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How Poetry Scams Affect Writers and Poets

Do you like expressing yourself through poetry? Do you have the rhetorical talent to seduce with metaphors and similes? Enter the International Poetry Contest for a chance to win $1,000 and have your poem published!

Submission Rules: FAQ

Q: How much is the entry fee for the contest?
A: It’s free, unlike most legitimate contests that ask contestants for a small entry fee.

Q: What do these ‘panel of judges’ look for in submissions?
A: Ways to scam your money.

Q: How can I spot a poetry scam?
A: Read the facts below.

Poetry Scam: The Facts

Perpetrators of these poetry scams attempt to appear legimate by quoting credible sources and previous “winners” of their international contests. They often post calls for submissions through emails, in newspapers, and on their websites. These scam artists lure writers to submit poems for a chance of winning $1,000 and also having their poems published in an anthology.

Poetry scam artists rake up to $10 million a year from poetry contestants with promises of cash and prizes and publications affecting millions of hopeful poets and writers. More than often theses awards are never delivered and the contestants’ poems are never published without a fee. A fee, that increases with more promises of greater rewards, and publications.

How Poetry Scam Contests Work

Often these deceptive poetry contests place no restriction on the types of poetry contestants can enter. However, they may ask contestants’ poems to be a maximum of 20 lines.

If you follow the requirement you’ll likely receive a letter in the mail in a couple weeks congratulating you as the semi-finalist. The letter will go on to tell you how your poem will be published in an anthology. However, to receive a copy of the anthology, you have to pay $49.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling.

Contestants are often all too thrilled after reading how their poems will be published to spot the scam. Contestants may end up buying numerous copies of the anthology for friends and family, not knowing that all contestants receive the same letter and that their poetry would not have been published if they didn’t buy a copy.

Despite that, thrilled contestants will continue to receive prestige letters nominating them as the ‘Poet of the Year’ and telling them how they could attend an award ceremony for about $475—a small price to pay for prestige.

Poetry Scam in the Media

Barbara Walters in a 1998 episode of ABC’s 20/20 showed how reporter Arnold Diaz put one nationwide poetry contest to the test with the help of second graders. Diaz asked a class of second-graders at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School to compose a poem with a maximum of 20 lines about their pet.

The eager beavers even without ever studying poetry in school, got right down to the task. All the students received a letter in the mail a couple weeks later announcing them as award-winning poets. The letter also told students by sending in $50 they could receive a copy of the anthology that featured their poem.

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