This Scam Starts in Traditional Publishing…
It’s brand new, but I fear it will spread. Writers are that afraid.
So what is this new scam?
Not kidding you. Traditional publishers are hiring “sensitivity readers” to read books before they are bought or published.
Wow, the amount of stupidity has just hit a new level in publishing, far higher than my cyclical belief thought it could.
You can find the article and read it yourself if you want to be disgusted.
Sadly, some people will hire themselves out to do this and new writers are going to buy into this scam just as they bought into the scam of needing a “developmental editor” or a “book doctor” or some other named scam.
Mark my words, it’s only a matter of time.
This all comes out of fear, of course…
—- The thinking on “developmental editors” goes like this:
My book can’t be good enough so I need someone (who has no idea how to write a novel and never has) to tell me what is wrong and how to fix it. I am too afraid to trust my own skill, my own ability. So let me pay you a few thousand to read my book.
—- The thinking on this “sensitivity reader” goes like this:
I am afraid to have my book insult someone.
Seriously??? Are you f***ing kidding me?
Grow a pair. Believe in your own work.
Here are some of the top scams right now in publishing…
Agents… You think you need an agent in this new world of publishing, you really need a psychiatrist and a good friend who understands real-world business to help talk some sense into you before you start giving the gardner 15% ownership in your home.
Developmental Editors… Unless the “editor” is a New York Times or USA Today bestselling fiction writer, avoid at all costs. They are scams and will hurt your craft. Again, you may feel insecure, but never, ever let anyone touch your writing. Keep learning and keep writing and move forward. (And for hell’s sake, stop showing works-in-progress for “feedback” from people who know nothing. Just stop.)
Book Doctor… Usually referred by scam agents or scam publishers. Same rule applies as Developmental Editors. They will hurt your writing and take your money. A home run of stupidity on your part.
Vanity Publishers… Where you pay to have your book published with promises of all sorts of sales and riches. These cost thousands and will get you nothing. (Not to be confused in the slightest with places that offer help to indie writers like doing covers, doing formatting, and such for a menu price. Many of those are fine and offer great services. So caution, if the vanity press is owned by a traditional publisher or an agent, run!!)
And now add Sensitivity Readers to this list… Someone you pay who you think will help you not make others angry. If you are that afraid, go get a real-world job and stop writing fiction. Please. You have lost all hope.
However, that said, we all often write in cultures we are not familiar with. If you do and are worried about something, get a first reader from that culture. But don’t pay them.
Second, if traditional publishers were seriously worried about this problem in their books, they would hire diverse editors from different cultures, something they flat don’t do.
So, let me be clear here…
Fiction readers often have to tell hard truths.
And we often piss people off.
And sometimes we miss getting something perfectly right.
And we get bad reviews because someone doesn’t agree with us.
If we write what we are passionate about, what we care about, what makes each of us happy, what other people think should never, ever matter.
Write your own story. Get it out to readers and write the next story.
Keep learning, keep having fun, and keep writing new stories.
You do that and trust me, none of these scams will even tempt you in the slightest.