why do you assume they (Sobol) must read the entire novel? Why not read it like slush and turn it down after a few pages? I would think that ALL contests do this - they can spot a non-winner right off the bat and just stop reading. Why would Sobol be forced to read whole novels, and who would ever know if they didn't?Do you think St. Martin's PI contest actually reads the entire novels that they receive? What am I missing?
Ahh...you're missing Sobol's own words on the web site: "Every entry will receive at least two readings, including those which do not pass beyond the first stage, and every writer will receive an evaluation." and "Manuscripts will be judged on plot, characters, writing style, setting, opening, dialog, and originality, with equal weight given to each."
St Martins does run a contest f0r Malice Domestic. They SPECIFICALLY say they do not offer comments. Here's the link to the contest rules and the exclusion is at the very end of the page.
I wonder why those guys at Sobol didn't ask the folks at Minotaur about how to make a contest run smoothly? Minotaur's only been doing it for...yanno.. longer. Maybe it's the same reason they didn't ask any agents about how to run a slush pile, or write an agency agreement.
These guys at Sobol are RIPE for a lawsuit from an unhappy writer. People were eager to jump on the bandwagon and sue Random House for the buying James Frey's "non fiction". Can you imagine what happens if someone pays $85 for two critiques and get's back "wtf " or "this is a mess".
I'm actually starting to feel sorry for these guys. They're about ready to find out that good intentions do indeed pave the road to hell.
Any more questions?