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Writer Beware Headsup PSA

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ShadowBeast View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Aug 2018 at 8:02pm
Some time ago the Fiction War quarterly contest was advertised on here and many writers have taken part in this since. It has come to light through a lot of writer networking that something wasn't adding up with the competition. They continued to run their fee based contest, but were falling way behind on publishing the winning pieces or paying the winners. Be advised if you are thinking of competing in their quarterly or the Atom Bomb.

See for details: Writer Beware Blog post

Do other writers a solid--if you become aware of potential problems with a publisher/competition, don't stay silent. Look into it with other entrants, or report it to places that check out viability. Whether or not the publisher intends to be malicious or simply is in over their heads--the results are the same, writers aren't getting what they are owed. Not cool.


Edited by ShadowBeast - 10 Aug 2018 at 8:29pm
R1A tightly packed parcel of contents that leave you wanting--which a publisher told me made her editing day. Suck it judges!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2018 at 12:21pm
Wow - turning into kind of a dumpster fire, too.  Did that letter actually infer that they were accusing SFWA of libel for stating factual information?  I'm not sure that's a fight I'd want to pick.

I used to think FW was a well-meaning thing, that had just got in over its head and didn't have the sense to put on the brakes and get caught up.  Now kinda wondering whether this is one of those scams where you pay out the first few to establish legitimacy, and then sit back and let the cash roll in. 

Their responses in the past 24 hrs have looked more like "how much entry fee money can we collect before we shut it down" than like any effort to address or respond. :(  The rate at which they are deleting not just negative comments but *any inquiry whatsoever, and blocking the people who ask questions (full disclosure: me included)  feels more like an attempt to hide the bodies than to addresss the issues.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ShadowBeast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2018 at 12:33pm
Originally posted by nixie nixie wrote:

  Now kinda wondering whether this is one of those scams where you pay out the first few to establish legitimacy, and then sit back and let the cash roll in.


A ponzi-scheme? It is possible. At this point there is no way of knowing for sure. All we can do is look at the facts of how far behind they are and the posts rolling through and getting deleted. The responses have not been a reflection of professionalism. And yes, I saw the promotion code they put out for a discount entry fee. I bet they thought they were clever using the watchdog that called them out for the code. Sad, all this could have been prevented by friendly emails from them to their winners communicating delays, like other publishers do.
R1A tightly packed parcel of contents that leave you wanting--which a publisher told me made her editing day. Suck it judges!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2018 at 12:36pm
Do you guys know about sitejabber? It's a website where you can review other websites. I bet fiction war would hate to be poorly reviewed over there...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ShadowBeast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2018 at 12:40pm
Writer Beware, Duotrope, and Absolute Write already have flagged the issues within 48 hours. I suspect that the network will spread the information as tends to happen. This is why responding professionally is so critical for publishers/contests/etc.
R1A tightly packed parcel of contents that leave you wanting--which a publisher told me made her editing day. Suck it judges!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2018 at 12:44pm
Two of the most reliable writer-protection resources, and one of the most prolific 'find a market' sources have taken action...  Hopefully that will prevent some writers from getting taken in - they have a really smooth operation and seemed very legit...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2018 at 2:09pm
Eh. I've gotten precisely the same amount of value out of both contests thus far and feel precisely zero obligation, if I decide they've taken too long, to not publish something I wrote for them (they're welcome to try to take issue, but as they would be demonstrably in breach first they would have a very hard time actually winning.)  Well, really, I actually so far have more value out of the two pieces I've written for them as both I can use (one is basically a novel outline). Here the prompt restrictions pretty much render the pieces useless elsewhere (and the entry fees here are much steeper with no discounts--no idea what they spend it on as it's clearly not the message board platform!) And since FW publishes their prompts one could easily write to it for free (I can't imagine actively choosing to write anything I've drawn here so far. The next flash round I better get something decent.) 
FFC 2020 Ch 1 Gr 21: Cellared
Ch2 Gr 21: The Spy Who Came in For The Cake
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2018 at 3:28pm
Interesting perspective. I have certainly written things here that I would not have written otherwise.  One of the best, most effective pieces I have ever written was in a genre I would never have done myself. If I don't love a prompt, I can still re-use the base as a foundation for something bigger & better, so I don't find the prompts here limiting. NYCM has had its issues over the years, but has always made good-faith efforts to un-screw themselves when they are pointed out, and to treat writers respectfully

By comparison, a contest that promises - but ever delivers - publication, promises - but never delivers - payment, blames writers stupidity and lack of professionalism for the company's self-inflicted delays, collects prize money for 8 contest while paying prizes for only 2, threatens writers with legal action if they dare to speak unflattering truths, block writers for the act of 'asking a civil question,' changes terms mid-stream and attempts to assert that they aren't liable for the terms that were in place when a writer won - well, the list goes on, (and that's part of the point, too) - seems like a far worse experience..  

But that's me...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sgspeed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2018 at 11:04am
Okay.  So all this came out after I entered both the Fiction Bomb and the FictionWar contest.  I received an email this week that my Bomb did not make it to finals.  But this morning I received an email that my flash piece is a finalist.  The email contained this paragraph - 

< ="text/"> p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 12.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

All selected stories will be prepared for digital and print editions. 
Honorariums for published stories are payable via PayPal 30 days following print publication. Recipients shall be responsible for any transaction/processing fees/taxes. (Awards greater than $600 may require tax ID/EIN.) You’ll receive a request for payee information under separate cover upon FWMag publication. (Due to recent editing delays, our time to publishing has been lengthened — thank you for your generous patience as we are doing our best to get back on our ideal calendar.)* 


And this one - 


All works selected for publication will be edited (light, medium, or massive edits are all possible). Some changes may alarm some authors. Please respect that our final product is exclusive to our publication — your original, unedited version still exists — both it and the edited Fiction War edition will always be yours to use as you wish following its initial appearance in Fiction War Magazine. 
You may receive a draft of this edit before the work is published — please be patient as we strive to get all works online and into our printed journal. 
Please do not self-publish or submit your entry to another publication until the Fiction War Magazine in which your work will appear has been produced — doing so WILL retroactively disqualify its selection and award. 
*If the case arises that an author is unwilling to have their revised work published, or editing/publishing delays are deemed unacceptable, submissions can be withdrawn at any time. 


I'm new to all this.  I have never published anything or even submitted for publication so I cannot compare this to their previous emails to finalists, but it looks like they may be addressing some of the concerns raised in the other thread about them.  So in the mean time I am going to go through the steps and see what happens and hope for the best. In any case, if it takes too long and I feel that I can do something else with the story, then I will withdraw it.  For me, the fee was a small price to pay to learn more about how all this works.  Honestly, I don't know what to do with any of my writing once it is done and submitted either here or to the coach I work with. Raw newbie.


 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2018 at 2:26pm
Like I said in the other thread, that's the same as they send for each one. 

And you have to remember no contest is like real publication submissions (except that NYCM's response time is like a lot of small/non-pro press in that it drags on forever to the point you wonder if they gave up. FW IS a small press so their being underwater isn't all that surprising.) When you really submit for anthologies or magazines, generally the more pro/established they are, they aren't always going to carefully read everything and in general, they don't have to-they can tell from the first couple paragraphs if it's worth reading and they want to keep going. Sometimes they will keep going and still will decline, but if it's clear from the start it's got problems or isn't what they want, they don't have any obligation to putz through hoping it improves, they can just hit reply and say no. FW has I suspect fewer entries than NYCM (they don't give out totals) and they also have a single group of editors doing the judging without having to write feedback no matter how bad something is, so their turnaround is faster. 

I do a lot more submitting to real markets than contests and you learn not to worry about it. After a while you should know your own strengths and not take rejection personally. 
FFC 2020 Ch 1 Gr 21: Cellared
Ch2 Gr 21: The Spy Who Came in For The Cake
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