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Thread: Why is the bewares & background check thread so popular?

  1. #1

    Why is the bewares & background check thread so popular?

    As a newcomer to the AW site I spend a lot of my time checking out the different forums to see what they offer. One thing that has surprised me is that the most popular forum, by a long shot is the Bewares and Background Checks and I wonder why?

    I know what it is there for and how useful it will be when it comes time for me to ponder representation/publication. But I am a ways off that at the moment so I pass the forum by.

    But why is it the most popular thread on AW. Is it because so many members are close to publication and are doing their research? Perhaps forewarned is forearmed? Or maybe it is our love of reading horror stories of what happened to others and then smirking to ourselves as we think “we’re not that dumb.”

    Why do you think the Bewares and Background Checks thread is so popular?

  2. #2
    Lost in School Work icerose's Avatar
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    The biggest and most popular is of course the NEPAT. Which is about Publish America. It's a behemoth because that company has scammed at least 20,000 authors and counting. So yeah, they're going to have a lot to say. As for people smirking and thinking they're not that dumb, I haven't seen it. I have seen an outpouring of support to victims of scammers and a huge effort to help those in the trenches dig their way out and prevent new authors from falling in.
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  3. #3
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    I read it because it's never too early to learn about scams and bad ideas. You get to learn the warning signs and trends.

    Waiting till you're ready to be published means you're learning everything at once. It also means you have a personal stake in it, and that can reduce your objectivity. It's hard to discover the agent who asked for your full is a scammer... it's easier to learn the signs that an agent is scammer when you have nothing to submit and nothing to lose.
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  4. #4
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    First, some vocabulary:

    Forums -- all of the AW Water Cooler
    Forum -- an individual forum. These are all listed on the main/front page with the name of their mods. The forums name are in a darker blue, and can have sub-forums. Genre Specific, Discussion, and Pop Culture are all forums. Forums do not have to have sub-forums, but they all contain Threads.
    Sub-forum -- These are all smaller sections of a Forum, and may have their own mods. Bewares and Background Check is a sub-forum of Discussion. Politics and Current Events is a sub-forum of Pop Culture, Novels is a sub-forum of Genres. Sub-forums like Forums contain Threads.
    Threads -- The individual discussions inside a Forum or a sub-forum are threads. Threads contain Posts. An individual member can start a new Thread or discussion topic in most forums and sub-forums by clicking the New Thread at the top left of the Forum's own page.
    Posts -- Individual contributions to a Thread are called posts.

    Office Party is the forum with the most posts: 995,746 posts.
    Bewares and Background checks has a mere 189,610 posts.

    I'm not sure why you think it's the most popular?

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  5. #5
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akmacca View Post
    As a newcomer to the AW site I spend a lot of my time checking out the different forums to see what they offer. One thing that has surprised me is that the most popular forum, by a long shot is the Bewares and Background Checks and I wonder why?

    I know what it is there for and how useful it will be when it comes time for me to ponder representation/publication. But I am a ways off that at the moment so I pass the forum by.

    But why is it the most popular thread on AW. Is it because so many members are close to publication and are doing their research? Perhaps forewarned is forearmed? Or maybe it is our love of reading horror stories of what happened to others and then smirking to ourselves as we think “we’re not that dumb.”

    Why do you think the Bewares and Background Checks thread is so popular?
    I've seen people with PhD's getting suckered by the Vanity Presses. So rather than think 'I'm not that dumb, rather 'there with the Grace of God, go I.'

    These companies prey on writers frustrated by the system, desperate to get a break. Instead of telling the truth that they just aren't good enough [yet]; they ply them with BS about publishing being a closed door.

    I nearly got suckered by AuthorHouse for over £4,000. Commonsense prevailed, and since joining AW I've realised it's not the agents or editors - it's me.

  6. #6
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    Now, it's true that you can avoid about 99.9% of all the scams out there simply by not parting with a dime. But PA found a way around even this rule.

    Forewarned is forearmed, and even those who don't fall for scams often waste an immense amount of time avoiding them. It's easier to separate the dishonest from the honest if you have something like Bewares and Backgrounds as a handy quick check.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    First, some vocabulary:

    Forums -- all of the AW Water Cooler
    Forum -- an individual forum. These are all listed on the main/front page with the name of their mods. The forums name are in a darker blue, and can have sub-forums. Genre Specific, Discussion, and Pop Culture are all forums. Forums do not have to have sub-forums, but they all contain Threads.
    Sub-forum -- These are all smaller sections of a Forum, and may have their own mods. Bewares and Background Check is a sub-forum of Discussion. Politics and Current Events is a sub-forum of Pop Culture, Novels is a sub-forum of Genres. Sub-forums like Forums contain Threads.
    Threads -- The individual discussions inside a Forum or a sub-forum are threads. Threads contain Posts. An individual member can start a new Thread or discussion topic in most forums and sub-forums by clicking the New Thread at the top left of the Forum's own page.
    Posts -- Individual contributions to a Thread are called posts.

    Office Party is the forum with the most posts: 995,746 posts.
    Bewares and Background checks has a mere 189,610 posts.

    I'm not sure why you think it's the most popular?
    My apologies for not making myself clear and thank you so much for the lesson!

    I should have said viewers. Every time I check into AW and scroll through the FORUMS I see that Bewares and Background Checks have the most viewers.

    For example, when I scrolled through the site just now the "Bewares' forum had 88 viewers, the next most populated at 29 viewers was novels.

    This is a constant regardless of posts.

  8. #8
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Ah - that, too, is going to vary wildly. But don't forget that many people find AW because they're trying to research potential publishers, and start Googling agents and publishing companies.

    So at any given time, there's a two or three hundred members logged in to the boards, but another couple of hundred lurkers who Googled their way to our doorstep looking for very specific information, who may never come back again. It might also be the day one of the search engines decides to re-spider us, so the "views" are actually multiple 'bots busily reading and indexing for Yahoo or Google.

    How many viewers doesn't actually mean very much, at any given moment, unless you're privy to the more detailed server log statistics -- and we neither monitor, keep, nor track that information, because I think it's an unnecessary breach of user privacy.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 02-11-2010 at 12:45 AM.

  9. #9
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Ah - that, too, is going to vary wildly. But don't forget that many people find AW because they're trying to research potential publishers, and start Googling agents and publishing companies.
    Yep. Yep. This is how I found AW, and now they can't get rid of me.

    It's within the first 5 matches on Google for a lot of agents/publishers.

  10. #10
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Also, keep in mind that "viewers" includes non-humans. It includes bots, from search engines and such, and there are going to be more bots in threads that are heavy with URLs, as Bewares tends to be.

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    Lost in School Work icerose's Avatar
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    I came to be here through the Publish America boards. I figured if a bunch of them were shouting to absolutely not come over here and read the lies, it must be something I should check out because the only people I saw lying were the people calling themselves my publisher.
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    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    It's probably where I spend my most time here, even though I post the least there. I read up on what people are experiencing, check the links, find out wait times, etc. I've added people to my list based on their threads, and taken them off as well. I always try to check there before I send out a query as well.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
    Waiting till you're ready to be published means you're learning everything at once. It also means you have a personal stake in it, and that can reduce your objectivity. It's hard to discover the agent who asked for your full is a scammer... it's easier to learn the signs that an agent is scammer when you have nothing to submit and nothing to lose.
    QFT.

    You wouldn't believe how much you can learn about the publishing industry simply by reading threads about agencies and publishers who are doin' it wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyAccurate View Post
    QFT.

    You wouldn't believe how much you can learn about the publishing industry simply by reading threads about agencies and publishers who are doin' it wrong.
    I can so attest to this. When I joined I had nothing ready for publication (closer to it now though!) and have learned tons since then. I would have had a harder time being open-minded, I think, if I had something that was ready to be submitted. You definitely are able to give yourself the best shot possible by learning before you're ready to submit.
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    I came here by way of screwing up. I signed up with a small publisher who made lots of big promises...only when those promises started falling through did I discover Preditors & Editors had them listed as untrustworthy. I e-mailed them (him--and thank you again) and asked why, to which he responded, (from memory, so not exact) "Check Absolute Write's Bewares and Background Check section."

    I did.

    Of course, at this point, I already had a personal stake. I tried to argue that they had improved, that things were really going pretty well...but those promises continued to fall through, and eventually I cancelled my contract and made a few posts of my own. Maybe I saved some other authors from going through the same dreck I did. I can certainly hope.

    And that's the value of Bewares and Background. I send out queries in batches of 10, but each agent is checked in (at the minimum) the B&B and at Preditors & Editors before I consider them. I also learn about new agents there, some of which are rather hard to find otherwise. It's an amazing resource, one that can save your butt even if your specific publisher/agent/whatnot isn't listed, and can also give you a "head's up" about the good things going on. It's worth reading at any stage in your writing.

  16. #16
    Wielder of the Witchblade Rowan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    ...But don't forget that many people find AW because they're trying to research potential publishers, and start Googling agents and publishing companies...
    Like Cyia, that's how I stumbled upon AW also. I spend a lot of time in there (reading and reviewing) well before I'm ready to submit a MS. I like to take my time researching potential agents and reviewing the posts gives me a head start--I take copious notes which makes the querying process that much easier. Forewarned is forearmed...
    Last edited by Rowan; 02-14-2010 at 06:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    Yep. Yep. This is how I found AW, and now they can't get rid of me.
    Ditto. I'd decided to really make 2010 the year I published fiction, and I identified five potential markets for a story I'd finished. When I googled them, I wound up here.

    I learned quickly that you should never "just check the board for a minute" before settling in to write. Write, THEN surf.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gothicangel View Post
    I've seen people with PhD's getting suckered by the Vanity Presses.
    I be one of them. From where I'm sitting, an introverted dude with some ideas about a story I'd like to tell and a POD novella that has sold 11 copies (10 to myself), I'm a paranoid Chicken Little who "gets on his knees and prays he won't get fooled again."

    The whole publishing world is daunting and mysterious to me. Vanity presses love people like me. The more I know about the scams the better prepared I am to avoid them.

    Now that I am better informed, I spend less of my time on B&BC than before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    Also, keep in mind that "viewers" includes non-humans.
    Including batteries, chihuahuas, big silver fish, fungi, DaVinci sketches, lots of LOLKitties, several dogs, a couple of cartoon characters, a few statements of political affiliation, many book covers and even an occasional evil bunneh or two.

    Oh yeah--and Birol. Can't leave Birol off the inhuman list.




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  20. #20
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    I came by way of P&E. Kinda' just popped in one day and decided it was worth my time and effort to try to stay informed and learning something about this crazy business. Then, of course, I became a Horror Hound and, despite the scraping, they've never gotten me off their shoes.

    Along the way I think I've made a few friends and I've learned a lot , more than I would have ever dreamed possible because, at one point, I thought I knew it all.

    I also almost got taken in by AuthorHouse and I read the B&BC threads to keep myself informed on the scammers, con artists, and just plain uninformed of the publishing world as well as to research potential markets that are legitimate. Before I send out anything to a publisher I always check them out on P&E and the B&BC threads.

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    [QUOTE=icerose;4624256]The biggest and most popular is of course the NEPAT. Which is about Publish America. It's a behemoth because that company has scammed at least 20,000 authors and counting.[/]

    including a lot of very sensible and intelligent people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icerose View Post
    As for people smirking and thinking they're not that dumb, I haven't seen it.
    Agreed. In fact, one reason why I think the PA threads are so popular is because it's something that just could happen to a lot of people. The average person does not know much about the publishing world. PA knows just want to say and how to convince them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by akmacca View Post
    As a newcomer to the AW site I spend a lot of my time checking out the different forums to see what they offer. One thing that has surprised me is that the most popular forum, by a long shot is the Bewares and Background Checks and I wonder why?

    I know what it is there for and how useful it will be when it comes time for me to ponder representation/publication. But I am a ways off that at the moment so I pass the forum by.

    But why is it the most popular thread on AW. Is it because so many members are close to publication and are doing their research? Perhaps forewarned is forearmed? Or maybe it is our love of reading horror stories of what happened to others and then smirking to ourselves as we think “we’re not that dumb.”

    Why do you think the Bewares and Background Checks thread is so popular?

    This thread is popular because 1) first and foremost, authors are always afraid of being taken advantage of; 2) many authors have been taken advantage of.

    Disclaimer: this thread is unedited and may feature typos - it is therefore copyright protected with safe harbor for Dana Queen. Not for dissemination outside AW.

    In the past, traditional publishers usually required an agent. We all know the entertainment industry is plagued by vultures. This includes music, art, and written word.

    We know the stories too of qualitative authors being dissed over and over and over again until accepted.

    Retrospectively too, royalties were usually:

    • 10% for the first 5000 books sold
    • 12% for the second 5000 sold
    • 15% for all titles thereafter

    And, this was true for nearly all debut authors. Those with good sales records could make gains on royalties. Traditional royalties afforded publishers to pay for their workforce and production as well as marketing through internal acquisitions specialists. The agent normally took 15% of the author's royalties for their publicist activities.

    Due to this and the fact acceptance was difficult many mid-size publishers began working to help the thousands of "other" authors who weren't accepted.

    In the industry, authors' titles are ranked, A, B, C, D, etc. Like grades in public school used to be. The ranking pretty much defined the intended market. However, the "other" mid-size publishers offering a suite of services typically suggested they could take a book of lessor ranking and make it a book of higher ranking and sometimes desired money to do so, which resulted in subsidy press - then vanity press.

    Both subsidy and vanity have bad reputations; however, it is widely accepted that both do well-serve folks who have a heirloom to produce or if an organization desires to produce a company publication, etc.

    Today, there are newer publishers . . . Indie publishers, collaborative publishers, self-publishers (and under the guise of how authors reflect on vanity publishing - self-publishing is truly vanity publishing as well but there is a change in the industry where self-publishing is gaining more respect).


    Among ALL these publishing allocations there are both good people and bad people. Contracts have historically been written with the publisher in mind and were not author friendly. Some companies took permanent rights, copyright, film-rights, etc. And in these cases, much like the music industry and broke famous musicians, it was unfair to an author. So watchdog groups, such as Writer Beware (begun by A. C. Crispin, formerly Ann Tickell, she was a back-story writer for Star Trek, Battle-star Galactica and Pirates of the Caribbean) where authors were warned regarding scams and companies intending to suggest an author was gaining mainstream acceptance as an author through their publishing house, when they were often vanity and therefore, the titles were considered "not" acceptable by mainstream publishing and media. Thereby, sometimes, harming an author's career in publishing.

    So, threads like this began largely to police the industry where authors had been taken advantage of in order to help them learn how to navigate their art. For this, threads like this are great.

    As time has evolved however, all publishers have become suspect. And, with social media, if a publisher doesn't accept an author or has issue with an author, it is very easy for them to begin a campaign to cause foul to their former publisher for revenge. And, not everything done by a publisher an author doesn't like is necessarily wrong. For instance, if you learn an author plagiarizes and terminate them, they'll do the following:

    1. Deny they plagiarized
    2. Cry a river about being mistreated
    3. Say they aren't going to take this lying down
    4. Rant and rave
    5. Threaten
    6. Cause mayhem
    7. Seek revenge

    No plagiarist is going to say, "Yes, you caught me, I did it." And, those folks can become real virulent in their activities.

    I've spoken with many mid-size publishers who are trying to get it all done, many for free, with best intent and desires for their authors and threads like these can be provided a complaint to research based on wrongful and vengeful information. So much so, that many mid-size publishers have sued because claims were unsupported - or if self-policing entities found true issues and the publisher acts to correct them, often the thread continues to share inaccurate commentary and/or doesn't at the least acknowledge the publisher's positive responses to their feedback.

    What I'm sharing with you is this . . . water cooler communication in an office tends to be rumor control and gets the most air time. While brown bag training classes don't.

    It is human nature to gossip and complain. It is good to find issues or risks, air them, correct them and move on. However, presumption is not always accurate. Perhaps a publisher had a disgruntled employee with privileges and/or unnoted passwords and they go in and make adjustments, which are visible but not known to a publisher. Not every notation by self-appointed watchdogs is accurate.

    What is good about these threads is you learn what foibles to look for. In doing so, it is good to note the cynics. Many authors seem to have an unhealthy love / hate relationship to publishers. That is exacerbated to the point a good publisher (and I've spoken with many) ends up not wanting to work with an author who is 100% negative, suspect, etc. from the get go.

    While observing negative commentary, you need to review the positive that is typically ignored.

    Additionally, authors now desire royalties for even print media at 50% or 40% per title; however, the costs for labor, development, printing, etc. have risen. So a publisher is left with 60% or 50% and authors think - the publisher is making gobs of money. When in essence, the publisher is paying staff, paying for an office, paying utilities, paying for supplies, paying for designers, etc. The costs to produce a book almost equal the percentage a publisher is receiving at the new rates and yet authors want more than was previously supplied traditionally.

    Websites like these tend to not have a publisher beware of author section. And, there are authors who scam. For instance, an author signs with a publisher who is mid-sized, they get their brand developed, image refined, title reworked up to ghostwritten, they gain visibility, make it to Top Ten in their sub-genre, are advertised on news, radio, etc. and then when they reach their plateau where other publishers contact them - they are not loyal. Instead, they begin performing breaches of contract they know the small press won't sue for. Once terminated, they already have lined up a new house that is a little larger or where their training from publisher #1 will befit them. And, this is not all that rare. Some authors are very savvy at using emerging and small press to gain recognition with full intent to leave at the onset.

    Others start a publishing house themselves using the small press information gained during their agreement.

    As a writer of over 20 years in many industries and as a publisher - I've seen good and bad in both authors and publishers. And, I've seen the most fraudulent, vindictive, rude, and horrible people I've ever seen in my life in the book industry - competition should be about appropriateness.

    Also, though, in this industry I've met the most kind, considerate, loyal, fun loving, wonderful people as publishers, agents and authors.

    Human nature and money is always an interesting thread, which makes this one the same. Just don't mistake the sentiments - fact-check for yourself. Call the publisher or agent. Ask good questions. Take your time. Talk with more than one of each. Don't take anyone's word over your own research, just become informed enough to ask the right questions.

    Lastly, I don't know how many authors who have sent manuscripts and suggest they worry about someone stealing their work. I guess to feel so confident your work is worth stealing is a good thing but I haven't met a publisher yet who has time to use anyone's work when they are swamped with work themselves. Usually, the author who says that, is one when reviewing their work - more work is required so much so it is a solemn experience to say, "Don't worry, your work is safe, we are not interested in taking it from you."

    The best thing to do is to trust your intuition or gut feeling after due diligence in fact-finding and a conference with the publisher of choice.
    Last edited by Dana_Queen; 07-27-2014 at 02:08 AM. Reason: Disclaimer

  24. #24
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    How long did it take to dig up a nearly four and half year old thread to post that?

    Goodness.

    In the industry, authors' and their titles are ranked, A, B, C, D, etc. Like grades in public school used to be. The ranking pretty much defined the intended market. However, the "other" mid-size publishers offering a suite of services typically suggested they could take a book of lessor ranking and make it a book of higher ranking and sometimes desired money to do so, which resulted in subsidy press - then vanity press.
    First I've ever heard of that. Who in the industry used this ranking system?
    Last edited by Perks; 07-27-2014 at 02:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    How long did it take to dig up a nearly four and half year old thread to post that?

    Goodness.



    First I've ever heard of that. Who in the industry used this ranking system?
    I wasn't aware this is a 4.5 year old thread. It was "bolded" on the forum in the first page. My apologies for missing the dates, I'll have to check the dates from now on as everyone is very date intrinsic there and some of threads are out of date?

    Actually, I won't call them out online, but a company with over 100 years in the industry does so and they just sold an author's work to another company for 3M. The appropriate way to change publishers is to have them work an agreement with a new publisher. (PS - this is a very well respected over 100 year old traditional house and the owner calls me from time to time for insights into today's leading trends, as they are somewhat old school).

    Personally, if we have a title doing well and cannot do as much as they require, I consider pushing them forward to another house I know who will do more. We negotiate terms but they are in the author's best interests and the author approves them.

    And, the ranking system, is what publishers discuss among publishers, typically an author isn't told if they are A or D they would take offense. It is, though, a way we talk about their book's climate. Face it, not every author is an Ernest Hemingway and this isn't a sport where we tell everyone they've succeeded equally. Some things publishers do are not disclosed to authors while best serving their interests.
    Last edited by Dana_Queen; 07-27-2014 at 02:24 AM.

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