Paying for prizes

Poets find it especially difficult to find a publishing outlet for their work, so it is not surprising that they can fall victim to unscrupulous advertisers.

The prize is publication in an anthology which the so-called 'winners' are invited to purchase for anything from around £12 upwards. Knowing that few writers can resist the opportunity to see their work in print, the competition organisers can be sure of receiving at least one if not more orders from each entrant. The book, if it ever materialises, is generally poorly produced and contains few poems of any literary merit.

The writers' magazine Writers' News has mounted a campaign against these competitions and refuses to feature advertisements for them. According to editor Richard Bell, competition winners should expect to receive a complimentary copy of any anthology containing their work or if this is not possible, it should at least be available in the library.

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