Monday, 14 January 2013

Competition Opportunity- But Read the Terms and Conditions...

First day of my resolution to write a minimum number of words each week- I should add I'm not counting my blog posts in that figure, otherwise I would manage my target every Monday
morning... :-)

I was having a quick browse on Twitter this morning and saw details of a new competition 'Racy Reads' on ITV's 'Lorraine'. ITV  and Mills and Boon are running a competition for new writing talent, with the winner having their book published, and a trip to the USA to meet Jackie Collins...

Sounds great doesn't it?

I'm all in favour of encouraging new talent with competitions, but however attractive it seems on the surface ALWAYS READ AND UNDERSTAND THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

First to the basics. The competition runs from today, the 14th January, and closes at 12pm on the 28th January.

To start with you need to submit the first 1,000 words of your 'Racy Reads' novel. It can be done online, but - "Please note that an entry of 50 words or more over or under the 1000 word limit may be disqualified at the discretion of the producers."

The really important thing to note, is that "Entrants must be able to complete the novel with a 50,000 minimum word count by 5 June 2013 at the latest."

You can read about the selection criteria (among other elements ) in the terms and conditions here.

From the shortlist, up to ten finalists will be selected and they will need to attend a London location to meet a new final judging panel:

 "to present their submission, explain their storyline for a full novel should they be the winner and talk through the plot of their book, where it is heading and what will happen to the characters."

With me so far...

There will be a winner and two runners-up. The winning story will be available from Monday 15 July 2013 to Thursday 25 July 2013. Along with that comes six copies of their book and a £1,000 advance payment.
Plus there's " a three-night trip for the winner and a companion to Los Angeles, USA to have lunch with Jackie Collins. The lunch will be filmed for and broadcast on the programme."

Now to the nitty gritty general terms. And this is where I was really disappointed that they felt it necessary to include such terms. Hence my warning earlier on.

(The Promoter in this case is ITV, while Mills and Boon are the Prize Provider.)

"By making an entry and participating in this competition, you grant the Promoter permission to use the entry in any way it wants in relation to the Promotion. This means that, in relation to the Promotion, the Promoter can use, edit, reproduce, record, modify, translate, distribute, play, perform, broadcast, make available and display your entry and/or participation (or part thereof) and/or prepare derivative works of the entry and/or participation (without prejudice to any rights acquired by the Prize Provider) by any medium or method whether now known or later developed, including without limitation on the website or any other website in its sole discretion anywhere in the world. The Promoter may permit third parties to use the entry. You acknowledge that (unless you win the Prize) you will not receive any fee or royalty payment from the Promoter, the Prize Provider or any third party for the consents and grants given by you in relation to your entry and/or participation."

And a little further down; " You agree to waive any moral rights that may exist in relation to your entry and/or participation."

Sadly there will be unwary writers who will not understand that those terms mean they are giving up all their rights to that submission by entering.

Yes, this competition is a great opportunity, but remember only the winner gets paid for their hard work.

Yes, you are only giving up those 1,000 words by entering, but if your book is almost complete and you then give away those first 1,000 words, you're giving yourself an unnecessary headache.

If your story is good enough for Mills and Boon, then go through the normal submission process. I've been told by writers who know personally, that they are encouraging to potential authors.

On their website you can find information for aspiring M&B authors, here and also the submission details.

If you enter this competition with your eyes open to all the terms and conditions, then I do sincerely wish you good luck.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for highlighting all the pitfalls with this, Carol- it's a shame when this happens. I wouldn't like to give up my moral rights in a story!

liz young said...

They want your soul, don't they? As a matter of interest, is there an entry fee as well? I often wonder if some competitions are run solely to rake in the entry fees. It must be old age that makes me cynical!

Dorothy said...

Good luck to the people who are going to join the contest, Wish you all the best :)

Carolb said...

Rosemary, I don't like competitions where writers are expected to give up their rights by entering, but when they also want moral rights, that is going too far.

The competition is free, Lizy. And I have no doubt that the winner will receive all that is stated.

I have no problem with anyone entering if they understand what the rules are. If they know and are happy to participate, then I do sincerely wish them luck- they may just be a winner.

But I do get angry that there are still a number of 'newer' writers who don't realise what they are giving up with t&c's like this, because they see the opportunity of the prize offered and don't see beyond it.

(That comes with time and experience and I'm sure all writers go through that in the early stages of their career.)

Thank you Dorothy.
I do sincerely wish anyone who enters the best of luck with the contest, and hope the winner enjoys their prize. :)