You knew it had to happen. The “American Idol” concept has filtered down to the book world. Internet company MediaPredict.com is partnering with the Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone to launch a contest wherein the public gets to vote (with $5,000 in virtual cash) on book proposals most likely to succeed.
Read about the contest in full, here:
“Touchstone Imprint of Simon & Schuster Teams with New Website Media Predict for Its Project Publish Literary Contest
“Welcome to Project Publish.”
And you may want to read The New York Times article on the contest.
Here’s a brief excerpt from the NYT piece:
“Being able to predict the performance of something is key,” said Brent Stinski, founder of Media Predict. A prediction market, he said, “is a very powerful tool.”
In the case of Media Predict, traders are not voting on the book they like best, but rather are placing bets on which they think will do well. According to Mark Gompertz, publisher of Touchstone Books, Media Predict could do for book publishing what focus groups do for soap and soda and what screening audiences do for movies.
“Since Gutenberg first printed the Bible, critics have always said publishers don’t know what they’re doing. Just throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks is a crazy way to do business,” Mr. Gompertz said.
Well, the rights issues seem a little tricky here (authors allow MediaPredict to act as temporary literary agent if not already represented). But there’s no entry fee. And, of course, you can’t really argue against free.
This seems to me, though, the latest manifestation of what I wrote about in my last blog entry, which our WD forumites weren’t wild about, to say the least. Testing consumers to try and predict which books might actually sell doesn’t seem to be something writers want to believe is important or even useful.
Anyway, I’d love to know your thoughts on this contest, so drop me a line. Remember, I have $5,000 in virtual cash and I’m not afraid to use it.
Until next time…