I’ve come to see that when it comes to writing, there really are two things that I’m always working on: one of them is the writing itself, and the other is the whole business of what to do with my writing.
The first comes relatively easy to me, as I’ve been doing it for a whole slew of years. The second one? Not so much.
Actually I should be a bit clearer about that. Writing and getting my writing out there so that other people will read it? Never been easier; just set up a blog, and publish it.
Writing, however, in the hopes that I may actually make some shekels off of this? Well…
Alas, I am learning that this is a whole area concerning writing and getting my writing published (and maybe making something off of it) is a confusing world, replete with its own pitfalls. And as I start making my way through Jenna Glatzer and Daniel Steven’s “The Street Smart Writer: Self-Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World,” I realize that there’s a lot I need to learn about.
This, alas, leads to my miserable realization that the publisher I genuinely thought was interested in my writing is nothing more than a scam merchant.
I felt great for two weeks there. The publisher, Austin Macauley, seemed, from their website, to be a genuine publisher, on the up and up. They seemed genuinely interested in my work.
I, of course, made myself an easy target for folks such as Austin Macauley by the fact that their little sliver of interest gave me hope, something that is one of the easiest things to exploit in a writer. Fortunately, before I even heard back from them, I Googled them, which I should have done before I even submitted my work to them.
The results were, shall we say, interesting.
What I found out, from site after site after site, is that Austin Macauley is a “pay to publish” house. In other words, they don’t pay you; instead, they tell you that they need a fee from you to publish your work.
Fortunately I’ve been around the block a few times to know that you never, ever trust an agent or publishing house that expects you to pay them for any reason. The moment I started reading about how these guys do that, I knew…yep, they’re just a vanity press, a publishing house where people just pay them to print up books, and where the publishing house then prints them up and forgets about them. They just cash in on the hopes of writers who get all excited that a publisher is interested in them.
I never got to the grim part of this—the sad part in which the victim, so eager to be published, so excited that someone seems to be interested in their work—hands over a chunk of change, and never sees that money again. After all, these publishing houses (and agents) don’t make their money off the sales of the books. Instead, they make their money through those fees that they charge unwitting writers.
As I said, I know enough about this so that the moment I found out that these guys charge money for publishing a book, I knew that they were bogus. What bothers me, more than anything, is that for about two weeks there, I thought a genuinely respectable publisher was interested in my work…and now I must face the fact that this was a fantasy.
It’s understandable that people fall for this. After all, getting any respectable publisher to publish a writer’s work is…well, work. It means submitting a lot of stuff, getting a lot of stuff rejected, and submitting even more stuff.
How nice it would be, therefore, to not have to go through that. How nice it is to think that it can all happen fast, that in no time at all a respectable publishing house will read my work and publish it. How nice it is to think that in no time I shall be wildly successful.
And how easy it is to exploit people who share those sentiments. I’m sure that if I were younger and more naive, I may have just seriously considered parting with my money.
As I said, no, it didn’t get anywhere close to that. For two weeks, though, I didn’t check them out—as I should have before even submitting my stuff—so pumped was I with the joy of thinking that someone was actually interested in my work. Now, alas, I’ve learned…check out those agents, and check out those publishing houses to avoid giving birth to false hopes.
So now I’m back to where I was. I write, I post my stuff on my blog, and for now, I’m taking a break from submitting my stuff to publishers or agents. Best to read and research this till June, and then submit things during the summer, jaded, yes, but far wiser.