Writers BEWARE

My original plan for this site was first to focus on the art of writing, then to add a discussion on the editing process, and with time to look at publishing options.  I’m happy to divert from this plan if readers leave comments or questions. Yesterday, I came across a blog post that demanded attention. I thought it important enough that I include it here. Writer Beware Blogs! (http://tinyurl.com/yecp7ll), is produced by a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America. The group wants to help protect writers from literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. I am familiar with similar “scams”. They are scams because you pay to be published in an anthology. If your only aspiration is to be published, and you are willing to pay for the opportunity, then this is not technically a scam; however, if you expect to receive any recognition for your work beyond your family and friends then these anthology publications are not worth the cost to you. Below is an excerpt from the Wed. Feb. 17  Writer Beware Blogs!

Here’s an email solicitation currently doing the rounds, from Linda Joy, President and Founder of Aspire Media Inc., and Publisher and Editor of Aspire Magazine:

Will 2010 be YOUR year to embrace your wisdom, step forward and claim your dream of being a published author?

If you answered YES then YOU may be one of the over 40 co-authors that I, along with my team of experts, will be working with this spring to bring your collective wisdom to the world!…

Now, in a personal project of mine I will bring the same passion and commitment that I’ve brought to Aspire, to bring YOUR story, wisdom and insights as a co-author in my upcoming anthology: A Juicy, Joyful Life: Inspiration from Women who have Found the Sweetness in Every Day

The email includes a link…

“Imagine the words…Published Author

*…printed underneath YOUR name on YOUR business card.
*…being spoken as YOU are introduced as the key-note speaker in front of a full audience
*…as you introduce yourself to a potential client.

You’ve thought about it, envisioned it and NOW it’s time to ACT on it…

It’s no coincidence that you’ve attracted this opportunity! You have been waiting for the divine opportunity to become a published author – one that is in alignment with your vision and that is with a well-respected brand in women’s inspirational publishing.

Let’s leave aside for the moment the question of whether Ms. Joy’s Aspire Media–which consists of an online magazine with a claimed circulation of 42,000, and a series of conference events in the New England area–is indeed a “well-respected brand in women’s inspirational publishing,” and concentrate on the “divine opportunity.” There isn’t actually much writing involved–all you need to produce is a 1,200-word story. Ms. Joy and her “team of experts” will then create the book, and provide “a variety of information products” to help you promote and sell it. It’s a tried and true business model, Ms. Joy claims, that has been used before with great success–in fact, it’s “the same business model that Mark Victor Hansen used to create the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.”

Well. Actually, not so much. Chicken Soup contributors receive $200 and 10 free books. For Inspired Living contributors, the money flows in the opposite direction. They can pay $5,497 for an “Ultimate Platform Building Package” (450 books, their name on the cover and a bio in the back, ebooks and CDs, plus a press release and assorted promotional items of dubious effectiveness) or $3,697 for a “Launch Your Brand Package” (300 books, a bio only, ebooks and CDs, and fewer promotional items than the more expensive package), or even $2,197 for an “Aspiring Author Package” (150 books, a bio, and nothing else).

Writers who want to get in on this not-so-amazing deal must sign up for a 30-minute phone conference with Ms. Joy. Ostensibly, this is to narrow down the field of aspiring writers (writers must first fill out a fairly detailed questionnaire, including such questions as “What would it mean to you, both personally and professionally to be part of a best selling anthology?”), but mostly, I’m guessing, it’s to sell potential contributors on the idea of paying several thousand dollars for a slot in a vanity anthology…

the bottom line is the same: The real “opportunity” in such schemes is not for the contributors, who must hustle their own books and who receive little meaningful support in doing so, but for the publisher, whose profit is assured before the anthology is ever printed.

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Filed under dreams, on publishing, on writing, publishing, scams, writing

3 responses to “Writers BEWARE

  1. I fell for that with a poetry contest when I was 17. They didnt pay to submit, but they published every poem submitted and charged an arm and leg for the completed anthology. so basically, you bought your own book… and when you consider the hundreds of poems published… ugh. live and learn. My interest, as a writer, is the future of publishing … See Morein general. We are chasing the agent and the publisher when the world of technology is going audio and electronic. What we should really be asking, is in 20 years, where will people be going for their information? Will bookstores go the way of the buggy-whip?

  2. Great post, thanks. I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite awhile and I should comment more. It’s alway an interesting and great read.

    • Pam

      I am SO sorry about the delay in posting your comment. I just discovered my spam folder and all the comments there. I am so pleased you enjoy my posts. Yes, PLEASE come by often and leave comments.

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