7 Ways to Become the Victim of a Poetry Contest Scam

The number of people who get ripped off by poetry scams every year is incredible. These scams predate the Internet by at least a hundred years. Don’t be a victim.

Don’t do any research about the people holding the contest

The simple truth is that most contests that spend more than a little money on advertising are trying to make a profit. Most legitimate poetry contests have small prizes and a local focus. That doesn’t mean the one you found is bogus, but it is a good idea to check.

Join contests that advertise big, big prizes

Do you actually think that lots of rich, nice people are looking to give away big prizes for a single poem? Does that make sense to you?

Expect your poem (first one you ever wrote) to win a big money

Sure, thousands of other poets probably entered, but your first effort will beat them all. That is a reasonable outcome, right?

Buy their stuff

Do you think that when you win a contest, you should have to pay for a commemorative plaque, buy the book your poem is in, or pay for a trip to a conference? If so, by all means fork over your money. Everybody deserves to win an out-of-pocket trip to Las Vegas or Miami.

Avoid becoming a part of the legitimate poetry community

People who are a part of the poetry community around them learn pretty quickly about what is and is not a legitimate opportunity.
Pay that reading fee. The reading fee is a staple of how for-profit poetry contests work. If a contest offers a $10,000 prize and the reading fee is $10 a poem, they only have to find 1001 suckers, I mean contestants, to start making a profit. Of course, that is without all of the “runner ups” who pay for copies of the books their poems appear in.

If it sounds too good to be true then it MUST be true

If you want someone to take all of your money, make this your mantra.

For Further Reading

5 thoughts on “7 Ways to Become the Victim of a Poetry Contest Scam

  1. I would very much like to get my writing out there, and I agree with everything you have written here. However, I have found the online poetry and literature communities to be worthless. They are filled with haughty bores who are only interested in their own work, many of which have so deeply rooted themselves in the community they feel as though they own it. I have joined a few only to find out that the only thing most care about is what I think about their poetry. I didn’t join expecting to be discovered. I have been published already, but hardly “discovered.” But I did expect the participation to a two-way street.

  2. In reply to john d’s comments I belong to a site called Tailcast.com where writers artists of all types and genres mix and comment on each others work, there are no cliques, although some split off to start little groups of more in depth analysis of each others work and challenge each other to write a piece on this or that. No winners or losers just good fun, with honest critisism. Why dont you have a look mate.

    davids last blog post..Daniel Grosvenor started a post called Confessions of a Proofreader

  3. Great post and quite humorous! It is sad how many of these “so-called” publishers play on people’s desires to be published.

    I think what really gets me is that they are also targeting children now. My daughter posted one of her poems on a children’s website. The next thing we know she got a letter telling her that her poem had been selected to be in anthology and she would need to pay $50 in order to purchase a copy of the book if she agreed to let it be published. She was so excited. It broke my heart to have to tell her that it was a scam.

    Morgans last blog post..Sustaining Your Soul

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