The Upside and Downside of Writing Contests

When writers begin to collect clips for their resume, we explore various mediums on where to submit our work for publication. Of course, I must continuously emphasize, that preparation, education and research are crucial elements in this highly competitive field. Although you may do your homework and submit your work earnestly, unfortunately there are many people out there who are dishonest about their practices and will steal your work and all of your “rights” or simply not pay you for their personal gain.

I have been victimized in a couple of situations, not realizing that I was a victim. However, continuous reading and research on the perils of dishonest sponsors and publishers could leave a horrible after taste in your mouth. Let me assure you that although these con-artists have done an injustice to many unsuspecting honest writers, they will not continue to do what they do without eventually being caught and penalized for their unprofessional and unethical behavior.

Before you enter those “sounds too good to be true” writing contests, be sure to do some investigative work first. Here are a few sites that I find helpful when searching for reported warnings of immoral conduct these operators practice. Although these sites do not contain all of the unreported injustices people have experienced, it is certainly a starting point in beginning your investigations so that you will not be a victim.

Writers Weekly

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

eBook Crossroads

Here is a site that offers some good points about writing tips, entering contests and industry cautions.


There are several writing contests out there requiring a fee and some that do not. Just because you may pay a fee, does not mean that you are any closer to winning that grand prize, especially if your work is not the best product in front of the judges. Do your research about who is sponsoring the writing contest you want to enter and check to see if they have any red flag complaints with the BBB or other consumer reporting agencies. The sites listed above are a good starting point for your investigative work.

All the best with your writing!


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