As you know one of the resolutions I made for my writing this year was to submit more, to take the plunge and put my work out for judgement and critique and not hide it in a file for the computer to eat.
So the other day when I received a tweet about a flash fiction comp I thought lets have a look. Up to a thousand words, well that isn’t a problem, no theme but when I looked at the back catalogue of submissions on the website it seemed pretty general literary stuff, okay not really my thing but I could challenge myself and give it a go. Deadline is Friday I got the tweet I believe just before the weekend but was busy but a thousand words a night to write, a night to edit and a night to edit again was doable. So you might ask yourself why I am in a quandary?
There is a fee to enter only $6 or about £4 nothing really, I can spend that on one magazine but there was something else that bothers me. The work must be unpublished anywhere else and if you submit it somewhere else and they accept it you have to notify them so they can pull it, okay far enough there is a $500 prize at stake but by submitting you are agreeing to the magazine having the right to print your story either on-line or in print. Now I would understand the winner, I would understand the short-list if they have one or runners up if they had those but it seems a little strange to me that you are literally paying to have your work possibly printed.
Now when you sign a contract there are clauses set out telling you exactly what you are signing away and for how long and that is what I don’t feel comfortable about this as there is nothing concrete. the wording is…
All submissions are eligible for publication by ***** ***** in print or on-line.
So it would appear basically you are giving up all publication rights and could not publish the work yourself even if you don’t win. The magazine is an on-line free magazine so I completely understand the need to charge an entry fee to be able to offer a prize but do I really want to give away a story without knowing exactly what I am signing away I am not so sure. Imagine if a later book became a best seller, can they profit from a story I would have literally paid them to look at? (Of course the chances of that ever being an issue are minuscule but nevertheless…)
I have started work on the story but still have not decided, what are your thoughts, have you ever entered writing competitions? Would that condition put you off as well?