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  1. #1

    Question Unpublished Book Contests

    Hi,

    I was thinking of entering into one of those unpublished book contests. The thing that I am frowning upon with this, however, is the fact that they charge a reading fee.

    Do writers follow the same rules like finding agents when submitting their unpublished work for writing contests? It seems to me that the majority of these contests consist of some sort of fee?

    And do writers retain all their rights when entering in these contests? Also, if they should happen to win that contest, do they retain their rights, as well?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    A vast majority of these "contests" are simply scams to milk the hopeful writer - hence "reading" fees and other "admission" fees. Preditors & Editors website can assist in weeding out the bad (lots of em) from the good.

    If your work appears on a web page or otherwise is made available - your rights are gone as this is public domain now. It gets better - some "contests" grab all rights on top of everything else.

    Make life simple for yourself. Don't bite these hooks. Work instead on being accepted by a publisher - be it the Minor League small press that may be easier to get into for a new writer, or the Majors up New York way via an agent.

    Kerry

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by kmtolan View Post
    A vast majority of these "contests" are simply scams to milk the hopeful writer - hence "reading" fees and other "admission" fees. Preditors & Editors website can assist in weeding out the bad (lots of em) from the good.

    If your work appears on a web page or otherwise is made available - your rights are gone as this is public domain now. It gets better - some "contests" grab all rights on top of everything else.

    Make life simple for yourself. Don't bite these hooks. Work instead on being accepted by a publisher - be it the Minor League small press that may be easier to get into for a new writer, or the Majors up New York way via an agent.

    Kerry
    So the same rules apply to contests, eh? It did seem suspicious with those reading fees. I figured that winning something would look better on my proposal. Tough field.

    I thought that the "Predators and Editors" website only talk about good and corrupted agents. Whereabouts do I find the section strictly for contests?

  4. #4
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ausnos View Post
    So the same rules apply to contests, eh? It did seem suspicious with those reading fees. I figured that winning something would look better on my proposal. Tough field.

    I thought that the "Predators and Editors" website only talk about good and corrupted agents. Whereabouts do I find the section strictly for contests?
    Under "Contests" (grin)

    Kerry

  5. #5
    Basically.

    Compare the reading fee with the prize money. If they charge a reading fee, but do not offer a monetary prize, scam. If they charge a $25 reading fee and offer a $500 prize, scam.

    If it's something like a $20 reading fee and a $5000 prize...

    The prize money has to come from somewhere. Many, MANY legitimate contests charge fees.

    Legitimate contests do not take rights except from the winners. They may ask entrants to agree to have extracts published if they win, and many short story contests publish the winning stories. Be careful of newspaper contests...they often take all rights of all entrants and even though they don't charge a reading fee...it's often a 'free content' scam.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer P View Post
    Basically.

    Compare the reading fee with the prize money. If they charge a reading fee, but do not offer a monetary prize, scam. If they charge a $25 reading fee and offer a $500 prize, scam.

    If it's something like a $20 reading fee and a $5000 prize...

    The prize money has to come from somewhere. Many, MANY legitimate contests charge fees.

    Legitimate contests do not take rights except from the winners. They may ask entrants to agree to have extracts published if they win, and many short story contests publish the winning stories. Be careful of newspaper contests...they often take all rights of all entrants and even though they don't charge a reading fee...it's often a 'free content' scam.
    Okaaay, so I guess the contest that I have my eyes on is a scam. They charge a $25 reading fee for (I believe) a $500-$1000 prize.

    I'm still not quite clear how to spot them. I understand that the money has to come from somewhere. Correct me if I am wrong but if the prize is any less than $5000 and they charge a fee, anything less is a scam?

  7. #7
    Hrm. Not sure. It seems fairly low, but I would honestly have to run my scam radar across the actual web site itself.

  8. #8
    WannabeWriter JohnKurt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer P View Post
    Hrm. Not sure. It seems fairly low, but I would honestly have to run my scam radar across the actual web site itself.
    It's sad how much you have to watch yourself now-a-days.
    Amazing how much effort people put into ripping off other's hard work.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnKurt View Post
    It's sad how much you have to watch yourself now-a-days.
    Amazing how much effort people put into ripping off other's hard work.
    I concur. Its sad how society is always at a constant decline...

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