Fuse #8

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sketchy or On the Up-and-Up?

This is a good example of a contest that could be legit or could be a gigantic swindle. I present to you the Peppermint Awards.

Do you write for children?

The mission of the Peppermint Awards is to reward and expose undiscovered writers, opening doors with recognition, endorsement and promotion.

If you are a children’s book writer or screenwriter in the business of making quality family entertainment, enter the 1st Annual Peppermint Awards!

Deadline for Submissions
May 21, 2007
(Late Registration June 18, 2007)

Winners announced:
September 24, 2007
It's not a big contest. If you win in the children's book category you get the following:

Prizes for each of the 7 Categories:
1st $100
2nd $75
3rd $50

* The Peppermint Awards Official Seal of Approval

# The first place winners of the children’s books category will also receive a full color cover art for their book created by a talented experienced illustrator.

If you explore the site you'll find very little saying exactly who is giving out these prizes and even who this "talented experienced illustrator" would be. Plus they're asking for fees on submissions. $20 for picture books. $40 on chapter books. Most peculiar. What think you? I could go either way.

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At 1:15 AM , Blogger Greg Pincus said...

Boy, that reminds me of the Hollywood Book Festival -- a pay entry fee thingee, too. At least on the Peppermint awards it states that the author maintains ownership and rights. I couldn't find anything that tells you what you really win by winning, though. "Industry professionals" review things. Uh...who? Why? And if you win, do they send your book on?

I agree there's nothing screaming "I'm a scam!" here at all, but if the upside of winning the screenplay competition is a full color poster... I'm just not feeling it myself. Would be interesting to know more.

At 1:50 AM , Blogger Saints and Spinners said...

It's policy not to trust any writing contest that demands entry fees. Those entry fees are funding the prizes.

At 9:42 AM , Blogger Jeremiah McNichols said...

I think Gregory hit the nail on the head here. Speaking as the spouse of an artist who is constantly assessing similar opportunities in her own field, it is certainly permissible to charge a fee (which funds prize pools) but to not divulge who the readers/judges are is to defeat one of the key purposes of such events, which is to get your work in front of people you really, really, really want to see it. That way, even if you don't win, you have achieved something. Perhaps that editor/industry "insider" will take note of your work, be more receptive to your next work, mention you to someone else, etc. When names of reviewers aren't specified, to me that reeeeeeeeks of either scam artistry or institutional irrelevance, which both work out about equally badly for those who shelled out the entry fees.

At 9:43 AM , Blogger Adam Rex said...

Right. If they receive just 11 entries in picture books or 6 entries in chapter books they've already funded the entire prize spread.
The cover art might be more valuable, but only if you're interested in self-publishing. Though inexperienced kidlit writers often think pairing up with an artist will improve their chances, any interested publisher will almost certainly want to commission their own cover.
Still, this is better than a lot of contests one runs across in the illustration world, that tend to be of the "send us an illustration of the theme we provide and if you win yours gets published and we give you a cash prize that amounts to far less than we'd have to pay to hire a professional illustrator in the first place" variety.

At 12:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This smells like scamsville to me. Right off, it seems to promote one of the most persistent "getting published" myths: that getting art made for a ms would actually help someone get a publisher instead of being more likely to make them look unprofessional and ill informed. Add that to the entry fee and the pathetic prize money, and it seems tailored towards the hopeful and naive.


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