Catching Up is Hard To Do

Long, long ago, in a radio station far, far away, I worked as a copywriter.

Now, I loved writing commercials. But I hated taking a vacation. Because I knew when I got back, first thing Monday morning, 87 gajillion work orders would be sitting on my desk. That meant 87 gajillion commercials would have to be written, produced and scheduled. By the end of that Monday.

Flash forward to today. You’d think being a writer, working at home, AND having a laptop computer that one can tote everywhere, would sidestep that vacation pile-up on Monday. But you’d be wrong if you were Cathy C. Hall. Apparently, I cannot bring myself to work while I’m on vacation. So, I’ve spent the entire morning culling emails. (I caught up on the writing stuff over the weekend. Sorta.)

Mostly, I zipped through submission call outs, writing opps, and contests. All the newsletters that have been piling up in the old Inbox. To be honest, I zipped through them at record speed because I’m pretty particular. But halfway through my zipping, I started to wonder about contest entry fees.

You know I like my contests. But I’m very particular when it comes to entry fees. Or maybe just cheap. The point is, I rarely send anything off if a fee is over 12 bucks. But what I’m wondering is if I’m letting my cheapness stand in the way of opportunity. So, I’m asking you to weigh in on contest entry fees. What will you pay? And why?

And now, Monday’s pile of writing is singing. “They say that catching u-u-u-p is hard to do.” (That’s what happens when you’ve worked in a radio station.)

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12 thoughts on “Catching Up is Hard To Do

  1. I consider not only the fees, but also the prizes, etc. for a contest. What is their top prize – money/gifts, publication, both? How many "places" are awarded – only first and second or top ten and honorable mentions? What do I "get" for my fee – a critique, a copy of the magazine, etc.? And, honestly, sometimes it's a gut thing.Welcome back, Cathy! 🙂

  2. I agree with Madeline. I think it depends on the prize value etc. If only a few entries will be accepted and the award is a Pulitzer, a high entry fee might be worth it. You are going to win a Pulitzer right?

  3. I'm close to what you say. My limit is fifteen bucks. Anything higher than that requires careful consideration. I'll pay more if a critique is involved, but otherwise, I mosey along to something else. Best of luck catching up!

  4. So, I guess it's true. Great minds really do think alike. :-)But I do wonder about writers who'll pay 25 bucks for a contest…that takes Pulitzer prize-winning confidence!

  5. I tend to look for the ones with the FREE entry, but it just this minute hit me that it's probably the wrong thing to do…because EVERYONE wants "free", so they probably get way more entries than the ones WITH a fee…..Heck, what do I know?? And besides, it's after midnight again, and my brain is pretty fried!! E-mail me tomorrow, oh fabulous Cathy C., and ask my opinion again then!! 😀

  6. I set my limit at ten dollars, but prefer free. Usually if there are only top three winners, I don't enter. I don't enter many fee based contests unless it's to support a writer's group.

  7. I always check out the number of prizes, too, if there's a fee involved. And I'm more apt to enter a fee-based contest if I'm supporting a writer's group.So I probably don't enter those super-prestigious (and expensive) contests…but they don't need my 20 bucks anyway. :-)Thanks for chiming in, y'all. I always enjoy a little affirmation!

  8. I think the value of the prize determines how much I'll pay. Actually, I haven't entered many contests because the ones I've seen are usually YA oriented and I don't write YA.Would you be willing to share some of your favorite sites to check for contests, with your loyal subjects? Please????

  9. Oh, the temptation to post some of those old commercials. I know first hand that Cathy wrote some of the most creative and funny promos ever. She was truly talented. I am not a paid spokesman.

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