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Young Writers - scam? alternative prizes?

(12 Posts)
MouseThatRoars Mon 15-Apr-13 12:11:17

I learned today that both my children, having entered a Young Writers poetry competition at school, are to have their work published. Cue tears of joy at having not one but two mini literary geniuses (genii?!) in the family.

But that £15.99 per child, per book I need to pay to see their work in print? Only when I have paid for a book will my dcs really be entered into the competition? And what about that sentence in the letter which says that 'all children stand a realistic chance of being selected'. Could it be that my children are not so uniquely talented after all?

This was a competition organised through school (a great school imo, whose judgment I usually trust) I don't wish to denigrate my dc's talents but, having re-read the letters, I smelled a rat and went straight to Mumsnet to see if others here had flushed one out! Reading threads on here, I realise that the Young Writers competition must be a scam or, at the very least, a vanity publishing excercise.

I am going to write a letter of complaint to the school and suggest they enter children into a legitimate writing competition. Anyone have any ideas for suggestions of story/poetry competitions for schools whose main aim is to reward talent rather than squeezing money out of proud parents?

AnyaKnowIt Mon 15-Apr-13 12:16:26

You'll find that every child in the school has 'won'

Its not a scam per se but its very underhand

creamteas Mon 15-Apr-13 13:50:15

Yep, almost everyone gets a poem/story depending on the vanity publication.

It is really annoying, and it is very hard not to buy the books for the DC.

CajaDeLaMemoria Mon 15-Apr-13 13:55:37

Yep. Everyone is in it, the books are rubbish, and any feeling of being in print is washed away when they realise everyone else is too.

This was happening when I was at school, and still happening when my sisters went through, and when I was a classroom assistant. Same thing happens every time. Excitement from the children to have been picked, guilt from the parents not to buy it, sadness and disappointment when it finally sinks in that everybody is in print, so it means nothing.

At £15.99, it's not worth it for anybody but the competition owners and the school, both of whom profit from this.

BreconBeBuggered Mon 15-Apr-13 13:56:16

I've never paid for the books. If you give permission to publish, the poem still appears and you can have a peek at the school's copy if they buy one, or somebody else will show you their little darling's masterpiece if the school don't oblige.

MouseThatRoars Wed 17-Apr-13 17:10:47

I think the use of wording by these people is really misleading. I'm sure the school was misled too. There are lots of cross parents!

This article exposes Young Writers and gives some suggestions for alternative and legitimate competitions or organisations that encourage kids' writing:

DeWe Thu 18-Apr-13 09:06:56

What one of our schools did when they realised they'd been mislead was to immediately send out a letter saying that they would buy two copies for the school library and parents were free to come and have a look at their child's copy in print. They then didn't do it again.

The other thing that I've been a bit hmm over is that both times I have had a child in a form that has been entered, is that the organisers seem to select about 1-2 a form who don't get it. I think that's to create the illusion of competition, but as the ones who don't get it seem to be randomly selected (having known the child and seen the work in one case) this is cruel on the child who thinks they're the only child whose poem/story isn't good enough.

Preminstreltension Mon 06-Apr-15 20:59:06

Just did a search on this as I've just received one of these letters and am really hacked off. A) with this cynical ploy and B) with the school for getting involved and sharing my details with them.

I actually didn't realise it was a scam until I read the supposedly brilliant poem my DD had written - it's really crap grin. She is good at literacy but lazy and when I read what they proposed to publish, I recognised it as one of her "CBA with this so I'll shove that in and that will do" efforts.

She doesn't know anything about it so I'm hoping it won't be all over the school. Asked around a bit and only one other parent from another year had got one so perhaps they've changed their strategy to make it less obviously a load of old rubbish.

MaryKatherine Mon 06-Apr-15 21:34:18


I was stitched up by this lot too!
A couple of months ago I received a letter to say that my son (year 6) had produced a piece selected for publishing. The school had entered him into the competition (without my knowledge). I thought the piece of writing was rubbish.
Anyway, after I had paid for the book (GGGRRRRRR), it turned out that everyone in the class had also been selected! I was furious and, immediately, realised I had been done. I was mad at the school too!
I still haven't received the book (printed in March)! What a con. When my 6 year old reaches that age I will be very aware and will not be conned again.
Be aware of this scam!

Elibean Tue 07-Apr-15 11:10:53

Very annoying. I knew what they were up to immediately (not my first child!) but dd got such a boost from having her poem 'in a book' that we decided to buy. Not wasted from the point of view of confidence boosting and motivation, but highly sneaky if you ask me...which they, of course, did not....

Somersetdad14 Fri 24-Jul-15 13:57:57

same thing has happened to us today with a letter generating much in initial joy until I read the blurb about books at £15,99. On checking online found this thread on Mumsnet and soon realised the level of the scam. This needs to go to local authorities trading standards..BIG question on our part, our young son is adopted and has special measures in place to protect his identity. How did this publishing co. get his name, age AND home address!!
If from the school they ahd better have a damn good explanation!

Happy36 Sat 15-Aug-15 22:03:31

Perhaps the school could run their own competition? A local journalist, writer or university professor could be approached to judge the final shortlist, as whittled down by a group of staff? Possibly 1 or more nearby schools could join in too?

Prize - work printed and displayed in a frame in a prominent part of the school, book token or similar for the student.

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