The first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest is "the pitch." This is the short, quick description, or "hook," that you need to describe your book. Similar to the sell copy on the back cover of a book, it is also known as the "elevator pitch"—what you would tell an agent or editor if you had him or her alone in an elevator for a minute.
Here is my pitch for Into the Sunset, my comic novel that is entered in the ABNA:
Meet Wayne Benson. He's not a senior citizen. He doesn't require nursing care. He isn't even retired. But this healthy 30-year-old bachelor believes the comfortable life of The Sunset, an assisted-living retirement community, would be a soothing alternative to his young, hectic lifestyle.
Everything he desires—gourmet meals, laundry service, camaraderie, tranquility—is available for one all-inclusive monthly fee. The only problem? He isn't the required minimum age of sixty-two. So, he dons theatrical make-up and a grey wig to age himself forty years, and is immediately accepted into The Sunset. Now all he has to do is live a peaceful life.
Will everything go as smoothly as planned? Of course not! His elderly love interest becomes suspicious of his under-cover-of-darkness-only lovemaking, his neighbor wants to go to strip clubs and experiment with Viagra®, the head of security is more interested in extortion than security, and the woman who manages The Sunset may be onto his scheme. Can Wayne survive old age?
Amazon editors will read the pitches of the 5,000 entries. They will choose 1,000, and move them to the second round. These results will be announced Feb. 25.