One of the things that most annoys me about the whole aspiring author thing is that there are so many scam merchants out there who are eager to take advantage of inexperienced authors and their burning desire to be published.
For every one hundred authors, I would say there are at least ten unscrupulous businesses out to fleece them of their money and steal their dreams.
These businesses tout themselves as ‘respected’ publishers and make big promises of success and fame to anyone who will send them a manuscript. “Even if you’ve been rejected before!”
Probably, especially if you’ve been rejected before. I’ve noticed a new trend now of these guys actually going so far as to email me with requests to view my manuscript, Hunter’s Dawn: Laying the Ghosts! (They can’t have done their homework, though, because if they had, they’d know that that book is published already).
So once they have got you sucked in with their advertisement and you send them your manuscript, if they haven’t already done so, they will usually make a suggestion to you that you pay a ‘small fee’ — anywhere up to $1000 and sometimes more — to have your manuscript read and professionally assessed by one of their editors. This, of course, “will give you a much better chance of being published.”
This is at best, unethical. No author should have to pay an editor, publisher, or agent a reading fee! If a publisher has asked you to do that, here’s my advice to you.
RUN! GET AWAY! Take your MS and FLEE, Padawan!
There are things you can do, however, to ascertain whether a publisher, editor or agent is legitimate.
- Check for registration with publishers, editors or agents associations and ask for references.
- See if you can find other people who are published or represented by the company and talk to them about their experiences.
- Look for mentions of the company, either positive or negative on such pages as Writer Beware or Preditors and Editors
The bottom line is: Getting published, or even getting your manuscript read by an agent or publisher should not cost you one red penny. You don’t pay agents, editors, publishers or anyone else a dime until you’re published.
Be alert, do your homework and don’t give up!