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However, if it's a contest run by an organization you've never heard of, and they want you to pay $25, $50 or $100 dollars, and assure you that your poem or short story will appear in a book of "Best" entries at some date in future, and this is your great opportunity to see your work in print, ignore them. It's a scam.
=> The "Book Editor or Book Doctor" Scam
Never pay for editing. Never pay for a book doctor.
Remember: *writers get paid to write*.
When you sell a book to a publisher, they pay editor. That's why you approach major publishers, because they hire good editors. A good editor is a writer's dream, because a good editor can make your work much better, and can thereby teach you to become a better writer. Being edited is painful, but it's a huge opportunity to learn.
If you've sold a book to a publisher, and your editor feels that book needs major structural help, your editor may hire a book doctor, after consultation with you. A book doctor can help turn an already good book into a great book.
However, again, remember: *writers get paid to write*. You don't pay for book doctor. The publishing house pays, up front. They may want to deduct book doctor's fees from your royalties, and you can negotiate that with them. But you pay nothing up front. You're doing writing, remember, and after book doctor has recommended revisions, YOU are one who'll need to write those revisions.
If you're an unpublished writer, have no agent and no publisher, and someone calls themselves a book doctor or editor and wants money from you, tell them to take a hike. You get edited for free, once you sell your book.
=> The "Vanity Publishing" Scam
Vanity publishing is when you pay a publisher to publish your book. Generally thousands of dollars. The vanity publisher assures you your book will be reviewed, and will be in all book stores. He's lying.
Self-publishing on other hand, is legitimate. If you're self- publishing, you pay a printer a few thousand dollars to print a thousand books, which you intend to sell yourself, either on your Web site, or by traveling around book stores with books in trunk of your car, or by selling at fairs, or when you give talks, or when you give a seminar. If you self-publish, more power to you. Self-publishing is a time-honored tradition, and many writers have taken self-publishing route to fame and fortune.
Vanity publishing is different. In vanity publishing, publisher assures you that as well as arranging to have your book printed, company will distribute it. If you hear this, you're about to get scammed. Run. Remember *writers get paid to write*.
How do you know you're being ripped off? Remember: *writers get paid to write*. If you don't get paid real money, you may be getting scammed.
How do you foil rip-off merchants? Some ways:
* Write a lot, every day. You learn to write by writing;
* Trust your instincts, but use Internet, especially Google.com, to check out people (agents, publishers, editors) you intend going into business with --- remember, publishing is a business, not a charity;
* Learn something new every day;
* Love writing. If you love writing enough, all rip-offs in world can't hurt you.
Good luck with your writing.
***Resource box: if using, please include*** Veteran multi-published author and copywriter Angela Booth crafts words for your business --- words to sell, educate or persuade. E-books and e-courses on Web site. FREE ezines for writers and small biz: http://www.digital-e.biz/
Writer, journalist and author Angela Booth has been writing for print and online venues for over 25 years. She also writes copy for businesses.