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12 January 2011


The First of the Year
I've decided to write a regular rant. I'm not sure why, I just think it might do some good to get these things of my chest. Keeping things bottled up inside surely can't be good for you and I for one am more inclined to let it all out! 
As many of you may know, I'm a writer(sounds like a confession but bear with me) but I'm also an ex-pat writer. I along with some other folk in similar positions am a member of a writing community where we write and amongst other things, enter competitions. Now there comes the rub. I am amazed at the number of competitions which exclude writers on two counts. 
Firstly if it is a UK competition (it could be another country but I don't come across others so much) and only UK residents can apply. So without telling some porky pies about my whereabouts I can't submit. I don't understand the reasoning for excluding writers who might not live on this tiny island, thought still are British. Surely it reduces the number of competitors and if a paying competition then also impacts on the profit made or the available prize?
My second niggle concerns those competitions wherever in the world, which only allow postal entries and which usually mean payment by cheque or postal order. These are more common, believe it or not, from my first observation and we are a decade into a new millennieum! All the writing press are talking about the advancement of technology and the impact of e books and here are competitions still working with snails and tablets of stone. Now I'm a Luddite as you know, I like the old pen and paper approach to writing but this is alongside the technology, not instead of it. I don't live in a distant corner of the world, hundreds of miles from civilisation. I don't have a cheque book and neither do I want one. I know the arguments about costs of printing stories and all that blarney but with the increasing costs of postal and bank services I think that excuse is old and invalid. 

So if you are going to run a competition, make it via email (using a Google account where the threat of spam and bulging in-box is eradicated), allow on-line payments (Pay Pal is by far the most secure and easiest) and extend the invite to include us struggling ex-pat writers who are looking (and will pay) for the opportunity to enter writing competitions. 

Don't Think Just Write


Bob Scotney said...

Interesting - I belong to a writing group where a number of members are complaining that email only competitions exclude them. They still want snail mail.

Louise Charles said...

Really? Most of my group are ex-pat and the majority of us live in Europe but still find it difficult to rely on the post and impossible to obtain international reply coupons which some competitions require... horses for courses I suppose! Perhaps we could swap links Bob?

Rob Innis said...

Jo I agree that the UK Residents rule is frustrating but I wonder if it is to do with legalities ie You cannot play the UK lottery online from Spain - because it is illegal. So maybe it does have a valid reason. (I did say maybe!)

Rob Innis said...

Bob - I hear your point, we too have a couple of non emailers in my group. But given most (all?) comps won't accept handwritten entries then surely most have a PC. So if they are using that to word process their writing they might as well go the whole hog and accept they need to use email in the 21st century. The world changes - cheques to disappear soon as well as many other changes. We may not always like evolution but can we afford to stand in its way?

Louise Charles said...

Rob, yes you may well be right about the legalities but other competitions get around it? I know it's only a handful but when the market is quite small in the first place...