No poetry publisher should charge you a reading fee, force you to buy a book to be published or collect an exorbitant contest entrance fee. No matter how legitimate their name, web address or letter sounds, these are poetry scams.
Why would someone try to scam a poet?
The answer is simple: these people know how much poets and other writers want to be published. They take advantage of the natural desire of poets to share their work and their desire to gain the recognition that they deserve for their art.
”Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to pay us $60!”
Noted poetry publishing scams include:
- National Library of Poetry
- International Library of Poetry
This company (because they are all one company that has changed its name) will accept your poem as long as it’s less than 20 lines (60 characters per line). While that’s perfect if you’re a sonneteer, the format is highly restrictive. In my opinion, this severe limitation is designed to ensure that they can fit as many poems as possible into a book.
At first blush, this sounds like a positive thing—more poems published, more poets honored, right? However, in order for your poem to be included, you must pay the $59.95 fee. They tell you that this is to cover the cost of publishing the book. You will never find this volume of poetry in any library or bookstore—only in the homes of people so desirous to publish their poetry that they were taken advantage of by this company.
No, I’m not one of those unfortunate people, although I might have been, after sending two poems in to the “contest” in high school.
What about entrance fees?
However, it’s important to keep in mind that many legitimate poetry contests do charge an entrance fee in order to cover publicity and prizes. That doesn’t mean you should automatically assume they’re scams. Look into them as much as possible before sending your poetry in. A good place to start is by using a search engine to look for the name of the contest followed by the word “scam.”
Keep in mind as you research these contests that you may find many people who were merely upset that they didn’t win. However, examine the details of these individuals’ accounts and weigh the evidence.
There are many more scams out there designed to take advantage of a poet’s intense desire for recognition and renumeration.
Good luck avoiding scams while publishing your poetry.
Buy Poet's Market and start getting paid to write poetry today.