View Full Version : How do you handle being approached ?

02-05-2011, 02:15 AM
Hi everyone,
I'm new at this so forgive me in advance if this has been asked and answered before. Here's the deal. I've just started to write- just 2 weeks ago, and I have posted a few chapters of my work on a website. The response has been overhelming to say the least. All positive, and my inbox has been inundated. So far about 20,000 people have read it, people leaving reviews are saying the story is so good, I should charge for it , and I have received 4 different emails from freelance editors offering their services and telling me I should seriously consider publication, 3 from beta readers saying the same thing, and even one from someone telling me they are an agent and want to read the finished manuscript ( which isn't finished, so far, I'm at about 70,000 count words).
This has just happen this week, and I just don't kow how to react. I believe the story is good, and none of my reviewers believe this is my first story ever- they say I have amazing writing skills and I almost believe them. While this is extremely flaterring, I just don't know how to deal.
Should I respond to the freelancers or ignore them and wait until I am done writing? or should I seek representation right now ?
My question is this: what shall I do ?
I don't know if this is the right section to post this, but if it isn't please just let me know where to ask.
Thanks to all !

02-05-2011, 02:34 AM
I think there are two things you need to do at this stage. Firstly, decide whether you want to go for publication and secondly to tell AWers the names of the editors and agent who've approached you so they can tell what's known about them :).

02-05-2011, 02:39 AM
First of all, congratulations on the super response. 20,000 people have read some chapters you posted on a website? (Which website?) That's phenomenal.

If it were me, I'd research anyone wanting some of my money. That includes the freelance editors and, most definitely, the agent. Even as I did my research, I'd finish my manuscript.

Best of luck.

02-05-2011, 03:10 AM
I would ignore the freelancers (If the writing is that good, you don't need them.) and tell the agent that the manuscript is not yet complete, but that you would be thrilled to send it when it's done. (after you research the agent)
Then I would take all but one chapter of what you posted down. You might have problems with a publisher on down the line if too much of the novel has been offered free of charge ahead of time.
Also, though the compliments are flattering and a great confidence booster, try to keep your humility. Lack of humility will affect your ability to self edit.
Congratulations and best of luck!

Anne Lyle
02-05-2011, 03:26 AM
What's the website? I assume it's a "share your work" site, rather than your personal website? How do you know how many people have read it? Just curious - I've never used a site like that so I have no idea how they work.

Also, it's nice for people to say they like your writing, but it doesn't really mean anything unless they are putting their money where their mouth is. Talk is cheap :)

Personally I would be deeply suspicious of the person claiming to be an agent. They might be legit, but the odds are against it. Real agents are far too busy dealing with current clients, and can barely find time for all the queries sent directly to them - they don't need to trawl the web for prospects. Scammers, on the other hand, have nothing better to do since they don't have real jobs. Rule of thumb: if anyone asks you for money, for editing, reading your work or whatever - walk away. Better still, run!

02-05-2011, 04:01 AM
What's been said.

* Take down all but one chapter.

* Check the publishers and agents with this simple trick: put the name into a search engine + "complaints" or "ripoff" and see what pops up.

* Check to see if they're on Predators & Editors: http://pred-ed.com/

* Or are they mentioned on this board's Background Checks forum?

* Be deeply suspicious of anyone cold calling you on any share/display site. Chances are VERY great that they will indeed be a publishing predator looking to turn you into an ATM.

Check this Writer Beware post about "cold calls":


* Of course they will praise your writing to the skies. They couldn't suck in new victims without it.

I know it's great for the ego, but consider them a used car salesperson looking to butter you up with compliments about your hair style or fashion sense.

They will be out to make a deal for themselves, not cut you a break.

There's a vanity publisher on FaceBook who does daily keyword searches left by budding writers. When he spots a likely mark he sends a link to his site and offers publication. Many don't understand that he's a pay to play vanity, not a real publisher. His antics are against FB TOS, of course.

He's just one of 100s of sharks.

I'm leery of the 20K people reading your work. It may only mean that some search engine pinged your page (and others) that many times, and not that anyone actually opened and read it. If 50 people left comments, then assume that only 50 people actually read your work. Though in the case of a scammer/vanity publisher, they likely checked the 1st page then pasted in "praise paragraph #4" and moved on to the next writer.

As has been stated, reputable agents and publishers are busy dealing with submissions sent through the normal channels. They do not have the time to go to display sites.

Display sites may foster the impression that agents and editors drop in all the time--but again, that's to get writers to post stuff. The writers either pay for display space or the site wants an audience for their advertisers.

I would suggest when you are able, that you post first first five pages in the SHARE YOUR WORK forum here and get feedback from other writers. The next step might be to look for a beta reader.

If your stuff is that amazing, then you can look around for a reputable commercial publisher or an agent in the genre. The members here will be happy to point you in the right direction. Most of us are published or striving toward commercial publication--which is an excellent resource for YOU! ;)

02-05-2011, 04:17 AM
Hi all
Thanks for all your help. I think the first thing I'm going to do is pull the story
The site is the Valentchamber,I don't know if I can put a link here or not .
And I know how many people read the story because they have an actual count engine , and hundred of people have left reviews, and contacted me through email since the feature is available on the site, so unless, they all have multiple personalities, I know this feedback is real.
I do not know what a vanity publisher is, or how they use search engines, but better safe than sorry, I will follow the advice given.

Anne Lyle
02-05-2011, 04:25 AM
The site is the Valentchamber

Ah - I see it is at least in part a fanfiction site. I have to say that fanficcers are not the most discriminating readers in the world, to put it mildly. Great for buffing the ego, but as realistic feedback - wouldn't trust 'em further than I could throw them. And I say this as someone who has posted on fanfiction.net in the distant past.

I do not know what a vanity publisher it, or how they use search engines, but better safe than sorry, I will follow the advice given.

A vanity publisher is someone who puffs up your ego, lies about how well your book is guaranteed to sell and then asks you for a substantial sum of money so they can "publish" your book. Con men, in other words.

If you've never heard of vanity publishing, please, please, read widely on this site and educate yourself about the potential pitfalls of being a new and innocent writer!

02-05-2011, 04:25 AM
Hi, victoryn123.

A vanity publisher is a publisher who wants you to pay them for publishing your book, instead of them paying you. In addition, they don't have the kind of distribution that commercial, non-vanity publishers have. So even if you wrote a great book, you could never have great sales with a vanity publisher. A commercial publisher can get your work into bookstores across the nation with their distribution networks. Plus they pay you an advance and royalties--you DON'T pay them.

Needless to say, with a really good story you would want to stay far away from vanity publishers :D.

02-05-2011, 04:28 AM
Most likely it's 20,000 hits, not individual readers. FFn has something similar to track the readership of stories, but they give you a side-by-side of "original views" vs. "total views". Either way, they don't mean anything. It sounds harsh, but it's true. Your views on a display site are equivalent to those on a fanfiction depository.

Views rack up quickly (100,000+ / month / story isn't uncommon on a big site), and so do the comments from well meaning people who hope you will keep entertaining them for free. That's what you're doing when you post things in serial form on-line. It's in their interest to make you happy and give you compliments. That doesn't mean your writing's not good, but it's not a judge of how good it is, either.

Vanity publishers make you pay to get published. Real, commercial publishers don't do that.

I'm not sure how the agent in question worded their approach, but from my experience with having agents ask for materials based on what I've posted on line, real agents go with something like: This sounds [good/intriguing/hot, if it's done, I'd love to see [pages, a full, a synopsis]. Email them to: [agency email]. Then they add all of their contact information and that of their agency so it's easy to check them out.

Scammers generally go with the big promises of immediate publication, even if the book's not finished. They want to edit your book (for a fee) and they're difficult to find information on (in a positive way).

It does happen, but ALWAYS check out anyone who approaches you cold. Don't just take their word for it that they are who and what they say they are. Google is your friend.

02-05-2011, 04:30 AM
thanks, the site is valentchamber
but after getting advice here, I'm going to pull all of it but the 1st chapter.

02-05-2011, 04:39 AM
Hi again.
I'm not writing fanfic, but an original fiction based on personal experience.
The agent email was in the vein of : discovered your work through a tweet, this is good, the story is intruiging, and so far you have managed to keep pulling me in with each chapter , would like to see more, please send ms , and email and tel provided .
So I don't know , I need to so some research about this.

02-05-2011, 04:41 AM
What's the agent's name? You can type it into the search box at the top of the forum and see if there's a thread on them, or put it here in this thread to see if anyone recognizes it.

James D. Macdonald
02-05-2011, 05:06 AM
Or, you could PM (Private Message -- click on my name to the left for a drop-down menu) me. That way you aren't waving the agent's name around in public (which might not be good form).

02-05-2011, 05:15 AM
well, I checked in the search engine and she is legit, more than legit actually.
I need to email her back or should I call ? I am so shocked.
Can't believe this is coming from a tweet and I don't even tweet !

02-05-2011, 05:33 AM
DO NOT CALL. Don't. Not ever. Not until you're actually a signed client. Send her an email.

02-05-2011, 05:50 AM

My advice is pretty much what everyone else has said. Don't send anyone money. Money should flow TO you, not away. :) Make sure to do your research on anyone--agents, publishers, editors--that approaches you. Don't let yourself get a big head, and don't get taken in by flattery.

And have fun. :)

James D. Macdonald
02-05-2011, 06:01 AM
Not unheard of, though rare.

(See, for example, John Scalzi getting an offer on the novel he'd posted on his blog.)

I'm still dying of curiosity. Could you post a link to your chapter?

02-05-2011, 06:08 AM
Are you "diarylover" on valentchamber, by any chance? The story fits the things you've posted here (BTW- that 19,000+ "read count" isn't the number of readers, it's the number of times someone's clicked a chapter of your story. Each chapter will register as a new click. I've used sites with this software before.)

For those curious about the first chapter:


ETA: Read the author's note on the story - it is you.

Please don't think I'm being harsh on you, but you NEED to edit this story. There are multiple mistakes in the first paragraphs, simple ones. It's not publishable as it is at the moment. That doesn't mean you can't work it into something saleable, but right now, it's not there.

You've also got a heavy ratio of tell vs. show, that you'll do yourself a favor by tweaking.

Little things, like commas, apostrophes, spelling out numbers are a big deal in professional caliber writing.

02-05-2011, 07:09 AM
It is, and I already edited the first 35 chapters- and will probably get it looked over again before sending.I did not edit on the site due to lack of time. And thank you so much for all the advice!

Old Hack
02-05-2011, 05:14 PM
I've read your first chapter and as has already been said here, it's just not ready for publication. I'm very concerned that you've been approoached by an agent on the basis of that writing.

I know you've investigated all you can, and am convinced she's legitimate: but please, please send the agent's name to Jim MacDonald via a private message. He'll let you know if you have anything to be wary of. I'd hate to see you lose your writing to a less-than-reputable publisher.

02-06-2011, 01:35 AM
Please, please, please, listen to what others here are telling you! I have a hunch this "agent" that wants to publish you is a scam artist. Do give Jim McDonald the name of this person, and don't proceed to contact this agent until you have. You don't want to risk ruining a writing career you've only just dipped you pinkie toe into.

And I wholeheartedly agree with others here that your work is not publish worthy, yet. It needs a lot of work. It reads like how I originally wrote my WIP, and currently rewriting the entire thing to at least make it more close to publish quality, plus it is so much better than it used to be. If you just started writing two weeks ago, then you have a lot to learn about the craft before you even think about publishing. I wish you the best of luck, and please, again, do not contact this agent until you PM Jim their name. :)

02-06-2011, 02:09 AM
I just want to echo what everyone else says. Legit agents DO sometimes approach writers after reading work on-line, but if they are not someone whose name you recognise, check them out very, very carefully. Take up Jim's offer.

C.H. Valentino
02-21-2011, 02:42 AM
I am really kind of confused here, and maybe James can look at this again (if you get a minute.) I went back thru the reviewer comments the OP got, and this http://www.proofent.net/default.html (http://www.proofent.net/default.html) is where the email address the "reviewer" provided goes back to. However, they signed it "Nadine Johnson" (who IS a reputable PR firm in New York).

Victoryn, I don't want to busrt your bubble, but it looks like a scammer, and NO ONE here wants another writer to get scammed.