The Internet is great—for the most part. Aside from the frauds, scams, and lies that seem to populate the Internet in mass numbers, the Internet is an awesome tool because most writers use it on a daily basis. Navigating this minefield is tricky though. These are things you need to look out for.
- First the world is filled with tons of misinformation. Sometimes the truth is bent slightly while other times what seems to be genuine information turns out to be a complete fabrication. Always, always, always ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?” If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Learn to dispel myths, detect lies, and determine what is real and what is not.
- Next beware of contest scams. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing contest and competitions. It’s what I started out doing in the beginning before I started a blog. I still send my work into credible, trust-worthy contests occasionally, usually at the end of the month or when I have free time. But I’ll digress no further. Some contests are absolute scams so check out the contest beforehand. Ask yourself: who or what is in charge of the contest? Are there clear rules? Is the language vague or ambiguous? Who’s judging and are these judges qualified? Is there a reasonable prize? Before you decide to submit your work anywhere, read the FINE PRINT. Know what’s in store. Know what you’re getting into. Don’t just blindly jump out of the airplane with your eyes closed without a parachute. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Above all else, consider whether entering the contest is even worth it before you pay a hefty entry fee to find out you’ve been scammed, ripped off, cheated, lied to, tricked, deceived.
- Be wary of people without qualifications. Simply put, don’t hire or work with somebody without proper qualifications. Professional agents, editors, and publishers will have qualifications, an education of some sort, references from people they’ve worked with in the past, testimonials from real people, etc. It’s nothing personal. It’s business. If you don’t trust them, don’t hire them. When in doubt, get out. Fast.
- People promising quick, get-rich solutions. There is no miracle, no magic way to publish 10 books, gain 10,00 followers, earn 100,000 dollars except through hard work. Anyone who promises you will get rich fast is lying through their teeth. Life doesn’t hand you success on a silver platter. You need to work for it.
- Careful anytime someone asks for your money. Professional writers should get paid to be published. You shouldn’t have to pay anyone to get published. So when someone says, “HEY, PAY ME A HUNDRED DOLLARS TO GET PUBLISHED!” You know you’re in for trouble.
Be smart, work hard. Find out the truth, be as educated as possible, question the suspicious, seek out facts, and protect yourself. Don’t let this happen to you. Look at everything through a magnifying glass. Seriously.