Part of

Margot Finke's of Writing for Children

BEWARE of Agent & Publishing Scams!

they are. . .
Publishers and Agents that Pretend to Offer Legitimate Services.


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New Writers Beware by Margot Finke

Words of Wisdom - from Zoe Frieda

The Buz-z-z . . . . on Publishers who might be right for YOU!





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 - Check her site for publishers and agents who are not legitimate. Read her articles: they are an eye-opener!

Predators and Editors - Lists agents and publishers with recommendations.

THIS LINK explains the difference between the various types of publishers and how to spot the crooked ones.

Fiction Factor - Another article that tells a tale. . .

Publishing Central - Writer's Rip-offs

Making Light - Linguistics: How scammers use phrases that resonate



Check the Buz-z-z

on Publishers who might be right for YOU!
+ Help with your search.


Here are a few publishers I have heard positive reports about:

The Top 101 Independent Book Publishers --A to Z Listing

Small Presses - See if a small press is right for you. What to look for and beware of.

Editors and Assesments Services - What do they do and when do you need them?

Books Just Books - Good reputation.

Lulu - Used often by members of the ChildrensWritersToday list. Watch those extras they offer--they mount up FAST!
lets you publish, sell, and print on demand books, eBooks, online music, images, custom calendars and more.

Create Space--if you want to Self Publish. (I have used them successfully)

Kindle -- for eBooks ( I have used them for my MG books )




Tell me about your experiences with GOOD or BAD publishers and I'll include your thoughts on this page.


Zoe Frieda

Offers a Few Words of Wisdom on Choosing a Publisher

If a company is restricting what the author charges, then that author has picked a bad company and is giving up his rights to decide on what he charges."

Also, POD means Print On Demand. It does NOT mean self-publishing. Education
is needed about this growing industry. A self-published book might or might not be POD. Many authors go the self-publishing route with a small to medium print run of about 100 to 15,000 - yes, you got those numbers, one hundred to fifteen thousand. They can also do a short run of 20, or a large run of 30,000.

Writers must do their homework:

#1 - Research how to market.

#2 - Have your book edited professionally (not all self-publishing companies have good editors, though they might offer the service -- some do!).

#3 - Pay for a professional cover and interior design (which is available through these companies) that makes your book look great.

The bottom line: find the quality offers. There is dross in every field, but there are gems, too. In a developing industry like this one, it takes effort on your part.




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