Unfortunately, with publishing it's more difficult to inspect ahead of time because the physical product isn't going to be immediately available because it's your work that's to be published. In fact, the emergence of the Internet has made the process even more difficult because you have no idea where the other party is located or whether they can even deliver on the promise. This is made more difficult to discern between legitimate and scam operations because you're faced with the same problem from both. So, how do you know who to avoid and who to trust?Read the whole thing. Among other things, Kuzminski reminds writers that legitimate agents will never require any sort of upfront payment; that you should always browse the bookshelves to see what (if anything) your potential publisher has printed; and that you shouldn’t be the one bearing all the risk in a contract. And if I may be so forward, I’d add one myself: The path to success usually runs long, and beware of someone who claims he can show you a shortcut. There are no magic words to mutter, no genie’s lamp to rub.
(Picture: CC 2007 by The Blind Glass)