This comes at a time when I’ve just let my own many-years’ long subscription lapse: Lee Goldberg’s post on Writers Digest with plenty of comments–including those of Kristin Godsey, Editor of the magazine. Read Writers Digest at Lee’s A Writer’s Life weblog.
In particular, Lee focuses on the overabundance of ads from self-publishing companies, as well as a $100 entrance fee for a Writers Digest contest on self-published authors.
While there are good POD publishers among the oodles and oodles of them, and there is often a good reason beyond ego to go this route, it is still a mecca for scam artists and the point is that Writers Digest should be more cautious about how strongly they appear to be pushing this often desperate opportunity to authors, regardless of the advertising dollars it represents to them. I myself once paid a $180 reading fee to an agency that had several ads in Writers Digest, unfortunately just a couple weeks before I learned where to check on agencies and found out they were under legal question about some of their policies. Certainly, a big magazine that makes money from writers should do their best to examine their advertisers, and should have known what I easily found out and not have accepted them as an advertiser.
My own thoughts on self-publishing are mixed–those for others as well as my own interest in the opportunity. I think that while self-publishing has not quite shaken the cloud of the "vanity press" label, my feeling is quite the opposite personally; that my own ego is too large for self-publishing. I want someone to pay ME for my work.