The Facebook Algorithm Gods have taken note of my shifting interests. My newsfeed was once peppered with Fashion Nova and interior design ads. Now it is littered with blurbs for writing workshops, editing services, and “fail-proof” self-publishing packages, all of which, if I even click to inquire, costs at least several hundred dollars.
Now don’t get me wrong; some of these things can be quite useful, and I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that you get out what you put in, whether on a specific project or in any aspect of life. However, I can’t escape the clawing feeling in my stomach that there are those waiting to capitalize on aspiring writers’ dreams without any intention of actually helping to make those dreams come true. I don’t want to think about the doe-eyed aspiring writer who gets sucked into an unfair deal not out of stupidity, but simple inexperience of what one should expect.
The world can be cruel, and there are too many people who view naiveite as something to cash in on. Scammers are down there in the lowest scum of the earth, in my opinion. I find the monetization of human vulnerability disgusting and reprehensible. I think they are either too lazy or too incompetent to make a living in any honest way and thus resort to scamming. That and they must have no souls, or at least they allow the anonymity of the internet to desensitize them from the human being on the other side of the screen.
Of course scammers are not restricted to the publishing arena. I myself almost fell victim to a scammer posing as a legitimate business. Fortunately, I had the wits to detect that something was amiss and called the bank to stop the check from going through. They never got the $750. Tough cookies, scammers!
The publishing world is fraught with potential scammers, from shady agents to vanity presses whose major income come not from the sales of books they publish, but rather from desperate authors fronting the costs of publication. Fortunately I’m not yet at a point that I need to be thinking about dodging scammers yet. I first need to cough up a first draft.
Nevertheless, as I find myself being lured into these advertisements on Facebook, I need to remind myself that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. I believe in the romanticized life of a novelist, but I mustn’t be blind to the hardships that can come with that territory, and that anyone trying to completely discount those hardships is undoubtedly selling something.