Emotional blackmail? Young Writers competition where you've got a good chance of winning, and forking out £16
Everyone likes to win a competition, right? It makes us feel worthwhile, even if it's only for a few minutes. It's even better if you're a parent and your child wins a competition because you can then bask in their glory without having actually done anything.
Compare that to the feeling you might have when you find out that your kid has won a competition, but that so has loads of their mates at school, and that all winners are going to feel emotionally pressured to pay £15.99 plus postage.
That's the feeling that has been felt by loads of parents over the past few years, after learning that their younglings are talented little writers. In 2009, website www.youngwriters.co.uk were reported to have ran a competition where 10-year-old humans were asked to write “an imaginative mini saga - a story using 50 words or less" and submit it to the site via their school. The winner gets their work published in an actual book as well as a certificate that acts as proof of their literary greatness. Smart!
But guess what – LOADS of kids appear to have won, and the 'winning' entries were all compiled into a book, which as we hinted at, cost £14.99 plus £2.50 postage (it's now £15.99 in 2011) Leaving the parents of the 'winning' kids in a bit of an emotional bind. Also, the book itself is only being sold to parents of the 'winners' and will not be available in bookshops or libraries.
Sure, it'll be thrilling to see the 50 words that your child has penned, but as for the rest of it? How much of THAT will you actually read and cherish? Exactly. When the parent of one of the 'winning' little scribes contacted the Young Writers website, she was told that between 60% and 80% of the entries are published. Which makes it seem like less of a competition and more of a money-making exercise for the ne'er-do-wells who run the 'competition'. Something which they're keen to deny.
It seems as though, two years on, that Young Writers are still at it – a recent Mumsnet thread is devoted to the whole thing. Someone nearby just shouted the word 'Scum!' at the top of their voices. Or it might have been “Scam!" What are YOUR thoughts dear readers?