Is it just me?

I posted the Amazon writing contest information because this seemed like a decent contest: no entry fee, and some reasonable exposure for the winner. Also, because I need challenges and goals (DEADLINES) to keep me going even though the chances of winning something like that are pretty slim, I still think it’s worthwhile to take part in it.

moolahBut the contests where you have to pay an entry fee — especially a hefty one — really bother me. I just got an email from Writer’s Digest ‘inviting’ me to enter their 2010 Self-Published Book Award Competition. It costs $125.00 to enter!

I don’t know about you, but I think that is a lot of moolah to enter a contest, especially one where the ‘grand’ prize is 3 grand. I understand there are administrative and judging costs to contests, but this sounds pretty steep to me.

Now, I haven’t gotten to the point in my novel writing where I have anything ready to submit anywhere, not to contests or publishers or agents, so I’m running blind here — but still. Anyone else think 125 bucks just to enter a contest is a lot of money?

Anyone with more experience have anything to say? Do you get enough exposure just by entering something like this to make it worth dishing out that much money? I’m sure not getting rich off writing this blog or any of my fiction (dream on) — but I’d love some answers or thoughts on the payback value of entering expensive contests — whether or not you end up winning. Thanks!


8 comments to Is it just me?

  • I have no personal experience entering contest. Although I’ve thought about it on occasion I keep coming back to the same thought: can I afford to lay out the money on a slim chance I might win?

    The way I look at it, if there is an entry fee it’s probably not for me. I can purchase a lot of postage stamps and envelopes to query agents and publishers for the cost of a contest.

    Now if my queries are continually returned with the big rubber stamp, SORRY WE ONLY ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS FROM PUBLISHED AUTHORS, I may have to reconsider my position and enter every contest I can until I win one. Only time will tell.

    • Nancy

      I think there are a fair number of small (frequently regional) publications that will publish a new author’s work, and those can certainly add to one’s list of publications. So even if a publication would not pay anything, or only a pittance, I think it’s worth it to publish articles, poems or short fiction gratis. That way, you do eventually get a list of publications attached to your name, even if you’ve done it for free. And then move on to The New Yorker.

  • I cringe at the thought of paying $125 to enter a contest. It sounds to me like someone’s just trying to make money.

    I’m not an expert on that topic so take what I say with a grain of salt and a dash of pepper, hot pepper that is!

  • I entered a handful of contests right after I lost my job, foolishly thinking it would be a great way to make a small amount of money ($200 here, $500 there, you know). Hahaha! None of the contests I entered cost more than $15, but needless to say, I didn’t win any of them. I stopped entering them at all, since it’s so impossible to know that you would ever win, what they’re really looking for, etc. And you don’t even get the rubber stamp. You never really know what they thought, etc.

    But that’s just me. And yes, I think $125 is uber-ridiculous.

  • I think $125 is the highest entry fee I have ever seen and much too high. When DS posted all the stuff on her blog about contest I flipped through a few and one theme was, not to sign up for any contest that has a fee. I don’t know, but it seems a small fee isn’t too bad, they do have admin expenses. But $125–hell no!

    • Nancy

      Okay, agreement all around. We won’t enter expensive Writer’s Digest contests — and they won’t pick us as winners.

      Seems like a decent plan. I’d rather put that $125.00 to going to a conference somewhere….

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