The other day I saw a post to one of the FB groups I follow that went sorta like this: "Hi. My name is... And I just got a deal with a big publisher. My problem is I don't have the money they're asking for, so I was hoping you'd help out. Here's a link to my GoFundMe page." I went to the page, just for shits and giggles, and he'd already raised $250.
Now, we can look at this two ways and neither of them are good.
One: He's an honest dude who is about to get screwed royally by his 'big publisher', because real publishers don't require you to pay them. And he's already gotten $250 for the scam publisher.
Two: He's a scam artist who doesn't need any money for any big publisher, but he's gotten people to give him money already.
Either way, we need to be smarter about all this. Now, I know my regular visitors and commenters are already too wise to fall for this. Those of you just stopping by, don't get taken by this stuff.
I know writers who've been in the query machine for too long might be reaching a level of desperation akin to being the awkward girl at the dance. She'll dance with ANYONE who asks her, whether they smell or step on her feet or might possibly slip her a Mickey Finn and make off with her in the night. Desperation is a killer. Just say no.
Then I see another post to another group tonight and it's some dude with only one friend hinting that he might be a publisher who might be looking for new authors to publish. Except he fucked up and used the wrong tense in his pimpage post. Red flag alert for me. And for one commenter. But there were at least three other authors who commented, acting like that awkward girl looking for a dance. :heavy sigh:
Before you get screwed, evaluate your own writing. If it's better than what you are buying from the bookstores, start looking into self-publishing. If people who aren't your besties or your family are telling you your work is awesome and wondering why no one's snapped you up yet, look into self-publishing. SELF-publishing. Not 'give some guy a bunch of money to publish your book for you'. Find a reputable editor. Get an honest and reasonable cover artist (or do it yourself, if you're so inclined). Get the book formatted. And upload it into the world. Do your homework. (The optimum word being 'work'.) Do it right and do it yourself. It'll cost some money, but all of that money will be going to actually getting your book out there in the world so readers can buy it. It won't be going into some asshole's pocket.
DO NOT fall for these scamalamdingdongs.
And for petesakes, don't donate money to anyone's publishing journey until and unless you know for sure whether they're getting scammed or they're scamming you.
'Nuff said. Any questions?