Tis the season for the hawkers to hawk. I have seen a lot of posts of people excited to have been “accepted” by so and so to have their poems published. I do not mean to take away from their elation, but I do have a word of caution to those that care to read it.
Know your worth and more importantly KNOW you are worth more than giving your hard work away for free. That seems like a silly statement considering blogs are “free” and here I am writing daily for no money, but it is by choice that I do this. I also know the value of my writing to a degree. Often new writers and bloggers will get sucked in by a well written, professional email congratulating them on having a poem “accepted” into an eBook that is “about to be published.” I worry that some people just don’t see reality.
Just because you have never been published doesn’t mean your writing is not valuable. In fact, there are MANY GREAT WRITERS who are never published some by choice and others because they simply have different goals. Don’t allow people to shock and awe you with the words PUBLISHED because it is just a word. In fact the very action is relatively easy to do and can be done for free on amazon.com. You don’t even have to pay up front to self-publish an eBook anymore. I say this not to devalue publishing, but to instead instill a sense of confidence in those bloggers I know and recognize are great writers. Don’t be fooled just because someone said “you won something.” In some cases everyone is a winner and everyone is really the loser.
Let me lay out a scenario for you. I am not claiming that this is happening every time, but indulge me for a minute. Say I was a marketer and had absolutely no writing skills, but I knew how to sell eBooks. Who is most likely to buy an eBook? Perhaps someone featured in it? So let’s just throw a wild idea out there that maybe a person (or even a company) has figured out a type of pyramid scheme for selling their books. It isn’t even a scheme really, it is all connected and plays on human emotion.
Congratulations! We reviewed a few of your poems on http://www.lookingforasucker.com and found one we thought was outstanding! You beat out 10,000 other bloggers we were also considering. We would like you to consider allowing us to publish your poem in our annual poetry book which will be available on…
Do you start to get why people get so excited? Did I really lie and if I did who could prove it? The hook is that if I were to feature 50 poets in my eBook and I then got those same 50 people to buy the book (and maybe some of their friends and family too?) I have then met my quota. I could theoretically move on to the next “highly anticipated poetry book” and gather another 100 suckers that will willingly give me their writing FOR FREE. All the producer has to do is edit the format of the eBook, publish, sell, and move on. Is it really that hard to imagine? No and it isn’t really a scam either.
Know your worth. Blog, paper, thoughts, or clouds your words are valuable. Don’t be stupid.