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A Writer On Writing: Competition Entry Fees

"How much are you prepared to pay to enter a writing competition?'' asks writer Sally Jenkins.

Entry fees can range from nothing to £10+ and if you enter a lot of competitions (which many of us do due to the dearth of short story markets) it can get very expensive.

In the June issue of Writers’ Forum http://www.writers-forum.com/ Sally Quilford http://www.sallyquilford.co.uk/ writes that she thinks in terms of 10 per cent i.e. if the entry fee is £5 then she expects the first prize to be over £50.

Personally, I prefer a smaller percentage ratio given the large amount of entrants that most competitions attract – if I’m paying £5 then I’d like the first prize to be £100. However, if the money is going to charity or a critique of each entry is included in the fee then I am happy to make an exception and pay more.

Paying a fee to enter a competition does sharpen the mind. If I’m paying for entry then I won’t send an existing story that ‘almost’ fits the requirements - I will write a new one that fully embraces the theme of the competition and, as far as I can tell, fits the style required.

But there’s nothing to beat the gay abandon induced by free competitions with email entry. There is literally nothing to lose with these comps (not even the price of a large letter stamp and A4 envelope). It is a terrible shame not to enter them - so if there’s no time to write something new then I dig an old story out of the archives and give it a quick polish.

Yesterday I did just that and sent an entry in to this competition:

Write a story for bedtime - this is sponsored by A. Vogel Herbal Remedies and it is an Adult bedtime story they are after (no, not that sort of adult). http://www.avogel.co.uk/story/ The story must be between 1500 and 3000 words and four prizes will be awarded – 1st: £500, 2nd: £300, 2 x 3rd: £100 each. Additionally, there is an extra £50 to be had if your entry is chosen as ‘Story of the Month’.

Womag writer Della Galton http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/ is one of the judges and ‘due consideration will be given by the judges on the appropriateness of the short story for bedtime’. The current ‘Story of the Month’ is written by one of the judges and fits neatly into the Womag mould with a nice, happy ending.

Closing date is 28th October 2011.


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