Finished "Watermark" - it had a dramatic, quite satisfying ending but I still feel the initial premise didn't convince me. Oh well.
New issue of Writer's Digest has a big section on copyright and internet stuff, where they talk about the various options if someone puts your stuff on the net without your permission (or payment). There is a piece also about Harlan Ellison and his law suit against AOL. He sure is out to make a point.
It is a big issue now, I guess, especially if you write articles or the kind of thing which is easily "pinched" - shorter pieces obviously, like stories and poems. What I have a bigger problem with is the scams via vanity publishing and people who promote themselves as agents etc when all they do is take your money and run. There have been several big court cases in the US lately involving these "agencies" but it doesn't seem to stop them, just slow them down a bit. The desire to be published often overrides common sense.
I have noticed that at the top of this blog there tends to be ads for writing stuff (not under my control - sorry - in order to have a free blog site I get the ads too!). The bottom line, which people don't usually want to hear, is that if you have to pay to have your writing published, then you are, 99% of the time, being scammed so don't fall for it.
The hardest thing in the world is to accept that your writing isn't being published because it isn't good enough, or sometimes because there isn't a big enough market for it (publishing is a business, never forget it). If you believe you have something worthwhile, then self-publish. You retain control and make all the decisions, and you get to keep all the money.
I often talk to people who write poetry who have had a poem or two in one of the International Library of Poetry anthologies (or similar). Yes, it is exciting, but you don't get any free copies like you would if it was a real publisher. Instead you get to buy copies at around $60-70 each. Now, if they are paying a printer in Asia to produce those books at, say, $5 each, and they cram in 1000 poems, and each poet buys a copy, or two or three .... you do the maths.
That was all pretty much of a downer, wasn't it? But I too have a huge folder of rejection letters (and some acceptances, thank goodness, so I don't get too depressed!!!). It goes with the territory.
What makes a published writer? Yeah, some talent. But mostly perseverance - the drive to be better, to improve your craft, and then the sending out, and sending out, and sending out.