Writing Advice: Protect Yourself

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For the most part, these writing advice posts focus on practices you should put in place when actually writing. But there is other advice that writers could really use once they’ve finished writing and have moved on to the quest to publish. Let’s face it, not every writer is familiar with the publishing world and not every writer knows every facet of what’s out there in terms of publishing scams. I certainly wouldn’t claim to be an expert. We’ve been busy writing, so we may not have all the information when we begin to publish our work. These traps and tricks out there might include self-publishing scams, agents who do not have your best interests at heart, publishers who pop up out of nowhere, and reviews for a fee.

These are just a few things mentioned in Chuck Wendig’s amazingly awesome and infinitely helpful blog post, 25 Things Writers Should Beware. When I first clicked on this post, I thought that it would list pitfalls or cliches of writing that writers should avoid. Instead, Chuck talks about these traps that can take advantage of writers and wrongly divest them of their money. While all the other topics of my Writing Advice posts are important, these issues that Chuck Wendig brings up are things we need to focus on as well.

All of the issues that Chuck Wendig addresses in his blog post deserve writers’ attention. But I think many of them can be summed up with item number 7 on his list. Writers should avoid…

7. ANYBODY WHO ASKS FOR YOUR MONEY

The saying is that money should flow to the author, not from her, and that’s still true — for the most part. Generally speaking, no publisher or agent or editor or producer should be asking for your money, and if they are, you gotta do your due diligence and sniff for the farty egg-stink of fraud. The exception to this is, of course, freelance services you might use on your own (editing, cover art, etc), but even there it’s on you to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Simply put, the move to publishing should mean writers are getting paid for their craft, not paying others to notice their craft. Check out Chuck’s post for the other 24 things writers should beware.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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