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The Publishing Urge

I know how impatient writers can be to get their book published. I made that mistake myself in 1994 and ended up with 250 books I couldn’t give away except to family and relatives. I have two left as reminders.

There are many “publishers” who will charge you for editing, cover design, promotions, or anything else they see fit. They present the writer with packages, each one indicating what each package will offer. Some of their publicity is hard to resist.

I remember the letter I received from the “University Press” regarding my submission. It was full of praise about the manuscript and said they would publish it. I was hooked. The cover was the best thing I got for my money. Back then, five hundred dollars bought 250 copies. I was floating on a cloud until it became clear that I had wasted my money and had paid to become an author.

Publishers like Trafford, iUniverse, Author house, and Xlibris regularly have full-page ads in the Sunday New York Times book review section. And will get your book on Amazon. Impressive? Pursuing that route will cost you thousands. Avoid any publisher who contacts you. A legitimate publisher will never charge a writer for their services. A new trick I’ve seen lately is the word “Services” in the publisher’s main toolbar. That means that after your manuscript is “evaluated,” you will be charged for whatever the publisher deems necessary to meet their “Quality Standards.”

Take your time before you make your decision. Do your research and search the internet for complaints against the publisher.

Sources: Duotrope ( Poets &Writers database of alternative publishers (

References: Writers Digest annual Short Story and Novel Markets Dustbooks (has over 3,800 markets worldwide)

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