On the topic of entering fiction contests, one commenter (Cliff Burns) says this: "Never, EVER enter contests that charge an entry fee. Why subsidize their lousy rag with your hard- earned money? One press in Vermont recently tried to charge for a $35 "reading" fee before they would consider a poetry manuscript. I wrote to the publisher telling them that in the 20+ years I've been a professional writer, it's always been my experience that the author was paid by the editor/publisher, NOT vice versa. One final pet peeve: when a magazine turns down a story/submission with a form note and then has the GALL to include information urging you to subscribe to their crappy little magazine. What a bloody laugh... " While I think of the $10/15 entrance fee more as supporting the arts, this advice does come a little late, Cliff. I've only sent stories to a million contests at small literary journals (you may call them crappy rags, if you like)--and once in awhile I have even won and taken home the booty.
Bloggers: What do you have to say on the topic? Are fiction contests just a rip off, or a way to finance alternative literary voices?