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     The novel is finished. You’re excited for someone other than Mom to read it. You have tried for over a year to get an agent (which you probably don’t need anyway), and so you’re going to strike out on your own.
     You try all of the big boys, and they tell you to get an agent. What do they know?
     Next, you start on the smaller publishers. Hmmm…they tell you get an agent. You chew the edge of your lip, but remember clearly that Mom loved it. So what do they know either?
     Finally! A publisher…a traditional publisher (they say so on their site) wants your work. You are in the top 4, 5, or 6% of all of the submissions they get. (You stop worrying about all of the typos and wrong word choices, their editor is going to fix this, right?) They tell you how absolutely amazing the novel is. THEY will create your cover. THEY will edit your work. THEY will do what is necessary to get the word out. THEY absorb all of the cost of production.
     Only one small thing. You MUST work with their marketing team. And that will cost you $5000.
$5000.00?!? I don’t have that kind of money. That’s why I’m writing…to get rich!
     But good news here, you can actually buy a bunch of your books at a discount, and they’d like you to purchase at least one thousand of them to show good faith in wanting to get this published.
     Oh, and by the way, the contract also states that you MAY NOT share any information in it with ANYONE! No one but you should ever see it. And they assure you this is industry standard.
     Have you seen any red flags yet?
     There are NO SHORTCUTS in the publishing industry. If you choose to self-publish, then self-publish, but don’t pay for the privilege with a press that is there only to take money from unsuspecting authors who simply want to be validated.
     Is validation worth $5000? How about going to a conference for under $1000 and learning the industry…better. Learning how to write…better. Learning the ins and outs…better. Go to online classes from reputable organizations and LEARN YOUR CRAFT! Join writing organizations for less than $100 a year and learn from their authors.
     Find a critique group who will give you honest feedback. Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite. Then, and only then, start looking for an agent again.
     Be wary and remember. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
     BE WISE in your dealings as an author. Don’t be taken in by those who would tell you what you want to hear.
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