Succeeding as a writer is a very hard thing to achieve. Unfortunately there are those out there willing to take advantage of writers and exploit their dreams of being published. A popular scam in print and online is known among other things as the Poetry Anthology scam.
The way it works is a struggling writer will stumble upon an advertisement for a poetry contest. This advertisement can be online or in a print magazine and will appear to be a legitimate writing contest. They may use fantastic claims of a valuable grand prize and promise that the winning entry, along with all the entries deemed to be finalists will be published in the anthology. Usually the ad will go on to describe how respected and well read the anthology is, even though you would have a hard time tracking down someone who's heard of it.
The fact that the contest is free to enter will insure it has an air of legitimacy, after all how can it be a scam if they are not charging you to enter the contest? The only mention of money is that winners and all finalists will require to purchase a copy of the anthology, that's not all that restrictive as what author would not mind buying a copy of an anthology that they won a contest to be in? The scam rears its head in the fact that everyone that enters the contest ends up being a finalist, therefore they are required to purchase the anthology, and the price charged for the anthology is rather high. Writers end up paying a large fee to view their work published in an anthology that is filled with, most often, mediocre poetry and writing written by others who have also paid the substantial fee.
The publishers, or contest runners, have no intention to publish a well-respected poetry anthology. Their only goal is to convince as many people as possible to pay the high dollar price for the book. Most of the time the book is actually printed and the publishers make a handsome profit off of sale of the books to everyone who entered, after all, remember everyone who entered was a finalist. Seldom are more copies printed than needed to distribute to the supposed finalists.
Other signs that indicate the poetry anthology contest is a scam are:
Many times the contest will be advertised in non-literary places, avenues that would make you later reflect, why would they advertise a poetry contest in a magazine or website like that?
The name of the contest sounds very much like the name of a very real and famous contest or literary magazine.
Often times, though they claim previous winners have gone on to bigger things, they will not display the names of the previous winners of the contest for fear that someone will notice that these writers are not judged favorable in the literary field.
Another sign is that they are only accepting short submissions to be judged and printed in the anthology. This is for the financial gain of the publishers as it makes the book shorter and cheaper to print.
There are a number of legitimate contests and publishing houses to pursue getting published in, but generally these opportunities will be well known and carry none of the signs of the scam described above. Anything that requires you to pay money up front for a chance at something has a good chance of being a scam and should be investigated before any commitments have been made.
Source by M. Allen