By Shawn StJean
It starts with as many as 10,000, and ends with only one. But first, over the course of several months, entrants to Amazon’s annual competition get whittled down to finalists in five categories: General Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, and Young Adult.
Best of all, you the readers get to VOTE on who the grand prize winner will be, based on excerpts, and you can even leave commentary–so even if it’s been a political/rigged/popularity contest to date (speculate as you will, conspiracy theorists)–this time around, it’s a democratic process–overseen by computer, natch–to determine which young novelist earns an Amazon Publishing contract with a $50,000 advance. As for the others, well, an Amazon Publishing contract with a $15,000 advance doesn’t sound too shabby.
Of course, an advance obviously means Amazon will get Right of First Refusal on anything else the winners create in the future, so one could argue that this is merely a relatively cheap ruse for Amazon to identify and proprietize any young and inexperienced talent left undiscovered on the market. But far be it from me to propose an argument as subversive as that ;} No, it’s All Hail Capitalism!
So VOTE away: http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011