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The Street Smart Writer: Self Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World [Paperback]

Jenna Glatzer , Daniel Steven

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2006
Aspiring writers learn how to avoid frauds and unsavory deals in this handbook for getting published. The editor of AbsoluteWrite.com and a seasoned publishing attorney share their expertise to help writers spot an honest agent or manager, determine the value of vanity publishing, and avoid getting conned out of hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars when signing a contract. Sections on writing contests teach writers how to determine which contests are useless; other sections offer tips on avoiding costly conferences and shady seminars. A special focus on copyright ensures that writers protect their work from schemers who want to use creativity without paying for it. Appendices include sample publishing, agent, and manager contracts.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Nomad Press; 1 edition (Jan. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974934445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974934440
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,703,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Here's a welcome flip side to those how-to-be-a-writer books that either ignore or barely mention the dark side of writing for hire. The authors--respectively, the founder of absolutewrite.com and a lawyer specializing in publishing-related matters--give readers the skinny on such matters as agents (how can you tell the good from the bad?); writing contests (how to spot the scams); vanity presses and other pay-for-publish schemes (not all of them are rip-offs); and other potentially shady elements of the business of writing. The book offers a number of revelations--you don't need an agent to get published, despite what nearly everybody seems to tell you--and it contains such a large amount of essential information that it should be required reading for anyone with a story to sell. It's also worth noting that, overall, the authors take an optimistic stance: the business of writing, they say, is full of honorable people genuinely interested in seeing writers succeed. But there are also charlatans, too, and this guide tells you where to look for them. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“A great book for writers looking for no-nonsense, easy-to-understand information." —Writer’s Digest

“Both new and experienced writers will benefit from this book.” —Kelly James-Enger, author, Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money

“While the pen is mightier than the sword, many writers lack a shield. The Street Smart Writer is that shield.” —Dave Kuzminski, editor, Preditors & Editors™

“The Street Smart Writer is a very smart book indeed.” —Jim Macdonald, author, The Apocalypse Door, Sysop of SFF.net

"Should be required reading for every professional writer.”  —Gregory A. Kompes, editor, The Fabulist Flash

"These authors get an A+ in the educational value they offer their readers."  —SPAWN.org  (Small Publishers, Authors, and Writers Network)

"Written with wit and a keen sense of what writers want to know."  —Off The Shelf

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read guide for aspiring authors, screen writers and poets! Jan. 8 2006
By CT Adams & Cathy Clamp (aka Cat Adams) - Published on Amazon.com
Author advocate Jenna Glatzer has written one of the most informative guides for beginning writers that I've ever seen! It's a sad truth that those just learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry are often first subjected to scammers who try to empty their pocketbook. From crooked contests to agents who try to fleece them with "reading" or unreasonable expense fees, leading up to publishers who try to convince writers that "pay-to-play" (an author paying to get published) is the way of the world, the scammers are masters of twisting words. But Ms. Glatzer and Mr. Steven (a publishing law attorney) have shown a bright light into the shadowy underbelly of publishing and, hopefully, it will convince would-be scammers to find a different source of income.

The Street Smart Writer includes such informative topics as how to spot a crooked literary agent/film manager (chapter 1), what to do if an author has ALREADY been scammed (chapter 4), avoiding deceptive contests (chapter 8), along with a crash course in copyright law (chapter 9). Included are samples of literary agent agreements, publishing agreements, film option agreements and the like, so that an author can see what a good one SHOULD look like.

In addition, the upbeat tone and positive attitude of the writing tells readers that "you're not an idiot if you fell for a scam!" While it seems so basic not to blame the victim for being cheated, in the world of publishing, this is quite often what happens. Becoming a published author seems such a far-away dream for many that they quickly fall under the spell of the first scammer that pays a compliment or offers validity to their writing.

I can't say enough about this book and what it tries to do. I also know that there's a good chance that people will try to slam it, simply BECAUSE it's such a valuable book. It will cut into the profits of scammers, and the truth hurts enough that some will try to lash back, at both the book and the authors. Don't believe them. This book is worth buying if you're learning the publishing world. Cathy Clamp
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Words of Wisdom Nov. 1 2006
By Alyice Edrich - Published on Amazon.com
While the entire book is fantastic, and offers an insider's look into the world of freelance writing and authoring books, I have to say I found Chapter 5: Trouble Spots In Book Contracts to be the best part of the book. It delves into trouble areas that can hurt the author, and how to maneuver around them. Finally, the appendix of forms is priceless: sample literary agent agreement, interview release form, permissions agreement, contributor's agreement, trade publishing agreement, and film option agreement.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for Every Writer's Bookshelf Jan. 26 2006
By Joanne D. Kiggins - Published on Amazon.com
Multi-published author Jenna Glatzer and publishing law attorney Daniel Steven take you into the murky waters of the publishing industry and fill a lifeboat full of safe firsthand instructions and advice about how to avoid being scammed by publishers, agents, and phony contests.

Whether you're new to writing or have already painstakingly tested the oceans of the publishing world, The Street Smart Writer needs to be on your bookshelf for quick and easy reference.

The Street Smart Writer is loaded to the gills with advice for spotting the difference between good agents and those who try to fleece writers (chapter 1), spotting false credentials (chapter 15), and protecting yourself from threats and lawsuits (chapter 16).

This book is an excellent guide for learning the ins and outs of publishing from deciding if you need an agent, finding an agent, and signing the contract, to fulfilling your dream of publication. It includes tips on how to research agents and provides you with directories and databases to perform that research, lists what a writer should and should not pay for, tells you how to spot legitimate contests, and explains the differences between vanity and subsidy presses and self publishing.

For those who have already run into sharks and scammers, Glatzer and Steven give pointers as to "how to sniff out a fishy agent or manager" and "what to do if you've been screwed" (chapter 4). If that doesn't give you reason enough to buy this book, the crash course in copyright (chapter 9) should.

Glatzer and Steven also include an Appendix of Forms with excellent samples of real literary agent agreements, publishing agreements, film option agreements, permissions, contributor, and trade publishing agreements.

The Street Smart Writer is an absolute MUST for every writer's bookshelf.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Researched, Invaluable Resource for Writers Jan. 21 2006
By A. Reeder - Published on Amazon.com
The Street Smart Writer is an excellent guide that will help any writer from beginner to professional navigate the choppy waters of publishing. With all the technical terminology and legalese inherent in the industry, it almost takes one with a degree in law to understand the ins-and-outs of legitimate contracts and how to spot scams.

Not only does it provide excellent examples and advice, The Street Smart Writer probes many of those complex questions that concern copyrights, contests, and scams. It provides an arsenal for protecting oneself and one's work from those out there that seek to profit on those who don't know the facts about publishing.

Glatzer and Steven arm writers with the tools to recognize the logical fallacies of scam artists. This book is a necessary resource for anyone who plans on publishing. It will give a writer the knowledge to succeed and to avoid the sharks out there waiting for their next dinner.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Resource April 25 2006
By Anne Watkins - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a valuable resource for writers of all levels. It lays to rest many common misconceptions about the business of writing, provides answers to the questions many new writers find so confusing, and offers insights into subjects often misunderstood by even some experienced authors. There is even a chapter containing sample contracts, agreements, and interview release forms.

I highly recommend The Street Smart Writer: Self Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World. It can be a scary world out there--you owe it to yourself to learn all you can in order to successfully navigate your way through shark-and-scam infested waters. The Street Smart Writer gives you the information and ammunition you need to make wise decisions.

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