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The Dark Side of Writing

August 19, 2010

As writers, we all know about the dark side of writing. If you don’t know, you should read up on it. Some have been lucky enough to avoid such problems. We’ve had the benefits of learning from other writers’ mistakes. There are other ways to avoid such scams.

Never pay any money for anything and if you do, you better know all the risks beforehand. Don’t pay someone to do something that you can do yourself such as editing. You took the time to write it. Therefore, take the time to edit it (this is where writing groups come in handy).

I’ve always been a bit unsure about writing contests because of conflicting advice about fees. I’ve come to realize that while contests with no fees are mostly likely better those with fees of $5-$15 can be okay too. If you’re paying $15 for a prize of $50 then it’s probably not worth your time. Also avoid contests where everyone wins or the contest claims all rights to your entry whether you win or not. Basically, read the entire guidelines very carefully, even the fine print, and do research on the organization, magazine or publisher who is running the contest before submitting an entry.

This is but only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many writing scams out there and more pop up all the time. The best thing you can do to protect yourself from them is, and I can’t stress this enough, talk with other writers, research, research, research, ask questions, and check websites such as SFWA Writers Beware and Preditors & Editors.

Do you have any writing horror stories?

Andrea apologizes for the repeat. However, this is a subject that really can’t be discussed enough. RIP Jamie Eyberg.
  1. August 19, 2010 3:42 am

    The closest I’ve come to a horror story was a digital marketing firm wanting to start inserting text based ads into some of the fiction on my website, in exchange for $100 per year. When questioned, they wouldn’t tell me what the ads would be for, or how they would affect my work, and when I pressed for further information (after all, why would you want to advertise financial services on a website designed to showcase writing?) they informed me the client’s advertising needs had been met. If I had just jumped at the money, maybe I would have fallen victim to a scam.

  2. L'etranger permalink
    August 22, 2010 9:08 am

    I have plenty of horror stories. All are from the web.
    The most I’ll pay for a writing competition is five dollars, but there are reputable competitions but those are very few. The only one that I can recommend, that is legitimate is Glimmertain.
    Vanity publishers, who only pay royalties are a rip off. As are e-book vanity publishers who don’t pay anything.
    Ah, the least favorite of mine are sites that charge readers per download but only pay their authors a flat one time fee.
    One time I had an e-publisher (ebooks) try to convince me to sell all the rights to a short story.
    Generally, I am wary of all online magazines/publications, especially those who say that they cannot pay their authors, whose editors exist to be nasty for the ego trip.
    Also, any writing competition that relies on votes is riddled with fraudulent activity (fake votes, etc).
    There are more scams on the web than any other place. In print, writers do have to work harder and maybe endure more rejections, but the end result is more worthwhile.

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