Writers, watch where you step. Look closely.

I read David Gaughran’s recent post, How Jessica Mitford Exposed A $48m Scam From America’s Literary Establishment, and had some lingering thoughts on the subject I wanted to share.

First, it’s shocking to learn how many predators lurk in the writing and publishing trade. I’m not talking about the scammers who take advantage of unsuspecting writers. Those are bad enough. I’m referring to the notable authors (and publishers) who support such scams, allowing their names and influence to be used as advertising gimmicks to lure in lucrative victims. While newcomers pay exorbitant prices to achieve their dreams of being published, these predators fatten their bank accounts with the swindled gains, apparently without an ounce of remorse or guilt.

Yes, there is the old adage “buyer beware,” but really? I must ask these predatory authors in particular, haven’t you better, more productive things to do? There are so few writers who reach the status of being a name that matters, a name that people remember, a name that people say with admiration and awe. You’ve reached the level where the money is plenty and your struggle to make your own dreams come true happened. Why on earth would you readily support such practices to deceive and knock down your fellow writers? Shame, shame, shame on you!

Shocking, too, that investigative stories about these scams can be suppressed when enough money is at stake. Sad enough that advertising dollars are more important to the presses than the articles they print. Bad enough there are already big publishing houses that chew up and spit out thousands of authors under the pretense of legal and justified practices in a world they wholly control. Now they’ve created and given their stamp of approval to sleazy businesses like Author Solutions, a business that continues to milk money from creative souls who are simply pursuing their dreams.

Well, at least we still have a few white knights left in the writing arena. Thank you David for sharing this story (and being one of those knights), and Jessica Mitford, and all the others who are brave enough to rake the muck into the full light of day.