Ravaged Writer

Writing has always been my passion.  I love being able to connect with people through the gift of words.  However, the journey to becoming a published author is anything but easy.

Much like a college graduate, I entered the publishing arena wide-eyed and ready to put the work in to see my dreams come true.  Upon doing a Google search for publishing companies, I came across Trafford Publishing.  I quickly filled out their online form and submitted my collection of poetry for consideration.

Imagine my excitement when I received an e-mail from Trafford stating that my poetry was wonderful and exactly what they were looking for.  I was sent a contract to sign with the promise of grand things to come.

For some reason, $1,000 didn’t seem like a large price to pay at the time.  My book was published and actually turned out well.  It can be found on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com and is available on Kindle and Nook.  However, I was constantly hounded by foreign speaking employees trying to get me to spend thousands of dollars more on marketing packages.

Needless to say, I cut ties with them immediately.  Now, I am left with a box full of my books and the occasional $1.00 royalty check.

I have now written my first children’s book entitled “Priceless Penny.”  This tells the amazing adoption journey of my three-legged dog, Penny.

Once again, I took to Google to help me find the perfect publisher.  I soon discovered Tate Publishing.  My dreams of being a successful author were rekindled.  I could have my very own book trailer…if I was willing to spend the money.

I signed the contract with my head in the clouds, making my dreams appear closer than ever.  While I certainly thought that the $4,000 Tate was asking for was steep, the fact that they were so willing to create a payment plan option for me put my mind at ease.

Thankfully, I began reading some comments from my fellow authors and friends on Goodreads.  I soon found out that both Trafford and Tate Publishing are whats known as “vanity publishers.”  Essentially, these are companies that will literally publish ANYTHING as long as they receive payment.  Luckily, I was only $150 in when I cancelled my contract with Tate.

Like any hopeful author, I began to tirelessly send out over 120 query letters.  Rejection after rejection came pouring in.  Until one day, I received a letter from Martin-McLean Literary Agency, LLC.  My manuscript had been accepted for representation!

I did research the company on Predators and Editors and found that most of the complaints dealt with the fact that the potential authors’ manuscripts had not been accepted.  One author complained that the publishing company that the agency had secured a contract for him/her “wasn’t big enough.”

I honestly felt like the complaints had no merit.  With the contract signed, my faith in humanity was restored.  I did not mind paying $52 a month to have submission packets mailed to potential publishers.  Most recently, I received a letter from the agency informing me of the Book Expo America.

For $300, the literary agent would attend the conference and speak with at least 30 publishers.  Like Jillian Michaels says, “You need to take risks.”  So, I sent in my confirmation letter.  But, something didn’t feel right about it.  Why should I have to pay my agent to attend a conference that could possibly guarantee him/her a cut of my profits?

I decided to ask the Goodreads gurus.  They informed me that this is most certainly not the norm.  Once again, I had been duped.  I am greatly frustrated that such people/companies exist.  With all of the information on the Internet, how does one know who or what to believe? 

I have still not given up on my dream of becoming a successful author.  I am now a full fledged member of the SCBWI, which my Goodreads friends have assured me are legit.  Hopefully, fourth time’s the charm.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Ravaged Writer

  1. I too find myself frustrated in my endeavor for an agent. Who’d have thought it be so hard. I too spent tons of money on Vanity Publishers before knowing what they are. And yes, I signed with Trafford. It’s remarkable how reading your blog, it was like taking a mirror and reflecting on my past five year journey to attain an agent, re-master my manuscript to fit their liking. It’s an exhaustive trek but hard work eventually pays off….right? Lol

    • Thank you so much for letting me know that I am not the only one! Lately, I have been beating myself up for being “taken” so many times. I began to think that I was truly gullible when the fact is, unless you know an ready established author who is willing to give you guidance, it is pretty much a solitary learning experience. We have to wade through thousands of websites and try to decifer who is legit and who is not. I am hoping that I am on the right track now. I suppose that time will tell….

      • I’ve recently been watching Youtube videos that are from Literary Agents themselves discussing what they look for, how you should go about constructing your queries, and other guidance tools to help aid you in snagging an agent. There is a website that is strictly for legit agents seeking to represent authors on the exclusive level that you and I seem to be endeavoring. The website is aaronline.org and it has tons of REAL agents on there. It was the closest I’ve ever gotten to acquiring an agent. She asked for sample pages and everything…unfortunately my work wasn’t what she was looking for but it was the FIRST so,so yes I received so I’m hoping there is more luck to come from this site. I would also recommend going to YouTube in typing in LIterary Agent Advice and see where help can be had. Every day I’m trying to improve this query process. After all, all it takes is one YES.

  2. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful advice! I had no idea that YouTube housed such valuable information. I think that you and I have the passion and drive to reach our lofty goals. Please, keep me posted on your progress and good luck!

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