Over at Reddit, writers are debating the common practice of charging a fee for writing contests.
This question has always intrigued me, so I wanted to ask GalleyCat readers–what is a fair entry fee price for a writing contest entry fee?
I’ve collected a few responses from writers below, illustrating how contentious this issue is within the writing community.
Nearly every reputable writing competition has an entry fee, which usually includes a subscription, so you are getting something for your money either way. This sentence – “If you’re looking to publish, then either you do it for free, or someone pays you” – is inaccurate. Legit contests are showcases for new talent, and there is a reason writers enter them. Whether or not you should enter such a competition depends entirely on where you are as a writer. Probably better to have some other publishing credits and be in a confident place in your craft before entering a contest. But yeah, doing well in one definitely pays off in subsequent exposure and opportunities.
If you are paying for a contest, you need to make sure it’s worth the money. One thing the OP mentions is that they are not being upfront about who is judging or what the prizes are. Legit contests always have a judge list, sponsor list, and prize list as well as being up front about the entry fee. They should also have a history with the names of previous winners and the works that won the prize.
I know there are legitimate organizations that ask for a contest fee. That said, I’m not sure I’d recommend entering into such contests. The prices are usually good, but not great, not to mention competition is usually pretty tough. And even so, if your story is good enough for a contest, why wouldn’t it be good enough for a magazine? I don’t know. That’s just my personal opinion. I try to stay away from competitions that have a fee, but I guess in the end, you should just go with your judgement.
(Image via qisur)