Win Some; Lose Some

Being a nice guy, I wrote a nice e-mail to the guy in charge of Preditors and Editors. In this email, I questioned why we were being labeled for asking for a return of money spent on copying and mailing our client’s work to requesting editors. This was not, after all, a fee but the reimbursement of our money.
His answer was that the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) had determined there should be no money charged authors prior to the sale of their book(s). In a return e-mail, I wrote that we were not governed by rules issued by the SFWA. Our governing body was the AAR and we were following their Code of Ethics.
His answer was he didn’t believe in the AAR as anyone, even scammer, could belong. Until we could prove that we charged no fees before the sale, we would continue to be “not recommended” by his Web site. Could a legitimate business held hostage by a Web site operator? Was this legal? What would it cost to fight this? Should we bring our lawyer into the fray?
After being boiling mad for a few days, we finally realized how simple the solution to this problem would be. First of all, if we were going to bear all the costs, we would have to be more selective in who we represented. Secondly, in the future, all clients would have to furnish their own copies. This was where the biggest expense lay. We cleaned the slate and reported that we now charged no fees until after the sale—and suddenly we were okay–golden in fact as we were now, “Highly Recommended.” What a joke!!
The question here is who was the big loser? We once did extra services for writers by doing work for them they now needed to do themselves. They now had to go to Staples and make copies, work we once did for free. We also had to be more careful about who we represented. Yes there were, and still are, unscrupulous people out there who were taking real advantage of writers. Organizations like Preditors and Editors and Writer Beware did nothing to curb scammers by painting all small agencies whose offices were outside NYC with the scammer brush. Writers and authors gained nothing. Even though those in charge ballyhooed about how they were taking the scammers down, it has since been proven that they lied. What they did get, however, were lawsuits.
All of the copying mailing stuff resolved itself less than a year later anyway, as editors began allowing us to send our client’s work via an e-mail attachment

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