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Mail-in Competitions

It doesn’t seem to be that long ago when entering competitions meant writing your answer and your contact details on the back of an envelope and posting it off or putting a filled-out entry form into a specially marked box at the supermarket. Well, these days are certainly gone! I have noticed that in other countries, particularly the UK there are still quite a few mail-in competitions but here in Australia, they seem to be few and far between.

I did come across one recently though. It had the option of entering through a website or mailing your entry in. It was through Scrapbooking Memories magazine and I suspect they provided the option to cater to all their readers, some of which they assumed may not have access to the internet. Anyway, after a bit of thought I decided to experiment a little and created an interesting envelope-sized postcard containing my 25 WOL answer on the back as well as a little hand drawing. I sent it off and waited to see what would happen. For after all, it was a creative magazine and I figured, perhaps a little bit of unique creativity would pay off. Well, it did and a few weeks later I found a large package at my door containing a generous pack of scrapbooking supplies and equipment. It was just the thing to help with my next creative postcard competition entry, if I can find one.

This particular competition was a skill-based WOL entry so my chances of winning were a lot better than if it had simply been a random draw. I had a feeling that if my hand drawn creative entry arrived in the mail with a decent WOL answer it would have a reasonable chance of standing out and impressing the judges. It turned out my hunch was right.

Mailing in the answer coupons from puzzle magazines has much less of a chance of being drawn as I estimate there could be thousands of entries in the barrel from which the winners are chosen. Even so, I have managed to score four prizes from these over the last year. I’ve had less success mailing in my name and contact details to the Seniors Newspaper for their monthly giveaways over pretty much the same time period even though I suspect there would be a lot less entries. Oh well. The only things I have won through that paper was a DVD Boxset by sending in a poem for publication.

Mailing in your entries does mean taking into account the added cost of postage (which I have recently found out is going up quite considerably later this year) and this can be a fair amount over time, especially if you are also buying the puzzle magazines each week as well. Bu the price rise of postage may actually improve your chances is less people opt to mail in their entries. Who knows?

When mail-in competitions were more popular much of the advice then was to use coloured envelopes and decorate them to attract attention but unless it was a skills-based competition where they were all read (like the scrapbooking one I entered) this could have been a waste of time. The winning entries were more likely to have just been pulled out of a barrel (or something).

I think there is still some potential to win mail-in competitions if you can find them as most people these days are probably just too lazy to bother as the online ones are so much quicker and easier to enter. I am certainly still going to continue to seek them out and give them my best shot!

 

Photo Attribution – Shan 213

After working for thirty years as a journalist/historian, Jenny started writing sci-fi for children and adults and occasionally illustrating them (when she was not spending time with her grandkids). Most have been published in The School Magazine, anthologies and online. She has also been contributing to a wide variety of magazines such as Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit, Australiana and Nurture. Now essentially retired Jenny has taken up a challenge of entering and (hopefully winning) competitions. Jenny will track her journey through this challenge here at www.competitions.com.au.

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