Here on Write to Done, we were involved with the first Freeditorial contest for long-short stories.
Because it sounded great! In fact, it sounded too good to be true.
And it was.
Here is what Freeditorial promised:
Winners will be selected based on two criteria:
- Literary quality of the work
- Number of downloads of the story at Freeditorial.com
The contest jury will comprise the WTD team and literary experts from Freeditorial.
Shortly after closing submissions, the WritetoDone team was informed that the literary quality of the submitted pieces was irrelevant so there would be no adjudication.
Freeditorial determined the winner by the number of downloads.
As you can imagine, we (and the many people who submitted stories) were very unhappy with this!
After the winners had been announced, I got scores of emails by enraged and disappointed writers.
One of the emails I got was from David Barkey. His comment expresses what many felt after the contest:
I’m disgusted to find out that the contest was determined by the number of downloads, that the adjudicators did not even read the contents of the submissions.
If that is a fact, then this contest was a farce, a disgrace to be called a literary contest. Essentially every one of us who worked on preparing manuscripts wasted our time and effort.
I feel bad about being involved with this so-called contest. We and our readers feel duped by Freeditorial.
Here is another of the many emails we got. It’s from Pam Fernande, the author of The Stage Outside
When the contest was finally over and I got nowhere with my story, as good a story as it turned out to be according to some of my readers, I went through some of the other contest stories.I was a shocked to say the least that no regard for literary content was actually paid attention to. Foul language, especially the flagrant use of the F word in the first place winner’s story, was disgusting, and I couldn’t get past the first few pages. Given the fact that she “borrowed” the plot from Shakespeare, I’m sure he is turning over in his grave right now.I remember specifically when you outlined the rules, there was to be no foul language or sexual content. I guess many of the contestants never read the rules. But I had hopes that the supposed judges would disqualify anyone who didn’t follow the rules.
These emails are just two of the many outraged emails we received.
The fact is, you don’t stand a chance of winning the contest if you …
- Don’t have a big social media following
- Don’t have a big blog
- Don’t have a ready-made audience.
But if you do submit your story, you may lose crucial opportunities.
Do you want to lose your digital rights?
If you don’t win, your story will continue to stay on Freeditorial and be downloaded for free. You cannot remove your story from Freeditorial, once you’ve submitted it.
This means that your story is deemed published. You will never be able to publish it with a true publisher, because it is already published and can be downloaded for free.
If you win one of the prizes, Freeditorial will retain the digital rights. You can publish it in book form, but you can’t publish it on a digital platform, such as Kindle.
This is a serious drawback!
What does Freeditorial get out of the contest?
Here is what Freeditorial says about its business model:
Our innovative business model is mainly based on using advertising space on our online platform.
This means that Freeditorial sells advertising space. Every time someone downloads a story, they profit by showing ads to the reader.
In other words, their interest seems to lie getting people to download stories so that they can profit from selling advertising space.
Should you submit your story to Freeditorial?
My recommendation is not to waste your precious story on this so-called ‘literary’ contest.