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Avoiding Free Poetry Contest Scams

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry

Free poetry contests are a very common happening around the web. They are popping up all over with many having slogans like 'Win $20,000' or 'You can be the next winner.'

Now don't get it wrong, some of these are quite great and can be useful to someone who just wants to have their name in a book, but the idea and how they go about this is a complete scheme only to get money out of poets.

The way the winners are chosen have nothing to do with the 'best poem.' It is a complete scam.

Sites like Poetry(dot)com offer daily prizes as well, however they aren't chosen truthfully. Well, to an extent. What they do is select a certain number of poems randomly and then read them and select the best poem out of those. They probably don't even do that, but you get the point. They do not read ALL poems submitted. At one time, they received tens of thousands of entries. It's not even humanly possible to read this many within their turn around time. They read a very select few. As far as we know, they select a random poem as the winner and read it themselves and see if it totally doesn't suck, and if it does they select another random one as the winner.

If you do not believe this article, try it out yourself.

Create a poem which totally sucks. Something like:

Poetry.com is full of them
They offer money and choose a winner
But the winner is not them
It is poetry.com

They never read the poems
And never select a real winner
This is all just a scam
And this poem is bad

So try this out yourself
And see who gets selected
To go to Washington
And get into their book

You will then see that it is a scam. They will soon send you a letter in the mail stating that your poem was great and that you were selected to receive a prize and want you to go to a convention in Washington.

They are not alone however. Most other 'free' poetry contests are just the same. Famous Poets Society does the exact same thing as well as American Poets Society. All are phony and should be avoided.

The best way to avoid these schemes is by looking at fine print and only submitting to places which charge to read your poem. These are generally more legit. If you think about it, where are these contests getting money from? Legit contests get money from the people who submit the poems while the scams receive money by telling all the authors that their work is great and want them to pay $2 to have their poem in a book and tell them that the book is on sale for a 'low' price just for them!

Of course, there are some exceptions. If you pick up the latest Poetry Market book, you'll be able to easily find places to submit your poems to. However, most are actually magazines and other publications which receive money from their advertisers to pay poets. And it's not exactly winning a contest as much as simply being published.

So please, avoid these scams and do what's right. Tell others and spread the word. Do not let them be deceived by phony money making schemes.