A red flag if ever there was one

'nuff said.
Nope. Nothing suspicious about this whatsoever.

One of my earliest paid writing jobs came from a listing on craigslist. It was for a 10-minute student film, and I got $20 in cold, hard cash. Living the high life, baby!

Since then, every once in a while, I’ll peruse the “writing gigs” section just to see what’s out there. There’s the occasional “looking for a writing partner” or “need help with a screenplay” or “seeking screenplay”. Compensation is usually no or very little pay, or screen credit. Par for the course.

Earlier this week, there was a listing (since removed) that read something like:

“Experienced literary agent with Hollywood connections. I can get your script or manuscript sent throughout the industry for $3500/year (flat rate)”

Urgh. Where to even begin?

Maybe that you should not be paying an agent?

Maybe that this “experienced” agent is seeking clients on the online equivalent of the classified ads?

Maybe that they’re charging an exorbitant amount for something, given time and research, you can do yourself for free, if not a much smaller fraction of the cost?

But the saddest part is that there are gullible writers out there who think is a legitimate offer, and will enthusiastically pay, thinking it’s a shortcut to success.

Nope, because there are no shortcuts. Only one surefire path – write a phenomenal script. People will find it.

“But I’m a total outsider!” they argue. “How else am I going to get people to read my stuff?” The same way the rest of us do. Through your writing and networking (and maybe a contest or two).

Not sure if something’s legitimate? If you even have to think about it, then it probably isn’t.

Do your homework. Take advantage of the many online resources just a few keystrokes away. Get the info you need before you make a big (and potentially costly) mistake. Ask writers with more experience. Don’t be shy.

This is how you learn so it never has to happen to you.