$5k new poets’ prize reveals Amazon Publishing imprint royalty deal

A contest being run to find emerging poets has revealed some of the usually closely guarded details offered to authors by Amazon Publishing imprints.

The contest is offering a first prize of $5,000 plus a publishing contract with a $2,000 advance with Little A, which is Amazon Publishing’s literary imprint.

Amazon Publishing imprints generally insist on authors keeping royalty deals confidential but the small print in the contest terms and conditions reveal some interesting revenue details which the contest winner must accept for the publishing contract, although the firm does state, ‘The following terms apply specifically to the Little A Poetry Contest contestants and not necessarily all Amazon Publishing contracts.’

• Territory: Worldwide
• Languages: All
• Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book, and Audio
• Primary Sales Royalties:
• Hardcover: 15% of List Price (MSRP)
• Paperback: 10% of List Price (MSRP)
• E-Book: 35% of Net Revenue
• Audio: 10% of Net Revenue
• Net Revenue Definition: Gross amounts Amazon or its affiliates receive from the sale of the Work, less customer returns, E-book transmission costs and returns of unsold stock, and excluding taxes, shipping and gift wrap charges.

Those terms are fairly industry-standard apart from the ebook section where most traditional publishers offer only 25% royalties to authors. Authors can, of course, get 70% ebook royalties if they self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing but many writers consider having the marketing might of Amazon behind them would more than outweigh the difference.

Closing date for entries in The Little A contest is December 20, 2015. Poets who have published no more than one book of poetry can submit their full-length collections for consideration to LittleAPoetry@amazon.com. Poets who have never published are welcome to enter.

There is no entry fee but the contest is open only to US residents writing in English. Manuscripts must be 60-100 pages long and include a cover page with the poet’s name, contact information, and short biographical note; a table of contents; page numbers; and an acknowledgments page listing previous publications.

Submissions should be emailed as one document in .doc or .pdf format to littleapoetry@amazon.com. Any submissions received via any other means (including post) will not be accepted.

Individual poems from the manuscript can have been be published in journals, chapbooks or anthologies, but the manuscript as a whole must not have been published before (including self-published books). Writers who have published non-poetry fiction or non-fiction works are eligible to enter.

The judges are the poets Cornelius Eady, Jericho Brown and Kimiko Hahn and they will select a winner based on quality of writing, strength and originality of content, and creativity of language.

The winner will be announced in spring 2016 and Little A expects to publish the winner’s manuscript in paperback and ebook in spring 2017. Little A Editor and Pushcart Prize-winning poet Morgan Parker will edit the winner’s book.

David Blum, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Little A., says, “As part of Little A’s commitment to the discovery of new literary talent, we’re expanding to become a home for emerging poets and their work. We hope this open call for submissions will lead to a new and vibrant showcase for poetry collections.”

You can get more details, including submission guidelines and official rules for the contest at LittleAPoetry.