Writing contests can be a great way to practice your craft and to build your authorial resume if you win. Writers Digest has numerous contests on a variety of fronts (short story, poetry, etc.), and the Writers-Editors site posts good contests as well.
However, not all writing contests are entry-worthy. But how do you tell? Inkygirl.com recently highlighted some issues with a writing contest sponsored by an insurance agency, where the winner got a prize but didn’t retain the rights to his or her work. The insurance company wrote back to challenge her post, and the end result was that a ton of good information was posted about writing contests.
Inkygirl.com has it right in my opinion: always read the fine print before you submit to a contest. Many writers think that an entry fee is an automatic red flag, but not necessarily so. Writing-world.com gives great advice by encouraging writers to always ask what the larger purpose of the contest is. “Is it to recognize and reward literary merit, or is does the contest serve another function?” If the answer is “another function” then determine what that function is, and whether or not you want to be part of it.
Have you been scammed in a writing contest? What contests have you entered and what was your experience?
[Image Source: ediscoveryreadingroom.com]