For years now my mother-in-law has written poetry
and submitted it to various "publishers."
Today she is in a local retirement home with the
early stages of Alzheimer's. Thus I review her
incoming mail. She continues to receive a deluge of
congratulatory letters on having her poetry
"accepted" for publication that will guarantee
her fame, fortune and worldwide honor.
Unfortunately, Scammers have found a ready target
in poetry writers who are eager to have their work
published. The first contact tends to be the same --
You'll receive an email inviting you to submit your
poetry for free to their contest.
Soon thereafter, you'll receive a second email praising
your poem and letting you know that it's going to be
published in a beautifully bound book.
You can buy this book for 'only' $50 (or somewhere in
But wait -- there's more!
Maybe you'd like to have a short biography inserted
with your poem -- that'll be $25. Or join the
prestigious society of poets that has sponsored the
competition -- only $125 a year.
Perhaps your poem is the best they've ever read and
you're now in the running for 'Poet of the
Year.' It's only $495 (plus travel expenses) to
attend the gala event in Washington, DC where the
lucky winner will be chosen.
I have no way of knowing how much money from a
meager teacher's salary my mother-in-law has spent
over the years. Perhaps there was some benefit and
affirmation even if the process wasn't totally
However, keep in mind this is a very common ploy;
and often targeted to older people who are not as
suspecting of outright scams. This is much like the
"patent - invention" companies that promise
big results from your new paper airplane invention.
They bait you with steps for more and more money
that leads nowhere. Or perhaps you've been
"nominated" for inclusion in the next "Who's
Who" book. Guess what? If you agree to buy one,
your nomination will be assured.
Moral of the Story: Don't let the excitement about
having your poetry published or invention accepted
or winning a bogus contest overrule your better
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