Writer's Resources

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award: Cancelled!

Amazon recently announced they will no longer be running the ABNA competition. Instead, Amazon are encouraging writers to submit novels to their new crowdsourced publishing platform: Kindle Scout. Whether this is good news depends on how you feel about Amazon and how desperate you are to see your book in print, albeit electronically.

Here’s a basic run down of Kindle Scout:

You can submit at any time and your novel must be previously unpublished.

There are only three genres to choose between: Romance, Mystery & Thriller, and Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Once your book is uploaded you have 30 days to promote it like crazy and persuade as many people as possible to vote for your novel. Readers vote for their favourites, and at the end of the nomination period, Amazon decide which books they’ll publish.

The chosen authors receive $1,500 advance and an Amazon contract, which is non-negotiable.

Only adults with a US bank account and US social security number or tax ID number are eligible to enter, which more or less rules out anybody who lives outside America. Find out more here.

So.

There are so many things wrong with this way of ‘publishing’ books that I don’t know where to start. In a nutshell, the author is responsible for all editing, proofreading, cover art, and marketing. Amazon makes no contribution and will just publish the book as submitted, and then take 50% royalty. They are under no obligation to promote the book.

So you will do all the work.

If you’re planning to publish a novel on Kindle, you may as well do it yourself, since you’ll be doing all the marketing and selling anyway. As a writer you have nothing to gain from Kindle Scout, and could potentially lose money.

Here’s a useful post from Victoria Strauss that summarises the pros and cons of Kindle Scout – be sure to read the comments under the post for more information.

And here’s an informative post from Melanie Edmonds on why Kindle Scout is not a good deal for writers.

Find out more about Kindle Scout here, and make up your own mind.

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2 thoughts on “Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award: Cancelled!

  1. I think I’d agree Jessica. This approach is becoming more and more common, where the artist has to grovel for votes in order to generate traffic for a site that offers a few crumbs from the table in return. Common in the music biz nowadays. It is demeaning and cheap. A £1500 advance for the winner suggests that nobody is confident about generating sales.

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    1. It’s not even £1,500 – it’s in dollars, so in real money that would be around £980. £1.5k or less is about average for an advance these days, especially from indie publishers. Don’t give up the day job!

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