Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Blogging, and Best

Two things I wanted to draw your attention to today.

Firstly the non-controversial one - help author Nicola Morgan out by taking 5 minutes to fill in this survey on blogs. What are your blog-reading habits? What makes you go back to a blog over and over? I must admit I want to see the results of this survey! I'm wondering if blogging has had its day. Everyone seems to be on facebook or twitter instead, these days.

And secondly, the magazine Best is holding a Christmas short story competition. Details are here. 1000 words, with a top prize of £1000. You need vouchers to enter but they can be printed off the internet, the first one is here. Sounds great, doesn't it? BUT before you enter do read Helen Yendall's post on her experiences of being a runner-up in last year's competition. It seems Best will publish the top 3 stories but only pay the winner. Make sure you're happy with this before you enter.

Personally I would prefer to see the prize fund split between all writers whose stories end up published. Because although there's kudos in coming second or third and seeing your story in print, kudos doesn't pay the bills and that story can't then be sold elsewhere (first rights will have gone).

What do you think? Would you be happy to be second, published, and unpaid? Some writers have asked Best the question both on their website and on their Facebook page, whether the runners-up will be paid, but so far no one's had a response.


18 comments:

Geraldine Ryan said...

I agree, Kath, that the prize money should be split three ways. I am no gambler so would never send a story to a competition where I'd only win the prize if I came out top. I mean, what are the chances? Would much rather take the smaller risk of sending off the story to a magazine. (Although I have heard that every time you make a sale it's the equivalent of winning a comp since there are so many subs every week!)

Helen Yendall said...

Thanks for highlighting my post, Kath. I'd just like to add that I don't know for definite that there's nothing for the runners-up (and perhaps Best will be 'shamed' into offering them something now, if not!) but, given my experience in the last competition they ran, I suspect not. I would love to be proved wrong, though!

Patsy said...

I too think the 2nd and 3rd placed stories should get something if the stories are to be published. £1000 is a generous first prize though.

Wendy's Writing said...

No, I would not enter unless all winners were rewarded. I would rather send my Christmas stories to regular story magazines (you might not win £1000 but you would have some payment and still have the benefit of publication.)

Sally Zigmond said...

This has happened to me before. I was runner up in a competition in The Lady (back in the days when they published short stories) and was published and not entitled to payment.

However, I wouldn't now consider entering a competition where that could happen. I most certainly never endorse any competition where second and third prize winners don't get a penny for publication. Since Best can afford to pay large amounts for being published between its covers, to me it exploits new or inexperienced writers. Avoid.

Helen Yendall said...

Well said, Sally. I must admit I couldn't get out of my head how smug the editor must have been feeling - when she managed to fill a page of her magazine FOR FREE! Pats on the back all round, I'm sure, but it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

If Best can afford to pay the winner £1000 then it can afford to pay the runners up. I was fuming on Helen's behalf when she wasn't paid for publication of a very good story. It left a very sour taste in my mouth too. I won't be entering the competition and I'm glad I didn't last time.

Rena George said...

Everyone's right. All published stories should be paid for. It's great that Best is running this short story competition (and again publishing fiction in the magazine) but it has to make clear that runners up will also be financially rewarded.
Much obliged to Helen for highlighting this in her blog. Rx

JO said...

Of course the money should be split three-ways. This feels like it sits alongside the schools and festivals that also hope we'll work for nothing. What do they think we eat - air?

Gayle Beveridge said...

When I started out I entered some competitions like this and had a number of stories published for nothing more than the glory - most will claim it boosts your reputation but I doubt that. I wouldn't do it now. I'd rather keep my stories for a paying market or at least retain them unpublished with the option to to publish my own collection.

Samantha Tonge said...

i wouldn't enter - wouldn't want a story published for nothing, that i could potentially earn money off elsewhere...

Yet i can see the appeal to writers who are setting out. I might have entered this a few years ago, just in the hope of getting some sort of validation that my writing was okay and i was on the right path...

Samantha Tonge said...

Not saying that is the right thing to do - it is just what i would done and i can understand why some writers do enter...

Anonymous said...

It's getting very close to Christmas editorial deadlines for them for them to collate, select and edit entries, which makes you wonder if it's already a done deal....? If Best are publishing fiction again nowadays, why not ignore the competition and just submit in the usual way? BTW, what fee do they usually pay?

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with Anon - it's a bit late in the day to be running a Christmas Story competition so maybe it is already a 'Done Deal'

Rena George said...

Exactly what I was thinking, Anonymous.

Bernadette said...

I don't think there is any reason to suspect a 'done deal'. It is a weekly magazine and they do have a quick turnaround for putting the magazine to press so a month between competition closing date and publication is not too short IMO.

Alice said...

I have just seen on the Best Daily website that they have confirmed that they are not awarding prizes for the runners up - http://www.bestdaily.co.uk/your-life/news/a521629/bests-christmas-short-story-competition-week-one.html
I have been collecting tokens to enter the competition, but will stop now as I just don't agree with the ethics of what they are doing. I don't understand why they can't split the £1000 between the three winners so that all are fairly rewarded for their achievement.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Alice.