Monday, November 13, 2006

Money Flows to the Writer

Yog's Law, Money Always Flows to the Writer.

Every professional writing blog should cover this one once in a while, because there are always new writers coming up and new scams trying to take advantage of hopes and drems. So, for the record: "money flows to the writer." Any time anyone asks for money from a writer to publish or look at the writer's work this is a danger signal. The one true exception to this is an agent's percentage, but that comes only after a sale and as part of that sale, so money is still flowing to the writer, just a little bit less of it. A few legitimate contests may also charge a processing fee, but I generally advise people not to enter any contest that charges fees, unless they KNOW that it is legitimate and are willing to pay said fee to help cover the cost or other expenses of the organization running the contest. Even then, the cost should be nominal.

No legitimate publisher charges an author to publish their book.

No legitimate agent charges reading fees or pre-sale copying or mailing fees.

No legitimate contest charges fees beyond $20.00, and those that charge any fees at all should be looked on with great caution.

Money flows to the writer.

1 comment:

Kelly McCullough said...

Okay, there are a few caveats, but I want the message on the front page clean and clear.

Agency fees: i.e. copying and mailing expenses, phone calls. Some agents will charge fees of this sort, but they come only after a book is sold, and they should be capped. My current agent does not charge these fees. My old agent did, but they were capped at an absolute max of $200.00 per book, and it was in my agency contract.

Book doctors, freelance copy editors, and various content consultants: There are writers who will feel that their book needs to be vetted for some reason by an expert, perhaps for grammar and style, perhaps for flow, perhaps for historical accuracy. I have done this kind of work myself, but generally only after considerable arm twisting and after repeatedly warning that I can be expensive—any work of this kind is likely to be costly since the writer is hiring a highly specialized professional. Once again, I generally advise against doing this. If a writer absolutely feels they must do this, they should research the person they're hiring for the job and get references and this sort of work should never be intiated by an agent or editor the writer has sent their book to as a submission.