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Is there a Competitions beware?

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Susan Anwin

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I'm sure there are a lot of scams among them, is there an index of them somewhere?
How can I tell if a competition is a scam?

Thanks
 

James D. Macdonald

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I don't think of competitions as scams, so much as a waste of time and money.

The ones that are worthwhile are the ones that you see on the covers of the paperback editions of books: National Book Award, Pulitzer, Golden Duck, etc. Generally speaking, these are for already-published books, and, again generally speaking, the entrance fee is paid by the publisher.

If your work is good enough to win a contest, it's good enough to attract a publisher.

Saying that your book won a contest won't make a publisher more likely to buy it, though.

If you're just doing it for fun... look at the list of previous winners. Have you heard of them? Have you read them? Were they any good?
 

Undercover

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I agree it's a waste of money and time. Unless it's free then ya got nothin' to lose.
 

benbradley

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I think it's "if they charge to enter (or even charge to win or to publish or something like that), beware."

I vaguely recall one discussed on AW (this may not have even been a contest) that may have been free to enter, but by entering you gave up all rights to your work, and they could do whatever they wanted with it without crediting you, whether you won or not.

From everything I've learned here on AW, the correct punctuation should be:

Competitions? Beware.
 

shadowwalker

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Check Poets & Writers - they have a long list of vetted contests. And many of them do have entry fees - which pays the costs of the prizes, judges, etc. Fees don't necessarily mean beware - the Pulitzer has an entry fee.
 

Thedrellum

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As shadowstalker said, there are many contests that have fees that aren't scams. It really depends on what sort of book you have and where you are looking to get published.

In general, poetry publishers have contests with fees (though not all), and sometimes there are contests for short-story collections and novels, too. In most of these cases, the publishers are either associated with a University (Crab Orchard) or small, but respected (Saturnalia). Those are are poetry publishers because that's mostly what I'm familiar with.

As James said, one of the most important considerations is who else has been published by them. Also, what are your goals? If your goal is to make a living off of your writing, competitions aren't really the way to go (as far as I've seen).
 

shadowwalker

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Personally, I wouldn't look to enter a novel in a contest, as most of them I've seen (other than those offering fellowships) don't have a large enough prize to make it worthwhile. But, considering the avenues open for short stories, novellas, and poetry, I think contests can be a viable option. As Thedrellum said, though, it's not a way to earn one's living - but that's going to be difficult no matter what route one takes.
 

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