How to determine legitimate contests from money grabs?

Discussion in 'Writer's Lounge' started by Ellie Jane, 5 Nov 2017.

  1. Ellie Jane

    Ellie Jane Member

    I made a mistake of recommending that my dear friend enter a writing contest that looked legitimate, but ended up being little more than a money grab. What are the red flags and issues should writers consider before entering a contest?
  2. Jordan

    Jordan Member

    Writing contests can be hard to navigate. Entry fees aren't an automatic deal breaker but beware of high fees. Also, anything that offers you the opportunity to buy your work in print is probably after money.
    Ellie Jane likes this.
  3. Kindler

    Kindler Member

    I would have said that anything which asks you to pay or give up something... like all the rights to the piece you submit in perpetuity...are probably ones to avoid.

    If the fine print is long, complicated and looks like an EULA, unless it's a well renown competition, it's unlikely to be worth it.
    Ellie Jane likes this.
  4. Anna

    Anna Member

    Yeah, if the fine print is long and complicated and you can't find anything about it from other sources, I'd say it's something you should avoid. Sorry to hear that happened to your friend though!
    Ellie Jane likes this.
  5. Ellie Jane

    Ellie Jane Member

    Thanks for the tips! I'll be more careful in the future before passing on contest information. She was chuffed that I thought she could win, but was disappointed when it turned into a money making scheme. Lesson learned.
  6. Jordan

    Jordan Member

    Some contests have the entry fee to help cover processing and sometimes fund the prize; even Writer's Digest does this.

    Kindler makes a valid point about rights thought.
  7. tirial

    tirial Member

    The other thing to watch out for are competitions that require the winner to commit to spending a certyain amount - e.g. the winner agrees to cover all expenses for a contest victory tour or pay x thousands for promotional expenses.

    I couldn't believe it the first time I saw one of those.
  8. Kindler

    Kindler Member

    "...congratulations on winning - now you get to pay for your print run..."

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