Friday, May 25, 2007

Excuse Me While I Gouge Out My Eyeballs

Turn on your television and you'll find a reality show. There's a man selecting a potential bride, and there's a woman picking out a husband. There are gangs of people surviving on islands, jungles, the back roads, and the inner city. It's all real. Gritty. Dirty. As it happens. Or, the contestants are singing and dancing and everyone's happy unless they've lost and then they're crying. Real tears. Real emotions. Reality.

Lauren Spicer looked over the program listings and realized that the world needed a reality show for authors. She also realized, at some point in her writing career, that the world needed her books so she published them herself. Assume what you will from that. In any event, Ms. Spicer has invented an on-line Writing contest, to find the Ultimate Author. Apparently no television program director would pick it up, so she's doing it herself!

Care to participate? Get yourself down to her digs in Florida and run through the various fun-filled scenarios of reality. Read the opening chapter of your manuscript, and all the judges in cyberspace will listen and vote. It's very American Idol, but without the music. According to the website:
Within the half-hour, contestants compete as a group and individually. The
contestant with the least amount of points for that week will be asked to close
their laptop and leave the premises. The judges tasked with scoring the
contestants will be literary magazine publishers, veteran authors, journalists,
book store representatives, and creative development managers from publishing
houses. There will be three permanent judges and one guest judge selected who
excels in the chosen genre selected for that week or for the activity.
Additionally, viewers will get a chance to participate as a guest judge by
filling out the form on the website.
A touch of Weakest Link in there as well, it appears. So much excitement! So much anticipation! How could ABC or NBC or Fox not have jumped at the opportunity to snap up this bit of must-see entertainment? What would be more thrilling than watching people read? It's right up there with watching grass grow, but it could never compete with the sense of anticipation that comes with watching the kettle boil.

So what's in it for you, the author? A book deal, wouldn't you know. Published by whom? In all likelihood, by Ms. Spicer. Lacks the cachet of HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster, though, and somehow it doesn't seem like it's quite worth the air fare to Miami.

How lame, exactly, is this reality show concept? The writing challenge tests your spelling and grammar. And you thought you were smarter than a fifth grader....but isn't that already on the air?

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