Sunday, 14 March 2021

Harping on! (Free entry writing competitions)


Harper's Bazaar are running a free to enter short story competition and offering a two night stay at a hotel in Hampton Court. When I say it's free I do of course mean there's no entry fee, but this one is free in another way – you'll be giving your story away for free simply by entering!




By entering the competition and in consideration for Hearst publishing your entry, you assign to Hearst the entire worldwide copyright in your entry for all uses in all print and non-print media and formats, including but not limited to all rights to use your entry in any and all electronic and digital formats, and in any future medium hereafter developed for the full period of copyright therein, and all renewals and extensions thereof, any rental and lending rights and retransmission rights and all rights of a like nature wherever subsisting.

That means that even if you don't make the long list the story will no longer be yours. The organisers may print it, sell it to someone else, make it freely available online etc etc. I doubt they will unless you're one of those in the top few places, but that's not the point. Even if they never do anything with it, neither can you. Ever.

Does that seem fair to you?

I strongly advise all writers NOT to give up all rights to their work, even if they get paid for them. To give up all rights for no reward at all seems like an even worse idea.


This free novel writing competition by the similarly named Harper Collins (no relation!) is considerably better in that the author retains their copyright. The prize is an editorial review and editorial mentoring. They're not guaranteeing to publish the winning stories, but it does seem as though there's a reasonable chance of that happening.

They're looking for complete, or nearly complete, crime novels.

As we've got a campervan I don't have photos of hotels, and there is no photographs of me committing crimes (as I'm either good or careful!) Instead here are photos of some of the locations in my, not yet published, crime novel.



8 comments:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for pointing out the 'rights issue' in the Harper's Bazaar comp - awful and glad I didn't enter. I knew about the crime one but will look at the rules again - my historical one is only half written!

Bernadette said...

I agree that it is unwise to enter a comp with such terms. Most of the stories will never be used and it is such a waste of people's hard work.
It would be doubly silly for me to enter anyway as the hotel is about a mile from where I live!!

ados123 said...

Thanks, Patsy. Would never enter a comp taking all rights like that but at least they are completely up front about it...
Alyson

Maureen Brannigan said...

Patsy you are a gem. Thanks for the info.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for letting us know about the rights issue that we should watch for all the time.

Bendywriter said...

Just a thought - I wonder if the group would consider entries that have the theme 'Playground bullies turn up to take your sweets?'

JJ Cocker said...

Sad thing is that when it comes to free competitions, the prize hasn't cost anything either. A freebie in return for advertising and the organiser runs off with stories and ideas to distribute and re-hash.

Marguerite said...

Whoops - misfired and wrote in the last one - but still lovely atmospherics pics :)