What Lurks in the Fine Print of Writing Contests?


Dear Elizabeth…

Some contests require exclusivity, some don’t. Luckily, legitimate contests declare their exclusivity stances in their Official Rules. Scour those rules, because surprises can lurk there. For example, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest has a “Manuscript Shopping Rule” that says you can’t submit your manuscript to publishers during the judging period. That’s not unusual for a contest, especially if it’s hosted by a publisher. Amazon’s “Grant of Rights” rule shows something else that might surprise you: the right of first refusal. That is, in some cases Amazon gets the chance to sign up or reject the entered project before the author can enter into a contract with another publisher for it. Also, Amazon declares the right to post excerpts of your entry on any Amazon-affiliated website, whether you win or not. (Amazon’s rules: http://amzn.to/XkFsk7). You need to be okay with ALL of the contest’s fine print before you enter.

Happy writing!
The Editor

1 Comment

  1. Wow, that is so much to think about. I’ve only entered a couple contests, and ABNA was one of them. I knew about Shopping Rule, and was OK with that, but I don’t think I remember all this.

    Thanks Editor for all the excellent info. I need to start reading the fine print.


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