My friend Beth Polen submitted the manuscript for her middle-grade novel, Wish, to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest late last year. She recently received word that the novel has been selected for the semi-finals.
I’ve had the good fortune to read portions of Wish in progress. It’s terrific. The characters are lively and engaging, the plot trips and twists along, and it’s a great read.
You can read an excerpt of Wish and the other semi-finalists, and submit your reviews as well, at Amazon.com. Any reviews you write will contribute to the decision of which books reach the finals, plus if you submit reviews you’ll be eligible to win prizes as well.
The winning novelist will receive a publishing contract.
Amazon has done some interesting things in setting up this contest and the reviews component. There’s an incentive for the competing novelist to ask their friends and relatives to submit reviews — in fact, they’re invited to do so. Both the quantity and quality of reviews count; a reviewer’s opinion counts more if he reviews multiple excerpts, not just the one his friend submitted, so there’s a built-in peer review element among reviewers. And experts at Penguin, the publishing house that will publish the winning book, also have a say in the judging.