It seems that a new press has opened up, FirstOne Publishing. Supposedly a publisher of e-books, the company has decided to open up by having a contest.
You only have to pay $149 to enter.
Not to mention if there’s not enough entries, and they don’t seem to list how many entries are “enough”, they won’t pay out any kind of prizes, but they’ll walk away with your $149 and your work. Which they now own.
There’s also a threat in there about suing people who “undermine” the “legitimate operation of the contest” but that could just mean messing with their website or, very broadly, could also mean people who say mean things about them since encouraging other people to not enter their bullshit contest could be seen as “undermining” it.
And should their website come under attack, the editors get a computer get a virus, Windows starts running a little slow or they get one of those Smiley pop-ups, they have the complete discretion to cancel the whole thing and walk away with your $149 and your story.
Which they, at that point, own and you can’t sue them to get it back because you’ve supposedly given up that right by applying to their contest.
A writer should never, ever, sign away all the rights of their work. A publisher or anyone else who wants it should, in essence, lease the work from you for a period of time (all the contracts I’ve ever had have some kind of time limit on them after which the publisher no longer has the rights to your work). Your work is yours and simply signing it away with no assurance of any kind of compensation, and paying someone for the privilege, is idiotic.