A recent post here, one describing Velda Brotherton's finding a means of publishing her creative nonfiction book as quickly as possible -- the book is titled Fly with the Mourning Dove -- so that it could be taken in hand by an elderly relative, has stirred response from IWW members who felt some people reading Velda's story might come away with misconceptions about PublishAmerica, Inc., the publisher involved.
There are two things worth noting:
- The disclaimer in the right-hand column, which has been there since the earliest days of the blog. It's there because I know that I am fallible.
- "I did not intend to endorse PA, nor do I think I did," Velda wrote me when I informed her of my intent to post this note. She continued, "I only meant to explain why I chose to use them."
I'm in the midst of my own quest to publish a book, one that is presently being read by a university press. It's an enterprise I've undertaken holding tightly onto two gems of folk wisdom.
There are many people -- and many organizations -- on this mortal coil intent on misdeeds. As we encounter these villains them, we are ultimately responsible for our own welfare.
- "If you want a helping hand, you'll find it at the end of your arm."
- "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so."
There are crooked agents. There are crooked editors. There are crooked publishers. There are crooked business managers.
Smart writers know that, and proceed cautiously. Smart writers realize they alone are responsible for preserving their rights, for careful examination of an agent's credentials, and for understanding the tiniest details within any publishing contract.
In this virtual world, it seems as if there are no secrets. A sophisticated writer uses the Web to cross-check and double-check those things that can help or hurt publishing success.
Even beginning with a simple Google search query incorporating the name of an agent, editor, or publisher, the plus sign, and keywords like "recommendation" or "complaints" or "scam" will return sufficient hits to begin a thorough investigation. And that's only the start for a writer who does not want to be scammed.
Another place to gather information is -- Preditors and Editors. It's "a resource ... intended as a simple compendium for the serious writer, composer, game designer, or artist to consult for information, regardless of genre."
Finally, the IWW blog strives to be a viable, active forum, and it's open to ideas from any IWW member.
We who run the blog have our own interests -- and our own foibles -- but we want the blog to work for The Internet Writing Workshop, its present members, and its prospective members.
If you know about agents, editors, and publishers, if you've had a good experience or a bad one (one you can discuss without risking libel), this blog and the IWW's Writing Discussion List can be valuable forums to share, or to gain, worthwhile knowledge.