Paying to Enter Writing Competitions

money to burn 1

   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.

5 thoughts on “Paying to Enter Writing Competitions

  1. we-ell, I can see this from both points of view. Last year I sent off my stories to 50 places. Some of them were free (eg Aberdeen University Special Collections writing competition, Scottish Book Trust Journeys competition). Some of them cost a fiver or less. A fiver was my limit.

    I got a second place with one story and won £50. They published that story in their anthology. A printed book for sale on Amazon. I was delighted.

    I won first prize in another competition – £50 and a night in a hotel. Plus an article and photo in the local papers. The pride and kudos of winning was fantastic. It was a very small and unknown competition but I didn’t care.

    That’s the sum of it. I spent about £150 entering things last year.

    This year on January 1 I decided ‘freebies only’. I have so far had one story accepted by a US literary journal and I am waiting for a decision on 12 others. All free to enter. I work with Cathy Bryant’s compsandcalls listing of freebies, invaluable.

    Watch this space.


  2. Just scams for folks desperate for some “formal” validation


    1. Yeah pretty much, although its clear what the terms are. But any short story publisher of any reputation won’t charge the writer just to have them consider it for publication. I’d rather stick the £8 on a football match!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree wholeheartedly! Addressed this in my own blog–the awards are nonsense and bragging that you’ve gotten one makes you look amateurish. Don’t need any gold-foil stickers for my books–let my readers decide if they are winners!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Potentially, if you win you can get £500 or more, into the thousands. But the chances of it happening are slim. Just seems like a total waste of time. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


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