A word to the wise for those who are writers or plan on becoming one in the future.
For the most part, my posts on this blog have been related to my work and the work of others: reviews, updates, and promotion of my work and the work of my fellow writers. There have been a few commentaries on my experiences in writing and I will admit there probably needs to be more. While I am far from an expert on how to get published or just in the craft of writing, I have learned a few things along the way and continue to learn new things every day.
One thing in particular that I have learned is that there are so many people out there who genuinely care for one another in the writing community. They may make their living writing, editing, publishing, doing formatting…or they may be doing it more as a sideline-hobby/passion/dream of making it big someday (most of us are like that, in fact), or they are fans of the different genres: horror, science fiction, fantasy, bizarro, etc who have dreams of getting more involved down the road-maybe making movies, writing, creating their own publishing company, or something else. They pour their blood, sweat, and tears into what they do, and care about it enough to make sure they do the best job possible-not just for themselves, but for everyone else who is relying on them. Social media has allowed pretty much everyone to share their thoughts, connect, and join in the conversation with a very wide ranging community that is all over the globe. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of different people. Not just about writing, but about the business side of things-what it takes to get a book out there, how to promote your work, how do you hook up with filmmakers, etc. I’ve been lucky because I’ve associated myself with people who not only care about what they do, but they behave in a very professional manner.
But you hear stories now and again about someone who steals stories from other authors and claims them to be their own, or publishers who refuse to pay the artists for the work they put out there. It is unfortunate, but the people who share their experiences and send out warnings pave the way for the rest of us to be able to avoid the same pitfalls, and because of that, we all are grateful to these brave souls. Sometimes the lessons are more simple, such as avoiding getting provoked by a review of your work that you disagree with. Tales of woe for authors abound on this front.
This brings me to the main topic of this post. Yesterday, I saw two separate warnings posted on Facebook from two separate authors, both of which are fairly new to being published. Quite a few people have since shared their information with everyone on Twitter and Facebook that they know, and I am joining their ranks. As some of you know, I tend to keep my opinions to myself beyond of the topic of the writing I do or someone else’s work…and when I do comment on anything anyone else does, I do my best to be constructive and professional about it. I have avoided more flammable topics, but for right now, I feel it’s important that I share these two tales with anyone who reads my blog. Take away from them what you will. It is my hope that what has happened to these two writers doesn’t have to happen to anyone else because of what they’ve shared.
The first post is from horror author Alyn Day.
The second is from author Mandy De Geit.
I think it is fair to share these blog posts with the world, as I think it would also be fair for me to share any rebuttals that the publisher has to offer to either or both of these authors, if I hear of one in the future. Because there is always two sides to the story, and even with the information shared above, I would be curious to see what response there may be to these accusations. It is a shame when things like this happen. But as so many others have said and I have as well, the fact that this information was shared makes all of us the wiser and more prepared as writers going forward with our efforts.
So always be alert and concerned about what is going on around you as a writer. Find out as much as you can about a editor, a publisher, and everyone else involved in working with you before you hand your pride and joy over to them. Just as you expect a mechanic to be trained to work on cars and a doctor to have a medical degree before you let them tell you to bend over and cough, you should know the history of who you are looking to work with in advance of agreeing to anything. But if you do end up making a mistake (and we all have, on many different occasions), don’t hesitate to share with others, so they can learn and avoid those same mistakes.