August 13, 2012

Q+A: If they ask for money, it's a scam

» Ask Me Anything!

Linneus asked: How do I know who to trust and who's ripping me off? (regarding agents and publishers) Do I pay to have my book published, or does someone else? How does it work?

(Off topic: I love your name for reasons I can't say publicly b/c of NWS-ness lol)

Research. Research, research, research. There are a lot of sites out there that list disreputable publishers/agents and give great advice on how to spot a scam.

But since you asked me, here's my simple answer: if they ask you for money, it's a scam.

A reputable agent would never require a reading fee. Nor would s/he require payment for editing services, either from him/herself or a third party. A legitimate publisher would not require you to pay or "invest" money in publishing your book (that's what vanity publishers do). Similarly, they shouldn't require you to pay to get it "professionally edited." Money should always flow TOWARD you, and your agent gets paid when you do, typically 15%.

Note that those agent examples are not the same as an agent suggesting you might benefit from getting more opinions on your work. But I WOULD be leery if the agent directed you to a specific editor-for-hire.

That's all I've got. If there's anything you guys would like to add, please comment :)

August 6, 2012

Q+A: Manuscripts and Beta Readers

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Emily asked: How polished should a manuscript be before you send it to beta readers?

As I'm sure you already know because you guys are pretty darn awesome, many of these questions are the sort where the answers change depending on who you ask. Writing advice, like writing itself, is subjective. Take what you like, what you agree with, and discard everything else ♥

For me, I bring in the beta readers after my critique partners have taken their axes to it, and I've finished revisions based on their feedback.

In fandom, betas were synonymous with critique partners so it took a while for me to figure out that there is somewhat of a difference (there is, right? *cough*) between the two. From what I've come to understand, CPs go after just about anything (and I love that they do!), while most beta readers will look at the big picture, the final product, and pick out the inconsistencies and poorly paced areas.

Of course, that changes as well depending on the people involved.

Actually, you know what? IGNORE EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE.

How polished a manuscript should be before sending it to your beta readers should be established between you and your beta readers. I'm pretty sure it changes with each and every writer/beta reader, so... find out what works for you, and go with that :)


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