Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Don't Get Fleeced

Because I've been at this writing / publishing thing since 2004, I sometimes forget that there are people out there who are new to it all. 

On FB this morning, a woman was looking for help on one of the book pages I follow.  She's trying to get her daughter's novel published and had recently been contacted by a firm wanting to represent the book.  They were asking like 600-1000 pounds for different publication packages.  She'd tried to look them up online, but she could only find their site and links they'd put out about themselves.

Ding ding ding.  There are three reasons right there to walk away.

1)  Reputable companies do not contact writers out of the blue.  Real agents and publishers have too much going on to send letters out to unknown and untested and unpublished authors. 

2)  Reputable companies to not charge to 'represent' you.  You may see charges if you're self-publishing through a vanity press, but they're not representing you.  They're doing the work to make your book a book - editing, covers, etc.  And even then, you have to watch them like a hawk.  Research the hell out of them to make sure you're not getting taken.  If this is a literary agent, which I suspect it is, you NEVER pay them.  They make money by getting a cut of your royalties after the book is published. 

3)  Reputable companies have a wide web presence with loads of people saying good things about them.  Disreputable companies may have a wide web presence as well, but generally people are saying bad things about them.  This one, not having much of a web presence at all?  Well, they must be a pop-up that hasn't been caught by the scam hunters yet.

Someone in comments posted a link to Writer Beware. There's a good source for finding out about scammers.  And if you don't see the company on their site, I think you can contact them about it. 

I commented with a shortened version of the above.  I hope she walks away.  She was smart enough to do some research and to ask about it online, so there's hope.  So many authors don't do the work and get taken for loads of money.  It always makes me sad to hear about another new author getting scammed. 

I used to get crap like that in my inbox regularly.  I still get it, but it's fewer and farther between now.  Mark it as spam, go to the spam box, and delete it.  Do not engage.  Walk away.

Publishing is a long, hard road, fraught with potholes.  There is no easier path you can take.  No yellow brick road you can skip along to reach the Emerald City of publication.  And anyone who tells you they have a shortcut is a conman trying to fleece you. 

1 comment:

  1. What you said! Word for word. There's a "company" advertising on TV which makes them legit, right? And they're looking for Christian books, so yeah! Totally legit, right? RIGHT? 🙄🤦‍♀️ Run, people. I get a news letter from a vanity press, not because I'll ever spend the $1000 they want to get my book ready and publish it, but because it occasionally contains articles that I find helpful. I understand some people aren't comfortable with finding an editor and cover designer and uploading their own books so they'd want to go with a company that does it for them but they need to look VERY closely at the contract. Do they want money up front AND part of your royalties? That's a red flag to me. If they guarantee a certain number of sales and generated income? That's another red flag.

    Anyway, preaching to choir here. Good for you for offering advice and good on the mom for checking things out!

    Happy Hump Day.