Amazon and Penguin have opened submissions for the fifth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, which gives two grand prizes: one for general fiction and one for young adult fiction. Each winner will be published by Penguin Group (USA). The competition is open to unpublished and self-published novels, and last year received a record-setting number of submissions.

Eligible writers with an English-language novel can submit their manuscript between Jan. 23 and Feb. 5, 2012. Submission details can be found at Up to 10,000 total eligible entries will be accepted, consisting of up to 5,000 each in the general fiction and young adult fiction categories. editors will select 1,000 entries from each category to advance to the second round. In the subsequent round, editors and at least one top reviewer on will read excerpts of the entries and narrow the pool to 500 quarter-finalists (250 in each category). Reviewers from PW will then read, review and rate the full manuscripts, and 50 semi-finalists for each category will be selected. Penguin editors will evaluate the manuscripts of the 50 general fiction and 50 young adult fiction semi-finalists, and choose three finalists for each award.

The top three manuscripts in each category will then be read and reviewed by two panels of publishing professionals. The 2012 panelists for the general fiction category are: author Linda Fairstein, literary agent Donald Maass, and Anne Sowards, executive editor at Berkley. The panelists for the young adult fiction category are: author Andrea Cremer, literary agent Charlie Olsen of InkWell Management, and Regina Hayes, president and publisher of Viking Children’s Books.

In the final stage of the competition, customers will vote for a winner in each category with winners announced on or about June 16. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.