So I popped over to Amazon (USA) to see what it was all about:
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is an opportunity for emerging fiction writers to join a community of authors on Amazon.com, showcase their work, and compete for a chance to get published.
Sponsored in partnership with Penguin Group (USA) and HP, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award launched in October 2007 and received more than 5,000 initial entries. Of those, excerpts from over 800 fiction entries were eligible for Amazon.com customers to read, rate, and review, beginning in January 2008. Editors at Penguin Group (USA) reviewed the Top 100 semifinalists based on early customer reads and full manuscript reviews provided by Publishers' Weekly. In March 2008, the leading Top 10 finalists were selected for the customers' vote. A panel of experts--including a bestselling author, editor and publisher, literary critic, and literary agent--also weighed in with their reviews for each of the top 10 novels. The top three finalists--Dwight Okita (The Prospect of My Arrival), Harry Dolan (Bad Things Happen), and Bill Loehfelm (Fresh Kills) traveled to New York City for the first weekend in April, where Bill Loehfelm was revealed as the winner.There's also:
Celebrating the Top Three
So do you think an award like this "makes" an author? I suspect it may well set them up for some time.