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Poetry Rivals To not buy a book with my daughters "winning" poem

(59 Posts)
coorong Wed 02-Oct-13 06:54:31

All of the KS2 students at my y4 daughter's school submitted poems to what they were told was a national poetry competition with a grand prize of a laptop. I was pleased. Yesterday we had a letter from the competition organisers explaining that my daughters poem had been selected for a "special edition" of poems. I would have to give permission for the poem to appear in the book, and bu the way "would I like to order a copy for £17.95".
I was amazed that she'd done so well, but then confused when my daughter explained almost all of her class, had been specially "chosen".

I rang Poetry rivals, who said 75% of poems submitted gets published, so it's not really a completion - simply vanity publishing tapping I on parents guilt.

I don't want to support this enterprise, what do I do?

yegodsandlittlefishes Wed 02-Oct-13 08:43:09

Talk to the school and suggest it does not reflect well on them to be involved with something like this. Or at least they could do this in house and raise some funds for the school!

yegodsandlittlefishes Wed 02-Oct-13 08:46:38

Come to think of it, there is an opportunity there for someone to organise this sort of thing for schools, with each child's poem (or drawing) put in a book and parents can pre order the books...funds going to the school with a voucher for the star author and artist.

HorryIsUpduffed Wed 02-Oct-13 09:33:41

The cynic in me thinks those children whose parents buy the book have a greater chance of going through.

Glad you found a solution you and DD are happy with.

Tattiesthroughthebree Wed 02-Oct-13 09:45:18

Horry, possibly. But we thought DS's poem was good and, although we thought the purchase price was ridiculously over-inflated, they are obviously putting some / quite a lot of the money raised back into providing a prize (a lap-top) and a nice event, with a contribution towards travel costs etc.

WilsonFrickett Wed 02-Oct-13 09:48:30

I would also be complaining to the school about this. That's 17.50 that other parents won't have to spend on actual school fundraising. And I'd also be exceptionally miffed that school have passed my address on to an external company...

Spaulding Wed 02-Oct-13 09:52:08

These companies must be making a mint. This kind of thing was going on 15 years go when I had my poem published. Along with the rest of my class. My parents bought the book, myself and all my friends thought it was great that our poems were in an actual book, and none of us clocked on to the fact it was a scam. So I can understand why some parents buy these books. Gives their children a bit of a boost. But that money just allows these scams to carry on. One friend wrote on FB a few months ago how proud she was of her son for getting his poem published. A few mums commented that their children had been chosen too. They all seemed really proud and hadn't cottoned on it it being a scam. So there will always be parents willing to hand their money over.

HorryIsUpduffed Wed 02-Oct-13 09:57:51

Sorry Tatties I didn't mean it to sound like they wouldn't judge the ultimate winners on merit, just that if they are starting with eleventy squillion poems they might be tempted to bin the ones that hadn't bought the book as a kind of first filter, on the grounds that those parents would be more likely/able to afford costs associated with later rounds such as travel etc.

Gatekeeper Wed 02-Oct-13 10:00:59

We did this a couple of years ago and didn't bother again. £17.95 for a very amateurishly printed book and £2.95 for bloody postage!! They didn't even send it direct to me but sent the whole lot in a box to the school to be handed out there. Complete rip off

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 02-Oct-13 10:03:15

I remember my sister being published in a book like this although it was for prayers.

Her prayer was thanking god for her hamster confused

Tattiesthroughthebree Wed 02-Oct-13 10:06:23

This is the website.

When they say "provides an opportunity to be published" it means "guaranteed publication in a pricey book" but the Slam Final is real, as are the prizes.

Tattiesthroughthebree Wed 02-Oct-13 10:13:35

I get your point, Horry - I wasn't offended! And we bought TWO copies of the book - one for Granny as well as one for us!! Guaranteed place in the final!

For us, it was great. DS practised a lot as he was nervous about speaking in front of an audience, and he got a lot out of the whole experience.

I hadn't heard of the "well-known" poet on the judging panel, but I googled him and he was a genuine poet.

Aniseeda Wed 02-Oct-13 10:37:52

We were sucked in by this once and bought not one, not two but three, yes three copies so that each set of GPs could have one (I think they were more like £12 each as it was a few years ago but still!!)

My son wasn't picked for the next round sad


The idea of schools making their own books for fundraising is a great one. I'd have much rather paid a fiver for a book with poems by children I actually vaguely knew (of course my own DC poem would have been the best!) and the money gone direct to school funds.

DeWe Wed 02-Oct-13 11:40:07

Is this that Writers thing under a different name? Certainly sounds like that.

quoteunquote Wed 02-Oct-13 13:10:08

How mean, so 75% of a class get picked and 25% of the class don't just to keep up the illusion of a competition.

Ask the school to stop exploiting the children.

and look into self publishing and do a class book.

amazing that these companies are allowed near children.

MmeLindor Wed 02-Oct-13 13:14:41

You could ask the school if they would consider putting all the poems onto a Class Blog. Not for a prize, but just for the fun of it.

exexpat Wed 02-Oct-13 13:15:52

I'm amazed that schools are still doing this, but I would guess that somewhere along the line they get a cut of the proceeds or some kind of reward in the form of equipment, books etc that makes them do it.

I think it's a complete rip-off, and schools would do much better putting together their own anthologies on or similar, and selling them for a fiver each at the Christmas fair.

exexpat Wed 02-Oct-13 13:16:46

(I'm a mean mummy who refused to order the books, by the way - I explained to the DCs how it worked, and they weren't bothered)

Tattiesthroughthebree Wed 02-Oct-13 13:37:31

The books are a total rip-off; there's no way the books are worth £17.95. And Poetry Rivals should be a lot more up-front about the fact that the prizes are funded by vanity publishing.

But it is a real competition - one of the entries will win the lap top. I'm glad DS's school took part, because DS and DH had a really nice day attending the final.

I don't know if schools get a cut of the proceeds or not, but this is what the web-site offers as an inducement to take part - prepared lesson plans.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 02-Oct-13 14:50:34

Oh how funny, my particularly boastful friend put this on facebook about how her son had been selected for this (to go in the book not the selection bit after). Sorry I know that sounds mean but she does drive us insane with her FB boasting about her DS.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 02-Oct-13 14:57:54

Young writers anthology is the other one, same sort of thing. There was a thread on MN a couple of years ago where they actually responded to explain what they did.

MissStrawberry Wed 02-Oct-13 15:03:25

Years ago my poem was picked for a book to be sold in Waterstones. I had believed it was picked because it was good. I have 3 copies of he book on my shelf (mine, DH's late Nana's copy). sad


CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 02-Oct-13 15:21:24

Oh Miss Strawberry, I am sure yours was picked due to your amazing writing talent!!!

whois Wed 02-Oct-13 15:27:34

Oh me and my parents got conned by this at school many years ago. You know what though, it WAS a dam good poem. And I still like that it is in a book. Think it was 'spellbound' or something that was doing it back then.

Tavv Wed 02-Oct-13 15:58:13

YANBU. How about the school making a book of children's poems to raise funds for the school, instead of lining the pockets of the vanity publishers?

InMySpareTime Wed 02-Oct-13 16:09:03

I've approached schools, with worked pricings showing how much goes on printing costs (40%) how much goes to school funds (20%) and my cut for the workshop and helping the children edit it all together (40%).
They've all been burned by the scammers and won't go for it, even at £5 a book and no "competition" aspect.
It's a shame, because it's a good idea but the greed of companies like that means the schools are missing out on potentially hundreds of pounds of fundraising opportunity without the need to fleece parents.

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