We particularly recommend Absolute Write's article on poetry contest scams and their Bewares and Background Check forum for discussions of questionable agents and publishers.
On Entering Your Poems in Competition
Kurt Heintz advises poets on the
kinds of online contests worth entering.
Complaints about Famous Poets Society at Rip-off Report.com
"ST Literary Agency - writers' break, or just crooked?"
Firstwriter.com advises writers to think carefully before signing with ST Literary Agency. ST asks you to provide a $129 "Admin Fee" when you sign up. Other areas of concern:
- ST is not affiliated with an official industry association such as the Association of Authors' Representatives
- Few well-established agencies advertise much, since they already receive plenty of manuscripts. ST, however, advertises aggressively
- Most agencies cultivate a specialty, and reject manuscripts that fall outside it. ST, however, is willing to accept most any manuscript.
This caution appeared in Firstwriter's August 2004 newsletter. Subscribe for free at:
Vanity Publishing Expert Johnathon Clifford's Site
British poet Johnathon Clifford has spent many years investigating literary scams. His archived website features vanity contest warning signs and related advice.
Travel Writers Blog: Questions About the North American Travel Journalists Association
NATJA runs an annual contest for published works of travel journalism, which offers prizes of airline tickets and hotel stays donated by their corporate sponsors. A 2005 article on Carl Parkes' travel writers blog questions whether the for-profit NATJA is a real writers' professional association that has standards of merit for its membership.
Warnings and Cautions
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website maintains lists of dishonest contests and literary agencies, plus tips to detect a scam:
Wocky Jivvy: Poems of Shame
Brave and as yet unsuccessful attempts to write a poem that The
National Library of Poetry won't accept. From "Dawn of a New Eve":
he offers me dark fruit;
piece of pie for my bloodroot.
serpent slithers through my verse;
what he seeks inside my purse?
Eve, I ssssavor what you wrote!'
he's coiled around my throat..."
Names publishers and organizations that writers have had disputes with.
Writing.org: Poetry Scams?
"The good news: You're a winner.
The bad news: It's costing you fifty bucks...
For a struggling poet, it can be painful to admit that a letter
from a poetry contest or publisher is nothing more than a sales hustle. But
what's worse: being honest with yourself or being the victim of a company that
exploits the vanity of aspiring poets?"