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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Writing Contests – Buyer Beware!

In a world of supply outstripping demand, this channel for literary exposure can be a minefield.

I did the math on organizing a writing contest and wondered if I was sitting on a hidden goldmine; should I turn my career from writer to writing contest organizer?

First, I need a snazzy title, something like “The 30th Annual Emerging Writers Gold Awards Contest” (no need to worry about the prior 29 contests - perhaps, some fictitious names of winners in the previous three years would suffice).

Next, I need to have some handsome prizes: first prize $1500, second prize $1000, and third prize $500. The three winners may be offered a book contract from XYZ Publishing (XYZ will subsequently decline all three, but that comes later). Entrance fee is $15.00 per story, multiple entries are allowed. Entries are welcome from all over the world (in fact, the more remote the submitter is, the better). I think that should be a juicy enough offer.

Now, given that there are more writers than readers, and slush piles are overflowing with unread manuscripts, and self-publishing is flourishing but not quite respected, I would expect there to be at least 1000 submissions, which translates into $15,000 in revenue. And the costs would be $3000 in prize money (oh yes, you gotta pay for credibility’s sake), $500 for building a glitzy web site (and don’t forget to add a couple of pages on XYZ Publishing in case someone - meaning, everyone - checks) and $10 per month for web hosting. Oh, and a couple of hours of your time to (a) turf 975 manuscripts, and (b) pick 25 at random, scan them cursorily, pick the top three and the 12 also-rans, and garbage the rest. Let’s face it, everyone writes pretty good these days as we have a longer living, better-educated population, and because everyone has a story to tell. The net profit on this contest would be approximately $11,000 – plenty of upside even if the number of entries fall below 1000.

And the beauty of this scheme is that for a $5 increase in the entrance fee, I could afford to dole out $1000 more in prize money and still pocket an extra $4000. There is no audit and “the judges’ verdict is final.” The only person raising an eyebrow would be the poor mailman delivering all those submissions. And if I run one contest a month, I could earn a six figure income!

Now here’s the reality: I have no intention of becoming a writing contest organizer – let me make that very clear! And I do not wish to upset those organizers who run ethical contests with independent juries, fueled only with altruism towards discovering new talent and furthering literature. And I don’t have a problem with these organizers being fairly compensated for their efforts either. But realizing the potential for abuse, I place these financials before emerging writers who may be under the illusion that entering every contest under the sun is the way to fame and fortune.

At the end of the day, a good story will be told, writing contests notwithstanding.



About the Writer

Shane Joseph is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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15 comments on Writing Contests – Buyer Beware!

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By LauraWilliam on May 14, 2015 at 02:49 am

Hi Shane, great review of the various writing contest available. I noticed you missed essay writing service reviews from topwritersreview.com section so I just wanted to clarify a few things.

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By Shane Joseph on May 14, 2015 at 06:26 am

Laura, I'm not sure what your comment has to do with my article on "Writing Contests". Perhaps my other article "Flogging is a nuisance and a looming economic disaster " is more appropriate.

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By riginal on May 14, 2015 at 08:29 am

...laughing here Shane. I can't for the flog of me see why there isn't a special site for these people Bro? Oops! answered my own question. Are these people insane with rhetorical comment? Injected stereotypical furry scurrying pendantic meese unable/unwilling to get off the ferris wheel of free flog? I wonder if Mr Ed has noticed? Although it does seem the welcoming 'flog' mat casts a wide embrace. As perplexing as the 'contest' traps you so aptly describe. Wondering if 'pay for comment view' would despamise? Never mind. Guess one has to roll/reel with the comments. Maybe one day a special section in the list one can chose from to lodge a post? Like, 'comment on comment?' Or 'spare spam longevity industrial strength?' Cheers. I thought you would respond thus. Insult seems to encourage more flies to the swollen carcass of rot?

You should start your own dissertation site Shane. At $8 plus a page probably out earn Hemmingway...or at least outfish the old man...? :>)

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By Shane Joseph on May 14, 2015 at 08:51 am

riginal - it is indeed laughable. As for essay writing myself and earning out Hemingway, that's a thought. I guess then I will have to add my own flogs to my own blog posts to promote myself. Reminds me of that circular, old Burl Ives song, "I'm my own grandpa!"

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By Barbara MacDonald on May 14, 2015 at 10:34 am

We have been over-run with flogging wanna bes...let us just thrive in the chaos...:) ...

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By riginal on May 14, 2015 at 08:30 pm

Barb/Shane hear! hear! Notice though when one comments on their inane comments it's a case of 'no comment' type of respond comment which in my book doesn't warrant a comment and the companies involved haven't the guts to comment so therefore how does one comment on a non participatating bunch of moronic dudes when how 'pro' they are melts into the background of 'no comment trees' thus making it obvious they are indeed not 'pros.' Not able to engage in intellectual combat simply because at $8 a sheet plus they are at loss for words. So come out of your burrows you cringe dwellers and lets see how good you are? What's that? No comment? Sorry Shane, i know this deviates from your original post but then if you unfold the umbrella of flog maybe it doesn't? I'm going to win the lotto this weekend...buy this site, clean the spam and reset the original standard of write. Back within a bull's roar of Tony's original concept which entailed and allowed comments free rein good or bad but implicitly targeted at the post itself. What say you floggers abuzz? Can't hear you. What? Cat got your tongue? Bring it on...come out into the open so we can smite thee. No comment? :>)

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By riginal on May 14, 2015 at 08:38 pm

...even chucked in a stuffed word spell but no bites participate?

Ed time you revealed YOUR bent on what indeed you want this site to become. What seeds should be planted and watered and what 'comment' weeds should be pulled and discarded. Did i mention flog removal? The ides of mush are upon us. Irving please restrain yourself. I know, i know, you are still searching for the right essay company but without trying to be too profane...who gives a toss?

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By riginal on May 14, 2015 at 08:54 pm

Bring it on essay prompt... let's draw the ridiculous line in the sand right her and now. Put your 'courage' boots on readers and lets sock it to the daft invaders. Darth Vader what say you? It's not rocket seance. Get off your twittering bums students. Kasan your essay mob stinks. Spray me. No comment? Bring it on guys girls. Stop hiding behind ingognito bushes of adverse comment or i will individually tear you limb from limb with verbal torture never seen before on any site...bring it on at your peril. Be warned.

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By Shane Joseph on May 14, 2015 at 09:21 pm

riginal, you have indeed "cried havoc, and let slip the dogs of war." Now let the other Broo writers sally forth and say their piece, or else "villainy will (indeed) be afoot" in this forum.

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By riginal on May 14, 2015 at 09:22 pm

Get the 'her' mistake? E now added. Happy? Give me something to respond to or forever remain in twittering nonplus and vinyl replica 'how sewers work' and more to the point how to lose weight. Stop freaking eating and belt your fat arse stupid comments thin with sensible. It isn't hard. Am i getting through to you people of dodgy flog? People who sit dribbling midst the fog flog. Time to stand up and be counted. Duh! One...free flog...duh two free frog...umm free flog...duh...three free flog. Paint your kitchen kitchty witchty obvious flog wack on a repainted replica comment to brighten drab...smile...you're on candid rabid comment. Flog your rot elsewhere girls and boys...enough already! You are standing in the spotlight of sprung! Spring is nigh! Time to lift your gain. For what gain if you monotone essay yourselves to death. Read 'death of a salesman' Not 'girth of a flatulent sales pitch.' Sorry Shane. The imbecilic go "duh!" I'm laughing here. No comment duh Irving and co? Nothing to say? Doesn't compute. No flog ventured...nothing brained? :>)

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By riginal on May 14, 2015 at 09:45 pm

And so Shane all us with Barb...:>) The whole three of us...let's see what claptrap claps. Irving i know i know! You're still searrching. Aren't we all? Still searching for the meaning of life...more to the point...meaning of half decent comment right? I feel better now Shane. I feel better now Barb. Like an essay comment lifted off my shoulders...or duh has it? Just kidding guys...or is it your kids that have been making those idiotic senseless essay comments...if so, you are forgiven. Forgive them for they know not where they poo...sorry, what they do. Or do they they...those cuddly little cretins of obscure tranparent flog? Vinyl replica watch anyone? Have a great weekend spammers...but then you always poo...damn!...do.

Must be my mid "why?" crisis. Take care. Until the next obscure remark...:>) Just kidding...or am i...just...

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By Shane Joseph on May 22, 2015 at 03:53 pm

The floggers are back - bloody pests!

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By riginal on May 22, 2015 at 08:42 pm

Shane you'll find if you haven't twigged already, Irving and Co use various names...non variable same twang...Barb seems to think that they pay for the twang but i think it's just sheer opportunism on their part. I don't begrudge anybody trying to get ahead but i would reckon these same people 'bug' in/out? on all sites. If these essay sites had any brains/cred at all, they wouldn't be using 'third world engrish' in order to promote their sites. Rather like someone advertising exotic fishing gear using numbnuts brandishing twigs with twine tied on the end and a rusted hook, spieling, "this best fishing site when not using string and hook knock fish on head with stick..." Ed whether he/ she likes it or not must bear some responsibility...i ask again, what or where is the line of 'flog' in the scheme of 'sensibile comment' pertaining to this site allowed? A loud "anything goes!" at the moment? Puzzling. But not quite as puzzling as funnygifts of toys, etc. And gosh, hiding their site monickers actually anywhere in the comment sentence! How IT can a deaf adder get? Cheers Shane. :>)

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By Shane Joseph on May 22, 2015 at 09:32 pm

riginal, thanks for the moral support. I'm convinced these floggers are bots. And therefore it's not worth the trouble responding to them. And whoever buys the services of a bot master (especially writing services) must need their heads examined anyway. All the best!

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By EssayMaxi on May 28, 2015 at 10:51 am

Shane Joseph, your articles are the best, thanks a lot from essaymaxi

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