WIP Wednesday – Submission Quandary!

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 The work must be unpublished anywhere else and if you submit it somewhere else and they accept it you have to notify them so they can pull it, okay far enough there is a $500 prize at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?

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12 comments on “WIP Wednesday – Submission Quandary!

  1. I used to spend a lot of money on entry fees for contests. Now, I only submit to contests without a fee, or with a nominal fee for an organization that I feel merits the support. Conditions and loopholes definitely turn me off. For what it’s worth.

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    • Thank you for your reply,I have to confess the more I considered this one the more uneasy it makes me and I think it will be getting a pass for now, though I may try replying to the tweet and asking for clarification and see what I get back there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose you have to consider that maybe if your work is published, even without you winning the prize, that at least people get to see and enjoy and learn your name. Maybe it’s worth giving away a flash fiction story for the possible recognition. Of course if you don’t win and the work isn’t published you need to know if the rights revert to you so that you may be able to publish yourself in an anthology or something.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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    • The problem is from the way it is worded that it is so vague, there is no time limit on how long they have to publish it or anything else. I cannot find any other references to terms and conditions and though they do publish your name with the piece there seem to be no links to anything else like websites or social media. But I have found something that might get your creative juices following again, though it means a slight detour from the work you currently have going but a brief change might get you fired up again. http://www.explaura.net/the-book/call-for-submissions/ I really think you could come up with something perfect for that one,

      Huge hugs xxxx

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  3. I’m not a writer so it’s never going to apply to me – but for what it’s worth I think you and the others above expressing reservations are right for all the reasons you give. “Eligible for publication” – what does that mean? It means to me they might never even bother.

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  4. I think I’d stay away. There are so many other publications out there that don’t hold your submission for “ransom” and that don’t charge fees. As there is no guarantee they’d publish it even if you don’t win, you should be able to submit it someplace else any time you like. That’s your hard work! I’d look elsewhere.

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  5. I’ve never submitted my writing into anything other than literary agencies, but a red flag went up when I read about the entry fee. I’m sure there are magazines out there where you can submit your material for free. As for the not showing your material anywhere else that seems to be a standard thing in the publishing industry, because they don’t want to have your work if you can read it somewhere else; especially if you can read it for free.
    Best of luck to you, and I hope my input helps.

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  6. I’m always leery of contests – and giving away my money to be part of one. Thus, I write my own books and publish them, and I write a blog. But I know contests have been very useful for others. Will look forward to hearing what you decide.

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