Contests. They're like morning breath.
Over at the Gather/Simon & Schuster contest, it is like a recurring (bad) dream. Surfing over the entrants, I spotted over a dozen POD books that I passed on (and their ratings are relatively proportional to my opinion as best I can recall).
For all of you wondering what it is like to be in my shoes (8.5M) here is your chance. Some of the first chapters submitted are terrible (rated at 3 and under) and some are pretty good (rated, roughly, 6 and up) but most are simply average.
And just like American Idol, the best parts are the comments. Read what people are saying about the hard work of aspiring writers everywhere and see why it is important to get an objective party to read your work before you submit in anywhere--and to use your spell-checker.
One other note: Never underestimate the evil and self-serving nature of the human race. It appears there is a problem with authors (entrants) going in and "down-rating" the leading titles by giving them "1 star" reviews so that their own titles have a better chance. To those folks, I say, "May you be cursed to a lifetime of PublishAmerica contracts."