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Old 12-24-2012, 05:04 PM   #1
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Ballot Press

Received an email from a friend about Ballot Press and its $2,000 writing contest. Somehow, I'm suspicious. Anybody have any info?
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Ballot Press is a book publisher and distributor with a focus on eBooks. We provide professional editing and unique and aggressive marketing that includes selling through other online eBook retailers. Ballot Press authors earn 50 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of their work.

In addition, through our monthly contest, writers are provided critiques from other authors.
http://ballotpress.com/about-ballot-press/
So far Ballot Press has published one book, Season of the Beast by Robert Jacobs, which boasts a review by the late Ray Bradbury. The author is a professor at Bradley University (http://slane.bradley.edu/faculty/bob-jacobs) but I can find no information about who is behind Ballot Press.

It's a strange set-up:

Quote:
Will you be Ballot Press’ next published author?
Each month, a new winner is chosen for a $2,000 prize and a chance to be published based on votes from readers and Ballot Press judges.
First, writers submit a complete manuscript after agreeing to the contest rules and terms of service. Then, the writer selects 1,500 words or less to be posted on Ballot Press. And like a private writers’ group, readers can then critique the work and vote from one to five on each entry.

All entries are open to votes for 30 days, regardless of when they are submitted. There are no entry fees.

The top entries, in their entirety, will be judged by a Ballot Press jury. Each month, at least one winner will receive $2,000.

If selected by the judges for publishing, the work will be professionally edited with the writer being responsible for requested rewrites, then copy edited. Next, the book will be published and promoted by Ballot Press with writers earning 50 percent of the net profits. ISBN numbers and conversions to eBook readers are provided at no cost to the author
http://ballotpress.com/writing-contest/
If there are no entry fees where does the $2000 per month prize money come from? Who are the judges? What previous experience do members of the editorial staff have?

Also, not everyone can enter the contest:

Quote:
If you are a non-published or self-published author, go to our contest rules for information on entering Ballot Press’ monthly contest where winners have a chance to be published.

If you are a published author, not self-published, or a literary agent, submit manuscript proposals to admin@ballotpress.com
http://ballotpress.com/how-to-publish/
Again, where does the prize money come from? They're going to have to sell a heck of a lot of e-books to keep this contest going. Were it not for the fact that Ballot Press won't consider unpublished or self-published authors for publication except through the contest I'd suspect the old bait-and-switch, but I can't imagine any previously published/agented author being cajoled into paying for Ballot's services. Perhaps someone simply has $24000 a year to play with.

Based on the scanty information provided by Ballot Press I wouldn't be in a hurry to submit anything. Nor am I impressed by the fact that the company's website is a WordPress blog: http://ballotpress.com/sample-page/

Oddly enough, pages from the Ballot Press website also turn up here:
http://www.www.bigskycafe.com/
http://piranhapettingzoo.com/
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Last edited by aliceshortcake; 12-24-2012 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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I couldn't get an RTF full to download into their contest. Tried four times, and came up with errors.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:36 PM   #4
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It's odd that the one book isn't at least available as a Kindle download on Amazon.com. Plus $8.99 seems steep for an e-book from a debut author.

I'm wondering if anyone ever wins the monthly contest.
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Old 12-25-2012, 02:55 AM   #5
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The whole thing sounded so odd I emailed Ballot Press to ask for more info. The reply from Karen Velie included the following:

Quote:
I am one of the founders. I have a background in journalism with several of the writers I work with being accomplished authors. I am one of the owners of CalCoastNews. Dennis Pfister is also one of the founders. He is involved in several successful businesses primarily in manufacturing.

Judges for the contest are a jury of people with backgrounds in English and editing. We are looking to change judges at least yearly asking published writers to participate.

Prize money in the beginning is from investments into Ballot Press. Our goal is to become a meeting place for writers, to publish and market good books and to offer a good deal to authors. In the long run, prize money will come from profits on books. We have developed a unique and aggressive marketing campaign for those books we publish.
Well, that explains where the prize money comes from. However, I think Ballot Press' marketing campaign will have to be "unique and aggressive" to sell e-books for $8.99.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #6
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Still only the one book (now priced at $5.99), and last winner listed is for May.
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