First, a request: if you are so inclined, perhaps you will stop by Teenreads.com and vote for Nightshade in the Children's Choice Best Books of 2010. I'm so honored to be nominated!
Also in the awards realm, just a reminder that you can still vote for Nightshade for Best Otherworldly Kiss in TheSmoochies!
Now for business: I'm often asked about how aspiring writers go about getting published and I have a section of my web site devoted to this topic. I'm always alarmed, however, when someone includes phrases like this in their email to me "I'm already paying an editor," "I know it takes a lot of money to get published."
To all aspiring authors - it should cost you nothing more than time, sweat, tears and ink cartridges to get published. While it's true that you can hire editors for pay, you're much better off finding a writing group or critique partner to help you through revisions. You also shouldn't pay anything to get published, YOU get paid to be published (self-publishing is another matter and I have no authority nor experience in that realm so I'll leave that alone). Literary agents don't charge fees, they make their living off a commission (15% is the industry norm) of your earnings once the book sells.
It breaks my heart that there are companies out there that take advantage of writers' dreams in order make money. When you're going about searching for an agent and a publisher be wary, do your research, and keep an eye out for red flag phrases.
This post was inspired by a great blog over at Writer Beware. I consider it recommended reading for aspiring authors. Arm yourself with knowledge, then go forth and create!