Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Scary Story for Young Writers...Gather 'Round

Lemme tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, there was a very ignerrent newbie writer. We'll just call At any rate, Celina had written the NGGN (next great genre novel, duh) and was just starting to poke around the internet looking for what she should do next.

(Did I add that she was pain-pill befuddled after two years of excruciating back pain? No? Well I digress. To continue...)

Just because it SEEMED SO EASY, she contacted a few agents via their online information. You know, sent out a couple of query letters and synopses (which were faithfully reproduced from sample ones online at great places like Absolute Write and Editors and Preditors) just to see what would happen.

Imagine her shock when, a few weeks later, she was contacted for a partial. Now, although most places stipulated first three chapters, this place was different. They only wanted part of one. Celina shrugged, sent it out, popped another Percocet and went back to playing Snood. I have this right? FIVE days she was contacted by an agent offering her a contract.

Oh the joy. A real, live contract. How wonderful. But....wait. She has to PAY this agent four grand? For what? Oh, it was explained to Celina meticulously.

But something didn't seem quite right.

Armed with more Percocet, Celina staggered back to the computer. While swilling a glass (okay--a bottle, damnit) of wine, she proceeded to do a very simple thing. She googled cris+robins+agency.

Let me repeat that. Doped up on Percocet, drunk off of wine, completely in agony (this was before my back surgery) I spent five minutes of time and googled someone--and LO AND BEHOLD-- I managed NOT to get scammed.

Now, those of you who know me are reasonably well-aware that I would NEVER send money out for any reason usually, but it was particularly true at that time. I was unable to work, we were surviving off one income, and 4 grand??? HA. But, by the same token if it would get me published...

It was tempting, Gods know it was tempting. It's equally tempting for every newly learning writer to take the easiest road and get published as quickly as possible. (Like that ever happens) And that's how the preditors find their prey--the young, the uneducated, the newbies. The ones who even, Lord help them, may be a little too disabled to make such decisions for themselves. I've been following a certain plagiarism incident which you can find out more about here.

Allow me to state for the record that someone somewhere needs to give Victoria Strauss and her compadres medals for all that they do. But I must admit--I don't get it. How could anyone possibly be that dense after all the help they received from viable and respected sources across the world???? I just don't get it. At any rate, back to the story...

So the moral of this story is, children, RESEARCH. Always research ANY move you make in regards to your intellectual property, even when (as is becoming apparent in this particular case) it's only partially your own. Because you know, hidden out there in the world of cyberpigs there's always someone who wants to take your money. What happened to Celina, you ask? Don't worry about her. She did just fine. Trust me. Just fine.


Barbara A. Barnett said...

I'm not sure which is worse: people who never use the five minutes or less it takes to find something on Google, or the people who claim to have done a lot of research yet still haven't turned up information I found within the first ten hits I got after Googling the subject.

mscelina said...

yep. it's not like it takes a lot of effort.

stoo-pid people.

LDahl said...

Cyberpigs! Hehehe! Love it!