each second round Excerpt will receive two reviews, and the top 100 Entries from each Category based on the average Overall Strength of Excerpt score will advance to the Quarter-Finals (each, a “Quarter Finalist”).  These reviews will be posted within each Entrant’s account on or about March 12, 2013.

Quarter-Finals (March 12, 2013 – April 13, 2013).

On or about March 12, 2013, we will post each of the Quarter-Finalists’ Excerpts and their associated written reviews online at

Amazon customers may download and read any Excerpt, and then write a review and rate the Excerpt using’s process for submitting online reviews (as described at

For each Quarter Finalist’s Manuscript, Publishers Weekly will read, prepare a review, and rate each Manuscript on a scale of 1 to 5 on the following criteria:

a) Character development

b) Originality of idea

c) Plot

d) Prose/style

e) Overall strength of submission

These reviews will be posted within each Entrant’s account on or about April 16, 2013.

The top 5 Entries from each Category will advance to the Semi-Finals.  The Semi-Finalists will be determined by ranking each Quarter Finalist Entry based on the average Judging Criteria score given to each Quarter Finalist Entry by Publishers Weekly.

Semi-Finals (April 16, 2013 – May 20, 2013).

We will post the names of the Semi-Finalists on, along with their respective Publishers Weekly review on or about April 16, 2013.

Publisher’s Weekly may post their reviews of the Semi-Finalist Manuscripts on their website located at  after April 16, 2013.

On or about May 6, 2013, we will begin notifying potential Finalists by phone or e-mail.  The Finalists will be announced on on or about May 21, 2013.

Finalist Period (May 21, 2013 – May 29, 2013).

Customer Voting. After the Finalists are announced, the voting phase to determine the Grand Prize Winner will begin and will continue through May 29, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Daylight Savings Time).  Amazon customers will be able to download and read each Finalist Excerpt. The Finalist receiving the most valid votes will be the potential Grand Prize Winner.  Customers must have an account in order to cast a vote, and customers may only vote once.

Grand Prize Event.  Prior to the announcement of the Winner on or about June 15, 2013, the Finalists will be flown to the Venue in Seattle, WA (or a different city that we select) for publicity and promotional interviews and an awards ceremony.  If you are not available for the trip, and we have not waived the travel requirement, an alternate Finalist will be invited to attend the ceremony in your place.  We may choose, in our sole discretion, an alternate means of announcing the Winner.

PRIZES.  The following prizes will be available to be awarded:

Grand Prize. Grand Prize. If you are selected as the Winner, you will receive a Grand Prize consisting of a full publishing contract with Amazon Publishing to market and distribute your Manuscript as a published book.  Upon the full execution of the publishing contract, Amazon Publishing will pay the Winner $50,000.00 USD.  The $50,000.00 payment is an advance against the royalties to be earned by the Winner under the publishing contract.

First Prize. Each Finalist (excluding the Grand Prize Winner), will be awarded the First Prize consisting of a full publishing contract with Amazon Publishing to market and distribute his/her Manuscript as a published book.  Upon the full execution of the publishing contract, Amazon Publishing will pay each First Prize Winner $15,000.00 USD.  The $15,000.00 payment is an advance against the royalties to be earned by the First Prize Winner under the publishing contract.

Finalist Prize. If you are selected as a Finalist (including the Grand Prize Winner), you also will receive a Finalist Prize consisting of a trip to the Venue, sometime between June 1, 2013 and June 21, 2013 (we will determine the exact dates). A Finalist Prize includes: (a) round trip coach class air transportation for 2 people departing from the major airport nearest to the Finalist’s residence; (b) 3 to 5 nights’ standard hotel accommodations (1 room, double occupancy); (c) transportation to and from airport to the hotel, and transportation to and from hotel to the Venue; (d) $200.00 USD spending money per day for the Finalist only. The ARV of the Finalist Prize is $3,600.00 USD.

Second Prize. If you are selected as a Quarter-Finalist, you will receive a “Second Prize” (maximum of 500 Second Prizes total).  Each Second Prize will consist of the Publishers Weekly manuscript review of each Quarter-Finalist’s respective Manuscript.

Third Prize.  If your entry is selected to move on to the Second Round, you will receive a “Third Prize” (maximum of 2,000 Third Prizes total). Each Third Prize will consist of the Amazon Editors review of the Second Round Entry’s respective Excerpt. The Third Prize has no cash value. Promotional Code. All entrants will receive an electronic promotional code good for 20% off the base retail price of the Kindle-Ready File Conversion service from ($69.00).  The ARV of each coupon is $13.80 USD.  The coupon is valid towards the purchase of the Kindle-Ready File Conversion service exclusively and cannot be used towards the purchase of any other goods or services from


Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for all your great posts. I’m down in Florida but I love to follow you.

    Do you know if “General Fiction” in the Amazon contest could include a middle-grade novel? Several folks in my SCBWI Royal Palm Critique Group are interested, if so.

    Have a lovely day!
    Lori Norman


    • Lori,

      I am not 100% sure, but I would think that “General Fiction” would include all fiction novels if it is at least 50,000 words. The only thing I that comes to mind about the General Fiction category is it may receive more submissions, but I could be wrong about that. Hope none of the cold weather has trickled down to Florida.



      • Okay, thanks. I’ll pass that along.
        No cold down here. It’s been right around 80 the last couple of days (we’re in South Florida). I’ve lived in upstate NY, MA, VT, RI . . . so I know what most of the country is dealing with. My heart goes out to everyone caught in ice and snow!


  2. I shared this post and someone pointed out to me that the dates are for 2013! All the submissions will have to be time travel tales.


    • Wendy,

      I swear what I had read was for 2014, but all the dates I copied say 2013. I would still get ready, since this has been the general guideline for the last number of years. I am sure they will announce it soon with the correct dates. I just remember feeling like I didn’t have enough time to work on it last year when I found out, so I wanted to give everyone a heads up. I might just try to contact Margery Cuyler to see if she knows the dates or can tell me when it will be shared.



      • I have been watching the abna site for weeks now waiting for them to change the dates. everything still says 2013. are we not having a competition this year?


      • Heather,

        There has been a lot of talk about whether they are doing it or not, because of them not announcing anything, yet. So far, they say they are just behind this year. Who knows maybe they are working on doing something new this year, but right now they are saying something will happen. Of course, this would happen when I was trying to remind people a head of time.

        Happy New Year,



      • yes it would 🙂 I’m just wondering because I tried something new this year and started a novel like I’ve never done before and even though I’m way over the word count the story doesn’t want to end. I love the feeling! but its making me nervous if i’ll be done on time.


  3. Reblogged this on Writerlious and commented:
    Kathy Teaman’s got a great post on the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I’m on hiatus from trying to get published for the next year and a half, but I’m sure lots of you out there have a draft that would like to be dusted off! 🙂


  4. I’m now in the lucky position of having a publisher, but if I did not, this is something I would seriously consider. You always post such useful advice it seems to me


  5. Seeing as how I have recently completed and edited my manuscript, I am very interested in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest for 2014! Where and when can I register?


    • CJ,

      As soon as they announce the dates, I will post it. Right now they are saying their just running behind schedule. Everyone is waiting on pins and needles.



  6. Thanks, Kathy. I will be checking your site religiously for any new updates!


  7. Kathy,
    After reading all the feedback about the contest on Amazon’s discussion board, I know one thing for sure. If they were trying to build a hype around the 2014 contest – they have succeeded!! Actually, my inclination is that they are, or were, just taking the time to revamp the contest.


    • I agree with you. They are really building up the hype and being an optimistic person, I think like you that they are busy revamping the contest. Hope they stop dragging their feet soon.


      • Hello again, my literary friend
        It seems as though a lot of anxious novelists are beginning to lose hope that there will be a contest this year. I am hoping this is not true; especially since this would be my first year to take a shot at it! I believe I have a compelling, and original story that would fall into the Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre. Anyway, as I said…I am just anxious!


  8. we have a date! finally….
    Announcing the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

    We’ll start accepting entries on February 16, 2014. Visit CreateSpace to learn more.


  9. I always emailed this website post page to all my friends, because
    if like to read it afterward my friends will too.


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