Speaking of ads, I remember that Kelly O'Donnell/Martha Ivery used to have a regular ad running in Publisher's Weekly. Every week, there she was, with her little ad. She had one in Writer's Digest, too. And now she's facing prison for scamming authors.
Basically, here's a quick "check" for any of you writers who are searching the internet for agents or publishers (and the internet isn't the best place to begin a search).* If the agent or publisher is ADVERTISING, then RUN AWAY. Legit agents and legit publishers have no need to advertise. Only questionable ones do.
You can also look at a website of a highly questionable POD publisher like PublishAmerica and see a huge difference in the way the site is geared. PA gears their site towards attracting authors to take advantage of their dubious "service," whereas a real, commercial publisher like HarperCollins gears their website towards attracting readers to buy their books. It's like night and day, if you look at their sites. This kind of "author soliciting" website is an immediate red flag to an experienced scam hunter.
Looks like we may be looking at getting a bunch of snow, so I need to run out and buy my horse some more senior horse chow and fresh bedding. Hope all of you are snug as bugs!
Today's WRITING TIP: No matter how many rejections you receive, no matter how many unanswered query letters you ship out, NEVER let yourself become bitter and frustrated. You can't let yourself take rejection personally, because if you do, your resentment may cause you to act or write in an unprofessional manner. I've read query letters from students who are so clearly angry with the entire publishing industry that their anger and definsiveness shows through in what they've written. No editor or agent wants to work with an angry, embittered author, trust me on this. It's just too tempting to reject someone that looks like they have these kinds of issues.
I repeat: don't let yourself take rejection personally. I know it's hard, but it's ESSENTIAL to preserve that sense of professionalism and equanmity about your work, especially in your interactions with agents or publishers.
-Ann C. Crispin
*See Victoria's excellent article on The Safest Way to Search for An Agent for a concrete step by step list of how to begin an agent search.