Trolling the blogosphere this morning, I came across some good news on agent Kristen Nelson's blog: FL Atty General Sues Scammer.
It probably shouldn't but it still surprises me that people fall for these scams. Please, if you're reading this, remember that money flows toward the writer. You shouldn't be paying an agent anything out of pocket. Even when the agent says you might be expected to pay for incidental expenses - like postage for shipping your manuscript to publishers - that comes out of your earnings after you publish.
When I first started this lonely road to publication, I knew this was a fact. Sure, there were times when I felt disheartened and discouraged enough to think about paying someone to publish my book, but I knew better. Even my mother told me early on - Never pay anyone. (And we're not talking self-publishing which can be a viable way to get your words in print.) How my mother knew this when she's never written, never thought about writing, and has never had contact with the publishing world, I'll never know - but she's a very wise woman.
I almost got caught in the PA trap (not Pennsylvania... the other PA) - because a 'friend' who thought he was being helpful sent me the link to their site. After reading through the comments, something smelled hinky about the whole thing, though, so I beat feet in the other direction. But the lure was soooo tempting. (And I would've ended up wriggling on the end of the line with a nasty hook in my mouth.)
I don't know how many of my readers are new to the game, but I think it bears repeating (just in case someone stumbles across this advice): Don't fall prey to scammers. Even if you've gotten a million rejections and it feels like the only person who loves your work is the guy who wants $600 up front. Stay strong. No matter what golden words flow from his mouth, he'll take your money and never sell your books. The only thing that will happen is he'll be $600 richer, and you'll be left waiting for a settlement from some court case. Cut out the middle man and keep your money.
Anyone else got any helpful hints for the newer writers out there? Any new scams we should be aware of?
On a non-writerly note, I saw on the news yesterday where a scammer using a real company's name is sending out checks - cashable checks - with instructions on how to be a 'secret shopper' for their company. Apparently all you have to do is deposit the check, then spend some money at a couple national businesses, after which you fill out a comment card on the service you received. The third business they want you to scope out is Western Union, and you evaluate the service by wiring money from the initial deposit to the scammer's account. What they don't tell you is the initial check is rubber, but the wire transfers are real. I'm not how all of it works, but the guy interviewed on the news got screwed out of a few thousand dollars.