NEW WRITERS BEWARE
edited: Wednesday, November 08, 2006
By Margot Finke
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2006
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This article by Margot Finke, and the links she lists ,point out the pitfalls of rushing to sign up with an agent or publisher that promises you THE WORLD. Remember the old adage: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably IS!
Some Publishers and Agents are Crooks!
* Remember, Publishers and Agents are Supposed to PAY YOU!
There are a lot of so-called Literary Agents and Publishers out there panting to take your money. Does this sound familiar? They love your book, but it needs some editing, and they have just the editor for you - for an added fee. They quote you a publishing fee that makes your credit card cringe - yet every little thing they say your book needs adds on extra fees. They promise to make your book available in bookstores, Amazon, and large stores like K-Mart etc. - but no one can ever find them there.
When a publisher or an agent wants to charge you reading fees, or sends you to an editor they recommend, for a big-fee edit, RED FLAG them. Do some serious research on the publisher or agent. This could save you a bunch of grief - not to mention money.
For newcomers to writing, it pays to understand that there is no fast and easy way to become a published author. Like any other profession, you have to spend time and effort learning the craft of writing. Once you've mastered the basics, and had lots of writing practice, a little talent and luck can be helpful. The tools of the writing trade are not bestowed by a higher power, they are earned over a period of time by hard work. These scammers want you to think that they will publish anything you write, and get national book chains to sell it. They prey on the dollar signs in a writers' eyes (false!), and their yearning to be published writers.
DON'T fall for these smooth and smarmy promotions. Be a smart and savvy writer. Take a writing class if your grammar is wobbly, or it's a long time since you took Miss Writerly's English class. Join a critique group that supports and encourages your desire to become published. Rewrite those stories and polish them until they are perfect. Then, buy the latest edition of Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market (CWIM), and SAFELY pick and choose from the many legitimate children's publishers and agents they list.
*PUBLISHERS: There are many honest vanity publishers and subsidy presses out there who will give you good value for your money. As long as you realize that YOU have to promote and sell your book, Print on Demand (POD), and other self publishing methods ( Vanity Presses and Subsidy Presses) can work well for some people: but only if you do your homework, and choose honest and legitimate companies.
*AGENTS: Many agents are honest and dedicated to helping writers find good publishers. But an agent who wants a reading or an editing fee should raise an immediate RED FLAG.
However, it is often difficult to tell the scam artists from the genuine thing. A fancy webpage, full of smooth and encouraging words, is a scammer's way of conning you into giving them your money. And don't let the words Christian Publisher fool you. Their websites will say whatever it takes to make you think they will publish your book, and live up to whatever is in the contract you signed. These contracts are worded in a skillful manner, so they are legal - barely! However, once you've handed over your money, you can whistle for their grand promises.
BELOW is a list of websites that explain the difference between a traditional publisher, a vanity press, POD, and a subsidy press. They offer insights on how to spot a scam and red flag it.
Victoria Strauss runs Writer Beware:
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/ Check her site for publishers and agents who are not legitimate. Read her articles: they are an eye-opener!
Predators and Editors: http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/
Lists agents and publishers with recommendations.
THIS LINK explains the difference between the various types of publishers and how to spot the crooked ones.
Another article that tells a tale. . .
http://www.photoaspects.com/poetry/publish.html Even poets sometimes fall into these traps.
Publishing Central - Writer's Rip-offs
Consumer Direct - Vanity Publishers:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!
Linguistics: How scammers use phrases that resonate
Web Site: Margot Finke's Beware of Agent and Publishing Scams
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|Reviewed by Loretta Scott
|Thank you Margot for the timely article. You are so right, there are many literary agents and publishers that will promise you the world, after you shell out many of dollars for nothing. Writers beware, take heave, do your homework, it doesn't mean you are a failure because you have not receive attention of your book in mainstream yet...self-published, it will come, and before you know it, your name will be on many lips, and writers keep writing.|