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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 17 September 2012

What's a reasonable entry fee?

This topic has been raised in several writing blogs but I just wanted to put my snout in the trough one more time and add my thoughts. The Indoor Writer enters a lot of writing competitions so has to watch the out going pennies and assess a competition's entry fee against the winning pot (and the chance of being successful). The Asham prize closes on 21st September and the entry fee is now £15 with £1000 for the winning story. Now this is for women only, so should narrow the field, but still that's a big chunk to pay out for one story. She doesn't have a story written for the theme 'journey' and to be honest probably any story would fit  - as every story is a journey for the characters involved blah blah - but the quality of writing will be good for this high profile competition. Consequently, this year she's going to pass on the Asham. Bridport is another high profile competition but offers better value with a top prize of £5,000 for £7 entry fee. Most competitions now seem to set an entrance fee of £5 per story with first prize of anything from £100 to £1000.

As we're always looking out for a bargain then why pay to enter a writing competition when many are FREE. Both Patsy Collins and Helen Yendall post blogs about FREE competitions, often with excellent prizes. All the writing magazines: Writing Magazine, Writer's Forum, The New Writer and Mslexia list competitions both free and with paid entrance. In fact Writing Magazine's October issue has a pullout competition special packed with a year's worth of writing comps. It also has a couple of brilliant articles by the Indoor Writer (a shameless plug, but I have to keep her sweet). And here are a couple of tasty competitions I truffled out earlier:

The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival Food and Drink Writing Award:
Click here for further details. This is FREE to enter and the top prize is a whopping £7,500. All you have to do is submit a short story (under 2,500 words) with the theme food and /or drink at its heart. You do need to get writing because the deadline is 1 October 2012. The winners will be announced at a lavish dinner during the 2013 March festival.

A.Vogel Dormeasan story writing competition: write a story for bedtime
More details are here. This closes 31 October (midday), has FREE entry for up to three stories and offers top prize of £500 with £300 for second and £100 for two runners-up. You can enter stories right now and they do select a monthly winning story to publish on the website and pay £50. The monthly winner still goes into the final competition too. Check out the website to read 2011 winning stories. Basically your story needs to be a good bedtime read, and they accept all genres except erotica (as such stories have other aims than sleep...)

It does take a while for the results to come out - Spring 2013 I believe - so it's a long time to tie up three stories. Oh and be warned they rather sweetly send a letter to every entrant to announce the winners. This got the Indoor Writer (and many others) pretty excited at the time because competitions usually only write if you're one of the winners. It was a nice touch though to at least have your entry acknowledged and appreciated.


  1. I agree that we have to be careful of high entry fees - I also decided to stay away from the Asham!

  2. Shame about Asham, but so of encouraging to know I'm not the only writer put off by the high entry fee. Thanks Rosemary :) Hope you are still entering other competitions...

  3. Perhaps I'm a bit of a tightwad, but anything above £5 would have to have a really good prize to tempt me. (Times are hard!)

  4. I rarely pay to enter competitions - there are so many free ones with good prizes and I only have a limited amount of writing time so it doesn't often seem worthwhile.

    Thanks for the mention!

  5. Thanks Julia, Patsy - agree that there are plenty of free competitions to enter out there. I also target online comps now to save on postage/paper costs too.

  6. Tracy
    I too have avoided the Asham! Mainly because I think I'd be chucking £15 down the drain (and that's a lot of money!). The standard will be very high and I don't think I've got a story good enough. Maybe next year...!
    For me, I think £5 is about the maximum I'm prepared to pay to enter a competition. As others have said, there are plenty of free ones to try!

  7. Hmm wonder who is entering Asham this year? probably still a lot of writers. I felt the same about not having something ready of appropriate standard. Need to get on with some writing...