Friday, January 14, 2011

Don't enter this contest--updated yet again!

I'm a fan of writing contests. I've run more than a few here on this blog.  When you enter a contest, make sure you check the rules VERY carefully.

Here's a contest that you should avoid like the plague.

UPDATE:  this page now goes to a 404 link--in other words, it's dead.  As John Scalzi reasonably points out, if this means the publisher is responding to the concerns of writers, great.  If not, well, google cache knows all.  And I saved a PDF of it too, just cause I wondered if this would happen.



Why?
Take a look at clause 13:

All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. 

That means they own your intellectual property.  Publishers never own your book, magazines never own your stories. They license the use of it. They pay you to print the book for a certain amount of time. 

By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation.

In other words they can take your work and do anything they want with it. Including make a movie. And pay you NOTHING.


Entries that contain copyrighted material must include a release from the copyright holder.

Your work has copyright protection as soon as you create it. That means you send them a release to allow them to use your work forever, and never pay you.


What I like best here is there's a fee to enter.  So you pay them to own your work. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. Oh wait, I know what to do: don't enter.

Be smart. Read the rules.

UPDATE:
oh this just gets better and better!

A comment in the comment trail:

While I appreciate your comments. And I understand your vested interest in this business because if we're successful, we eliminate the need for literary agents, the contest hasn't launched yet. 

So to post our rules and a link telling people that this is a contest to avoid is both self-serving and misleading. Are there issues with the rules, yes. But I think you should wait until the contest officially launches on Feb. 11, 2011, before you tell people to not join it. That's the fair thing to do.


Could I, a 20-year veteran in publishing as a writer and publisher, afford to put out a contest that rips people off? I'm not desperate. The goal is to truly find the next great author, something not too many people are actually looking for. What's been your success track record?

Blessings,

Karen Hunter

PS: I sleep extremely well every night because I operate in truth.





This just cracks me up. It's misleading to point out the rules of the contest?  Unfair to point out the rules of a contest BEFORE a writer pays to enter? I need that one explained to me. Simple words please.

This isn't about me being an agent, or you being a "20 year veteran of the publishing industry."



I don't care what your motives are, who you are, or what you've done or not done. What I care about is that you are inveigling writers to send you their work, with a check, and then claiming ownership of it. No publishing company operates like that. No reputable magazine operates like this.


Generally speaking when we use the phrase "I'll pay you to take it off my hands" it's understood we're talking about junk.  If you can produce the name, address, email, or surveillance photo of a single solitary writer who thinks what they write is junk I'll be damn surprised.




PS  And of course I'm not looking for the next great writers.  I already represent them.

113 comments:

Debra L. Schubert said...

How do some people sleep at night?

tawdra said...

It's sad that these things happen. And it's even sadder that so many writers anxious to make a mark anywhere at all will enter this contest, pay their money and potentially lose the rights to their work.

Lisa said...

That's the most egregious rights grab I've ever seen, in that *they charge you $149.00 to take all rights world wide in perpetuity.*

james curcio said...

Sometimes, I realize that publications, contests and so on overreach legally so as to completely cover their bases.

But this is f-ing ridiculous.

Lisa said...

That's the most egregious rights grab I've ever seen, in print or digital.

All rights, world wide in perpetuity, and you pay them $149.00.

That's just . . . wow.

m. christine weber said...

Crazy. *shakes head*

Thanks for mentioning it :-).
- a girl & her books

Amanda J. said...

That is ridiculous.

Becca said...

$149.00 entrance fee would have definitely tipped me off, especially considering the interesting number they chose. Seriously? Not even 149.99? Ridiculous.

Mac said...

Karen Turner has posted a tepid defense of the astronomical entry fee: "The fee: $149, is to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering. We hope to have only serious authors apply. And the $149 entry fee will make someone think before just uploading any old manuscript."

We can certainly hope it proves to be a very real barrier to anyone who wants to be published. Likewise, I hope very much that people who take writing seriously will read the rules and realize what a terrible rights-grab they'd be paying First One for taking. She also points out, in the same post linked above: "If you are a finalist, we want the right to pitch your book for movie, TV, webisode opportunities. We want the right to garner sponsorships and any method to push your book into the marketplace? We are better equipped to that than an individual, so we would like the right to put your book and you as an author into the marketplace to the best of our ability."

Strange. I always thought "serious" writers generally have agents for that sort of thing.

CKHB said...

Holy crap. It's a $150 fee to enter. And it is specified that the winners "must sign" the publishing contracts... given that they already own your writing the moment you submit it, what horrible thing could the contracts possibly say in addition that they feel the need to say that acceptance of the winning prizes is NOT OPTIONAL?

And, the grand prize contract is "for terrestrial and digital publication of winning book." Am I just ignorant of industry terminology? Because I'm pretty sure even digital editions are of this earth.

L. T. Host said...

I have no words.

At least not any I'm giving them, unconditionally and in perpetuity.

Except for some four letter ones. They can have as many of those as they want.

Joel said...

I but sent in a fin with my contest entry ...

Corinne O'Flynn said...

Yikes! That would be a terrible way to learn a lesson. Hope people steer clear!

Noelle said...

Thanks for the warning! I think a lot of us rush to enter things...without CAREFULLY reading the fine print! Thanks again.

The Professor said...

Janet,

While I appreciate your comments. And I understand your vested interest in this business because if we're successful, we eliminate the need for literary agents, the contest hasn't launched yet. So to post our rules and a link telling people that this is a contest to avoid is both self-serving and misleading. Are there issues with the rules, yes. But I think you should wait until the contest officially launches on Feb. 11, 2011, before you tell people to not join it. That's the fair thing to do.
Could I, a 20-year veteran in publishing as a writer and publisher, afford to put out a contest that rips people off? I'm not desperate. The goal is to truly find the next great author, something not too many people are actually looking for. What's been your success track record?

Blessings,

Karen Hunter

PS: I sleep extremely well every night because I operate in truth.

The Professor said...

Janet,

If my response doesn't appear on your blog, I'll know what your true motives are. Thanks again.

-Karen

Sean Ferrell said...

Holy crap! Plus, the entry fee is $149!!!

AlanR said...

Bizarre.

Though, if you've ever been on the receiving end of a slush pile . . . I don't think that setup is a money-making proposition.

AND if they did make money at, they'd lose it all in court.

April said...

I agree. How do they sleep??

LINDA FAULKNER said...

It's for reasons like this that I have an excellent relationship with my attorney.

Many writers do not realize that once executed, a contract is legally binding. What sound reasonable on the surface may often have a far more significant meaning to someone who really understands it.

If you're a writer, you're an independent business person. You need business partners to work with you and to protect you.

Excellent and helpful post.

Janet Reid said...

yea, my true motives, they're hard to discern.

Abigail said...

@The Professor:

"Could I, a 20-year veteran in publishing as a writer and publisher, afford to put out a contest that rips people off? I'm not desperate."

Then why are you charging $149.00 to enter?

Seems rather steep for not being desperate.

Just saying.

Jennifer Welborn said...

What I find most interesting is rule 3--the contest is only open to "non-professional writers." This seems to indicate that the creator of this contest is intentionally seeking to take advantage of inexperienced and unrepresented authors. That's just shameful--you take someone's money and appear to offer them their dream come true just to screw them? Shame on them!

alwayscoffee said...

That is completely insane. Thank you for alerting people to those rules.

Also, that entry fee? Talk about steep. Most beginning writers that I know can't afford to shell out that kind of cash for a single pop like that.

Brian Drake said...

I love how that "20 year veteran" posted her note with one or two grammar errors. Not that I was counting.

Miriam S. Forster said...

Har. According to your sidebar, I'd say your success track record is pretty dang good...

adrienne said...

Mad props to Karen for knocking every author Janet's ever repped. She operates in class, apparently.

Stephanie Faris said...

$149 to enter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I enter a lot of contests. Tons. I would never pay more than $20-$30 to enter and even for that much, a pretty darn good publishing house had better be judging the entry or offering a book deal to the winner. And that had better be outlined in the contest details. What kind of unpublished authors have $149 sitting around to enter a contest? Especially when there are so many other contests going on with fees at far less.

Rick said...

Silly Janet, you can't ask for small words in an explanation and then throw out a word like "inveigling"! That just belies your true motives!

Yeah, no, I'm defaulting to humor because I have no actual, coherent response.

This almost makes James Frey look legitimate by comparison. Almost.

Rita Meade said...

Preach on, Janet. The truth shall set writers free.

Richard Gibson said...

Hee hee, nice chuckle for a Friday night. Thanks!

Cheryl said...

I don't think I would use this contest as any kind of support to the "eliminate the need for literary agents" argument. More like the exact reason why people *need* literary agents.

You pay $149 to enter. If you win, you get 5k.

Shopping this winner around, getting a movie deal, etc. all sound great. Until you realize that you signed over all rights (including credit, so they don't even have to put your name on it), in perpetuity, with no further compensation upon submission.

The publisher just got hundreds of manuscripts, $150 from each entrant, and now every single one of these manuscripts belong to them, they can shop them around and never need to speak to the authors again, including the winner. Meanwhile, all the losing authors can never submit their MS to another agent again because they don't own it. They lose a contest *and* lose their MS.

That's a lot of manuscripts and they only needed to pay 1 person 5k but made a ton more in submissions and who knows how much off the hundreds of manuscripts they can now do whatever they want with. There's bound to be some gems in there somewhere.

Fun. Where do I sign up? Pffffft. Not even a contest I want to win. I don't care if the intentions are honest and humble. It's still a contract. Whether or not you would screw anyone is not the question. The fact is you CAN screw them all, you got permission in the contract. Those kinds of opportunities generally get taken, eventually.

Catherine said...

I agree with Becca:
...especially considering the interesting number they chose. Seriously? Not even 149.99?

Their next sentence should read "If you order right now, you will also receive..."

Karen states there are issues with the rules. Why post the rules if there are issues? Why not fix the problems before posting them? Will the rules change when the contests launches? Perhaps unicorns will deliver an acceptable set of rules.

Brian Drake beat me to the grammar issues.

Thanks for the warning.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

If you're going to fall on your own sword it's probably not advisable to swim with sharks!

Francis said...

As we say around the French Canadian pastures: dans les dents!

Translation: Owned by the shark!

That is all.

D.B. Grady said...

If everyone else is frightened away, I am a shoo-in! This is the best news I've heard all day.

And for all you whiners, I still retain full extraterrestrial rights. Which means I can self-publish on Tatooine, Naboo, Degobah, Kashyyyk, Coruscant, Vulcan*, Romulus*, Rigel VII, Alderaan*, Seti Alpha V, Pandora, Dune, Krikkit, and Lamuella.

Can any of you can say the same? Of course not. Small minded fools. Enjoy your Earth books, suckers.

*in parallel universes/timelines were these planets were not destroyed.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Not only is that clause questionable, but when you take into consideration the entry fee, you're paying them almost $150 for the privilege of never getting to use your own work again.

Jaym said...

What *really* stuck out to me (and maybe I'm reading this wrong, I hope!) is #11. Basically, it looks like if someone submits, they renounce the rights to their name, their image AND their manuscript. No pay, no consent, no notification, no rights.

I can write another book. But if I'm reading that clause right, I'd be signing away more than just that.

Sad, what some people will stoop to.

Douglas Morrison said...

This sounds like an abortive IPO for the publisher to raise capital. Except no stock, no future, just a scam.

By the way, in the top three things that EVERY reputable person out helping new authors: NEVER pay to have your MS read. Anyone that wants money to read it, outside of a freelance editoial service, isn't reputable.


I'm thinking these people are on their way to being listed on Writers Beware.

Thank you Janet for your steadfast, unyielding defense of new authors.

Doug

Alli Sinclair said...

It's very hard for me to be lost for words, but this contest and the dodgy rules has left me with my mouth hanging open. Taking advantage of the vulnerable--especially ones working so hard to realize their dreams--is atrocious. Karma is pretty good at biting people in the butt, and their time will come, I have no doubt.

Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention, Janet.

Stephanie Barr said...

Aspiring writers don't have $150? When you're desperate, when you're dreaming (neither of which means you're well-informed), you'll find the money, sure you've finally found your opportunity.

It's tailor made to strip writing and money from the folks who will have the most harm done as a result. Sadly, the readers here are unlikely to be its victims.

Undoubtedly, far too many will be bilked, paying for the privilege of being robbed and used.

LeAnne said...

Thanks for this! With so many writing contests out there, it's tempting to not comb through all of the rules, but this just proves once again that it pays to actually read.

Dan said...

Reading her comment about how she can sleep at night reminds me of an exchange from the Simpsons

Movie Critic Jay Sherman: How do you sleep at night?
Ranier Wolfcastle: On top of a pile of money surrounded by beautiful ladies.
Sherman: Juuust askin'.

It's scary that if we're not constantly on our toes, we're just one signature or one mouse click away from losing everything.

Fortunately for me these people tend to be as greedy as they are unscrupulous. I don't have that kind of money to spend on contests, anyway.

Thanks as always for being here to look out for us!

Dan

Rebecca T. Little said...

Not only are you giving up ownership of your work by entering, a little further down in that clause it states that if there are not a sufficient amount of entries, AS DETERMINED BY THEM, then they don't have to give away ANY prizes.

That's right. They can keep your entry fee, own your work and give you nothing. Even if you win.

Kejia Kan said...

Don't forget that the prize also includes:

• First One Publishing Library (20 books valued at $240.00)

These books include "Good Cop, Bad Money," "The Secrets of the Unadilla," "Is it Really Just a Dream," and "Ask the Good Doctor."

Delia said...

Good Lord. Does she really think we believe you're scared of her?

Though, she does have a point. If she's successful with this contest, the poor souls who've lost their manuscripts would no longer need agents. You can't have someone represent what you don't own.

And I'm a little disappointed that a former journalist didn't even bother to glance at the sidebar before asking what your successes were. Terrific research skills on that one.

Brian said...

The best part is, they don't even have to award the prizes.

"In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded"

Jessica Peter said...

Yikes, scary!

Francis said: "As we say around the French Canadian pastures: dans les dents! Translation: Owned by the shark!"
--> Huh. I'm an English-speaking Canadian working on my French, and translated that as "In the teeth!" ;)

Sks said...

Beat part is in sect. 13 I believe. If there aren't "enough" qualified entries, prizes won't be awarded.

Any bets? Buehler? Any bets?

Query said...

I think she's funny. Maybe this is secretly her pitch for her new, albeit badly written, comedy book and she's trying to gain some attention?
Maybe she thinks there's no such thing as bad publicity?
Or, quite possibly, she has escaped from somewhere and needs a bit of cash to fund her hide-out.
Or she had a bad childhood?
Ooer, I shouldn't have eaten all those tacos, it hurts when I laugh.

catdownunder said...

My fur is on end from tip to tail!

Fiona Faith Maddock said...

This kind of rip-off is well known in the music industry and many well known and well loved musicians have been impoverished by such a contract. I haven't seen it in the publishing world before. I thought copyright was sacrosanct and universally respected. Clearly some individuals have no respect for anyone. The whole thing is disgusting.

Fiona Faith Maddock said...

I looked at the 'About Us' page. I always like to know who is behind a web site I visit. It doesn't say anything at all about the site operators or the business people behind it. It is simply another page of 'marketing-speak'. Beneath contempt, really.

Margaret Yang said...

Well....somebody has been studying at the school of James Frey.

Fanfreakingtastic Flower said...

The best, best, best part is the "track record of success" closer. :D

She's JANET REID.

Honestly, that, more than anything, let's you know this chick just walked off the bus.

Nitrax said...

It get's better,

From the last 3rd to last paragraph.

"Sponsor reserves the right to its sole discretion to not publish the winning entry for any reason whatsoever."

They can also refuse to publish anything if there is a technical problem.

I would have expected something better from such a successful author/publisher.

Jill Thomas said...

Oh, how I love it when the Shark smells blood in the water! :) Thanks for the heads-up.

Joyce Lansky said...

Thanks for pointing this out--not that I'd ever pay to enter a contest. I noticed the following line:

CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AD CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE. THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

Is there anything to this, or is it just a scare tactic?

emeraldcite said...

It's almost cliche for scammers, once identified, to be scandalized and then head right into ad hominem attacks.

Mitzi said...

Janet:

Thanks for posting this. There are too many writers out there who would give anything to be "published". First rule: the money goes from TO the writer, not the other way around.

Mitzi

Robin Becker said...

I love that you used the word inveigling. I had to look it up! So I learned many things this morning.

Amy Atwell said...

Janet,

Thank you for serving all authors and not just your clients by pointing out the flaws in this contest's rules. Even with generous allowances, the best I can come up with is that this venture of a new Major Publisher (their words) is simply not well-educated in the business. Is the publishing model evolving? Yes. Is digital publishing the expanding new frontier? Definitely. But anyone who publishes a website and a contest with a steep entry fee and the rules that you've pointed out, yet does NOT offer general submission guidelines (in case you want to bypass the contest and simply have your work reviewed as by any publisher) is highly suspect to me. I couldn't find any way to contact them and ask questions either, until I went to the Legal link at the bottom of the page and found a snail mail address for the publisher's office.

Perhaps (again being generous here!) they really aren't ready with all the details of the contest and ready to open for general submissions, but in that case, they shouldn't have the website up for public review and debate. This Major Publisher will quickly find itself at the top of the Predators and Editors list of houses to avoid.

As for the claim of being the first Major Publisher to focus primarily on digital books, that just shows a) illusions of grandeur (how many titles have they published?) and b) ignorance of existing digital publishers.

Gael McCarte said...

Thank you for this advice. When I completed my novel (which represented 5+ years of work late at night)I was confronted by a nest of people with their hands out wanting at least $5,000 to "help" me become a published author. The pathway to becoming a recognized and published author is a mine field. Thank you for identifying this mine.

Anton Cancre said...

Joyce,
I got a kick out of the anti-disruption clause too. It's like they expect someone to hack them or send over a virus as retribution. The funny part is that anyone who is in any way decent at hacking or developing viruses is usually decent at masking themselves. Just plain silly.

Les Edgerton said...

I hope they provide a condom before you pay the money...

Theresa Milstein said...

Scary. I'm glad you made writers aware of this scam. And Karen Hunter's comment has done nothing to make this better. I would consider paying for a contest, but I wouldn't give up my rights to my work unless it's under a typical publishing contract.

Ari said...

@Theresa Milstein, that's the point--"under a typical publishing contract", you DON'T give up the rights to your work. Ever. Sell them, yes. But "give up" the rights to your work? Never.

Tarah Scott said...

...if we're successful, we eliminate the need for literary agents...

No so. Professional writers don't pay agents to represent them--not even a nominal fee of $149.

Neither do professional writers pay to have their work published. They are paid to have their work published.

kelcrocker said...

I was disgusted when I heard about this "contest" via twitter, and now that the "publisher" has tried to explain herself, I'm even more disgusted.

But I appreciate that you would take your time to explain to writers why they should not enter, Janet! Thank you!

Kellye

AaronBarlow said...

Ah, ownership! Things are getting more and more screwed up as outdated legal conceptions of Intellectual Property and ownership of it get more and more frequently taken advantage of to rip people off. There are even organizations now buying copyright just to file suit against websites that may (or may not) be overstepping "fair use" (a nicely undefined prerogative). As a writer and as an editor, all I can do is shake my head in wonder at the contest rules and thank you for the post.

Thandelike said...

Cooks Source scandal redux...only instead of plagiarism it's contractual theft. Same type of arrogant and incorrect "publishing world veteran" at the helm.

Thandelike said...

Cooks Source scandal redux...only instead of plagiarism it's contractual theft. Same type of arrogant and incorrect "publishing world veteran" at the helm.

Richard Gibson said...

A pretty substantial amount of the verbiage on the contest page appears to be copied from contest rules from Downtown Press (Pocket Books) from 2005...I just googled a line from the page and found this at the back of an online (Google Books) version of The Givenchy Code: HERE. The difference may be that Downtown Press didn't appear to charge for entries.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Janet - you are all kinds of awesome. Thanks!

Julie Weathers said...

Miss Janet,

Thanks so much for keeping your eye out for stuff like this. What astounds me is this blatant grab for rights. You pay them. They may not even award any prizes if they don't have enough entries. Who knows what that number is. Then everyone who entered paid to have someone steal their rights.

Hopefully, this will appear on Writer Beware soon. If writers shouldn't beware of this, I have no idea what they should.

Sadly, I imagine they will have many entries because people are so desperate to be published. Desperation is never a good business partner.

As for Karen's statement about how well she sleeps, that's right up there with, "you can trust me." Red lights and alarms should be going off everywhere.

KB/KT Grant said...

This has been spread like wild fire on Twitter. Thanks for the heads up.

Ilnara Hesken said...

*Is curious and looks*
*blinks in surprise at rule #3* This contest is open to legal residents of the United States. This contest is void in Puerto Rico, Quebec, and wherever prohibited or restricted by law.

When did Quebec become part of the United States? Oh wait, this applies only to legal residents of the United States that happen to be in Quebec at the time they enter the contest, right? However, part of #13 states that the winner has to sign and return all documentation within 15 days of being notified. Bit difficult to do if you're outside of the States.

Also in #4, the author's name, address, email address, and phone number must appear on the first page? Even if rule #3 had't been reason enough for me to lose interest (after seeing that fee), this certainly would. No way does the author's name and info appear on a manuscript being judged.

Since I was curious, I also checked the About Us page and noticed the paragraph stating "First One Publishing will launch a contest, a search for the next great story teller. We will do a worldwide viral search that will culminate in a digital publishing deal and a global marketing campaign for the winner."

Sure, as long as you're a legal resident of the United States someplace in the world. Definitely not a company I'm ever going to trust.

Richard Gibson said...

@Ilnara - it was the part about being void in Quebec and Puerto Rico that let me to the Google books find linked a few comments up - it just seemed strange. Void in Wisconsin, sure, but Quebec and Puerto Rico??

CKHB said...

Theresa Milstein said... "I wouldn't give up my rights to my work unless it's under a typical publishing contract."

Ari said... "that's the point--"under a typical publishing contract", you DON'T give up the rights to your work. Ever. Sell them, yes. But "give up" the rights to your work? Never."

EVEN BETTER. Under the typical publishing contract, you don't sell your rights, either. You LICENSE your work, which means it is ALWAYS your work, no matter what, you've just given permission for others to use the work. You're not giving away or selling away your writing, you're just renting it out.

:-)

Tawna Fenske said...

Holy mother of crap, this can't be real. Aargh. And the sad thing is, you know plenty of writers will fall for it because they want to be "published" so badly they'll ignore all the shady detals. Damn.

Tawna

JS said...

I say, "Go go Team Boo Bird!" This is the most ridiculous nonsense I have seen since...well, since the last time I looked at the stuff in my spam filter.

Thank you, Ms. Janet, for shedding some light on this disaster.

Trisha said...

I am already wincing on behalf of anyone who does enter without seeing a warning (or without reading the rules...) :(

Shakespeare said...

I'm kind of with Tawna. I am still having a hard time figuring out which I can't believe more, the contest and its frightening rules, or the "defense" by one of the instigators (especially her second comment).

Yet another reminder that truly evil people exist in the world.

Keep your teeth sharp, Janet, and keep up the good work!

Steve Stubbs said...

I love the last line in your post. Brilliant. You are the best, Ms. Reid.

John Wiswell said...

If Karen agrees the rules have issues, she should fix them. The things this group has put into the rules are egregious and easily removed with about as much time and thought as it takes to write a defense in this Comments section. If a bunch of people have to meet to agree that this vile attempt to undercut author rights should go before the contest launches, then perhaps they should have put more thought into it back when they met to forge the original terms.

christine tripp said...

>While I appreciate your comments. And I understand your vested interest in this business because if we're successful, we eliminate the need for literary agents, the contest hasn't launched yet. <


Yea Janet, your profession and that of your collegues will certainly be redundent if one writer, out of all of the US (and obviously Canada is now part of the US, minus Quebec of course:) wins this contest and is published:)

While I appreciate your comments. And I understand your vested interest in this business because if we're successful, we eliminate the need for literary agents, the contest hasn't launched yet. 

>So to post our rules and a link telling people that this is a contest to avoid is both self-serving and misleading. Are there issues with the rules, yes. But I think you should wait until the contest officially launches on Feb. 11, 2011<

If there are "issues" with a contest, shouldn't a company work those out PRIOR to posting them!!! Doh!

petemorin said...

According to her promotional material, she is a "Pulitzer Prize winner," co-author of 5 NYT best sellers, and her publishing company is an "imprint of Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster." Odd, but Simon & Schuster doesn't list Karen Hunter Publishing as one of their imprints.

CAO said...

It's a sub-division of Pocket/Gallery: http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/gallery (bottom of right-hand column).

Ces said...

Well, she is honest, alright. A SUCKER is born every second.

Shannon said...

Oh ummm ... you didn't post the rules before the contest starts. You posted a link (thank you VERY much Janet) to the rules THEY posted on THEIR website.

No way, this contest is not credible, IMO.

What kind of "professional" publishes their rules to a contest only to say they are a rough draft??? So, at any time you feel like it, Professor, you can change the rules to suit your needs???

It's sad really, you had a chance to give writers a great contest and you blew it, big time.

Thanks for having our backs, Janet. YDW!

Douglas Morrison said...

Here's her company Website:

http://www.karenhunterpublishing.com/Home

This whole thing is too bizarre.

Charity Bradford said...

LOL, I love you Janet. Your last remark is the best. Whazzahh!

Maja Kuric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Lynne said...

Huh, you know if you click on www.firstonepublishing.com in #10 you get an 404 error file not found.

flit said...

I laughed at the Quebec thing too... last I heard they were still up here in Canada. Not all happy about it... but still here!

Wandering-Quill said...

heh. Thanks for the head's up, Janet.

I posted a link to this and other bloggers mentions of this deceitful contest on the writer's digest forum. The more know the better, I think.

From googling, it appears Karen does exist, but I don't buy some of the stuff she's claiming for sure.

This is a link to her blog, which seems to be spewing political views and not a peep about writing, books, or the contest in the first five posts.

http://www.karenhunterpublishing.com/KarensBlog

I don't trust this person at all.

Wandering-Quill said...

Addendum here:

Does anyone else find it odd that The Professor aka Karen Hunter signs her official blog posts with the name Jacqueline and not Karen?

And that said blog posts are written like a rough draft, with grammar errors galore. And she's a NYT best-selling author???

Hmm.

nutschell said...

Wow. Thanks for this very helpful warning. A lot of writers out there (myself included) might have jumped at this contest, were it not for you.
Thanks for saving us from a titanic mistake.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I get the impression that those who came up with this contest knew there were going to be unhappy authors. Here's the last paragraph in the "LEGAL Information section": By entering, entrants release judges and Sponsor(s), and its parent company, subsidiaries, production, and promotion agencies from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, costs, or expenses, including without limitation properly damages, personal injury, and/or death arising out of participation in this contest, the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, merchandise delivery, or the violation of any intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyright infringement and/or trademark infringement. [emphasis mine]

Becky

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Out of curiosity, I wonder if this part of Rule #12 was added after your post, Janet, or was part of the original: CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AD CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE. THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

The grammar errors keep coming, right along with the nonsense. I hope no writer gets suckered into this.

Becky

Dr. Z said...

Thank you for posting this. It makes me leary to enter any writing contests, but it does make me more determined than ever to go through the traditional route of finding an agent and publisher, even if it takes forever.

Richard Gibson said...

@Rebecca - that was all in the original, in all caps just as it was in the 2005 contest rules that it was copied from - although the 2005 Pocket Books version did not contain the misspelling of "AND". :)

Iain Paton said...

I saw a clause in an Alibi TV crime writing contest which was, at first sight, similar. So I queried it, and got the reassurance I needed. That one was free to enter. And I didn't win!!!

Sarah said...

Is this even legal? I thought in order to lose the rights to your work you had to sign a specifically 'work for hire' contract- which implies that you must be PAID.

In any case even the ATTEMPT to steal the rights of naive and hopeful newbie writers is pretty pathetic.

michael said...

In case anyone is keeping track, this crazy, money grabbing, scheme has made it's way all over writer's forums in the U.S., UK, and beyond. Unless you live in a cave, their contest isn't getting off the ground. At least let's hope not. Crooks.

Hope Welsh said...

This is just too funny. I blogged about this last week. I'm going to pay them $149 to take all rights to my work--check is in the mail. NOT

christine tripp said...

Michael, sadly NO, there will still be plenty of entries I'm sure. Desperation is a hard taskmaster. For example, if anyone were to Google "Publish America" the results would be all negative. Yet each day new writers submit and the next day sign a contract. None of us can save everyone but high profile sites such as Janet's, such as Writer Beware and Absolute Write take a bite out of it. Oooo, a bite, that works here:)

Jennie said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't there something said about plagiarism somewhere in that rat's nest of rules? The very same rules that, by the sounds of things, have been plagiarised from another publishing house's contest...?

Brooks said...

A word of advice, Karen Hunter: Never try to out-shark The Shark.

Hope Welsh said...

Karen,
She has no reason not to allow your comments. Your contest has no defense, as your comment clearly showed.

People pay for contests all he time. That's not such a huge issue. What we won't pay for is giving you the privilege of using our work--just because we were foolish enough to submit it.

Agents aren't going to be obsolete. Even self-published authors use them for foreign rights, movie rights, etc.

Your only 'defense' to this absurd contest would be to post:

"This was a huge mistake--our contest rule maker was on crack that day and we all missed it--please disregard the stupidity of our 'former' rule designer. New rules to be posted on 2/11."

While you might not be trying to rip anyone off--your rules certainly leave the door open for you to do so. Any writer would be correct to be very cautious.

This isn't the only blog on this--I wrote one, too--last week, and there are several writing sites warning authors--oh wait--not authors--you want non-professionals....

Just absurd. Have you actually READ them?

Marilynne said...

Thanks for the warning.

nicoledesrosiers said...

Wow, I am honestly amazed that this is even legal. People are literally paying them to steal their work. Thanks for the info!

As a writer, I value the integrity of my work and I found that people like this are what can really ruin our bottom line.

If your looking for some great resources that provide solid information about running your freelance writing business the Crazed Content site may be what your looking for. You can check them out here http://www.crazedcontent.wordpress.com

Lisa said...

Janet,

Thanks for your post. I have just learned about this contest and have read up on most of the blog entries, comments and discussions threads, including Ms. Hunter's responses which are both laughable and insulting.

I cannot believe that Ms. Hunter has chosen to ignore the obvious: authors are upset because the rules say they aren't going to get paid for their work...EVER! Yes, you may want all rights to get the author's work published and sold but to what end for the author?

Shoot, does anyone even know if the author's name is still attached to the end product? Or, by signing away ALL of your rights, FOREVER, First One uses a pseudonym or perhaps one of her staff's names as the author? I'd be curious to know about that.

I am in no way going to spend my time, effort, and talents writing a novel (50,000-65,000 words) only to pay to have it taken away from me and given no monetary compensation! Being published (just like having a byline for an article/story) does NOT pay my mortgage and the rest of my bills! That's $149 I'm keeping in my bank account, thank you very much. :)