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View Full Version : Literary Competitions: Entry Fees?



Old Hack
06-06-2009, 11:31 PM
I live in the UK and have entered quite a few good literary competitions over the years which have charged an entry fee. The National Poetry Prize, the Asham Award, the Bridport Prize, the Fish Prize: all are very well respected, and all charge entry fees which no one objects to.

However, on AW I've noticed a reluctance to enter competitions which charge fees. I realise that there's a worry that fees might be going towards supporting vanity operations: but in the UK moneys raised by entry fees are often the only thing that keeps our smaller literary magazines in print.

So, my questions: are entry fees for literary competitons frowned upon in America? Do the good competitions ever charge for them? What about if the entry fees all went to a good cause, rather than to the publisher concerned: would that be more acceptable? Or is it best for a competition just to avoid charging anything for entry at all, and so avoid any potential worries or criticisms?

Puma
06-07-2009, 02:04 AM
I know some people shy away from paying entry fees. I think this is either because they feel in some way that makes it not a legitimate contest, or, they're following the rule money flows to the writer.

The way I look at it, the companies offering the competitions have to have a way to defray their expenses and offered prize money other than hoped for selling of the book/journal/whatever after the contest. I enter contests with fees (but I do put a limit on how much I'm willing to pay based partly on what type of competition and publication it is). I see no problem with entering contests with fees, and I can always hope that one day I might win. Puma

Izz
06-07-2009, 02:39 AM
I know Glimmer Train has entry fees for most of its competitions/themed issues. And their payment for stories is very large.

Personally i don't enter many competitions with entry fees, not because i'm suspicious, but because i'm on a limited budget.

Palmfrond
06-07-2009, 03:23 AM
It's not so much that entry fee equals a dubious contest, it's that a number of contests have had scandals involving winners that were associated with the judges in some way.

KTC
06-07-2009, 04:20 AM
There are several scandals out there targeting writers. Also, a lot of writers think that you shouldn't pay a fee for a writing contest, etc. You have to go with what you personally are willing to do. I only enter ones that I am positive are legit...I never enter ones with a huge entry fee. You just have to be careful...and only do it if you're comfortable doing it. I am a member of a writing circle that puts on several writing contests that charge fees. I administered one of their contests. I know these ones are legit because I've been on the other side making it happen. We are a non-profit organization for writers and the contests are not really a money making venture for us, but a way to celebrate good writing. But you do have to be careful. I've won several contests...the highest pay out I received from winning a contest was an American one that paid out $500US. I paid $5 to enter. I was happy with the outcome.

Old Hack
06-07-2009, 10:14 PM
Thanks, all.

I'm in negotiations with a publisher to edit an anthology right now which will be brilliant if it does happen: it's going to raise money for a literacy-related good cause, if it does go ahead. So perhaps a voluntary entry fee would be OK, on the understanding that all the money raised would go to the good cause.

There is SO much to consider with this project, and it's great to be able to come here and get impartial, good advice. Thank you.

KTC
06-07-2009, 10:47 PM
Thanks, all.

I'm in negotiations with a publisher to edit an anthology right now which will be brilliant if it does happen: it's going to raise money for a literacy-related good cause, if it does go ahead. So perhaps a voluntary entry fee would be OK, on the understanding that all the money raised would go to the good cause.

There is SO much to consider with this project, and it's great to be able to come here and get impartial, good advice. Thank you.

I've heard of this too...there is a fine line. Make sure that if you do do it...you present it as a contest. Most writers see asking for money for publication as a huge no-no...or should. There has to be a judging process. The prize can be publication...if you wanted the fees to go to the literacy council/group, etc....but you can't (or shouldn't) just ask the people submitting to pay to be published. Really fine line.

Old Hack
06-08-2009, 01:48 AM
Thanks, KTC. I agree.