The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) was a contest sponsored by, Penguin Group, Hewlett Packard, CreateSpace and BookSurge to publish and promote a manuscript by an unknown or unpublished author.[1] The first award was given in 2008 and in 2015 Amazon announced that they would not be continuing the award and would instead focus on the Kindle Scout program.[2]

Judging process

After the initial submission period is over, the contest is made up of five rounds:

2008 competition

Amazon introduced the Breakthrough Novel Award in 2007.[4] The first competition began in late 2007 and ended in early 2008. A maximum of 5,000 manuscripts were accepted during the contest period,[5] which ran between October 1, 2007 and November 5, 2007. In mid-January 2008, up to 836 authors were selected as semi-finalists and received a capsule review of their manuscript from Publishers Weekly. On February 19, 2008, 100 semi-finalists had their manuscripts read by Penguin editors.

On March 3, 2008, the top ten finalists were announced. All received a prize package from HP and a self-publishing package from BookSurge.

Amazon customers voted to pick the grand-prize winner. The top three received a trip to New York City. On April 7, 2008, Fresh Kills by Bill Loehfelm was announced as the first winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.[6] Loehfelm won a larger prize package from HP and a $25,000 advance on a publishing contract with Penguin.

2009 competition

In late 2008, Amazon started taking in entries for the 2009 ABNA awards. The judges for the year were announced to be Sue Grafton, Sue Monk Kidd, Barney Karpfinger, and Eamon Dolan. Finalists were announced May 15, 2009.[7]


On May 27, 2009, Bill Warrington's Last Chance by James King was announced as the winner of that year's contest.[8] King received a publishing contract that included a $25,000 advance.[9] Bill Warrington's Last Chance was published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

Sue Grafton, New York Times-bestselling author, said about the winning entry, "This is what reading is about and what a good book is supposed to do."[10]

2010 competition

On January 25, 2010, Amazon began to accept submissions for that year's contest. Amazon announced that for the 2010 competition they awarding grand prizes in two categories, young adult and general fiction.[11] They would also limit the top finalists to three in each category, with six finalists total for both categories. Another change from the previous competition was that the total amount of submissions allowed entry was raised to 10,000 entrants, double the amount of the 2008 competition.

The top six finalists for the 2010 competition were announced on May 25, 2010, with Amazon customers voted for the grand-prize winner for each category.

Young Adult Fiction
General Fiction

On June 14, 2010, Amazon announced the winner of the 2010 ABNA.[12] Patricia McArdle (Farishta) and Amy Ackley (Sign Language) were announced the winners of their respective categories, each winning a publishing contract with Penguin as well as a $15,000 advance on their first book.

2011 competition

On January 25, 2011, Amazon once again began to accept submissions with the eliminations being made between the months of February and June 2011. The top six finalists for the competition were announced on May 26, 2011, with the winners announced on June 15, 2011. The winners were announced as Jill Baguchinsky for Spookygirl (young adult) and Gregory Hill for East of Denver (general fiction).[13]

Young Adult Fiction
General Fiction

2012 competition

In late 2011 Amazon and Penguin Group (USA) released details of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, with the dates for the elimination rounds being the same as the previous year. While the previous years' winners had all been residents of the United States of America, the 2012 contest would be open to international contestants' entries.

The top six finalists for the 2012 competition were announced on May 22, 2012.[14] On June 17 the winners were announced, with Alan Averill winning the award for general fiction and Regina Sirois winning the award for young adult.

General Literature
Young Adult Fiction

2013 competition

In December 2012, Amazon announced the details of the 2013 competition. There were 10,000 starting entries, and the elimination process was similar to last year, until the end where they ran a Final 5 round and announced the winner through an online vote. The semi-finalists are shown here:[15][16]

General literature
It Happened in Wisconsin by Ken Moraff
Young Adult Fiction
Timebound by Rysa Walker
A Man Above Reproach by Evelyn Pryce
The Hidden by Jo Chumas
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn

On June 15, 2013 at a convention in Seattle, Washington, it was announced that Timebound by Rysa Walker won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2013. Walker received a $50,000 advance and a contract with Skyscape Publishing.[17] On January 17, Amazon announced that the Seventh Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award will open to submissions on February 16, 2014.

2014 competition

In January 2014, Amazon announced the details of the 2014 competition. The contest opened to submissions on Sunday, February 16, 2014 and the entry period closed at the end of the day on March 2, 2014. Authors were able to submit work in one of five categories: general fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, science fiction/fantasy/horror, and young adult fiction.

Amazon Publishing announced the entries moving on to the second round of the 2014 competition on March 18, 2014. Approximately 20% of 10,000 entries moved on to the second round, 400 in each of the five categories. On April 16, 2014, Amazon Publishing announced the top 100 entries in each of the five categories, and thus 500 total entries advanced to the Quarter-Finals. Reviewers from Publishers Weekly will now choose five entries in each of the five categories (25 total) to advance to the Semi-Finals.[18]

A finalist will be chosen from each of the five categories. Of those five finalists, one Grand Prize winner will receive a negotiable Amazon Publishing contract and a $50,000 advance, while each of the other four finalists will receive a non-negotiable Amazon Publishing contract and a $15,000 advance.[19]

The finalists are:[20]

General Fiction
A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon
The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley
The Bluestocking and the Rake by Norma Darcy
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
The Mengele Effect (renamed to The Gemini Effect) by Chuck Grossart
Young Adult Fiction
Seashell, Stork and Apple Tree (renamed to The Mermaid's Sister) by Carrie Anne Noble

On July 21, 2014, it was announced that The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2014.[21]


  1. ^ Amazon searches for the best undiscovered writers USA Today
  2. ^ (January 19, 2015). "Announcement News from Amazon". Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest OFFICIAL RULES Amazon ABNA
  4. ^ 2 booksellers launch literary contests USA Today
  5. ^ Publishers Seek Talent Online New York Times
  6. ^ New Orleans man wins Amazon book award Seattle PI
  7. ^ Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Finalists GalleyCat
  8. ^ Hurry and Enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition School Library Journal
  9. ^ Breakthrough Winner
  10. ^ Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Winner!
  11. ^ Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Adds YA Prize; Open to Self-Published Novels Galleycat
  12. ^ Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Winners Announced Galleycat
  13. ^ Congratulations to the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Winners Amazon ABNA
  14. ^ 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Finalists Amazon ABNA
  15. ^ Sal Robinson (December 5, 2012). "Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award gets more Amazon-y". Melville House Publishing. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  16. ^ "Amazon Announces Sixth Annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award". 4 December 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  17. ^ Publishers Weekly (June 17, 2013). "Rysa Walker wins Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  18. ^ "The 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest". CreateSpace. Archived from the original on 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
  19. ^ "Amazon Publishing Announces Seventh Annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest". BusinessWire. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  20. ^ "Amazon Announces Five Finalists in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest". Retrieved 2014-07-08.
  21. ^ (July 21, 2014). "Announcing the 2014 ABNA Grand Prize Winner". Retrieved July 21, 2014.