Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why You Must Read the Prospectus and not Simply Rely Only on a Listing

From a reply to someone who said AOM didn't have enough information and she preferred to use listings that did not require her to "have to go off searching" for it.

Based on my 13+ years of researching and publishing opps, I believe failing to read the actual prospectuses is a very bad idea. It will cost you money and time and waste your talent. I guarantee it, whether you read AOM or another publication.

First, details -- deadlines, image requirements, entry fees, geographic restrictions, etc -- can and do change from the time something is publish on a website or in a newsletter and what the final version of the prospectus says. And if you get those wrong, more often than not the organization you send your submission to keeps your fee but doesn't send your submission on to the jurors.

Another serious problem is mistakes on lists and services that list opps. The vast majority of our more than 400 listings each month come from information sent directly to us by the organizers or by our going directly to the sites of organizations we have listed before. Even when we are sent something directly by an organization, we check the site and the prospectus for accuracy and more information.

After we have taken care of those, we often check other opps sites and newsletters to see that we have not missed something worthwhile (but never copy it), then we go to the original prospectus to get the info we publish. There four or five sites and newsletters we don't bother to look at anymore, because we have found them to be riddled with mistakes. You would have no way of knowing this unless you looked at the actual prospectus. And too many of the copy-and-pasters simply copy and paste an entire listing from another site or newsletter, mistakes and all. They don't care, but maybe you should.

The third problem is there are scams and rip-offs out there disguised as legitimate calls for artists. They work very hard to get their material out to every place that lists calls for artists, and these show up even on sites that should know better but are short staffed. Unless you go to the site that originates the call, as we do, you can't get a reasonable sense of whether it is legitimate or worthwhile. I won't bother with detailing all the ways to spot the bad ones here (they include looking at the "About Us" page), but I encourage you to never enter a competition without checking out the site and the prospectus thoroughly.

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