Taking the "Con" out of "Contest"
Writing contests are a great way to get recognition, publication,
and possibly win monetary prizes. However, many contests are not what they
seem. Many are a business, and a business has to make money to survive. Here
are a few points to consider:
- Many contests require an entry fee. These contests usually have cash
awards for winning pieces. While this alone does not make the contest unreliable,
you may want to think before you invest any money.
- Many contests claim that the winner will be published in their book
or anthology. These companies usually expect you to purchase their publication,
for a hefty fee of course. See if you can find a copy in the local library,
so you can avoid the cost and still get to see your work.
- Some online contests are looking for names to sell products to,
or just sell your name to another company. If the contest promoter is, perhaps,
a long distance company, they may be looking to sell you more than a chance
to have your work published.
- Be careful to whom you send your name on the internet. An excellent
ploy for a predator is to claim to be running a contest, and get the full
names and addresses (or e-mail addresses) of young people. Be very careful!
Always discuss any contest with your parents before entering.
- Other contests may simply be cancelled unexpectedly. Although uncommon,
it does happen. Remember that before you send in any money to a promoter.
If the contest is free, you may only lose the opportunity to win.
- Be sure to find out if entering the contest relinquishes your rights
to your work. In other words, some companies may take over the rights to
your submitted work. This means you no longer own that piece; they do.
- Read all contest rules before agreeing to participate in any contest,
especially the fine print. Always have your parents look over the rules
before you enter any contest.
Some Interesting Contests
American Library of Poetry
||Ongoing separate contests for students &
Poetry.com Poetry Contest
||Ongoing & monthly contests in poetry
League of American Poets
The Art Deadlines List
||Up to date miscellaneous contest listings
Note: Because I have listed these contests, does
not mean that I endorse them in any way. Be sure to check out each one carefully