Amazon/Penguin Contest, Literary agents

At 12:01 am, January 24th, the Amazon, Penguin Breakthrough Novel Contest opened. At 12:01.5, I began to enter all my documents for The Drawing Lesson,–the Description, the Pitch, the first 5000 words and then the manuscript itself. I pictured the whole site crashing with all other eager writers submitting but it didn’t. I was done in under half an hour.  The first 5000 entries in general fiction and juvenile fiction will be considered.

This contest is important because it shows a change in attitude within the industry. If you have self-published a novel, you may submit it. The reward is a publishing contract with Penguin.  Another example is Publishers Weekly opening up to self published work.

Until fairly recently, I believe there have been few instances in which the indie and the traditional worlds of publishing have really co-operated in a joint venture. I think we can look forward to more of this collaboration. The two worlds should not be at “logger-heads” because each has important aspects to contribute to the new publishing industry as it evolves.

I have had considerable experience in the indie world and have become convinced that, at least for me, it’s necessary to have the help of a literary agent. I believe that you can get quite some distance within the self-publishing model and that is important for so many writers. But, the time definitely comes where a writer may well need to branch out and help create the new publishing model where both worlds collaborate. As for me, I’m sending out my query letters for the first two books of the Trilogy of Remembrance , “The Drawing Lesson” and “The Fate of Pryde”.


About Mary E. Martin

Mary E. Martin grew up in Toronto, Canada. After earning an Honors Degree in History at the University of Toronto, she graduated with her law degree from Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. In 1973, she was called to the Bar of Ontario and began the general practice of law in Toronto, with emphasis on real estate, wills and estates and elder-care law. This law practice of more than 30 years was a great inspiration for The Osgoode Trilogy ("Conduct in Question," "Final Paradox" and "A Trial of One.") Her fourth novel, “The Drawing Lesson,” will be the first in the next trilogy, provisionally entitled “The Trilogy of Rmembrance.” She is also a photographer particularly with respect to her travels. She has had two commercial photography shows. Married in 1973, she and her husband live in Toronto. They have three adult children.
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