1.08.2007

Sobol "not quite right" for itself

Gee...who would have thought?
Sobol cancels prize

and here's the post on Galleycat too

Turns out they didn't get enough entries to meet the Touchstone/Fireside minimum requirement of 2000 despite MONTHS of time.

Given we had 750+ entries in a 12 hour window for the same kind of gig-comment guaranteed, we'll pick the ones that go on to further snarking, I think it's HILARIOUS that enough people figured out this was a crock of shit and didn't bite.

And for all of you who spread the word, and made the noise...wowza!!!


Thanks to Sarah Weinman for the heads up!

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Miss Snark. And thank you.

Anonymous said...

Words fail.

You are Da BOMB, Miss Snark!

Kate Thornton said...

Very nice - "not quite right" indeed!

--E said...

I particularly liked this bit:

"I think the criticism was probably quite damaging," [Weeks] acknowledged. "We should have responded more quickly, but startups don't always do the right thing."

-->Yeah, those damn watchdogs in the blogosphere. They make it so hard for a startup to figure out how to do something right.

Why don't you and Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors post guidelines and stuff, huh? How's an honest literary philanthropist supposed to know the right way to run a contest?

Chris said...

"Untraditional" as they see themselves, does the Sobel withdrawal fit the traditional definition of a message-board flounce?

Ryan Field said...

The whole thing was filled with flaws.

angie said...

Well THAT was a shock-a-rooty. Oh. Wait. Not really.

Tattieheid said...

Good.

Brady Westwater said...

Nothing like the smell fresh Schadenfreude on a Monday morning...

Toddie said...

See, Miss Snark? You really DO make a difference!

BuffySquirrel said...

Good riddance.

Vespa Riding Thugs United said...

What is Brady Westwater doing out of the vat????

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is whether the saps who sent in the fee get it back!

Brady Westwater said...

When I saw tthree vespas with stilletto wearing thugs approach my cowboy lair - I made certain my evil twin brother answered the front door.

Brady Westwater said...

And... Vespa Riding Thugs United ... can you please returnd my spurs?

My evil twin brother - as usual - was wearing mine. Just leave them in the mail box.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Not everyone agrees with these comments. Read comments over on the Writer Beware blog for another point of view.

http://accrispin.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

On the down side a thousand people DID sign up for this crock. Hopefully, as word spreads it will be zero the next time a scammer wants to rip off neo writers.

The numbers are tempting, though. 85K may be chump change to some, but is more than enough to pay off my mortgage.

Unfortunately, I have a very pesky sense of honor mixed with honesty and ethics.

Guess I'll stick with having a day job and earn my money.

fsukp said...

The Sobol award committee expected 50,000 entries, at $85 a pop--or $4,250,000! That's staggering.

Gee, Miss Snark, if you had charged us for the Happy Hooker COM (not that you ever would), you could have made a quick $55,000+ (based on the final count of more than 650 entries).

Well, not so quick. (And not easy.)

And not really, 'cuz we already know not to send money.

Cool. And thanks.

(PS. Love my word verification-my "name" this time. Seems very appropriate for Sobol)

vespa riding thugs said...

Brady Westwater, we are holding your spurs for ransom.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed that the contest was cancelled. I have worked in publishing for over 20 years, including a few years working for a literary agent, and yet this contest seemed legitimate to me, especially after S&S got involved. They weren't sending form rejection letters; they were hiring people to write reports--hence the fee. The odds were great for writers--3 books would be published from a relatively small pool of entries. Oh well....back to the usual depressing rounds of querying agents.

A Naughty Miss said...

Mwahahaha...
The Dragoon strikes again!

Steve Prosapio said...

So wait,
Am I the only one that doesn't get this? What difference does it make if they had 5, 5,000, or 50,000 submissions...something either IS or ISN'T worth publishing, right?

How whacked!

Anonymous said...

So in the end, they admitted to only having a staff of FOUR to read 50,000 full manuscripts??

Wow.

Miss Snark said...

"worked as a literay agent and this seemed legitimate to me"...
uh...what part of "you have to sign up with an agent with no sales record to "win" is legit??

Did you actually READ the rules?

Anonymous said...

Sorry; can't join the snarklings this time. I agree with some of the comments over at Writer's Beware.

Dave Kuzminski said...

P&E's Readers Poll for 2005 experienced participation by over 9,100 individuals in just two weeks in January 2006. Because the numbers have consistently moved upward for each new poll, I expect we'll probably exceed 10,000 individuals this year voting in the 25 Readers Poll categories.

writtenwyrdd said...

Even if this was a well-intentioned effort to try something new and give writers critiques (justifying the fee), how is it ethical to lock said writers, if publishable, into being represented by the contest holders?

jeanne said...

Actually, a note for both anonymice referring to acrispin.blogspot, the comments at Writer's Beware are actually 14/18 on the "good riddance" side of the fence.

kch said...

To the anonymous poster who felt "the odds were great for writers":

Do you consider a competition pool of 50,000 entries "good odds" for a single manuscript? Your odds are much better with the traditional route that costs you nothing.

Sobol expected 50K entries and said they'd publish 3 of those. But they didn't get them, so they cancelled the contest. Now what are the odds?

If this really were about giving a writer 'good odds" they still would have gone ahead with the contest with their 1000 entries.

Anonymous said...

To Writtenwyrdd: Writers were not locked into anything other than representation for the novel that was entered. And, I think it goes without saying, no one who could easily have found representation/publication elsewhere -- and good luck on that one -- would have entered the contest.

The success of this blog should be testament enough to the difficulty of finding an agent. If it were easy, Miss Snark would not exist, me thinks.

Ryan Field said...

Took the bait and read the comments at http://accrispin.blogspot.com/. But I don't get the "mixed feelings" comment in the post.

The whole thing was poorly executed and severely flawed for reasons that have been mentioned time and again.

BuffySquirrel said...

I suppose the Crapometers are the circuses; where's the bread?

Issendai said...

Well, dammit. This scuttles my own idea for a little moneymaker^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H contest. Back to demanding reading fees I go.

Anonymous said...

I wanted you to know I just got a refund from Sobol Inc. I feel so stupid after reading your blog about the award. Before I do something else equally dumb, could you tell me if you've ever heard about a Writer's workshop called NYC Pitch 'n Shop sponsored by the Algonkian Writer's Workshops

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Chalk up another win for the Snark Shark!

Snark Shark said...

chomp chomp

Anonymous said...

anonymous said: Writers were not locked into anything other than representation for the novel that was entered.

Uh huh. They were locked into representation with an "agency" that had no publishing experience whatsoever. And that agency, while representing those authors for "just one novel," might have--just as one example--signed them to a publishing contract with abysmal terms for future books the authors were required to submit to the same publisher.

One publisher's much criticized New Writer program involved some pretty bad conditions that the author was locked into for not just the accepted novel, but the next as well. Had Sobol gotten such a contract for their authors, it wouldn't have mattered that the author didn't have to stick with Sobol for their next book. They would have been stuck with a sh*tty contract. That's what can happen when a clueless "agent" negotiates on your behalf. Somebody doesn't have to be trying to screw you over for it to happen.

Aconite

pinhead said...

Someone thought I was "bashing Miss Snark" over at Writer Beware and was too sissy to come say it in Snark's own house. Like Snark cares.

But whatever. If you want to read my thoughts on the whole thing, read the entire comment trail over there.

A Naughty Miss said...

This morning I decided I wanted to be a literary agent. But hmmmm, how does one become an agent? Oh, I know! I need to get some clients. That should be easy enough. Mmmm...clients...[flips to C's in the Yellow Pages] Not finding any... Oh wait, I should be searching under A for Authors. Duh! Mmmm...authors. Well sheesh, I just don't understand why authors make themselves so difficult to find. [heavy sigh] Idea! I'll have a contest! I'll need to hire people to write reports--hence the fee. It'll be a lot of work on my part, so I'll need to pay myself--hence an even bigger fee. And there's the risk that I might not make any money selling books after the contest, since I've never done this before--hence a larger fee than any legit contest. And then there's the risk that even after I go through all this trouble, those greedy ungrateful winning authors will dump my ass in favor of signing with an agent who has experience and connections and the potential to get them better book deals--hence the prize being a contractual agreement naming me the agent for the winning entries.

Whaddaya mean it's not fair? C'mon...if not for me, these people wouldn't have the chance to get noticed. And it's not my fault that writers with first draft manuscripts choose to enter the contest and pay the fee. Besides, it'll be a learning experience for them. Did I say I'll be hiring people to write reports? --hence the fee.

Yes, this is dedicated to you, Anonymous-who-was-working-for-an-agent-but-who-is-now-back-to-the-usual-depressing-rounds-of-querying-agents. If it's so damn depressing, don't do it. No one's forcing you. If you love to write, then write. If not, then go away.

Termagant 2 said...

If Sobol is really serious about this, they'll rehab the 'contest' without the fee and with a more equitable agency contract.

And, oh yes, a year or two's experience actually agenting will help as well.

I'll look forward to seeing the contest arise like the phoenix in 2009.

T2

Catja (green_knight) said...

I just read the rules again. Hidden within are the (fixed) advanced that would have been paid by Simon and Schuster, and this gem:

Each Simon & Schuster contract will also provide for a NY Times bestseller bonus of up to $25,000, and for industry-standard royalty rates

'Industry-standard royalty rates?' If you fall for that, you could be your own agent and save yourself the 15%...

I'll stop there. What annoys me is the assumption that we - the people who denounce this 'contest' for various reasons - must be blind followers of the Snark or whatever. Merely reading the webpage shows enough reasons not to enter a business relationship with these people.