Friday, April 15, 2011

Make Money With Writing Awards - Three Practical Strategies That Bring You Extra Income

By John Yeoman

To win writing awards for money, you firstly must enter a respected contest in which you have a fair opportunity of winning. Is this obvious? No. A huge number of optimistic competition entrants post their stories year after year to award schemes in which the odds of anyone winning whatsoever are distant.

In other words they're ripoffs. How do you spot a competition scam? Take a look at three tell-tale hints to a swindle:

1. Steer clear of the contest that tries to hard-sell you immediately on some other service or product.

For a mere few dollars to defray overheads your hard work will be incorporated into an anthology, they say. Then you're able to purchase copies in a hardbound format for the special price of several more dollars each (or, in gold-stamped buckskin, for just $199!).

But if your entry is part of a bigger work, the organizers will commend you excessively and offer to put out your whole work and promote it online where customers will flock to purchase it. Purportedly, agents frequently scan the website, they say, eager to discover new natural talent. (Ho!) Moreover, the promoters will distribute copies between literary scouts who may have an 'inside track' to the top publishers! (Ho! And ho again.)

Surely, all that is definitely worth your entire life savings, paid for up-front, they'll say. (I leave the reply to you.)

Obviously, this is vanity publishing. Each and every author realizes the folly of it and you can read about it in appalling detail via a Google investigation along the lines: 'vanity publishing scams'.

Unhappily, it's very common for vanity publishers to advertize award schemes solely to tempt naive writers. So beware of any competition promoter who asks cash from you to 'publish' your work.

2. Avoid any competition that would like to take the copyright of your story.

Why any contest organizer would want to thieve a writer's copyright, defeats me. However, many do.

(Amazingly, it may also be legal. The practice is widespread in university work. A number of academic journals not only refuse to pay for articles but additionally thieve their copyright. So a writer needs to plead the journal's authorisation to republish his or her own articles in other places. Unworldly lecturers might tolerate such chicanery, but we should not.)

3. Be wary of the competition that, in any respect, signifies that if you purchase the promoter's other products and services you will have an improved chance of succeeding in the contest.

There shouldn't be objection to organizers who also market, for instance, books, critiques or mentoring services at a small cost. Perhaps that's their main business. No one criticises a highly regarded creative writing magazine for promoting, in their own journals and web sites, items alongside their award schemes.

But they do not signify acquiring their services will give you a an advantage in the contests. Stories in a respected contest are judged solely on their own unique merits, needless to say.

Any time you apply these simple checks, and the contest nevertheless looks honest, go for it. Keep posting fine stories to competitions like that, every week, and you have a win-win contest method!

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