You should never, at any point, at any time, fall victim to con artists. Unfortunately, professional writing is rife with them. Here is a growing list of many common warnings for writers.
- Professional agents, publishers, and editors do not solicit.
- You will not be the next James Patterson, Stephen King, or Diana Palmer. Those authors worked in professional writing for years before ever reaching their status. Beware of anything that seems, “too good to be true.” It is.
- Professional publishers and agents pay you. You do not pay them. If they’re any good, they already have enough money coming in to pay the bills and produce your work. If they try to push you to pay for editing from someone they know, flee. If your work needs that amount of editing, they shouldn’t have accepted it to begin with.
- In writing, you do not show your “professionalism” or “seriousness” with your checkbook. You demonstrate it via your work.
- Avoid subsidy/vanity publishers. They will charge you a fortune for a sub-par product. They care more about your money than your work.
- Avoid agents or publishers that demand an up-front fee for anything. Avoid companies that demand you to pay an editor to obtain representation.
- Avoid contest mills, a.k.a. “profiteers.” These companies run dubious “contests” and make their money from entry fees. They’re most often to be placed in anthologies. The judges are anonymous or unheard of, the awards are dubious, and you’ll only see your work if you buy an incredibly over-priced copy.
- If you decide to pay for editing, research, research, research! Your editor should have a resume, client list, and should provide these upon request. They should have a lengthy history in professional writing. You should also look for those who have been published authors. Ask for references and use them. If they refuse to provide a resume, references, or client list, go elsewhere. If they are vague about their work, go elsewhere.