Friday, February 5, 2010

The Cult - Writer Beware

Posted by LD Keach on Friday, February 5, 2010

Feeling low? Downtrodden? Weighed down by the unbearable heaviness that is the Writer’s Toil? Well, you’re not alone.

You’re really, really not alone, because there are thousands upon thousands of people out there who have taken up the masochistic banner. They've made it their passion to pour their soul on the page and bleed into every word they write. These poor, quivering masses salivating for publication, striving and sweating at the keyboard, all chanting the same thing in tandem; Dear Editor, I am submitting…Dear Editor, I am submitting…

There’s so many of us, we could easily summon Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep at once. I guess it’s lucky for the world that we just want to write.

In this feature, we’ll be exploring some of those off-shoot sects in The Cult of Writing, places where the dregs of the literary world collect, swarm together; our secret clubhouses and underground dark rooms. Great mysteries of the publishing worlds are whispered here. All you need is the secret handshake.

Well, all you really need is an internet browser.

The first Cult item we’ll be exploring is a resource that absolutely no writer—of horror, sci fi, non-fiction or otherwise—should live without:

The Writer Beware Blog.

Writer’s Beware is a facet of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, through their Committee on Writing Scams. They’re also supported by the Mystery Writers of America guild, but I’m not sure why every single writer’s guild isn’t already on this awesome bandwagon. (And, just why is it all the cool stuff started by the SFWA again? The disembodied brain of Robert Heinlein! Didn't I tell you...!)

Anyway, the Writer’s Beware Blogs heralds and documents known scams that prey on writers—shady subsidy presses, con artist agents, predatory print on demand schemes, and lots of other nasty folk out to steal writers’ money.

Not only that, but it’s a fun read, too.

So, before any of us submit a manuscript to an agent, we should check Writer Beware. Before we think about contacting a publishing house about their special “$2.99 per copy” deal, we should check Writer Beware. Before we even consider using a critique service or hiring an editor or handing anyone money or even stepping out of our front door in the morning—we should check Writer Beware.

Because we’re all in this together, now. And, when one of our ranks fall to these bloodthirsty con artists, that’s one less soul to be harvested to slake Great Cthulhu’s hunger. (And we can’t have our dark lords going hungry, can we?)