You might want to avoid the First One writing contest

I wrote a post a few days ago about First One Digital Publishing, a new publisher who plan to focus on ebooks (yes, another one). I wish I’d taken a closer look at them at the time, because I’ve now learned of their rather questionable business practices.

They’re going to have a writing contest next month. First One are planning to use this as a promotional tool to draw in potential authors and to draw attention to the company. (Actually, this contest has brought them a lot of attention – just not the kind they wanted.) I have  no problem with the contest, but I do have an issue with the contest’s rules. Did you know that they’re charging a submission fee? basically this means you’re paying for the privilege of

7.  FEES: There will be a $149.00 entrance fee for each submission. The fee must be paid online before the manuscript will be accepted.

It actually gets worse from there. Any work you submit immediately becomes the property of First Digital.

All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation.

If you’re like me the t&c boggled your mind and you think you read it wrong. No, you didn’t. If you enter this contest you’re giving away your work and paying them for the privilege.


I know that a lot of people are going to fall for it, but did they really think they wouldn’t get bad publicity? Did they really think no one would notice that this is a scam?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Sweetpea16 January, 2011

    So, you have to pay for them to steal your work? Did I get that right?

    1. Nate the great16 January, 2011


  2. Mike Cane16 January, 2011

    Sucker: “I’m published! I’m published! I are anm Authoor!”

  3. […] you recall my post about the writing contest run by First One Digital Publishing? Over the weekend, Evil Wylie ran a contest designed to mock […]

  4. RobynB17 January, 2011

    I just emailed your post to the folks at Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group:

    Thanks for the heads up.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top