5/25/06 01:36 am - scam agents (of probable interest to new & would-be writers, & others)
i've over the decades had a trickle of authors conned by vanity presses into paying for these alleged publishers to have their works typeset, printed, bound - and then abandoned, attempt to get me to carry the duds they've been landed with the stock of in my shop; i've this year become aware of a new twist to the con - the scam agent.
one of these has managed to browbeat the owner of a good & helpful site's hosts into pulling the entire web-site on an hour's notice (see the story in making light), for carrying the list of the writer beware's twenty worst (= predatory scam) agents as carried by the science fiction writers of america web-site.
you can lose a lot of money falling for either of these cons, and it is terribly easy for any inexperienced writer who isn't in touch with anyone in the trade to fall for them; so, if you happen to have a friend who's an unpublished, and therefore unagented, writer - or are yourself one - read the pages linked to, consider googling on "scam agent" + "barbara bauer" to see what can happen - and be warned.
to get your work published, you have to write it, complete it, submit it to editors at publishers liable to be interested in the kind of book you've written - taking notice of any critical feedback you might be lucky enough to receive - and to go on writing, completing and submitting (in typescript or letter quality word-processed printout, one side of the page only, with a full blank line between every line of text...) until an editor offers you a contract: then contact established, legitimate agents with verifiable track records, and find one who suits you, likes your work - and is prepared to explain the contract to you, and able to spot where a clause is the publisher trying it on - which even penguin have been known to. friends willing and able to read and criticise your work may help; not everyone finds this easy. don't send your only copy, and keep back-ups. - good luck -