Thursday, 16 September 2010

For the write fee

So, in amongst all the Fringey stuff there has been some activity in the world of fiction, with another rejection letter bringing me thudding back to reality. It was from the In The Write Light people mentioned previously, and I will not be getting to spend a weekend up a mountain in Spain with Nell McCafferty. Awwww. Seriously, I would have loved that, even if I was slightly worried she might beat me up.

The rejection email came with an offer to return three pages of feedback on the submission which is of course an interesting offer, feedback being like oxygen to any hatchling writer. I emailed them for details and was quoted a price of €50. Not a huge amount, but fairly eye-watering to someone as skint as me.

I wondered if I was getting hustled (my Pavlovian response to any email asking me for money) but I realised that this probably represents better value for money than a lot of other writing competitions. So many of them have entry fees but offer no kind of feedback service for losing stories. It's possible to spend €50 in a few months without ever getting anything more than a few brief rejection letters.

So in fairness to the Write Light guys, it's probably not a hustle (although I'd need to see their feedback to see if it's worth €50). But there are plenty of other people out there willing to shake down new writers. The only guaranteed defence against them is to not have any money in the first place. It's worked for me so far.

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