You Don't Have to Pay to Be Published!

I am still amazed after all these years of being in this writing and publishing industry how many aspiring authors are taken in by the scammers and the vanity presses, to the point that a lot of people think that all authors pay to have their books published, and that paying to be published is normal, industry-standard practices.

I had one lady on my writers forum even tell me that Dan Brown and Stephen King paid to publish their books. They didn’t.

The major publishers pay authors to publish, usually pay them advances, and nothing comes out of the author’s pocket. A phrase common on writing sites is: money flows to the author. This is mostly true, (with some exceptions) and if you remember that, you won’t get taken in.

Let me be blunt here: you don’t have to pay to be published.

Now, keep in mind, some authors CHOOSE to self publish and that is perfectly okay, as long as it is their choice, they know the reasons why they want to self publish, they aren’t doing it because they don’t believe in themselves enough to try to publish with a trade publisher… I don’t have a problem with self-published authors, as long as they know what’s what and are making informed choices.

So, if you’re looking to someday publish a book, re-read/read this blog post I wrote about good publishers. Please, read it and take it to heart.

But today, I don’t really want to talk about publishers that publish books, but rather ALL publishers/publications/websites…

a writer should never pay someone else to be published, period!

Contests are a slight exception to this rule. Some contests that pay large cash prizes to the winners will charge a nominal fee to help offset the cost of running the contest. You are the one who has to determine if the cost to enter the contest is worth the benefit of the prize you might win. I’ll have a future blog post soon about how to spot writing contest scams.

But there are other websites out there, and one just spammed my writers forum the other day, where authors are being charged to publish on the site. These sites aren’t much more than glorified blog platforms, and they are charging people ‘membership’ fees to be ‘authors’ on the site. The one that spammed my board was promising that if you paid XX amount, and then you get enough traffic/votes/ratings, the more you paid to be published, the more you would be paid by the site if you rank high enough. If you don’t, you get nothing, but you still paid. They, in turn, have ads and other means of making money from your content on their site – and you’re out the time and the money.

I usually don’t encourage people to give writing away for free unless there is an exchange of ‘benefit’ in lieu of payment, so you can imagine I would never recommend anyone paying a publisher to be published. This includes membership fees to sites that “guarantee” a certain amount of revenue if you submit so much writing to them, etc.

I’m amazed at some self-righteous know-it-all ‘writers’ who will condemn writers who choose to write for sites like Associated Content, Helium, Triond, and others like it – sites that pay writers, albeit small amounts – but will think nothing of promoting and encouraging people to sign up for sites where they have to pay to be a member.

There are too many good, quality places to write on the internet, in print, or even on your own monetized blogs that cost you nothing than to ever consider paying a site to publish you, I don’t care how much they PROMISE you in return.

Never, EVER pay a site to be a member in exchange for publication. Never, EVER pay a publication or a publisher to ‘print’ or ‘publish’ your writing. Find real places that don’t charge you, and (gasp) actually PAY you money for your skill, your trade… writing.

You deserve to be paid for the talent and skill you possess as a writer. Don’t ever sell yourself short and pay someone to publish you.

I know I’m probably coming off a bit snarky today, but a writer I thought knew better posted on a blogring earlier with a link to a site where writers were supposed to pay 20 bucks per month to publish up to xx number of articles, and it just steamed me – not that the writer did this – but rather that there are sites out there taking advantage of writers who are so eager to learn, earn and share their writing.

Please, if you run across a site, check them out before you do anything. Never give a site money to publish you. If you’re not sure if a site is legit, email me or visit my writers forum and post the site and let us research it and let you know.

Your writing is worth money… don’t let anyone else ever make you think differently.

If you run across a writing scam, let me know, let us know on the forum, spread the word. Let’s let these spammers and scammers who take advantage or eager writers know we aren’t going to stand for it!

Keep writing!

Love and stuff,