REALLY? Who actually does it? Some entry fees are relatively small, but frequently range from £8-£12. I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to pay money in the vague hope of potentially getting published, that doesn’t even guarantee much of a readership. Unless you win or place in the top three, you get nothing out of it, (usually) not even feedback. You have potentially tied up a story that you could have submitted elsewhere for some moolah, for 100% profit.
It’s back assward. Writing is tough enough. To pay money out is a huge gamble. Or am I missing a trick here? Am I overreacting? Have you entered and won from paying to enter a writing contest? I’d be fascinated to hear from you.