Exclusive rights during a contest


Through the Language Arts department at my school I received an invitation for a contest (hosted by a publishing company) where they are asking for exclusive rights during the contest. What should I do?


How long is the contest?

Honestly, I expect it’s not a big deal.


Have them be precise about their verbiage. Many publishers want work under consideration to NOT BE SOLICITED elsewhere until they have considered the submission for publication. However, this is not usually a contractual obligation, but a gentleman’s agreement Any verbiage concerning rights points to copyright law. There are several rights that can be sold or purchased under copyright contract. First rights to print publication, INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS of various kinds, reprint rights First electronic publication rights, motion picture rights, the copyright itself, All of which are traded for monetary value. If the verbiage is actually a requirement of non-solicitation, pending a possible winners option for a written publication contract, thats one thing. A bid to snatch all publication rights from participants for free, or the right to participate is quite another. watch what you sign closely.


You can also check the “Well Known” publisher’s reputation with such agencies as Predators and Editors online, or Absolute Write


If I’m not mistaken (but I have to double check) results are up in September


Thank you so much. You’ve helped me a lot.




I believe it’s normal for them to ask for exclusive rights during the contest. I assume the winner of the contest gets published in the magazine. Magazines are sticklers for First Rights.

Read the Terms and Conditions carefully.


Oh. not at all. The contest is probably legit, so long as it is in line with your intentions. Just, its easy to check, and probably a smart knee jerk thing to do.


Ok. Thanks. It isn’t a magazine though because it’s for novels. It’s a real publishing deal




I would NOT accept a publishing prize.

If something is good enough to be accepted for publishing, then it can get a better deal than ever offered by a contest. The “prizes” offered through contests are USUALLY non-negotiable, and the contracts are awful.

Make sure you don’t have to accept the prize!


I don’t think I have to. Here is the information they gave me (although it’s in Spanish)