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I struggled with whether or not I wanted to write a posting about this. I finally justified it by telling myself that I needed to be honest, not only with myself, but also other writers.

A few weeks ago, I posted about being a semi-finalist in an international poetry competition (see Jan. 20 posting titled Kind of Cool). I didn't win, but I have more important information to share than that. A few weeks after being notified that I was a semi-finalist, I received another email correspondence. This time it was from a publishing company with offices in New York, London, and Paris. Even better, they were known for their fiction work (according to their email), but were now publishing some limited edition poetry and wanted to know if they could include my poetry in their publication. I admit, I was excited about this, not for the poetry part, but for the fiction part. I immediately began searching the Internet to learn more about this publishing company -- which, by the way, sounded very official and very much like large, familiar publishing company names. I couldn't find anything. Instead, I found listings with words like scam and fraud in them.

The purpose of this posting is not to smear names or point out specific companies. Instead, I'll let you find that information yourselves (just search the Internet for poetry scams and you'll find the companies). Instead, I just want to warn you about writing scams. Search out all companies before you establish any contacts (or worse yet, contracts) with them. Legitimate companies will never ask you to pay to publish your work. NEVER (period). Take heed and do your research. And if you do fall for a scam, don't feel bad. It happens to the best of us.