Anyone else giving the bird to the majority of these?
In the good old days, say 2-3 years ago, $10 got you 3-5 poems or a medium length piece of prose. These days, it's $15 or more (a few have the nerve to go $20 +, for THREE FREAKING POEMS. Oh, but you get a free book or journal copy. Woohoo.).
$20 got your book-length mansucript in the door, too. Now it's $25-$30. What suckers are entering all these contests? Who can afford it? You have to be OVER selective, if that's possible. 1) Pick only those places you believe you have a realistic chance (ha) of sparking interest with; 2) pick a very few prestigious ones you just HAVE to enter; and 3) send only the best best best work that's been simmering on low heat for years, but that's also sparked someone else's interest.
My cutoff is $10 for 3+ poems or an essay, and $20 for any book manuscript. I hope some of these places feel the pinch soon, but with so many writers--and let's face it so many novice writers--it ain't likely. And please don't talk to me about it being supportive of the arts--I strongly believe in curing cancer and having gender equality and saving the rain forests, but I don't go in debt over it. I'm shifting more focus to regular submissions--90/10, no more 75/25.