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
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
Victoria Strauss runs Writer
Beware - Check her site for publishers and agents
who are not legitimate. Read her articles: they are an
and Editors - Lists agents and publishers with
LINK explains the difference between the various types
of publishers and how to spot the crooked ones.
Factor - Another article that tells a tale.
Webring - Even poets sometimes fall into these
Central - Writer's Rip-offs
Direct - Vanity Publishers: the Good, the Bad,
and the Ugly!
Light - Linguistics: How scammers use phrases