Most writers are dreamers. We dream that we will write the stories that we see in our mind, get published, and that the world will love with us. The problem with dreamers is that they’re always people out there trying to profit on your hopes for success and naivety. So who are these people I speak of?
Vanity Publishers. They are some of the worst. They offer you the dream, but at a major cost to you. They appear like any other publisher with websites and submission guidelines. You submit your query letter, then they send you a congratulations that sounds something like this: “We would like to publish your novel and all you have to do is agree to have our team edit your novel at a cost to you and also buy the first 150 copies of your novel for retail price. If you agree then we will publish your novel.” If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: Don’t fall for this! Publishers pay you for a novel, not the other way around. If anyone offers to publish or represent you in any way and they ask for a fee, run away as fast as you can.
Query and Submission Services. These are organizations that promise to read your novel and create submissions for you like query letters, synopsis, chapter outlines, etc. Sounds great, right? Queries are scary. Don’t fall for this service. Most agents can smell these things from a mile away. Why, because there’s no passion. Passion comes from the writer who wrote them which means that no one can write on your behalf. You can read books or take online courses that can help you with your submissions. You don’t need to pay someone to help you.
Book Marketing Services. These are the companies that promise to promote you either to potential agents or after your book has been published. They promise to create press releases, advertize through their “contacts”, on their websites, get you book signings, email blasts, creating your book trailer, etc. Bottom line here is that they are crap. You can do all these things yourself or through your traditional publisher who will market on your behalf. Invest your time in social media, not these empty promise companies. Writer’s conferences are great places to go to learn about social media and marketing. Most conferences are cheap to free and you can mingle with authors who’ve gone through it and are offering solid advise. You can Google for conferences in your area or try a website like this: http://writersconf.org/
Editors. Ouch, I know this one is going to surprise some people. Let me preface by saying that most editors are great. They have an eye for what works and what doesn’t so why am I mentioning them on this list? Because of something called a rewrite. You can pay an editor to rewrite your novel if you aren’t confident in your writing. They can take your ramblings and turn it into some spectacular. So why is that bad, right? It’s bad because you didn’t write it. You haven’t improved your skills, actually you haven’t shown you have any at all. If you do get this book published then how can you write the follow-up? You never wrote the original. Will you pay someone to write for you your entire fake career? Exactly. My advice, if you want to use an editor then pay for advice. Let them show you the mistakes you’ve made, areas that need improvement, character development issues, but you fix it. Take a writing course, join a critique group, but most importantly – learn to be a better writer.
For further information: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s of America has a great link http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/ for scams against writers. It’s a great place to check for industry credibility.
You can check out my other articles for writer’s here: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/index.htm