I get really, really tired of writing about writing scams — I used to cover them extensively on my writing blog, but there are so many I can’t keep track. (Writer Beware does a good job of alerting writers to scammers.)
Publishers pay YOU, you don’t pay them
This should go without saying, but if you’re a new writer, remember: THEY PAY YOU — you don’t PAY anyone to publish your work.
One particular scammer has turned into an industry on his own. Making Light: Robert Fletcher, Literary Scammer, Part II says about this devil:
“One of the chief points against Fletcher-the-Agent (New York Literary Agency, Writerâ€™s Literary Agency, Childrenâ€™s Literary Agency, Poets Literary Agency, etc. etc.) was that he demonstrably couldnâ€™t sell books to publishers. But if he owned a publisherâ€¦.
The difference between Strategic Book Publishing and Eloquent Books is this: Strategic Book Publishing pretends to be a â€˜traditionalâ€™ publisherâ€”no fees to the authorâ€”provided the author agrees to buy five copies per week at full retail price. Eloquent Books, on the other hand, pretends to be a â€˜joint ventureâ€™ publisher, where the author and the publisher each put up half of the cost. But since Eloquent Books authors typically send Fletcher (under one or another of his names) a thousand bucks plus in advance, itâ€™s clear that theyâ€™re paying the whole freight plus a nice profit for Fletcher.”
He’s one among many scammers. You can avoid them all, if you remember this one, very simple point: publishers pay you. You don’t pay them. Nor do you pay agents.