The newbie author entering the world of writing and publishing must feel like the new kid who's just arrived at a new school half way through the term, All around are people who know people,,cliques of friends and shared interests. Unlimited agendas, some up front and in your face, others tucked away hiding like dark secrets, revealed only by the results of action, never spoken.
A bewildering array assaulting the senses, and somehow, somewhere, the newbie has to start establishing themselves in the midst of this apparent chaos. Chaos it is, the dynamics of the relationships are spinning beyond the newbies reach, then after a few tentative steps the first contact is made.
Slowly the barriers drop and those who welcome open their circles, others will wrap the circles around the newbie ensnaring them, drawing the new kid into their ways.
This is why the sharing of information amongst the Independent community is vital, the open flow allows the newbie to integrate more easily and become aware of the potential pitfalls.
None of us know the rules of the school yard or the office until we are taken under someones wing and given the guidance we need to thrive.
Lack of experience can be a hindrance, but experience leading to overconfidence can lead to the same pitfalls. Thinking we have all the answers, can see around all the corners and the pitfalls and traps can blind the unwary to the new angle, to the change of name.
David Gaughran tweeted a couple of days ago about service providers especially Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency (SPBRA) and its various other manifestations promoted by Publisher's Weekly with links to reference pages at Writer's Beware, a link from that page within Writer Beware unfolds the Science Fiction Writers of America (SWFA) blogs dealings with the various elements of SPBRA and particularly it's founder Robert Fletcher. Including litigation against Writer Beware.
The shared history runs back to 2001 and Sydra-Techniques; and the hundreds of complaints received by Writer Beware. The complaints and the changes went on into 2005 when the Writer"s Literary Agency appeared, a couple of name changes down the road from Sydra-Techniques, the familiar path continued; complaints and name changes into 2009 and the WLA expanded into vanity publishing. The complaints passed on to Writer Beware included unsolicited invitations to publish.
February 2008, Robert Fletcher and The Literary Agency Group filed against Writer Beware alleging defamation, loss of business and emotional distress.
The following March 18, 2009, The suit was dismissed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court due to LTAG/Fletcher's failure to respond to discovery or otherwise prosecute the suit.
2009 also saw the pretence that the various elements that the presence of an advert in the publication should not be regarded as an endorsement of the production is worth taking notice of. It's there for our benefit; If we reply to an advert and get caught, we shouldn't go crying to the publication or it staff.
Check the advert, by all means, Google the company, and stick 'complaint' into the search, sit back and see what happens.
Do the research and make your own choice, that's what independence means, you make the call. Get it wrong, and you may take the fall.
Tread carefully, the landscape has all the characteristics of a minefield!