Mistake 66: Getting Scammed

Author:
Publish date:

from 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from the Writer's Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: Many writers feel frustrated. And desperate. They look at other writers who get published and they tend not to see much difference between their own work and published authors’ work. Frustrated and desperate people are easy targets for scammers. There are plenty of people out there more than willing to relieve wannabe authors of their money. Just consider some poetry contests, certain vanity presses, book doctors, fee-charging agents, and numerous other agencies all promising to help the writer gain the ever-elusive goal of publication.

The solution:
Caveat emptor were the watchwords in the Roman Empire, and they still ring true. Let the buyer beware. The first thing I would really be leery of is anyone who promises to get you published. Unless they flat out tell you up front that they are a vanity press, they are trying to pull some sort of ruse on you. If you just want to see your name on a book jacket, then go to a self-publisher and do it straight up. There’s absolutely no reason to play a game with a fee-charging agent who gets a kickback, or a press that waffles on the point of whether they are a real publisher.

Image placeholder title

I always recommend getting references from whoever wants to take your money. Talk to others who have used the service in question and see what level of satisfaction they have. If the service is not willing to give you references—whatever the excuse—walk away.

The key to not getting scammed is knowing your goal and then comparing that to what is being offered. Don’t be in a rush and allow your emotions to overrule your good reason. Put aside your frustration, no matter how hard that is to do, and avoid taking the easy road to publication. Getting published, no matter what the format (magazine or book), is not easy. Yes, there is a degree of luck involved, but there is also a large degree of craft and persistence, so focus on the factors you do control, which are learning the craft and sticking to it.

ryoji-iwata-QKHmi6ENAmk-unsplash

I Spy

Every writer needs a little inspiration once and a while. For today's prompt, someone is watching your narrator ... but there's a twist.

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

In this article, Brian Freeman, author of Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Treachery, discusses how he took up the mantle of a great series and made it his own.

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Learn how to distinguish the sole from the soul with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

In this brave new world of virtual learning and social distance, Kristy Stevenson helps us make the most of the virtual conference.

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

Writers of historical fiction must always ride the line between factual and fictitious. Here, author Terry Roberts discusses how to navigate that line.

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

In this post, we look at what creative nonfiction (also known as the narrative nonfiction) is, including what makes it different from other types of fiction and nonfiction writing and more.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Four WDU Courses, a Competition Deadline Reminder, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce four WDU courses, a Competition deadline reminder, and more!

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she discusses the next big fiction trend, and whether or not all books are the same.

From Script

A Change in Entertainment Business Currency and Disrupting Storytelling with Historical Significance (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, learn about how crypto currency is making a wave in the entertainment business, what percentages really mean in film financing, the pros and cons of writing partnerships, an exclusive interview with three-time NAACP Image Awards nominee, co-creator and former showrunner of CBS’ 'S.W.A.T.' Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and more!