author beware

ab

Somewhere in my early teens (I can’t seem to remember exactly when), ever enamored with the idea of publishing and becoming a real published novelist, I decided to do some googling and came across a website for a literary agency and so I decided to submit to them. I was thrilled and terrified, I knew virtually nothing of the world I was getting myself into at the time. The response was surprisingly quick. They wanted to sign me, but they also wanted a hundred some-odd dollars to read my work. This should have set off alarm bells somewhere, but I was young and naive enough not to have done my homework before hand. I didn’t have the money myself, but my mother was more than willing to pay for it. We signed the contract and off we went. They reviewed the writing and even gave me quite a few pointers on it, it almost seemed legitimate.

But the more we talked about it with other people the more red flags started to pop up. You see the one thing we didn’t know at the time, that needs to be stated is that literary agencies, don’t ask for money. They get paid a percentage through royalties. I dissolved the relationship about a month or so in; later I found their agency on the Preditors and Editors website. It’s lucky it only cost me a hundred dollars and not several thousand as one might worry that something like this could cost.

It’s hard to be a writer, and sometimes we let the excitement of possibility get the better of our judgment, in my case, I allowed my excitement at the possibility of having an agent cloud my better judgement in learning how all of this works. Had I simply read a book on the subject I might have known that agents don’t charge you to read your book. This is a warning, to all my new writers and young writers out there. Be careful, there are unfortunately those who would take advantage of you without a second thought. Give yourself time, you may think you’re ready now, and perhaps you are, but sometimes, giving yourself time to get better is so much of a help. Truthfully, I would have been mortified if I’d been published back then, looking at some of my older work (as it does for many authors) makes me cringe.

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