Nearly two years ago, I did a writeup on a vanity anthology scheme called Wake Up...Live the Life You Love.
Just for agreeing to buy 200 books for $2,697, or 500 books for $5,497, authors could have their 1,000-1,200 word story or article included in the latest Wake Up book (a series of inspirational compilations along the lines of Chicken Soup for the Soul), along with "some mega-best selling authors, speakers, trainers, mentors and world class business leaders." The result: "Instant Credibility (tm) with your clients and customers...because, with a book, you will be considered a 'celebrity' in your industry as a best selling co-author." And if that weren't enough, a lucrative affiliate program allowed "co-authors" to earn up to $1,000 per head for referring others to the program.
Now the Wake Up folks have branched out: into "private author publications" (a.k.a. vanity publishing) and contests.
Wake Up Publishing is a Full-service Publishing House. We offer all the services of larger publishing houses with two key exceptions: Wake Up develops books under a model of author-based control and author-based speed of production...Gone are the days of the “12 month plus” production calendar. Speed in no way diminishes the quality of the end product; it merely allows you to move ahead with your intended purpose for the book.
Wake Up Publishing offers a smorgasbord of services that may be purchased in bulk or a la carte (including the obligatory junk mail-style marketing), plus additional "courses" on sales and marketing and training and development--no doubt at fat additional prices. Speaking of prices, money is not mentioned anywhere on the website--but per a report I've received, authors can wind up paying as much as $10,000 for just a few hundred books.
The Wake Up Celebrity Author book contest seeks to give recognition to authors who successfully promote their books. You see, having a great book is very important, but equally important - especially these days - is knowing how to go out and market your book.
All you have to do is register, pay a truly outlandish entry fee of $50, upload your book cover and a 300-word description, and then get people to vote for you. (Official contest rules are here.)
The book with the most votes by September 25, 2009, wins a BarnesandNoble.com best-seller placement package from Wake Up, valued at $12,000. Per the contest FAQ, this is "a focused and comprehensive direct mail campaign targeting people interested in the specific genre your book is in...invit[ing] these people to come and buy your book on a specific date to push your book to a higher rank than other books in your genre--" i.e., a version of the familiar Amazon Bestseller Campaign, workshops on which are offered by many online consultants and promotional services for hefty fees, but way less than $12,000.
Second prize is a book distribution package from contest sponsor Authors on the Net (an "author's community" that also sells book marketing services), which will take the author's book to "40 book fairs in the Salt Lake City, Utah market." Again per the FAQ, "These book fairs occur in large corporate offices, board rooms, factories, hospitals, colleges and other venues." Not prime bookselling territory, I'm thinking--and what if the book isn't Mormon-friendly? Purportedly, this package is worth $2,000.
Third prize is "lifetime membership to Authors On The Net's social media coaching program and the Self-Publishing in a Box kit," a $400 value.
Interestingly, the contest entry fee is due not to the Wake Up people, but to Authors on the Net. And Authors on the Net's owner, Phil Davis, has entered his own book, How To Become a Total Failure, in the contest--though the FAQ explains that this is just "beta testing," and "this book is not eligible to win any of the prizes." All in all, I'm guessing that the real prize in this contest--apart from the fees--is the business that Authors on the Net may be hoping to get from entrants.
There are only about 30 entries so far. Many are, as you might expect, self- or micropress-published, but the contest also seems to have been seeded with some commercially-published books, including one by Jennifer Crusie (I wonder if she knows?)--for whom, if she were to win, the B&N bestseller package would surely be a bit redundant.