Another angle on Sobol
But let's look at another side of this. Let's say they actually got 50,000 entries. How on earth are they going to judge all of them? I saw one poor soul on the Publishers Weekly comment board justifying the $85 because she will "get her manuscript read" by so-called professionals.
Uh, I don't think so.
If they actually look at every submission, which is highly doubtful, how much of any given manuscript can they really read? Let's say they get 50,000 entries. And let's say they get 50 judges (in reality, probably 1/10th of that). That's 1,000 manuscripts apiece. Let's say they read ten pages of every manuscript, including the winner. That's 10,000 pages, or approximately 40 full length books.
Get real. No one has that kind of spare time. This is why agents and editors have other people vetting for them. And if they actually read every page of every manuscript? Yeah - an extra 1,000 novels this year, or three a day, every day, including holidays. That's realistic.
This is the most bogus thing to have come along since James Frey's attempt at a memoir. In the words of Stephen P. Hull (publisher for the excellent Justin, Charles & Co.) from the PW discussion board: ". . . it's an agency representation scam that is a purely profit-making venture."
I hope they get 10 entries and are forced to pay out the six figures anyway.