Monday, April 07, 2008

Helping P&E Help Writers

Over the years, I have visited Predators & Editors and gained insightful tips and information about the writing world. P&E, touted as "a guide to publishers and writing services for serious writers" has been a hotspot for sharing information for writers since 1997.

P&E has also been known for helping alert writers to scams and less than scrupulous people in the publishing industry. Unfortunately there's not shortage of "businesses" and people out there who are willing to prey upon beginning writers

The first of which I recall encountering (well before P&E existed to warn writers of such places) was one of those giant poetry anthologies where you can submit to for a chance to win a grand prize of X dollars of cash. Of course, perhaps one or two people do get the cash, but over 500 writers poems are "selected" as runners up to be in the book -- and you can't buy the book through any bookstores, but the "publisher" sells the book directly for $100. Thus, your claim to becoming a published author comes with a $100 charge. And this "book publisher" walks away with thousands of dollars from unsuspecting first time writers.

For one particular poetry anthology like this I wanted to test out the thought that it was just an attempt to get beginning writers to buy a book that featured their work. I wrote the equivalent of a "grocery list" poem -- packaged it and submitted it to the anthology. The poem was purposely written as a piece of crap. Lo and beyond, I was sent a congratulatory letter telling me I was a runner-up and my poem was slated to appear in the anthology. And I could order the book for a mere $100. Because I was also a bookseller, I contacted this "publisher" from the bookstore, asking if I could order the book in. Most publishers sell to bookstores and offer them some sort of discount off retail. When I contacted them they informed me that they didn't sell through bookstores, didn't offer a bookstore discount and sold directly to consumers. Which confirmed, in my mind, the scam.

Through the 90's I recall having countless numbers of first time poets come into the bookstores I worked at wondering if we could order in the book they'd been published in. More often than not, it was from a similar "sell direct" publisher.

Of course, this was before the internet and the concept of selling direct to consumers. But with the explosion of places that sell direct to consumers in the past 10 years, it's tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. Which is why having a place like P&E is good.

P&E has helped share and alert such scams in the hopes of preventing further beginning authors (and sometimes experienced authors) from falling prey to such "business models."

Of course, not all of them are actual "scams" - in many cases, there's nothing illegal going on and it's just a really shrewd "business model" that takes advantage of the fragile egos of innocent writers.

So when a call went out asking if writers would be willing to contribute stories to an anthology that would help raise funds and benefit P&E, I sent them a story.

And I'm delighted to announce that my story "Distractions" will be appearing in HELP! An anthology of horror, fantasy and SF benefiting Predators & Editors.

Now just check out that cool cover design by Daniele Serra.

Edited by Craig Phillips, the anthology will feature a huge list of talented folks from across the speculative genres and whom I'm delighted to appear alongside. The authors whose work will be appearing in HELP! are listed below:

A J Brown
Aaron Gudmunson
Alice Loweecey
Benjamin Bussey
Brian Knight
Brian Yount
Cassandra Lee
Catherine J. Gardner
Christopher Conlon
Christopher Treaugus
Colin Harvey
D.W. Green
Darrel Joyce
Dave Rex
David Mohan
Dominic McDonagh
Douglas E. Wright
Ellen Meister
Eric Christ
Eric Enck
Eric Smetana
Garry Charles
Gary Braunbeck
George Taylor
Gustavo Bondoni
Guy Anthony De Marco
Helen Taylor
J. Travis Grundon
Jeff Parish
Jenny Orosel
Jeremy Zoss
JG Faherty
Jill Elaine Hughes
Jimmy Gillentine & Donnete Smith
John Grover
Joseph Mcgee
Karen L Newman
Ken Goldman
Kevin L O’brien
Kevin Macleod
Lisa Cavalear
Lisa Morton
Marcie Lynn Choff
Mari Adkins
Marie Pacha
Mark Boss
Mark Leslie
Mark Tullius
Martin Owton
Matthew Pierce
Mellisa Mead
Michael A. Beoudry
Michael R. Colangelo
Monica J O’rourke
Natalie L. Sin
Paul Freeman
Peadar O Guilan
R. Scott McCoy
Randy Chandler
Rick Taubod
Sally Quilford
Sara Creasy
Sheryl Nantus
Stephen Mark Rainey
Steve Dean
Terrie Leigh Relf
Tim Deal
William Blake Vogel III
William Bulen

"Distractions" which is a cautionary tale about the unquestioning worship that can occur with a bestselling cult-like self-help author's books, first appeared in the World Fantasy Con 2001 CD-Rom anthology edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and was reprinted in One Hand Screaming in 2004. I'm delighted for it to be reprinted in Help! for such a good cause.

1 comment:

lime said...

i like that the tale you sent is sort of a caution against a scam and slated for an anthology for a group helping folks avoid scams . rock on.