I will now prostrate myself before all of those aspiring short story writers and poets who must endure the bunko game of trying to get published in little magazines so they might, might, one day see a book in print that might, might sell 1,000 copies. It's a mighty honorable pursuit, considering that even if they get published in a respected University quarterly or some such, they will be paid squat a year later (or better yet, recieve five copies of the magazine in lieu of payment) and find a very captive audience in their parents.
That's if they get lucky. What mostly happens to these noble strivers is they become prey to one of the biggest scams on the planet - vanity publishing. The Oxycontin trade has got nothing on the vanity publishing jip, which is a ripe forum for all kinds of used-car salesmen to take advantage of desperate artists with nasty pay-for-play scams.
Case in point: A few months ago I submitted a short story to a few magazines (this doesn't happen often, mind you) and shortly thereafter, I started getting the most odious spam in my mailbox. The following is a small taste of the kind of crap that desperate writers find waiting for them along with their morning coffee and rejection letter placemats:
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