Adventures in Writing: Beware of Scams

Always do your Research

When you’re starting out with writing, any kind of writing, you look for submission calls in order to help promote your author name. You search for them, read them religiously, write something that suits the call, and then send it off into the world for someone to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you’re lucky, you’ll get more details when it’s a no other than it didn’t fit what they were looking for. The best places to look for calls are places that other authors frequent. For me, that place is EWRA (Erotica Readers and Writers Association. They put up calls of various types. It’s a great place to check and see what publishers and editors are looking for, perhaps give you a little bit of a lead on what readers will look for in the future.

Regardless of your genre, you need to find a safe place to find your Calls. Ask other authors. I think people who write are way too isolated sometimes. We focus so much on the writing and the research and getting the details correct that we lose track of the real world around us. I’m sure there are other websites that post Calls in my preferred genres, however I tend to focus on ERWA. Authors and Editors that I enjoy post there for anthologies and it’s a place I trust.

A friend sent me an image of a call that was posted to a group we belong to and I asked if there was any other information. I was told that’s all he knew and as soon as he saw it, he passed it along to me. That’s how little I am on facebook these days – he had to send it to me or I’d have never seen it. I immediately started a google search. I searched for the name of the magazine that was in the image. I couldn’t really find much. What I did find was a failed Kickstarter campaign. I found a free Wix website under another name. I didn’t find any details of the magazine mentioned. I chalked it up to ‘possible scam or project posted by someone who didn’t know the Kickstarter crashed’. Either way, when my friend went back to comment on the post, it was gone. I’m assuming someone didn’t know that the project crashed, but it brought up thoughts from how easily it is to get taken for a ride in the writing world.

I feel bad that the project failed. Perhaps they took on something big too soon or didn’t have the time to put into it. Either way, this is just a friendly reminder to do your due diligence. Verify that the person posting the call is legit. If they’re new that’s not a bad thing, but you still want to research them. The worst thing that can happen to an author is to have their words taken, shredded, then reassembled to look sort of like what they wrote but different enough that it wouldn’t be considered plagiarized.

Post your thoughts in the comments. Have you ever had any issues sending in submissions? Have you ever felt you were dealing with someone who was a little bit shady?

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