“Knowledge is power.”
As a veteran freelance writer, I can attest to that. There is always some type of risk inherent in operating as a professional writer. From clients that don’t pay what they owe, to publishing scams and fake contests, to people plagiarizing your work. It comes with the territory.
The sooner you reconcile yourself to this fact, the better equipped you’ll be to expect and address these common pain points that can keep you operating in the red.
Here’s a case in point. A client recently revealed to me that he had been bamboozled out of his hard earned cash, when he responded to a publisher’s solicitation to print his book for a substantial discount. After paying the money, he never got the deal he was promised. What he got was, well… “got.”
It’s important to note that this client is not a “rookie” writer by any means. Translated? It can happen to you, too. Be forewarned. “There’s a sucker born every minute,” states P.T. Barnum. Don’t be one of them.
HERE ARE 5 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES TO PROTECT YOUR WRITING BUSINESS, AND MINIMIZE LOSSES FOR GOOD:
1. IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS. HELLO?
If a publisher promises or guarantees you that he/she can garner you an appearance on a late night talk show, sell hundreds or thousands of copies of your new book, or provide a substantial “advance” for your first book, you should run in the opposite direction. It’s a scam. To operate successfully, and not lose your shirt, it’s important to be educated in industry standards and ethical practices.
Bonus tip: a great reference guide chock full of solid information with freelancing strategies and actionable tips is “THE ULTIMATE FREELANCER’S GUIDEBOOK” by Yuwanda Black.
2. LOOK DEEP BEFORE YOU LEAP.
Due diligence is crucial. One of the greatest advantages for modern-day writers is access to the Internet and Google. Use it. Consult various resources. Research reviews on companies; complaints; websites; products. Investigate through SCAMADVISER.COM, RIPOFFREPORT.COM, BBB.ORG, and other watchdog sites. Never relinquish money blindly. Err on the side of caution.
3. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING.
The reason here? Doing so provides future protection, and clearly establishes the who, what, when, where, and how parameters to officially seal the deal. Details don’t always need to be outlined in a “formal” contract. Rather, it can be in a letter of agreement that you create or an email where both parties confirm and agree.
4. STAY ABREAST OF INDUSTRY-RELATED HAPPENINGS. READ AND HEED WRITERSWEEKLY!
In an article at WritersWeekly, for example, I learned that I was not alone in my previous dealings with IAPWE, their questionable tactics, and lack of response. The article proved very useful in making more informed decisions regarding future dealings with this organization.
5. PARTICIPATE IN WRITERS’ BOARDS AND GROUPS THAT SHARE INFORMATION PERTINENT TO WRITERS, AND RELEVANT EXPERIENCES.
Facebook has an array of communities and forums for every writer and genre with discussions, job leads, recommendations and resources. Get in where you fit in.
Make no mistake about it. When operating as a writer-preneur, you’ve really got to have your bases covered to score. You have to be your own legal department, research department, accounting department, and marketing division. The more “savvy” you are about the publishing industry and the protocol, the greater the likelihood of longevity and profitability in your business…and the fewer your losses.
- BookBaby’s Unfair Contract Clause! By Angela Hoy
- ALERT: Extremely Illiterate Scammer and Trademark Infringer Is Posing as Us on Telegram.org!!!
- Here’s an Example of How We Protect Our Readers from Scams
- Author Contacts Me, Avoids Getting Scammed
- Another Author Gets Rooked By A Scammer
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, poet, author, and editor. She has over 900 publishing credits in digital and print publications. Learn more @ her award-winning site, PEN & Prosper.