I’ve posted on this topic before, and I’m sure I will again.
I do it because I see good, decent people leaving comments on blog threads all the time and it bothers me to think they might be getting scammed in one way or another.
This week alone I came across several different blogs that made me wonder. I’m not naming them because I couldn’t prove the allegations…and it’s not worth going to the trouble. But I wanted to post a general reminder about how important it is not to trust most of what you read on the Internet these days.
One of the blogs was a publishing blog and they were handing out advice to authors about when authors should hang it up and stop writing. The post I read was geared toward the query system, where authors query literary agents and hope for the best, which isn’t a system I’ve ever been fond of because of the statistics involved. I don’t think this blog, in general, was scamming, but I do think they were giving out wrong signals and leaving out important advice they could have been giving out. In other words, if you aren’t getting anywhere by querying literary agents, I think you should start checking out small publishers and put those query letters aside for a while. Especially check out small digital presses. I see them popping up everywhere and I know they are looking for authors. What I don’t buy into anymore is that the only way to get published and develop a fan base is through literary agents and the old query system. It might work for a small (elite) set of authors these days, but not for the masses. I know a lot of authors who get published, make money, and don’t have literary agents. In fact, they’ve all been rejected by literary agents, with the same old song and dance. Explore all the options that are out there for writers now.
The next blog I came across talked about gay sex. In some cases, there’s nothing wrong with this. But in this case the blog author’s bio was sketchy and there were no personal photos or any real details about his/her background. I triple checked, googled, searched, and couldn’t find anything. Every post was dark and gloomy. The posts about gay men and sex only dealt with the gay men who live on the fringes of society and lurk in the shadows…the gay men with serious fundamental flaws who will never fit into society. But the blog posts made it sound like everything written on that blog was pure solid fact, and that it represented gay men as a group. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And I could see how people who know nothing about gay men would be taken in and believe the author. This is exploitation and it’s not fair to the gay male community at large.
And, finally, another so-called “in the life” gay blog I came across was almost too silly to read. No names; no details. It resembled a promotional scheme to me…at best. I could be wrong and it might be authentic. But I talked with a few gay blogging friends about it at different times and we all agreed, separately, it’s a fake. Gay men can spot authenticity about gay life, so don’t ever try to fool them. Of course the people commenting don’t believe this, and there are quite a few. Like I said I could be wrong. But it’s just one last example…this week…of how you have to take everything you read on the Internet with a proverbial grain of salt. In this case, it’s really not scamming or hurting anyone on an actual level. But from the comments I read, it could be hurting people on an emotional level and I hate to see this happen.
A good rule to follow might be what Judge Judy says often on her TV show: “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s probably a lie.”