Two disappointments this week. I was runner-up in the purple moose poetry pamphlet competition and on the short-list (but not a prizewinner) in the Frome short story competition. Oh well. Better to have loved and lost I suppose, but sometimes I think I'd rather go unnoticed than appear on a short-list only to have hopes dashed.
The disadvantages aren't just psychological. Sometimes in competitions the short-listed pieces are published. When (as in the Bristol short story competition or the Templar poetry pamphlet competition) the result is a well produced book, that's good news, but some other competitions just produce a pamphlet or put the pieces online. I think I'd rather send a good poem somewhere else than have it appear on the web. I've already sent my Frome entry elsewhere.
For some competitions (the Bridport Prizes and the Forward Poetry awards, for example) being on the short-list is a reward in its own right, something to mention on a book cover. Publishing "long-lists" dozens of entries long has become fashionable. I suppose they increase interest generally, but they don't interest me. There are publicity merits of being on the Frank O'Connor short story book award long-list, but prospective buyers might not realise that "All eligible titles constitute the long-list, which is read by the jury".