Just when I suggested that selling a breakout book in our lukewarm (ice cold?) economy will be no easy task comes word that Amazon and Penguin will be accepting up to 10,000 first-novel submissions between February 2 and February 8, 2009, for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The prize is a contract from Penguin, including a $25,000 advance. For details, visit www.amazon.com/abna. So stuff that sorry bank statement in a drawer and get back to writing your novel.

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