This weekend, I was at a local author’s and artists event. Other than knowing I’d have five minutes to speak, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Despite the table-oriented setup, I quickly realized that it was more of a networking kind of event instead of a public-facing sales event. I didn’t want to make the common indie-author mistake of trying to sell to authors, so I spent a few minutes hashing out and reworking what I wanted to say.
I’m glad I did.
I got a little carried away – this is a topic I’m highly passionate about – but these are my notes. If you know someone who is just getting into writing and being published, this is a good place for them to start knowing what questions to ask.
And maybe it was best that there were few genre writers there. For some reason, those of us in the genre ghettos seem to be more aware of pay rates and contracts than our literary brethren.
And for those of you who were there (or are reading this now) who have been scammed, A.C. Crispin has some good advice on what to do next.
My name is Steven Saus. I pay the bills by injecting people with radioactive stuff. For the forces of good.
I am an author, with fiction, nonfiction, and poetry appearing in magazines and anthologies both online and off. I am a member in good standing of both SFWA and HWA.
I am a small publisher who focuses on anthologies – mostly genre fiction, though you might be interested in 8th Day Genesis, my worldbuilding book for writers and creatives.
I also provide publishing services, including eBook conversion, digital distribution, and more.
And that brings me to my big point.
The world of publishing is changing. And that’s good. It lets stories be heard that would otherwise be silenced. But it has a dark side – it lets lots of people call themselves publishers and prey on you – on us.
There are a lot of scammers out there. There are a lot of folks taking advantage of writers. And sometimes the scammers are even owned by the big New York houses.
As an author, this annoys me to no end because I want fair contracts and professional deals. As a publisher, it annoys me because their bad practices drag down the reputation of the rest of us.
Part of my mission statement is helping authors know what is fair. To know that you don’t have to pay a publisher to be published, and what fair rates are for publishing services.
My contract templates are online, with plain language descriptions. I talk about what’s fair on my blog, and help point people to trustworthy resources.
For example: Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors.
And questions are free. Work costs money – but questions are always free.
You do not have to pay someone else to tell your story.
Money flows toward the author.
Value flows toward the creator.