The included excerpt here mentions both paperback and “mass market” rights. Before you addressed the issue of digital rights, I actually had made the assumption that digital rights were included in with the “mass market” rights. If not, what is mass market referring to?

  2. I think it refers to the paperback format, Dillon. There are two: trade paperbacks, which are the 5.5″x8.5″-ish size (actual dimensions vary), and then mass market paperbacks, which are smaller (4″x6″ or so?). Mass market paperbacks tend to be the smaller size one would find on, say, shelves at the drugstore. Think of Stephen King novel; those are mass market size. Trade paperbacks tend to be a little larger. I think mass market paperbacks might be more inexpensive to print, and so corporate publishers usually order a large-volume printing of them at one time. When publishers plan more conservative print runs, they tend to go either hardcover or trade paperback. Trade paperbacks tend to cost around $14.99; mass market paperbacks cost tend to cost around $7.99 or so.

    Interestingly, I’ve heard the notion that the area ebooks and digital distribution will ultimately render obsolete is the mass market paperback segment. I think it’s a fair idea, myself. The price point should hover around the same area (if not slightly lower for ebooks).

  3. Thanks for the link to the post Will.

    I am wondering whether you meant your last sentence or whether it has a typo.
    “I honestly think you’re better off using the Kindle direct publishing platform to put your novel on Kindle then enter the Breakthrough Novel Award contest.”

    because that’s exactly what I doing – publishing Pentecost on Kindle and POD and THEN entering ABNA (mainly for any potential publicity if there is any chance of making top 100)
    if you meant “than” , fair enough!
    I actually wrote the novel for the contest, it has been my driving force for the last year, my deadline – so I am keen for it. I did read the detail of the post and consider that it’s worth it. We can always write more books, we have a whole lifetime ahead of us 🙂

    Thanks, from relentlessly enthusiastic Joanna

  4. Thanks for noting that, Joanna. I composed that update in haste, because I was seeing a lot of authors polishing their pages for the contest. Fixed the typo.

    I wish you all the best with Pentecost, whether that means winning the Amazon contest or not.

    You know there are a lot of other contests worth entering elsewhere, yes? With, ultimately, better prizes than the ABNA?

  5. D.K.

    I was so glad to find your article. I’ve been angsting over the ABNA contract language. It really sounds horrific, but the contest keeps showing up on the short lists of “credible” contests. I’m in academia, which means self-publishing is the death-nell, so ABNA sounded better, but …. It’s tough when one is a newbie. I’ve only got one book out, no agent, and probably won’t make enough to pay for the ink if I go small press, but I really, really don’t like their language. Can one even withdraw their work during the five month contest if accepted elsewhere? Doesn’t sound like it. What do you think?

  6. Hey, D.K. To be honest, I’m not sure. It looks like once you’re in, you’re in. I can’t see anything regarding simultaneous submissions or the like. I think I’d reconsider submitting if I were worried about the things you’re worried about (for good reason).


    I appreciate all the incite into the fine print with this contest. I still have a question…what is the harm to the author if, after they received the contract, decide NOT to sign it? Penquin certainly can’t force you? Can they? Wouldn’t they just move on to the next entrant?

  8. I’m not sure you can NOT sign, Sue. “By submitting . . . you grant Penguin the exclusive first publication rights to your Entry.” Seems to me that submission to the contest = signing the contract.


    Hmmmm….I interpreted that as “right of first refusal”, not the signing of a contract. I guess a little more clarification is needed, although I would rather not pay a lawyer to simply enter a contest!

  10. I think if it were “right of first refusal,” it would say that. It says “first publication rights,” and further language indicates that Penguin is the only party in the agreement with the right to decline the agreement (see that blockquote from the prizes section to note the contract is non-negotiable and must be accepted “as is”). The rules seem to indicate that the simple act of submitting your manuscript automatically grants Penguin first publication rights to it if you manage to win a semifinal round or better.

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