This old dog has been trying to learn some new tricks. The first is the hardest one, stay positive.
It shouldn’t be that tough, right? Well I got my first test when a website sent me a response to my story submission. I should be happy, right? They sent me notice, right? Well, I would be except that the notice they sent me equals ‘thanks but no thanks’. Should I let that bother me? No, I’ve had rejections before. However, when the rejection is almost word for word plagiarized from their own website, that bothers me a little. When I remember that I paid twenty dollars to enter my story into this contest and got merely a form rejection with not even so much as a review out of it, that bothers me a bit more. But what bothers me the most is that they have the audacity to say that they try to help new writers. Apparently that help does not extend to a simple review or even the courtesy of a personalized response. In fact, twenty bucks for absolutely nothing reeks of scam to me.
So, herein lies my test. Do I succumb to the bitterness and anger over a website that says they support new writers when all they’re really doing is lying to and stealing from those very writers they claim to support?
Or do I rise above it? Do I chalk this up to experience? Do I learn the expensive lesson that some websites, no matter how nice they look or how many names they drop, are nothing more than chicanery? Just a not so cheap swindle. Slight of hand. ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.’
I’ll go the high road and not mention the website’s name, however, I will caution any of my fellow writers out there. When you’re looking for contests and see entry fees, be very careful, no matter how much the jackpot, umm, I mean first prize is. Just look for the smoke and mirrors.
For some excellent advice on avoiding scams, go here.