A New Home For the Writer Beware Blog

Welcome to the new home of the Writer Beware blog!

After many years on the Blogger platform, we have finally transitioned to WordPress, which offers much greater flexibility in terms of design, control, and ease of use.

We also have a new, easy to remember web address: writerbeware.blog.

I’ve been dissatisfied with Blogger for a while now. I’m not a web developer, but I’m not helpless, either; I maintain the Writer Beware website on the SFWA site, and I built and maintain two additional websites, my own and another for an organization my husband is part of. But every time I thought about moving to a new platform, the size of the challenge just seemed too daunting. How would I transfer hundreds of posts, not to mention the thousands of comments and images that go with them? What about all the non-working inbound links the move would create? Links wouldn’t be a problem if I just started fresh on a brand-new WordPress site–but then the blog would exist on two platforms, with two different web addresses. And what about WB’s thousands of followers and subscribers?

The turning point came last summer, when the only email subscription widget supported by Blogger discontinued service. If people couldn’t subscribe to the WB blog, there was just no reason to remain on Blogger. But the amount of time and research involved in moving made me want to lie down and go to sleep (you may know that Writer Beware is a volunteer effort: I do this in my off hours).

Enter the Automattic Team, which helps noteworthy and/or interesting people and projects with development, design, hosting services, and more. In an amazing bit of synchronicity, they contacted me around the same time that my subscription service disappeared, with an offer to not only build a new WordPress website for the WB blog, but to port all posts, comments, and subscribers to the new site and re-direct all Blogger links. In other words…to do all of the stuff I’d been dreading–and create a better and more functional site than I could have on my own.

After many months of design consults and bug fixes, this is the result. Not just a clean new look and way more administrative control for me, but a better subscription service and a much more robust search function (another peeve I had with Blogger, whose search options suck). I’m deeply grateful to the Automattic Team for their hard work, and for their support of Writer Beware.

The one thing I’m sad to lose is our old web address: accrispin.blogspot.com. It’s a legacy (one of many) of the late Ann Crispin, Writer Beware’s co-founder and my dear friend. Ann started the blog in 2005, originally intending it to be her personal blog; but after she invited me to join her, it quickly became all Writer Beware, all the time. Looking back at those posts reminds me how much fun Ann and I had in those early days, and how profoundly her energy, fearlessness, and dedication shaped what Writer Beware has become. We’re leaving behind a URL, but Ann is still present in everything we do.

If you’ve come here from a link on social media, please have a look around our new home and tell me what you think! If you’re a subscriber, this is the first newsletter that has landed in your Inbox since last summer. I hope you’ll continue to subscribe–and for those of you who are new to Writer Beware, I hope you’ll consider signing up via the form below this post.

Don’t forget that the blog is just one component of the many-headed beast that is Writer Beware. There’s also our website, which provides a wide range of information, cautions, and resources to help writers educate and protect themselves; our Facebook page, which links to items of writerly interest and provides a forum for discussion; my Twitter feed, where I regularly post updates, warnings, and industry news; and our email address, beware@sfwa.org, where you can contact us–in confidence–with reports, complaints, and questions.

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to all the writers, agents, editors, and others who’ve shared complaints and documentation over the years and helped us build our database; to all the people who send me tips and information; to everyone who spreads the word about Writer Beware (and writing scams in general); and to our fans, followers, and subscribers. We couldn’t do it without you, and we are grateful for your support.

Onward!

34 Comments

  1. Looks great! WordPress offers so much more flexibility than Blogger. I wish we could move the Kill Zone. It’s a Blogger site on WordPress, which gives it a mind of its own.

  2. Are you still sending out updates? I’ve been forwarding them to various and sundry, and posting them on FictionMags, where a whole bunch of pro writers/editors hang out.

  3. I don’t like that you have to click “continue reading” to see more than a few lines. I prefer not to click unnecessary buttons on websites (even though you’re more trustworthy than most).

    1. I get it, but I think this format has the advantage of showing more at a glance. If you don’t mind a couple more clicks, you can subscribe via the form below, and get full posts in email.

  4. Been a reader and very occasional commenter for years 😀 … for all that WP’s ‘happiness engineers’ can’t stop themselves from tweaking what ain’t broke, it’s the best platform around at the moment. Welcome. 😀

  5. This looks much nicer than your old digs. And the posts show up better on my Protopage. Before you moved, for some reason, the comments showed up instead of the post titles.

  6. You provide a much-needed platform for scammer organizations out there which require warnings! I have been scammed out of over $40,000 from PAGE TURNER PRESS AND MEDIA. They took $100,000 of my money and orchestrated a SCAM offer to turn four of my books into a movie. Instead, they are claiming that I cancelled the deal and am therefore only due back 50%. I didn’t cancel anything. It was never real to begin with. WRITER BEWARE, BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Shirley, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with Page Turner. I’ve gotten many, many reports and complaints about this scammer, and have heard from other writers who’ve lost thousands of dollars to them.

  7. Hello there! I am an amateur writer who has completed more than 10 novels on Wattpad with 1.9K followers, and am trying to get them published on platforms like goodnovel, libri, and Amazon.

    But I have no knowledge of how these “exclusive” and “non exclusive” contracts work. It all sounds too scary to join. I read your blog on goodnovel contracts and I’m terribly confused. I need to finance my studies and I desperately wish to earn through my writing.

    Could you, please, explain me about the process of publishing my book on Amazon (and Libri) and the do’s and dont’s I should keep in mind?

    I will be very thankful to have your guidance!

    1. NJ,

      The thing to remember about “exclusive” and “non-exclusive”: if your contract is non-exclusive, you can publish on multiple platforms (though you may have to ask permission). If it is exclusive, you cannot publish that work anywhere else. The appeal of exclusive contracts–which are more restrictive–is that they may offer more royalties and other perks.

      Serial reading/writing apps like Libri, Goodnovel, Fizzo, Sofanovel, Dreame, and about a million others all have complicated contracts that impose a lot of restrictions, including long contract terms, claims on your future work, non-disparagement clauses, financial penalties for anything the app decides is an author breach, and more. Almost all of the contracts that I’ve seen–whether exclusive or non-exclusive–are extremely author-unfriendly in this way, and most do not allow for termination by the author (in other words, if you sign, you’re tied up for 20 years or life of copyright or whatever the contract term is). Additionally, beyond the often paltry “writer benefits” described on the apps’ websites, how much–or even whether–you get paid often depends on satisfying extremely demanding word counts and attendance requirements, and also on how the app chooses to designate your work (for instance, some apps only pay royalties on “premium content”, which they pick and choose and you have no control over).

      There are so many of these apps now, and they are so crowded with writers, that competition for readers is really fierce. Based on my research, and also what I’ve heard from writers who sign up with Goodnovel, etc., my guess is that the writers who make good money on these apps are outliers.

      Amazon’s self-publishing platform (KDP) is completely different from serial reading/writing apps like Libri and Goodreads. The apps are publishers: as noted above, they make a claim on your rights and impose other requirements. Amazon KDP is really just a distributor: it requires you to warrant that your rights are free and clear, but otherwise imposes few requirements or restrictions (you don’t have to produce a certain number of words in order to be paid, for instance). And you can cancel at will with no trouble.

      You can find full information on how to self-publish using KDP, here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ . The Kindle boards, where Kindle self-publishers exchange ideas and information, are also very helpful: https://www.kboards.com/

      Hope this is helpful. If you have other questions, please let me know.

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