01 February 2007

Scams, Scams, Scams!

Every aspiring author, poet, artist, model, and even musician who seeks out contests to bolster their CV/Resume eventually comes across a scam. Usually these scams look real enough, and they promise great things to come "if only you'll pay..."

Along the left hand side of this blog I have added two important links for those who might stumble their ways here to seek out a review. I'm sure there are more than those two particular web pages, but these two are highly passed around through the online writing, agency, and publishing community--so take note!

Bottom line is, if any contest suggests that you "invest money in our service before we publish you" or that you were named a grand prize winner, or national finalist (Poetry.com is famous for this) but that you can't receive your accolades, awards, or even a copy of your published poem without buying a vanity press book it appears in (Or appear at some conference where you're eligible to win TONS of prizes if you just pay the 900 bucks to attend...), then you've probably been scammed. More than one agent in more than one field have all passed along the same advice to me, and so I'll share it with you:

"If an agency/agent/company wants to represent you, they aren't going to ask you to pay for services that would be included in your contract." For example, in the modeling/extra work world, an agent won't ask you to go pay thousands of dollars (a discount if you go through "their photographer") for a portfolio. They'll ask you for a few candid shots of your own, adn if they want to place you with a major company, they'll do the shots themselves. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule--but those exceptions are what give the Scammers the loopholes in logic to function under.

If you submit your work to an agency and they ask you for $ 3000 a year to represent you whether you see success or not--you've been scammed. If you submit and they conditionally accept you and take you on as a client as long as you take your manuscript to a specific editing company (for more thousands of dollars, sometimes), you've been scammed.

It's true, I haven't had my fingers in the publishing game very long, but I am thankful that some very smart, very connected people have shared this information with me. The least I could do is pass it on. So see the links over there on the left and before you run screaming with your hair on fire about being accepted at a specific agency, make sure they don't appear on those Scam Warning sites!