Publishing is fraught with danger for the uninitiated. (I've always wanted to use the word FRAUGHT!) As a new writer, one must navigate a minefield of offers to "publish your book today." Most of us learn to resist the obvious scams, but some are more subtle and therefore more tempting. I once sent a query to an agent in Texas who wrote back with glowing compliments about my great characters and said she would be thrilled to represent an author as talented as I am. Luckily, even then I knew enough to check her out on the Preditors & Editors website. There I learned that she would charge me $250 for "expenses" and throw my MS in a corner somewhere.

Even when you get published, there are scammers who claim they can help with marketing, and you have to investigate thoroughly every step of the way or you will be taken for a ride. Even legitimate marketing aids may not fit your situation. An advertisement in the wrong venue or a sell sheet that lumps you in with hundreds of other authors is a waste of money that could better be spent targeting markets where your book is unique or in line with the needs/wants of those who will see the material.

If you're going to make money and/or continue getting contracts in publishing, you have to be clever, industrious, and determined to uncover all aspects of an offer before taking action. It is NOT elementary, my dear Watson, so it's a good thing we writers get all that practice in the detection of red herrings.

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