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On the Road to Getting Published for the First Time - #2

Updated on August 15, 2011

Beware of Uncle Scam!

Update and Publishing Scams

I made my first update two weeks ago concerning my ongoing efforts to get published by a traditional publisher. I acknowledged the chances are slim and none (yeah, and slim has hightailed it out of Dodge City) to achieve this goal. However, I intend to keep trying. I'm stubborn that way.

Since that first post, of two weeks ago, I have been contacted by two agents and one publisher. The first agent gave me the same advice as another agent; change the format of my novel, "Diary: Alone on Earth." I refuse to do that. It's a "diary" for a reason. The other agent felt there was nothing wrong with the diary format. However, as a first time author, trying to get a traditional publisher to accept this format will be very difficult. The publisher simply stated they wanted to see the full manuscript. I view that as a good sign. If I can bypass the agent process, that will be a big plus in my opinion. I have received good comments about my style of writing. So, that is encouraging. I won't go the self-publishing route at this time. For one thing, the numerous self-publishing companies with all their different plans make me nervous. Many of these self-publishers are not reputable. Just Google "self-publishing" and see how many different companies pop up. I say this with some trepidation; many of these companies are nothing but scams.

That brings me to the other point of this hub. I almost got taken in by one of these scams. There is one "agency" that promotes itself as a literary agency for first-time authors. I thought this is right up my ally! They sent a very, very long email that basically could have been said in about three lines. I got the feeling they were trying to impress me for some reason that I could not figure out at that time. So, I sent in a query letter (which they strangely did not request) and the first few entries of my novel. They told me that they were backlogged and it would be four to six weeks before the agency could get back in touch with me. Shockingly, they got back to me in only three days. My suspicions should have been aroused right then. But, I was still in shock that they were "very interested and want to see more of my work." I was about to do just that when this little voice in my head said, "Check them out, you dope."

I Googled this "agency" and found some amazing facts. The owner of the agency was indicted for fraud in Florida. He is under investigation in at least seven other states for fraud. He and his wife have several lawsuits pending. What is more amazing, he is allowed to continue to operate his fraudulent business. In fact, he has several Google Adsense ads right here on HubPages (and will probably be an ad on this hub upon its completion). I have seen this "scam agency" on Adsense ads on many, many sites. This agency preys on first time authors. They do because we are the most gullible. I even overlooked the misspelled words and bad grammar in each email. That should have been reason for a five alarm fire going off in my head. But, I ignored it because I was still on cloud 9. Again, the old adage; If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There is a publisher (also frequently on Adsense ads) that is a fraud. They like to advertise themselves as a traditional publisher. But, they are no more than a vanity publisher. They say they request an "investment" from "some" authors. That is a flat out lie. They request thousands and thousands of dollars from gullible first time authors. I called them and asked them point blank two questions; One, do they turn down any manuscripts. Two, how can they advertise themselves as a "traditional publisher" when they are taking money from the author. The first thing I learned in the publishing world is that money flows from the publisher to the author, not the reverse! Their responses to both questions were rude and did not really answer my questions. Unfortunately, I believe at least one first time author on this site was taken in by this publisher. I simply don't know how to tell this person.

That's my update for now. Probably a bit longer than I had intended. But, I hope some people who are thinking about self-publishing to please be careful (and that goes for some traditional publishers as well). There are so many scams targeting first time authors! It is simply unbelievable to me how many are out there. One more time; If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Submit a Comment

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    mquee, you bring up a good point about people getting impatient. I'm not the most patient guy in the world myself. But, in this situation, I realize being impatient won't do anything but hurt me. Thanks for that comment.

  • mquee profile image

    mquee 8 years ago from Columbia, SC

    You've given some good advice here and it could save many of us a lot of heartache. Trying to get published is every author's goal, but unfortunately some of us get a little impatient and make the wrong move. Very informative hub.

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    gyspy, I will never give up. I know I have a good book. It is a shame I have to go through all these hoops and obstacles. Surely, there is a better way to get published. Self-publishing is not an option on this book. I may go that route on some short stories I have. But, not with my novel. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Gyspy Writer profile image

    Gyspy Writer 8 years ago from Midwest

    Hang in there! I too wrestled with the traditional vs. self publishing route. In the end, I decided to go with self publishing on my first book as the content is too wacky and explicit to interest a traditional publisher. My experience with lulu so far has been positive, except for the promotion angle. Self publishing puts you square in charge of your own promotion and I still haven't gotten a grasp on that. If you have a book that would interest a large portion of the general audience, I agree with you that a traditional publisher would be the best way to go. And I know it takes time. But keep believing in yourself and you can do it!

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Hi-Jinks, this isn't a political hub. So, I would appreciate it if you would limit your comments to the topic of this hub to which you are responding. I could say the same thing about those on the left and MSNBC. I'll leave it at that.

    I have about ruled out self-publishing. When I found out that the vast majority of self-published books never made it to the book shelves of bookstores, that was about all I needed to know. Actually, you have come up with another good idea. I really didn't think about auditing courses until now. I think that is something very well worth looking into. Thanks.

  • Hi-Jinks profile image

    Hi-Jinks 8 years ago from Wisconsin

    You seen a little right from where I stand. I don't know what you are writing about, maybe about your war experience. Write long and hard and every day, only in that way a real truth might come upon your papers. Read everything, not just what Fox says but their retractors. You will get an authentic voice when you first have written over a million words.

    Be careful, selfpublishing might get you thousands of unsellable books in your garage. Not a good investment.

    Try auditing courses, it's cheaper.

    By the way, the Healthcare Bill is better than we had, believe me. You will eventually.


  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Rafini, I'm curious how these people were going to pay for an apprenticeship position with the financial difficulties they were having. It all points to some sort of scam as you seem to have realized. It's amazing how many people make their living over the dreams and hopes of other people. Thanks for that excellent story.

  • Rafini profile image

    Rafini 8 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

    This reminds me of a few years ago when I was looking for a job and thought I would try to get into publishing. I sent my resumes out and what do you know! A publisher called and wanted an interview, and I thought, "Yeah!!" When I went in, I found out they were related, (2 people, a man and a woman, the man being the uncle and he worked fro free) were having financial difficulty And were looking to fill an apprenticeship position. Then I found out they were a 'self-publishing' company. I backed out as fast as I could!! And never looked back - my writing career could wait. I wasn't desperate. :)

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Hi-jinks, I've actually talked to two professors who teach creative writing at a local university. They were the two who encouraged me to write. They also have been down the same road I am going in trying to get that first book published. It is just something we all have to go through apparently. What is making it doubly difficult is the economy and the dramatic changes going on in the publishing world due to changing technology. But, your idea has a great deal of merit. It was one I should have included in my hub. Thanks for coming by!

  • Hi-Jinks profile image

    Hi-Jinks 8 years ago from Wisconsin

    Try hooking up with a university that specializes in creature writing. You should be able to find professors and teachers there who have experience in the areas you need help.

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    investor, it's a long and winding road filled with many pot holes. But, it is what it is. No one ever said getting published would be easy. Thanks for your comment.

  • Singular Investor profile image

    Singular Investor 8 years ago from Oxford

    I look forward to hearing how you get on

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    thevoice, thank you also!

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Thank you emtak!

  • thevoice profile image

    thevoice 8 years ago from carthage ill

    terrific hub well detailed write thanks

  • emtak profile image

    emtak 8 years ago from Syracuse NY

    good advice!


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