Amazon and Penguin are now accepting submissions for the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. This year the annual competition will recognize two winners, one in the genre of general fiction and the other for a superb young adult tale. Both winners will receive a publishing contract with Penguin and a $15,000 advance.

If you have a self-published novel or an unpublished manuscript, you can submit your manuscript at www.creatspace.com. But, be sure to submit your entry before the contest closes on February 5. Time is of the essence as last year Amazon and Penguin received a record-number of submissions. They are capping this year’s contestants after they reach 5,000 entries for each section.

Only 1,000 of these stories, picked by the Amazon editors, will move onto the second round of the competition. That number will be culled down to 250 finalists in each category by the Amazon.com editors and top reviewers. PW reviewers will then read and rate those novels and reduce the pool of potential winners down to 50 entrants in each category. Finally, these will be evaluated by the Penguin editors, who will choose three novels to go on to the publishing professionals that will make next decision.

The judges for the general fiction category are literary agent Donald Maass, the executive editor at Berkley, Anne Sowards and mystery author Linda Fairstein. In the young adult category, literary agent Charlie Olsen, the president and publisher of Viking Children’s Books, Regina Hayes and paranormal YA author Andrea Cremer. And in the last stage of the competition, Amazon.com customers can also cast their vote for a winner in the two categories by reading an excerpt of each of the novels that reach that round.

The winners will be announced around June 16, 2012. The first-ever winner was Bill Loehfelm back in 2008, for his novel Fresh Kills. Last year’s winners are Gregory Hill’s East of Denver and Jill Baguchinsky’s Spookygirl, for general and young adult fiction, respectively. So if you win the 2012 competition, you know you’ll be in good company.

To learn more about the competition click here.

Tags: Aspiring Authors
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