It seems today everyone is at risk of being a victim of a scam. Writers are certainly not an exception. There are hundreds of poetry, fiction and nonfiction contests available to writers. Some offer prizes, small and large in sum, while other contests offer publication as a the prize. For the writer the main prize is recognition. As with everything else, the writer has to be aware of which contests are legitimate and which are scams. The last thing any writer wants is for their work to end up in the wrong hands. As a writer, I have found the following websites crucial in making my decisions on which contests to enter.

This website list specific contest to avoid submitting entries. They are known to be some of the more prominent scams:

http://winningwriters.com/contests/avoid/av_avoid.php

Writers Beware is an excellent source for contest scams, fake literary agents and provides some great tips for writers entering contest

http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/

Writer’s Relief provides a summery of what a writer should look for when entering a contest

http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2008/01/seduction-of-fake-poetry-contests/

While scams exist, a large volume of contests are legitimate and available for writers of all genres. Poets and Writers (the link is below)  is a great place to find current contests as well as literary magazines and small presses open to new and established writers of all ages. Be open to entering contests. The best thing you can do is  be well informed and conscious of where and who you are sending your writing to.

http://www.pw.org/grants