Monday, April 20, 2015

Writer Beware

About thirty years ago I published an article called Look Before You Leap, a warning piece about various kinds of frauds that deceive the innocent and unsuspecting. This past week I stumbled upon a blog which shines a light "into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls." The blog's authors also provide "advice for writers, industry news and commentary, and a focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world."

Writers aren't the only ones susceptible to the allure of false hopes, but there does seem to be ample opportunity to be taken advantage of when you are naive and inexperienced in the industry maze called publishing.

The blog is titled Writer Beware. The site provides a number of useful services, not the least of which is this unmasking of deceivers. The authors of the blog are themselves writers and have undoubtedly seen more than their share of those dark corners of the publishing scene. Their topics address a host of useful topics including contractual matters and how real literary agents behave versus the shysters. And because they have been doing this since 2005 they evidently have a lot of help getting stories about lawsuits taking place and other ethical matters.

They name names when identifying shady publishers as well as literary agencies. They also identify resources for writers, the blogs of agents whom they respect and other blogs that may be of interest or value to writers, including their own.

In short, I recommend the blog to anyone serious about a writing career, from beginner to long timer.

Another feature of the blog is a Comments Policy which I thought insightful. I've always moderated comments or at least three of the reasons cited in their policies, and have even been accused of "censorship" because I do not just post everything people want to say. If you have a blog and need a good policy, this might be a good starting point.

Writer Beware ® actively monitors comments on this blog. If you make a comment, we will see it, even if it's on a post from 2005, when we first started blogging.

However, because we want to foster discussion and acknowledge alternative viewpoints, we have a very liberal comments policy, and don't do much moderating. Anyone is welcome to comment, including people who vehemently disagree with us. We delete comments ONLY in the following, extremely limited, circumstances:

- If they're personal insults, either of us or of other commenters.

- If they're libelous.

- If they're spam.

- If they're obvious self-promotion. If someone told you that leaving a link to your book in blog comments was a good marketing strategy, you probably shouldn't be taking their advice about other things, either.

- If they are diatribes from either of our two regular stalkers (you know who you are).

Because of the problem of comments spam, we have a delay set on comments on posts older than 30 days--so if you comment on an older post, it may take a day or two for your comment to appear.

Note that if you try to make two comments in a row, Blogger will likely interpret the second one as spam. We do check our spam folder regularly, though, so we will discover and release it.

Meantime.... To all my writer friends, write on!!!

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