Although I’ve posted on doing due diligence, I felt a need to do a little something re “Writer Beware”.
. . . Which is also the name of a website dedicated to, yes, writers being wary. There’s a wealth of information re deceptive publishers, agents, presses, and scams. Also provided: legal recourse suggestions and resources.
A few years ago I signed up with an agent who I—foolish me—did not thoroughly investigate. I’d always done my due diligence. Maybe I’d been too eager re actually having one that I forgot to take it further and explore her accomplishments and standing. Or maybe I’d been so excited (she’d sounded so professionally sincere), I’d simply chosen to close my eyes.
Very long story short, an overwhelming “gut instinct” finally [thankfully] kicked in and propelled me into action. I contacted Victoria Strauss, co-founder of Writer Beware (she’s also a prolific author by the way). Pleasant and patient, she provided background on the agent; it wasn’t favorable. Too bad I’d not immediately clued in when Ms. Agent congratulated me on making a deal with a publisher I’d never heard of (and soon learned was of questionable repute).
But this post isn’t about me; it’s about us, writers looking for decent deals, be it via a publisher or an agent—how to recognize (ascertain) it’s the real deal.
Just Publishing Advice is worth a gander. Read Derek Haines’ recent article entitled “Publishing Companies to Avoid and Nasty New Author Scams”.
“Because Indie authors are active on social media, it is easy for a predatory publisher to get your contact details. Then come the offers for their publishing services.” (That explains the regular email queries in my Inbox.) He also states, “When publishing businesses make you an offer that includes the word free, it is a signal that you should be very suspicious.” (Simple, significant advice.)
Besides browsing websites and articles, do as marketing guru Marcia Yudkin suggests on her site (www.yudkin.com):
“It’s easy to get fast feedback on questionable literary outfits. Post a notice asking about the specific agent or publisher you’re investigating on message boards or discussion lists frequented by writers.”
In this day and age, it’s far from difficult to “get the goods” on people and businesses. It’s merely a question of applying yourself . . . not getting caught up in the excitement of the moment (note to self) . . . and using logic. Think before acting. Take heed. Know what you’re getting into; it will save heartache and potential loss of [lots of] money.
Sign on the dotted line? Maybe yes, maybe no. . . . Writers, be wary.