Hey Gorgeous! Or How to Know When You Need a Shovel

Have you ever had this happen to you? You’re walking in the mall or on the street and someone stops you and says, “Wow, you’re really attractive. You could be a model.” or “There is something about you that caught my eye, have you ever considered acting?”

You blush and say you’d always envisioned your name in lights or that you’d once had a supporting role in your elementary school production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. This flatterer nods his head and listens then hands you his card and starts telling you that stardom awaits. He begs you to call him as soon as possible.

When you reach home you can hardly contain your excitement, but you’re a sensible adult so you check out his references and they all come out fine. So you set up an appointment. You decide to meet in a coffee shop (you’re too smart to fall into that seedy hotel trap) and the flatterer is just as nice as ever. You discuss your future and all the success it holds…there’s just one thing. You need professional photos.

You suggest a few places that will do that, but your new friend brushes them aside and tells you how the modeling/acting business is really run. They’ll take care of everything. You just need to pay a couple hundred dollars and all your dreams will come true…

Fade out.

Now of course this scam has many guises and has broken the hearts of thousands of people who dreamed of being models and actors, but this industry isn’t the only one crawling with people ready to separate naïve people with their hard earned money.

Unfortunately, these scum—excuse me—scam artists are also lurking in the writing/publishing pool ready for their next prey: aspiring authors desperate to get published. Don’t feel bad if you’ve been burned already. You cry, you wipe your eyes, you start again—you’re stronger now.

I admit it (with only residual bitterness) at thirteen I fell for one of those poetry anthology schemes and lost some valuable pocket money, however, what I lost doesn’t compare to the large sums many adults lose. Naïve writers can get scammed by publishers, book doctors, agents, critique services and anyone with an idea of how to sell a dream.

You can’t enter the publishing business with stardust in your eyes, it will make you blind.
You don’t need to pay anyone to get published (unless you decide to publish yourself and in that case you you’ll really need a shovel for some of the scams ready for you.)

Please do your research and don’t let anyone flatter you out of your good senses. Here’s an easy exercise to help you know when to use a shovel to help you make your way through the…ahem…excrement out there. Flip through the classifieds of writing magazines. The stink could make your eyes water.

Here is an article called How Not to Get Burned

Read it and learn. I hope it will save you a lot of heart ache.

5 Responses to “Hey Gorgeous! Or How to Know When You Need a Shovel”

  1. Thank you for the great advice! I have a friend who got burned….it’s horrible the way people will take advantage!

    by Diane Pollock on September 1st, 2007 at 6:16 pm

  2. Food for thought!

    by JOYE on September 4th, 2007 at 5:34 pm

  3. This happens every day in just about every big city in our country. How many, many starlets get burned and their dreams crushed. Of course this is not as bad as someone finding their body laying in some dark alley or in the back woods someplace. Maybe if more people were to read this their will be less “missing ” persons in the world.
    Love the start of the book.

    by Nyla Thompson on September 4th, 2007 at 8:48 pm

  4. I had no idea…
    Thank you for this invaluable information, Dara.

    by Melissa L. on September 12th, 2007 at 11:10 am

  5. It’s good of you, as a professional author to let some of us budding writers in on the real facts and real life possibilities. Thanks for being so open about the real world of writing and the chances to take and not to take in those early days. It seems there is always someone, somewhere ready to burst that bubble!

    by Sally Lincoln on September 13th, 2007 at 7:55 pm

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