WMBTSD Giveaway Day 29: September 29, 2007

Today’s giveaway comes from a recent addition to the writer mama club: Jenna Glatzer!

And I know we all feel that our children are the cutest on the planet. Naturally, right?

But you have to check out the photos of Jenna’s daughter, Sarina. She is just way too cute.

And here’s an awesome list of how she makes Sarina laugh that will make any mom smile.

Which is not exactly a good transition to introduce her book but that’s okay. It’s late and we’re on day 29!

Today’s giveaway is…

streetsmartsmall.jpgSeptember 29th: The Street Smart Writer: Self Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World by Jenna Glatzer and Daniel Steven (Nomad Press 2006).

Here’s the description: You’ll never get scammed by a deadbeat publisher or an unscrupulous agent once you read this guide. It’s an in-depth look at all the shady characters who are out to rip off writers, from fake literary agents who get kickbacks from editorial services to rigged writing contests. It also covers the sorts of new agents and publishers who don’t actually mean to do harm, but are so clueless that they can kill a writer’s career. Whether you write books, scripts, poems, short stories, articles, essays, or anything in between, you’ll be a wiser writer by the end of this book. Learn all the warning signs to watch out for, what do do if you’ve already been taken, and how to spot a good deal.

Jenna Glatzer is the author or ghostwriter of 16 books, with a 17th on the way. She writes everything from celebrity biographies to health books. Her latest titles include Bullyproof Your Child for Life (by Joel Haber, Ph.D. with Jenna Glatzer), Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer, and Unbroken: A Memoir (by Tracy Elliott with Jenna Glatzer). Jenna has also written hundreds of magazine articles, and is a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest magazine. Visit her at www.jennaglatzer.com, where you’ll find everything from writing advice to photos of her new baby.

Okay, I almost forgot the question for the second night in a row. Wake up, Christina!

Here it is: Have you gotten scammed in any way related to your writing career? Have you known anyone who has been scammed? Any situations, that were supposed to be on the up and up that made you raise an eyebrow? How do you tell the difference between a legitimate writing opportunity and a scam?

Folks, your response to the question must be between 50-300 words to qualify to win this awesome book!

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23 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day 29: September 29, 2007”


  1. 1 Kate September 29, 2007 at 5:29 am

    Being scammed and being taken advantage of aren’t too far apart in the writing world. I don’t think I have ever been scemmed, but I don’t know a single writer who has never been taken advantage of. Starting with new publications that have a budget for everything except paying writers and taking all the rights to the work they’ve contracted for free. The only advice I can offer is to ensure you keep your rights, never write for free and never write “samples” to order.

    Also, ask yourself a few key questions:

    If the people behind a new publication don’t know how to get enough funding to pay writers, what industry experience do they have that makes you think they can make the publication (and you) a success?

    If an anthology audience is composed only of the authors’ friends and family, or an audience you create via a “fundraiser,” what makes you think anyone really wants to read the book these editors are creating and not marketing outside a small circle?

    If a company only has $3 to $10 to pay for someone’s work, why do they need all the rights to that work?

  2. 2 Beth K. Vogt September 29, 2007 at 7:21 am

    I’m thankful to say I’ve never been scammed.
    It’s probably because I’m so conservative–I run the other way if i even think something’s fishy about a contest or a writing opportunity. It’s just not worth my writing time and effort–and usually my money–to get whatever great end-result I’m going to get if I think deal is too good to be true.
    It’s the old “If it’s too good to be true” yada yada.
    It’s true.

    One thing I’ve heard over and over again: A legit agent will never ask for money up front to “read” your manuscript. That’s a S-C-A-M.

  3. 3 Mary Jo C September 29, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Kate makes some good points. I may be too green in the industry to have been scammed, but I was writing resumes professionally for a while. Unfortunately, it was family and friends taking advantage of my skills and my time. But the saying goes fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice….I was doing rewrites and resumes from scratch with the promise of “dinner” as payment and one girl left for her new job with her polished resume and I never heard even a thank you! (I’ve toughened up since then!)

    There was also an online fiction contest I was seconds away from hitting “send”. When I read a little deeper in the “rules” it had said if you were sending a unpublished novel excerpt (which I was)and that novel went on to be published, they would have partial rights and be entitled to compensation! Whoah! I need this book….

  4. 4 Cheryl M September 29, 2007 at 8:30 am

    I have not been scammed. Of course I haven’t published yet, besides scientific articles years ago. I have tried to submit to magazines I am familiar with or calls for anthologies that come up on legitimate sites like literarymama.com. I am just beginning to write. It is hard for me to figure out whether I should write stories (non-fiction essays) that I feel like telling, or if I should find a market and then pitch a story that fits it (maybe some how-to articles). I have heard that people use craig’s list or other places to find stuff, and I’d be interested to hear how well that works.

  5. 5 Jean September 29, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Well, I haven’t been scammed in any way related to my writing career. But I have seen plenty of opportunities to be scammed (or so I believe). Such as the offers to “take a writing test” to see if you are qualified to write children’s books. Which I’m sure ends up being a YES, but of course only if you buy their expensive materials or course or whatever. Legitimate opportunities are probably not so enticing.

  6. 6 Cileface September 29, 2007 at 8:48 am

    The desire to see my creation on the web, added to being new to the writing field, led me to post a poem on poetry.com. Wow!
    You’d think I had created the greatest poem ever written.
    I received the “opportunity” to have my poem published (at my cost)in a delightful coffetable edition so I could show it to my friends and family. This was only the first of many such offers. I was to receive my name engraved on a trophy (my cost), and was invited to come (at my cost of course) to read my poem at a convention.
    This was my introduction to vanity publishing. I may be a bit vain, but I’m not generally stupid, and I learned from my grandma that people will do most anything to “grab a dime.”
    Besides, it was one of my lesser poems…

  7. 7 Heather Haapoja September 29, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Okay, I’ll fess up. I fell for the Poetry.com scam way back when I first got internet access. My sister sent me the link, and I submitted a poem. Of course, they were blown away by my incredible talent. (grin) Thankfully, I realized it was a scam long before I shelled out 50 bucks for the honor of owning the book that contained my amazing poem. But I was still humiliated at having my name among the ranks of the swindled.

    A year or so later, there was a similar incident involving an anthology. My essay was accepted, and I was really excited about it, until I found I wouldn’t even receive a copy of the book as payment. That time I fought tooth and nail to “respectfully withdraw my submission.” The “editor” put up a fight, but I was determined. He finally agreed not to use the essay, but I’ll never know if he was true to his word. I have no idea if the anthology was ever published.

    I finally discovered resources out there to help protect writers from scams. Angela Hoy’s “Writer’s Weekly,” is a great place to check out the legitimacy of these so-called “opportunities.” Sometimes just doing a web search on the publication, contest, anthology, whatever, will bring up clues to steer you away from submitting. I finally learned to trust my instincts, be a little more skeptical, and check things out before I submit.

  8. 8 Cath September 29, 2007 at 10:16 am

    I don’t know if I’ve ever been outright scammed…on the other hand, I think I may need to speak up for myself when it comes to being paid for my work.

    Unfortunately, I have heard too many horror stories about self-publishing. I know, I know; there are legit folks in the self-publishing biz but I think you have to be vewy, vewy careful (not sure why I needed Elmer Fudd to make that point).

  9. 9 Kathleen E September 29, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I have been very fortunate not to have gotten scammed during the fifty-plus years I have been writing. But I hear about it from members of my writing group and I occasionally see it in action…someone not doing their homework and paying through the nose to self-publish or someone paying to be eligible for an award, something of that nature.

    The really sad part is that these people aren’t inclined to listen to advice from experienced writers.

  10. 10 Rose September 29, 2007 at 10:43 am

    I hate to admit I’ve been scammed. I like to think I’m a little more street savvy than that. I tried out one of those paid posting gigs. The problem was that the word “paid” never materialized. I realized soon enough that it wasn’t legit and got out of it. But it was a good lesson. I didn’t do my research and I didn’t value my writing and time enough. I didn’t think I had enough time to do “real” writing, so I thought I would just try to make a few quick bucks. Now I try to have patience and squeeze longer projects into my few free moments. The experience was not a total loss. As a writer you can always use any experience – good or bad. And it gave me a unique peek into some interesting subcultures.

  11. 11 LauraE September 29, 2007 at 11:31 am

    I was invited by the Alviogut [meaning “good works” in Romanian] Foundation to join other writers from around the world in Romania for a Writers Cultural Exchange Program. “Participants will enjoy meetings with Romanian artists, conferences about Romanian art, tours of old castles, visits to museums and more.”

    I knew the first day this trip wouldn’t be what I expected. The Exchange Program representatives were upset about how the previous week went with the first group of writers. They apparently had “run out of money” and the writers had “unreasonable expectations.” One of the men in charge drank pints of vodka while touring with us, and chided those of us who didn’t share the drink with him getting upset at the drop of a hat. I was asked to pick up the tab for a lunch of 15 people when the money ran out on our trip. But you might not believe this…I would do it all again. While I did feel nervous even scared sometimes, the unexpected situations ended up being the most memorable. I talked with Romanian writers and poets, toured a high school in Suceava and spoke to a class there. The kids spoke such perfect English I thought they were from the San Fernando Valley. I toured painted monasteries and watched artisans make Marginea pottery. It was unnerving to be on a writer’s exchange so far away from home when the people in charge seemed unstable. In the end it all worked out and I was treated very well, for the most part. There definitely was a cultural exchange. I came to appreciate our group leaders in the end realizing how much they were trying to accomplish with so little resources available to them.

  12. 12 Melissa September 29, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve never been scammed. Never even heard any really good scam stories. But I do tend to steer clear of any “send us cash to read your manuscript” type offers– especially coming from sources I’ve never heard of. So I guess that’s my current scam-avoidance method… I suspect there may be a more comprehensive approach!

  13. 13 Besu September 29, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    When I was a teenager (thereabouts 1996), I used to write poetry. I sent out my poems, and lo and behold I was thrilled when I was chosen to be published at Sparrowgrass and the International Society of Poets (the predecessor of poetry.com). My mom was willing to pay the $80 per book for publication, because, after all, my work would be in a book with an honest-to-goodness ISBN. When the books finally arrived, I was horrified my the contents. Most of the poems were drivel, including submissions from 4th graders and religious poems that could have been written by vegetables. It was a major blow to my pride, and I soon realized they must accept every poem until they get a book full.

    My mom does still has the books, but they aren’t anything that we show off! (Cileface, you chose wisely in not buying anything.)

  14. 14 Tiffani September 29, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    After I wrote for a sports Web site last year who wanted all rights, I learned my lesson. I took a look at the columns I wrote and am disappointed in myself for letting them go so easily. Some of them were really good. 🙂

    That wasn’t really a scam because I knew up front there was no pay for all rights. But it sure feels like a scam now that I know better.

    Thanks!

  15. 15 Karrie September 29, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    I think I fell victim to the same thing that Cileface did. I honestly can’t remember because I blocked it out. What I do remember is that two of my students have fallen vicim to the same thing. I teach English as a second language to adults and one dear elderly man from Vietnam was pulled into the poetry.com scene. I tried to warn him without putting down his writing — not easy to do. He even gave me one of those coffee table books as a parting gift from my class. I have kept it on my shelf at work to remind myself to be vigilant and to protect other writers whenever I have the chance. What a great book idea Jenna Glatzer had!

  16. 16 Darren Lipman September 29, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    I have never been the brunt of a scam, although I must admit that I have allowed others to take advantage of my kindness and willingness to help others, often to the extent of losing time to write for myself.

    I’ve also witnessed a couple people dear to me fall for the scam of poetry.com, though (despite my initial wariness of the website) before I realised what was going on, it was too late to get the money back. Having seen it first-hand, though, I’ve definitely become more conscious of my own writing and where I will submit it. I make use of resources such as Writers’ Market and the Practicing Writer to decide where (and if) I want to submit something, and thus far I’ve been well taken care of. And for that, I sincerely thank all those who have taken the time to watch out for others and educate them about these horrible scams.

  17. 17 Renee Roberson September 29, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    I am happy to say I’ve never been scammed, but I could see easily how it could happen to any writer desperate to get published and looking for clips. There are so many writers (myself included at times!) who are just starting out and are unsure of their talent and skills. They may think they need to take writing aptitude tests or enter writing/poetry contests to get experience and gain exposure, but the bottom line is, a writer should never pay to have her own work published.

    I will say that I pitched an article to a local parenting publication about a year ago. The editor responded that she liked the idea but they hadn’t had to pay any of the writers yet for articles. She wrote a lot of them and some of the others were advertorial-type pieces. I offered to write the article for free because it was a popular and good-looking publication, and I was just starting out and wanted the clip. But, the editor agreed to let me retain all rights to the piece, so I thought it was a pretty fair barter.

  18. 18 Shawn September 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    I did get scammed a little, but it was probably my fault. I wrote a story for an online, nationally known Web site, that was assigned, and the editors never paid me for it, followed up and I am not sure if it was published or not. Again, I should have stayed on top of the game, but I was so unknown to the world of publishing at that time that I didn’t know better. I should have signed a contract first and yada yada yada. I don’t think that the site is a sham in anyway, but that I made mistakes by not taking my writing profession more seriously and asking for a contract, etc. I think when your gut says something isn’t right here, then you should always listen to that. A mother’s intuition, right?

  19. 19 Lorraine September 29, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    I guess, as a new writer, I could be an easy target for a shark. And I often tend to be trusting and (maybe overly) optomistic. Those tend to be some of my finer points in other situations. I would suppose that this author is speaking from personal experience, and maybe the experience of her friends and collegues. I tend to get my best information from other moms and collegues. It is day 29 after all!

  20. 20 Mar Junge September 29, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    I was hired to ghostwrite the biography of a famous dancer. I gave my client a price that was about half the going rate because I wanted an “as told to” with my name on the cover, below hers of course, and a share in the profits of the sale of the book and any future adaption for the screen. Since I was handling the publishing and marketing, I knew it would be profitable. Everything was going fantastic. She loved the first chapter. And the second. And the third. Then I didn’t hear from her for awhile and invoices were past due. I called and emailed and finally got payment. But apparently someone in her organization gave the manuscript to her Intellectual Property lawyers to review.They returned my contract (which she had never signed, by the way) changed it to make me a “work for hire” writer with no right to any profits and no credit on the cover. If I had known that was the arrangement she wanted, I would have charged twice as much. I stopped work on the project. The book has never been written. Such a shame, because it was and still is a captivating story. This wasn’t a scam. But it taught me to never start work until the contract is signed.

  21. 21 Heather M. September 29, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I have not been subject to a writing scam. I have been fortunate in that the few times I have been published I knew the publications before I submitted my writing. One of the reasons I haven’t branched out is because I am afraid to get sucked into a bad deal. I look forward to reading this book and I think it would be a great addition to my new section on writing in my library. 🙂

  22. 22 Chris September 29, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I once had a very small-term project where I was told I would get paid, but the publisher put it off until I was forced to start threatening legal action. They were a start-up, but that’s the chance you take. I’m much more mindful of those Craig’s List ads and other writing opportunities where you can’t find contact information or reliable references. It’s a shady world out there, and I’m glad Jenna’s there to help vet it for us!

    By the way, this is the first I’m hearing of her new baby…congrats, Jenna! I’ve written for AbsoluteWrite before, so I couldn’t be happier that she’s joined our clan. That’s “Absolutely” great news! 🙂

  23. 23 Mary Jo September 29, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    My oldest son is a writer–and a good one. (Nearly as good as his Mama! 🙂 ) He finished his first novel (#1 in a trilogy) the day before he turned 16. He’s now in the process of major revisions, since he started it at age 11 and his writing style has grown up a little over that time. 🙂

    Anyways, several years ago, he had written some poetry, and we found an ad in one of my writing magazines for a contest that he wanted to enter. My husband and I agreed to let him do it. Surprise! One day, he got a letter in the mail telling him the good news that his poem was selected for an anthology book, yada, yada…

    That was our introduction to vanity publishing… Unfortunately, my son couldn’t fully understand our reluctance to pay the $40 or $50 to get the book with his poem in it. I started having flashbacks to my own youth, when I wanted to do things that sounded so wonderful, but my parents (who were so much wiser than I knew at the time) said, “No.” And I knew some day my son would thank us…


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