Things to Look Out for When You Enter Writing Competitions

Posted on: 15th March 2013

Writing CompetitionsCompetitions offer people the opportunity to express hidden talents. If you’re passionate about writing fiction, writing competitions are one of the best ways to gain exposure for your work.


Some writers express concerns about entering writing contests. A few think they’ll be scammed out of their hard work, and others simply think “why bother?” Being cautious isn’t always the best approach to life. If you carry out some quick research into writing competitions, you can avoid the scams and watch the prizes roll in.


You can identify a fake competition by asking the following questions.


Is it the first time you’ve heard of the company?


One of the first signs to look for in any competition is the initial launch. Even with the best plans, managing a writing competition requires a lot of organisation. Writing competitions are time consuming for the judges, and without proper management they can end up being very costly for the sponsors.

If the competition is being run by a reputable organisation, then give it a bash. On the other hand, if it’s the first time you’ve heard of the company you should give it a miss.


Does the competition have a contact person?


A legitimate competition will have a name, a recognized institution, and a reputable publisher behind it who you can get in touch with if you have any questions. Pop them an email: if there is a lack of response, it could be a tell tale sign about the competition’s legitimacy.


What are the entry fees like?


The entry fee should correspond to the prize, and should just be enough to cover processing. Never pay an entry fee that is higher than the value of the prizes.  As well as being a waste of money, it’s another good indicator that you’re about to be scammed.


Are there previous winners?


One way to find out whether a competition is legitimate is to search for past winners. If something doesn’t add up, try doing a detailed search about the winners via Google. Real people will show up in social networks or telephone directories. Read their published work, and study their careers. The quality of a contest can be identified by the quality of the winners.


Do you keep your rights?


If the rules of the contest stipulate that the rights to your work will be transferred to the sponsors, do not enter. If they request first rights or one time rights in order to publish your work, it’s all good.


Who are the judges?


Publically identifying the judges can add prestige to the competition, especially if the judges are famous authors. If you’re entering a competition where the names of the judges aren’t publically available, get in touch with the sponsors and ask them. If they dodge the question, perhaps you should reconsider entering their competition.

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