I am a hopeless romantic, no doubt about it.  I love a “rags to riches” story and I love seeing a regular Joe or Jane get their big break in some miraculous fashion.  I think we all know our chances of winning the lottery or getting discovered on the street are pretty slim, but that has never stopped me from trying.  In fact I have entered contests and gone to auditions for everything from CNN’s Talk Back Live (back in the day), to Survivor and the Amazing Race to Oprah’s My Own Show (watch my audition video here).  For me it’s simple – you can’t win if you don’t play.

And while yes, there are clearly more traditional routes to getting jobs and earning money, a good old fashioned short cut in the form of a contest is always worth a try in my book.  Which brings me to you…

If you’ve written an adult or YA novel, Amazon.com wants you.  They have just announced the 2011 Breakthrough Novel Award in partnership with Penguin Group and CreateSpace and if you win, you get a publishing contract which includes a $15,000 advance!  Pretty cool, right?

The trick is the book had better already be written as they will be accepting submissions from January 24th to February 6th, 2011 and the likelihood that you could whip something up between now and then is pretty slim.  I mean, really… I know you’re good and everything but…

So if you’ve got the next great American novel sitting in your drawer, dust it off and send it in.  You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Oh and if you win, I insist you take me out to lunch.

For all the details on the contest click this link: Amazon’s 2011 Breakthrough Novel Award.

Good luck!

— Dana Barrett,  Editor