Dear Miss Snark,
I am intrigued by a new-ish book contest--The Parthenon Prize--that advertised in Poets & Writers Magazine. The judge is Tony Earley, a respected writer of literary fiction. The prize is $8,000, which I think is about the biggest out there, contest-wise, except for the Drue Heinz. The rules seem quite kosher, with an emphasis on ethics. But the publisher is a print-on-demand press, and I'd really like to know how you feel about that, considering everything else the contest has going for it.
Here's the link
I'd be grateful if you'd look at it, because everything else about it looks so RIGHT.
I'm otherwise entering contests that publish through university presses, from the Flannery O'Connor Prize to the Ohio State U Prize to the Prairie Schooner Brook Prize to the Sarabande/Mary McCarthy Prize...well, there are probably about a dozen of great repute (and smallish prize money). Honestly, I think I'd rather have $1000 and decent or even smallish distribution than $8000 and none. But I'd truly value your opinion here, Miss Snark. My gratitude, in advance.
They have a spiffy website don't they, very pretty. And I love Tony Earley's books, particularly Jim the Boy.
The problem isn't that they print using POD, it's that they don't have a way to get books into actual stores and libraries as far as I can tell from their (very spiffy) website. Their books are available on Amazon and the other places that list pretty much everything available from Books in Print but there's no mention of a wholesaler, or a distributor, and more telling, there's no link on their site for bookstores to buy direct from them.
If you win this contest, you can certainly use it to get attention for your book, but you'll be doing all the heavy lifting for pr and marketing if you actually want to sell books.
This isn't the crock of shit that Sobol was but it's not a contest I'd steer people to.