Amazon tweaks its Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and drops former partner Penguin

Amazon, which formerly collaborated with Penguin to publish the winners of its Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, touts the advantages of working as its own publisher.

Penguin Group formerly published the winners of Amazon's novel-writing contest.

Amazon, already on thin ice with many publishing houses and independent bookstores ("Amazon aggressively wants to kill us," novelist/bookstore owner Ann Patchett said at BookExpo America this year), took a swipe at former partner Penguin Publishing in an announcement about their Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

Through the contest – which is now in its sixth year – Amazon selects a grand prize winner who receives a publishing contract with a $50,000 advance. Four other contest entrants are awarded the title of first prize and receive publishing contracts, each with a $15,000 advance. Contestants are challenged to submit a pitch, an excerpt of their novel, and the full manuscript.

Previously, Amazon had collaborated with Penguin, which published the novels of the contest winners. This year, however, Amazon Publishing will be its own publisher.

“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,” the website for the contest reads.

We’re guessing that these claims of superior performance won’t be gaining Amazon any new friends in the publishing world.

The contest is undergoing other changes this year, including adding three new categories: mystery/thriller, romance, and science fiction/fantasy. Also, entries will now be judged by editors from Amazon Publishing. Previously, editors from Penguin and a panel of industry experts and writers made the selections.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.