Okay, I confess. I can’t think of a single thing to write about on this beautiful spring day. Spring fever has hit my brain and I want to go outside and measure my tulip shoots rather than site here and think up some scam-related words of wisdom. And I know better than to post a recipe or talk about the new book I’m writing!
So…here’s the deal: I’m going to devote Post 44 to answering the first, or the first few, writing, publication, or scam-related questions you folks pose. I’ll answer as many questions as I can, depending on the complexity of the questions and the answer required.
If I don’t know the answer, I’ll say so. There are lots of things I don’t know. Most of them aren’t related to writing or scams, however. (smile)
So…here’s your chance. Fire away!
-Ann C. Crispin
Ann C. Crispin, co-founder of Writer Beware® and Chair of the SFWA® Committee on Writing Scams, became active in SFWA® in 1983. She served as Eastern Regional Director for almost ten years, and as Vice-President for two more. With her husband, two-time SFWA® President Michael Capobianco, she was a 2004 recipient of the SFWA® Service Award.
Her more than twenty novels include the best-selling Han Solo Trilogy; New York Times best-selling Star Trek novels Yesterday’s Son, Time for Yesterday, and Sarek; the original series Starbridge; and her final novel, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. Her many freelance credits include articles in Writer’s Digest and the SFWA® Bulletin.
Ann passed away in 2013, but her tireless work with Writer Beware® stands as an enduring legacy.
And now think it comes close to being a scam.
I think it’s so close to being a scam as to be inseperable, i.e., yes it is a scam.
Possible idea for comment: when starting out I sent $350 to a web-site that promised information that would give me the “inside track” on finding an agent. What I got was a list of the five top agents in my genre — the ones who’s lists are full and still get 200+ queries a day. It came with a nice “pep-talk” letter saying my novel (which they’d never seen) was so good that mentioning in my query the little bit of fluff they’d gleaned from Publisher’s Marketplace would make me a shoe-in. Err… never did work. And now think it comes close to being a scam.
Not questions, but potential topics:
On self-publishing: Maybe a commentary on where it works for a small niche in non-fiction and why it’s not the same for a novel. I see plenty of articles in newspapers where they talk about how great it is for novelists and then cite non-fiction books as successful examples. I’ve even seen writers who self-published in the 1800’s cited as reasons to go to self-publishing today!
On persistance: One writer, mentioned in a self-publishing article, submitted her full manuscript to a publisher (I ain’t going to discuss what was wrong with that) and got a single rejection so she gave up and went to self-publishing.
On scams: This is probably not a pure scam, but it does have some questionable qualities to it–anthologies. There are always calls for papers for anthologies posted online. Some that aren’t legitimate are easy to spot–the submitter has spelling and grammatical errors in the advertisement, is too vague, etc. There are people who seem to think they’ll get articles from writers for free and then sell it to a publisher to make lots of money for themselves. I submitted to about ten anthologies that appeared legitimate, got accepted in all of them, and only one ever made it to publication. In most cases, simply nothing happened, and when the writers asked what was going on, they were ignored or told not to bother the editor any more. Will be happy to elaborate on some of my experiences if you want. But maybe it would be helpful to have something on what to look for in an anthology and when you should run from it.
Oooh, I have one.
Here in the UK, I often see an ad in magazines that reads, “Why Not…Be A Writer?” Then there’s a blurb about how you can make good money working from home, and it’s fun, and blah blah blah.
Basically, it’s a creative writing course. (I’d post the link but I don’t know if I should). I guess they give some tips on queries and submissions as well.
There are a couple of “testimonials” from writers. I’ve Googled them, and they are legit-so far as that goes. Is it really legitimate for any writer to endorse ads like that? Isn’t the ad at least somewhat misleading, implying that any joe with a computer can earn a living writing, and all they have to do is pay £250 for the “secrets” the class will teach them?
What responsibility do you think writers have when they endorse such things? Even if they found the class helpful, do you think they should be careful about their endorsements and how they are worded? “I got a £25k advance for my novel after completing the course!” is a bit much, is it not-implying that the course is responsible?
If you listen to music while writing do you find yourself writing the scene(s) to fit the music or is it just pleasant background noise?
Would you rather self-publishing only or vanity publishing only exist (but not both like now)? Why?
If you could name full names of the naughty, would you or is it more amusing to refer to them as ‘Publisher’ AE/PA, Agent F, etc…?
Would you rather have to write three books a year to make ends meet or be contractually obligated to just one a year–but all the previous ones have been best-sellers with huge followings?
How much pulp would a scammer publish if a scammer could truly publish slush?
Do you think all these scams have made the publishing world distrustful? What impact will it have on, say, pseudonyms?
Actually, I look to nature and science for ideas to use in my stories. You might want to share how simple nature walks or gardening has contributed to some scenes or plots (pun intended). 😉