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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?

Pawprint Wed 02-Oct-13 16:36:50

There are various poetry competition scams. In general, they tend to offer large prizes, such as lap tops etc. Most genuine poetry competitions could not afford to offer big prizes.

Nothing wrong with vanity publishing, as long as it doesn't pretend to be what it isn't. Beware of any poetry organisation that boasts about big prizes or which asks you to buy expensive copies of the 'books' it sells.

There is a poet called Peter Finch who has worked for years to expose publishing scams - he once randomly chose some words out of the Yellow Pages, sent them off as a poem and received a letter praising his 'work' and offering him a publishing 'deal' that was, in fact, a scam.

Nothing wrong with self publishing - lots of poets and writers do this and it can be great fun, as long as it isn't too expensive.

I am a published poet and have earned practically nothing in monetary terms - most poets earn very little from their writing. The Poetry Society is an excellent resource for addresses of genuine publishers.

It seems particularly odious, to me, that these scammers are targeting children. If the poem is, in fact, publishable by a reputable magazine, but is published by a scammer, then the poem usually won't be accepted by a genuine publisher.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Wed 02-Oct-13 16:43:59


Tattiesthroughthebree Wed 02-Oct-13 21:22:56

Pawprint you say "There are various poetry competition scams. In general, they tend to offer large prizes, such as lap tops etc. Most genuine poetry competitions could not afford to offer big prizes"

It's precisely because of the vanity publishing of all entries that Poetry Rivals can afford to offer lap tops as prizes.

HooverFairy Wed 02-Oct-13 21:54:38

Aw we fell for this a few years ago, we entered year 7 into a poetry competition and the same thing happened. Luckily, a quick thinking colleague had photocopied all of the entries so when they wanted to charge parents for a copy of the book we decided to offer an alternative. We created a little book with all the poems in and 'sold' it for a voluntary donation - we used the funds towards little 'prizes' for the students (I think that first year it was an engraved pen or something). We felt truly terrible for the children because we'd really hyped it up as a chance to be a professional writer and the company were just a massive scam. Horrible behaviour.


Pawprint Thu 03-Oct-13 03:36:36

Tatties yes, that is what I meant. These organisations charge high prices for cheaply made books, so can offer big prizes.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 03-Oct-13 04:30:32

We bought the book when my daughters poem was 'chosen' 10 years ago, and I/she still gets a letter every year or so now, inviting her to submit a poem to the next 'opportunity'. Routinely ignored - but I hadn't thought of the data protection aspect of the school passing on our address.Glad that schools are realising what this is about and refusing to engage.

gamerchick Thu 03-Oct-13 05:00:41

My teen had stuff printed a couple of times but I refused to buy the book until it was a couple of quid on amazon. The other book is still a silly price a few years on.

The books are cheaply made looking come to think of it.

fuzzpig Thu 03-Oct-13 07:06:50

YANBU. So glad my DCs' school doesn't participate in this shite - it's infants though so will be on the lookout for this in juniors. £17.95 indeed hmm - you can do one off self-publishing online for less than that AFAIK, if you really wanted to see your child's work in print - you could club together with other parents.

The only "buy your child's work" thing the infants school has done was one piece of artwork, all the children did a very special themed piece (is not just random painting/drawing), and they had them all framed cheaply and held an art exhibition in the school hall for a week which we could browse after school. You then bought your child's painting for a tenner. That was brilliant, and DD's picture is still in pride of place smile I hope they do it again (I have a feeling they do it only once every 3 years so each child only does it once)

Tattiesthroughthebree Thu 03-Oct-13 07:32:41

Pawprint, from my point of view, as the parent of a child who was one of the 50 finalists a couple of years ago, it was a "real" competition. DS didn't win the lap top, but getting through to the Poetry Slam was a great experience for him. He loves writing, and Poetry Rivals was a good thing for him.

We had a good look at the website before we bought the books, so we knew what it was. Although they don't use the term "vanity publishing" on their website, it's not hard to see exactly what the deal is - they publish the lot, and use the money raised to fund the thing. I'd be surprised if they were actually making much money out of it.

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