Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beware of!

For all you young and eager poets out there who might be dying to get their poetry in print, here’s a word of advice from someone who’s been there--DO NOT fall for the scam.

Once in a while you might see an advertisement in the paper or on the net about how your poem could win a $10,000 prize or something like that. If it has any connection to, “The International Library of Poetry", “The International Society of Poets”, or “The International Poetry Hall of Fame”, DO NOT bother applying for it.

If you do, the following will most likely happen:

- You’ll get a flattering letter or email telling you that you’re a semi-finalist (which doesn’t make you anything, since they send this letter out to everyone who applies).

- You’ll also get a letter about spending at least $50 to buy the anthology that your poem is “published” in.

- You’ll then get a letter to show up at an awards banquet, which you have to pay for entirely (travel, room, board, food, etc.), in addition to additional expenses (admission and even the purchase of your own “trophy”).

Beware of this scam. When I was in early high school, I was unfortunately naive enough to fall for it. But it was a good thing I decided against going to the “awards” banquet before later finding out that the whole thing was a sham.

So be warned, people, and do not fall for any of this. For any other publication that you might run into, here are some signs to look for in order to distinguish them as scams:

1.) If the company asks you to purchase the publication that your work is featured in for a hefty sum.

2.) If the poetry contest is “free”. A good portion of legitimate poetry contests require an entry fee to pay for judges and prizes. So if any contest advertises itself as free—be wary.

3.) If their response letter is over-flattering. Legitimate publications, whether you get accepted or rejected, keep their letters professional and business like. There’s no time for ego-masturbation on their part.

To learn more, here are a few links:

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