Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Writer Idol

Here's a great idea- start a for profit literary prize company, with a top prize of $100,000.00, open it to any unpublished writers for the nominal "registration" fee of $85. Promise the young writer that their precious manuscript will be read and graded by at least two "industry experts", who will give feedback as needed. From there, the best of each lot will be carefully considered by "highly ranked judges" for the top prize.
Sit back and watch the money pour in.
This is the business model of the Sobol Awards whose offshoot, the Sobol Literary Agency, coincidentally, will be the ones representing the awarded author in all their future endeavors.
Besides sounding a little like American Idol, last I checked, any literary agency or publisher who charged a reading fee, and that's what the $85 is, are rightly labeled scam artists, not artist representatives.
The Sobol Awards (like other scammers) prey on the most basic hopes and insecurities of any unpublished writer- namely that their voice will never get heard, that the writer is good enough, but big houses don't care about them and that unless a writer has powerful representation, they will forever wallow in obscurity and the world will unknowingly miss the second coming of Dickens.
Of course many of us know that isn't true, but the Sobol people are counting on one more thing too, that young, unpublished writers have an illogical, insatiable desire for acceptance... from anybody. Respect yourself, protect yourself.

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