Writers are prime targets for scammers who prey on a writer’s burning desire to get published. Writer, beware! Scammers will lure you into shelling out money you may not have for a service that will do little or nothing to further your writing career.
One of the ways scammers will try to suck you dry is through writing contests. While there are many legitimate writing contests, scam contests have a few characteristics in common. Here are some things to be aware of:
1) Scam contests often charge a fee to enter. Now before you panic, some legitimate contests also charge a fee. So the fact that a contest charges an entry fee does not automatically make it a scam. Other factors must enter into the picture.
2) What do winners get for the fees that are paid? Is there a cash prize? An opportunity for publication? Or both? When a fee is paid, it’s important that you know to what use that money will go.
3) Who are the judges? Are they legitimate editors, agents, or professional writers?
4) Does everyone who enters the contest get published in an anthology? This is a definite red flag. Legitimate contests do not award a prize to every entrant.
5) Does the contest offer winners additional services for a fee? This, too, is a red flag. If a contest offers a critique for which you are required to pay extra, run from that contest.
Bottom-line, never allow your pride to cloud your reason. Remember that pride always comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
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