Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guest Post: Charity Bradford

I’m taking the week off from blogging (although I’ll probably still lurk around your blogs). To keep the awesomeness at full, guest bloggers are taking over my blog on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. And now, on with the show… 

Everyone, welcome Charity Bradford.

Title: Patience, Predators and Publishing

Thanks Jeanne for the opportunity to guest post. At first I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about, but then an event earlier in the month made up my mind for me. Since then, there has been one thing heavy on my mind lately.


As writers we need so much of it. It seems like the life of a writer is one big round of waiting.

  • We wait for stolen moments to type or scribble away at our novels.

  • We wait for comments from critique groups.

  • We sludge through revisions waiting for the day our novel is polished and ready to send into the world.

  • We wait for replies from agents.

  • And I don't know from experience, but I've heard that after you get an agent is just more waiting.

  • We all hope this waiting will get us somewhere, but sometimes its hard to be patient. And that's when we become susceptible to predators.

    Let me share a story with you. I have a younger brother who started writing a book this year. This is his first story, a fantasy. I've read the first three chapters and he has a lot of potential. A lot, and I'm happy for him. But he hasn't learned about patience yet.

    The first week of August he submitted his first three chapters (read only three he had) to a publisher (I don't know where he found this publisher) and two days later he received a sample contract in the mail to look over. This publisher was thrilled with his rough draft and said they would love to publish it if he could finish it by November 1st of this year and get it to them.


    I've been slaving over my baby for three solid years! Revision after revision. Round after round of critiques. Patiently taking each comment, mulling it over and then changing (or not) based on my vision for the story. And now my little bro is getting published before me a few short months after he starts writing?!!

    Wait, sorry, this isn't about me.

    *cough* Um, where was I? Oh, yeah...

    Red flags were flying around all over the place when he told me this. I've never heard of any publisher who accepts unfinished FICTION. My brother also sent me the contract to look over. Now, to my untrained eye, the ten page contract made little sense (another reason I want to catch an agent). There were a few things that rubbed me wrong, such as the royalties. They were considerably lower than some other midsize publishers that I have had contact with, but mostly it looked fine. I guess. *shrugs*

    Since I don't know everything, I started some research.A simple Google search of the company brought up all kinds of rants about their dishonesty. Then some of my other writer friends responded to my questions to them and all said the same thing about said company, "Run away!" This particular company received an F from the Better Business Bureau.

    With all this new knowledge under my belt, I had to inform my brother that he should walk away. I felt like a dream crusher. For his part, my brother handled it quite well. He has now finished three more chapters of the book and is hopefully starting to read and learn about the publishing world.

    How do you remind yourself to be patient?
    How do you research publishers or agents?
    Please share in the comments.

    Whatever it is that you do, don't give up! And don't give in. Be true to yourself and the dream that you have for your book. Whether it be traditional, mid to small publisher, or vanity publishing is up to you. In this day and age its all good! Just take your time. Do your research and make sure you understand what you're getting into.

    Wouldn't it be awful to find that you've lost all rights to the story you bled over for years?

    Here are some helpful links that I've used quite often:

    • The Better Business Bureau--clickable for US or Canada. Simply type the name of the publisher in the search engine. Click Here for the publisher talked about above.

    • How a Book Gets Published by Nathan Bransford--This is from 2009, but not THAT much has changed about the industry. While we are with Nathan, here are some other great links.

    • Publishing Glossary, for all those terms you might not be sure about.

    • Writer Beware Blog--new to me, but look who's headlining August 18th. The very same publisher my brother almost fell prey to.

    • Talk to others and see what their experience has been over at Absolute Write Water Cooler.

    • There's Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents

    • Publishers Marketplace Track Deals, Sales, Reviews, Agents, Editors, News

    • And of course good old Predators and Editors

    • Don't underestimate a Google search as well. What comes up can be quite revealing. 

    • Charity Blogs at My Writing Journey and is in the query process for her first Science Fantasy book Sendek. She also co-blogs at Unicorn Bell, a free blog striving to help writers get critiques and move forward in their journey to publication.



      1. Way to look out for your little bro Charity. Yeah there are lots of scammers out there. I've never heard of a legitimate publisher or agent taking on an unfinished project. All sorts of red flags there.

      2. Excellent advice and valuable resources, thank you Charity! Your little brother is very lucky he has you to look out for him. This industry can be tough to navigate even for us experienced writers!

      3. Extra big sis points for you! And those are great resources.

      4. Thanks Michael. If I remember correctly you were one of my trusted friends that answered my call of "HELP!". ;) BTW, I like the new picture.

        Heather, you are so right. Trying to navigate this industry and decide what I want to do is still terrifying and I've been trying to learn as much as possible for the last year and a half.

        Su, thank you! Isn't it nice to have some places to check things out that you can trust?

      5. Thanks for the advice. I haven't even come close to the point where I'm looking for an agent/publisher yet, but I will definitely come back to this post and check out those links when the time comes. Also, HUGE kudos to you for looking out for your brother like that. :-)

      6. Thanks Crystal! We all have to look out for each other and that's what I love about the blogging community.

        There are some great publishers out there, we just have to watch out for the piranhas.

      7. Glad you checked out that publisher - and that your brother took your advice.

      8. Thanks for the advice. I've heard of these scams and am glad you were there for your brother.

      9. Wow, Charity, that story at least had a semi happy ending. Could have been much worse. Thanks for posting these links: for people in my writing group who are interested in starting to query, this will be a good list to get them going.


      Please validate me.