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!
Informative Links . . . that will help you make the choice between Traditional or Self-publishing.





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. . .

Poetry Webring - Even poets sometimes fall into these traps.

Publishing Central - Writer's Rip-offs

Consumer Direct - Vanity Publishers: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Making Light - Linguistics: How scammers use phrases that resonate



Check the Buz-z-z

on Publishers who might be right for YOU!


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


Fidlar Doubleday and Books Just Books - Both have good reputations.

Jorlan Publishing - Highly recommended. You should see how good the printing is. Their book designer is a professional and you would never know one of their books was self-published. I read on a book designers' list that you can't tell by the design whether a book is self published or not -- but you can tell if it is done well or not! People are also happy with iUniverse (, though they don't do
children's picture books.

** The above three do everything, even children's picture books, which many do not.

iUniverse - Have heard good reports about them, although they don't do children's picture books.

Lulu - Used often by members of the ChildrensWritersToday list. lets you publish, sell, and print on demand books, eBooks, online music, images, custom calendars and more.


E-MAIL ME (mfinke at frontier dot com)

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

Informative Links that Will Help You Make the Choice between . . .
or Self-publishing

You will note that many of the articles below are from the Jorlan Publishing website, or written by Lana Jorlan, founder of Jorlan Publishing. I was doubtful at first, but after reading them, I found them to be fair and accurate.


The Purple Crayon - Self-Publishing Information: Harold Underdown has written three completely new articles, and gathered together other resources on his site that might be useful. NOTE: Margot highly recommends you read the three articles listed below.

*"Self-Publish or Not?" which points out the danger of rushing into self-publishing.
*"What a Publisher Does," which lists what a publisher does, and a self-publisher would have to do.
*"Between Traditional Publishers and Vanity Presses," which explores the kinds of publishing and service companies that someone who wanted to self-publish would run into.

Main article - by Jorlan Publishing

What You Need to Know when You Self-Publish and What to Look for in a
Self-Publishing Company - by Jill Ronsley

Which One Is Right For You? The Difference Between Traditional Publishing,
Vanity Presses, and Self-Publishing - by Lana Jordan

Pros & Cons of Traditional Publishing - by Lana Jordan

Inside Scoop on Editing (Interview with Jill Ronsley) - by Kelley Hunsicker

Making Friends: The Essence of Marketing - by John Kremer

How to Self-Publish Your Book - by Lana Jordan

Be Your Own Publicist - by Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Targeting Your Audience - by Francine Silverman

The Dignity of Self-Publishing - by M. D. Cummings

The Truth About Vanity Presses - by Lana Jordan

Find a Literary Agent or Self-Publish - How to Decide - by Fern Reiss

Minight Oil - read Simon Haye's expert opinions on the need for an agent, and whether you should self-publish or go the traditional route -
CLICK - Do you need a literary agent? And if so, how do you find one?
*CLICK - How to self-publish - Why, when and how.

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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