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Bad Word-of-Mouth Kills Sobol Prize

Sobol Literary Enterprises, which announced back in September that it was charging would-be published writers $85 a pop for the opportunity to have their manuscripts considered for representation by people with no literary agenting experience, then cut a deal with Touchstone to publish three books, has announced that they’re done battling the lackluster—nay, scornful—response to their efforts and, as Hillel Italie reports for the AP, the contest has officially been cancelled.

Sobol editorial director Brigitte Weeks told the AP “only about 1,000 manuscripts were received, far below the 50,000 that prize organizers were prepared to accept and well below the minimum of 2,000 that Simon & Schuster had required to ensure its participation.” (Those writers will receive an $85 refund.) As Weeks puts it, “I think the criticism was probably quite damaging.” I would imagine so, given the overwhelmingly negative response the Sobol generated during its short existence among online observers, who compared the venture to a number of previous literary-themed frauds and ripoff schemes.

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