Write like nobody will ever read it.
Edit like the whole world will.
Sharon Melton Lippincott
Springfield Writers' Guild
A Chapter of Missouri Writers' Guild

Red Flags of Writing Contests

C. Hope Clark has been evaluating contests for writers for thirteen years at Funds for
Writers.  Her site has been among Writer’s Digest Magazine’s annual 101 Best
Websites for Writers for more than ten years. In a guest post for Writer Beware! she
lists some things to consider before you submit an entry to a contest. Excerpts below
are with her permission.
Read her full article.

First timer
While every contest has to start somewhere, still keep your eyes open with an
inaugural launch. Even with the best of intentions, they may not have ironed out the
wrinkles of managing such an event.

No humans
Generic email address? P.O. Box? No website? Reason enough to move on.

High entry fee
Entry fees can be relative. A $5 fee might sound fine, unless the first prize is a T-shirt
or a $10 gift certificate. A $10 fee could be reasonable, unless the first prize is $25.
Fees in themselves are not a negative—but the ratio of entry fee to prize money is
the tell-tale sign.

Past winners
Where have they published? Read their blogs. Study their careers. You can tell a lot
about the quality of the contest by the quality of the winner.

If a contest wants all rights for entering, run away. If a contest wants one-time or
first rights to publish and publicize your award, then fine.

Not all judges are identified, and the lack of identity doesn't necessarily rule out a
competition. You may not care, but prestige can come from being judged by someone
known in his field. If you want to know the judges, email and ask. If the contest
sponsors dodge you, reconsider.
2015 Award Recipients and Judges
22nd Annual International Poetry and Prose Contest

Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to award recipients. Thanks to the judges who volunteered their time
and expertise. And a great big thanks to contest director Yvonne Erwin for managing a difficult job. Her planning,
organizing, and directing skills caused everything to run smoothly and professionally.


Writing Contests, Grants, Awards – Courtesy Poets & Writers Magazine.  
C. Hope Clark
Photo courtesy C. Hope Clark