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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?

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Sweetpea January 16, 2011 um 5:22 am

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

Nate the great January 16, 2011 um 7:37 am


Mike Cane January 16, 2011 um 2:55 pm

Sucker: "I’m published! I’m published! I are anm Authoor!"

The best evil writing contest clauses | The Digital Reader January 17, 2011 um 9:41 am

[…] 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 […]

RobynB January 17, 2011 um 9:50 am

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

Thanks for the heads up.

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