Friday, July 02, 2010

What every writer needs to know about scams, bad deals, and day jobs

If you are invited to receive an "award," "special status," or a listing in an "important professional/executive registry," and find out there's a payment, from you!, attached to the "honor," what do you do?

To quote Shutter Island, Run!!!

Professional agents do not ask for or require money up front, before they've arranged contracts or sales; then, their fees are based on percentage of what they earned for the writer!
Professional registries, directories, and awards do not ask for or require any payment from the honoree, or listee! Ever.

Not a scam, but not a good deal, is the self-publishing contract that does not allow the author to set the list price for his or her book. Self-publishing means the author is the publisher, and publishers set the prices.
Authors need to look for companies, print-on-demand (POD) or other, that give pricing decisions to the author, who is their client.

Also not a good deal, in OQ's view, is the case where authors are required to buy books from the printer at prices that vary, based on number of books ordered together. Re: pricing, a better deal is to find a printer, POD or other, that gives the same, fair, low (compared with the list price) author (owner) purchase price every time.

Don't leap into any business opportunity. If it cannot wait 24 hours or more, it likely is not worth much. 

Writers are targets of more scams than bulls eyes at a shooting range. Unfortunately, writers beginning to seek publication often do not know this. "Buyer beware" if  "offered" a special status or client position attached to payments outgoing from your wallet.

Also, as we say: "Don't quit your day job," especially if your first book is a bestseller or award-winner. The shelf life of most books is strongest six months after publication. It is the rare book that sells well beyond that time. At the point of some success with one book, it's the next books' marketplace successes the writer cannot take for granted. Huge success may, or may not, happen again.
Keep writing!


  1. Very useful information! As a copy editor working often with authors seeking first-time publication, I especially appreciate the tips about self-publishing prices. Thanks!

  2. Hi, Heidi, A few months later I see your comment! I'm glad it showed up on my PC! Thanks for your comment. Glad to see you here and in social networking.