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Let’s face it, getting published is hard, especially for first-timers. Publishers that will take unsolicited manuscripts are relatively difficult to find if you don’t have an agent, and (good) agents are hard to find if you aren’t published. This can lead to a large amount of frustration and re-reading of Joseph Heller novels.

The desire to be published is so strong, there is an entire industry that preys upon this desire.

You have probably seen it Advertisements for ‘contests’ where the winner and runners-up will be published in an anthology. The trick is, -everyone- is a ‘runner up’, and the quality control on those anthologies is basically non-existent. As a result, while there may be the occasional gem in the book (which usually -is- actually published eventually, but see below), you’ll have to wade through hundreds of pages of Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy Slash fiction and Why-Edward-(Or-The-Other-Guy-)Should-Be-With-Me Mary-Suefic to find it.

And then, when the book is finally published, you discover that for the most part, it’s not being sold in stores. It is a coffee-table book, and you don’t get a free copy. Instead, they offer you ‘discounted’ copies, and suggest that you buy them for yourself, your family, your friends, random people on the street…

In other words, after getting you to submit your story to the ‘contest’, they then try to get YOU to buy the book. A publisher who primarily sells to the author is not the sort of publisher you really want to deal with.  If a publisher’s deal looks ‘too good to be true,’ the chances are that not only is it too good to be true, but you will actually end up giving -them- money as a ‘reward’ for ‘winning’ their ‘contest.’

Thank goodness for Writers Beware, then.

Writers Beware is a watchdog group, sponsored by the SFWA (Sci-fi and Fantasy Writers of America) to make people aware of the above, and other, scams, swindles and assorted bad practices out there.

Don’t let the name of the sponsor company fool you: this is a resource valuable for ALL writers, not just those who write Sci-fi or Fantasy genre fiction.

So go to Writers Beware today, and educate yourself. You owe it to yourself, and your craft.

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