Recently I had my first magazine win, a £50 cheque from Take a Break magazine. Now, there's a bit of a saga about this, but let's just pretend the prize wasn't 6 months late and that the cheque didn't bounce. The competition itself was a picture puzzle and I entered online. There are lot's of magazine competitions out there, and there's something for everyone. Here are the top magazines no matter what your comping style:
1) For the puzzler
There are so many puzzle magazines to choose from. Take a Break and Chat are two of my favourites because there are a variety of prizes on offer and you can enter online or by post. I tend to look out for magazine that aren't just offering one big prize of say, a holiday, as this will likely have many entrants and often other magazines from the same brand are offering the very same holiday. Chances are, all entrants from across the magazines will be bundled together into one draw (read high entry).
This month, I bought the Chat Crosswords magazine which boasts prizes from a holiday to some cake mix. The competitions had a varying number of winners too, giving a better chance of winning. Another good place to look for puzzle competitions is the daily newspaper. In Glasgow the Daily Record does a great puzzle pullout on a Tuesday. I entered this every week at one point, with no wins, however it is worth checking to see if your local paper does something similar... you've got to be in it to win it! The great thing about the puzzles in the papers is that, often, you have to send away an entry form to enter. The cost and effort of this may put people off and so there will be less entrants.
Puzzle magazines are not a guaranteed win, so only spend your cash if you actually enjoy doing the puzzle too!
2) For the saver
Some people don't like to spend any money on comping, and it is definitely possible to win without splashing the cash. Weatherspoons have a monthly crossword competition in the back of their free magazine, so make sure to pick one up next time you're at your local. Free magazines in shops such as Boots, Superdrug (both need a loyalty card) and Tiso's are good places to look for free magazines with competitions in them. At my local comping group, we swap magazines that have competitions in them and help each other to complete the puzzles and competition entries. It's also a great way of discovering a new magazine and being sociable!
Another way to find free magazines is to order a sample. These can be found on freebie websites such as Freebie Site UK. Fill in your details to order one free issue of a magazine. But be warned they will call you up to confirm you want the magazine and try to sell you a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed, life changing deal such as 3 magazines for £3 that will require you to give them your card details. This is where I politely say no thanks, just the freebie, back away slowly and don't have my life changed by 3 magazines. Such is life.
3) For the brains
If your standard crosswords and wordsearches don't tickle the brain cells enough for you, New Scientist has a fantastic competition that requires a bit of random knowledge (or excellent Google skills). At the end of the magazine, there is a section called 'The Last Word' where an everyday issue is questioned and the readers write in their answers. Every answer that is published earns a cool £25: find questions that need answering here:
I was introduced to this by one of my friends who has the makings of a great comper. Here are his thoughts on it:
" I must have answered at least ten questions so far which have been published. Published answers receive a £25 prize, so that's at least £250 that I've accumulated over the years. If you have a good idea of the question's answer, and can formulate it into a clear and concise few paragraphs, then you've got a very high chance of being published and getting the £25 as I should think it's fairly low participation. I tend to go for the biology-related ones. It's kind of a win-win situation, as I've often learnt a great deal myself by considering readers' questions, many of which are unusual and thought-provoking, and if necessary doing a bit of extra research online to be able to give a fuller answer; on the other hand, it's also very gratifying to know that I'm elucidating the mysterious workings of the natural world for the New Scientist's readers. Here's an example of one of my answers that got published this year: https://www.
newscientist.com/lastword/ mg23431250-900-blood-sausage/ "
So basically, if you can write in a clear and consice way and love learning new things, this is the competition for you. It's also a bonus that it is always running, in fact, your answer may not appear in the subsequent issue of New Scientist but be saved for a future issue. So don't despair if you aren't seeing result straight away.
There are often similar competitions in other magazines where you have to write a letter or take a picture of your magazine in an exotic place (Glamour magazine is good for this) so make sure to take a look in your regular magazines- you may find a competition that's been sitting under your nose!
4) For the compers
C'mon, I couldn't do a whole article of comping in magazine without mentioning THE comping magazine: Compers News. Now, I am not sponsored, endorsed or writing for Compers News so this is my honest opinion as a regular user of the magazine.
The magazine costs £59.40 for the year and you get it delivered monthly. The magazine contains listings of competitions that you can find: from text competitions to purchase necessary. If you are the type of comper who enjoys working through competitions in a strategical way (such as on competition listings online) this is a great resource. I like having something that isn't totally computer based for a change, and there are also some great (and very tricky) puzzle competitions in it to get a complete break from online comping. I have only won one prize that I found in the magazine (and no in-house comps) since I became a subscriber, but I still really enjoy the magazine. It also gives you access to online forums which are full of comping tips! If you are serious about your comping, it would recommend it, however I know many compers who do just fine without it.
5) For the kids
Kids magazines are a great place to be looking for competitions. They are often lower value prizes but also lower entry and so a higher chance of winning. It's also a great way to get the kids into comping from a young age (and perhaps more willing to look silly for photos?). I personally don't have children, so cannot recommend a specific magazine for comping, but keep an eye out next time your child buys a magazine and have a flick through before it gets lost in the depths of their room (or recycled).
So there's the low-down on magazine competitions. These are just some of my own personal favourites when it comes to comping using magazines, . Comment below if you like using magazines to enter competitions, and what your favourites are!
Luck and Love,