Yog’s Law states “money flows towards the author” (Jim MacDonald).
It was only early this year that I learnt of Yog’s Law (following a post on agent Janet Reid’s blog), but I think it is a great ‘rule of thumb’ for making decisions as a writer. Basically, every time you find yourself breaking Yog’s Law, it’s important to make sure you’ve considered the cost/benefit of spending the money.
The intent of the law was to stop writers falling victim to vanity publishers and scammers. These days, the line gets a bit fuzzy when you start talking self-publishing, but John Scalzi does a great job of explaining the difference: “While in the process of self-publishing, money and rights are controlled by the writer”. He goes on to say “if at any step the self-published author asks, who controls this money I am about to spend? and the answer is not “me,” that’s a flag on the field. Likewise, if control of the work is somehow compromised by the process, that’s another flag”.
Even though I was already very aware of vanity publishers and scammers (both in publishing and contests), I’ve found myself being more considerate of the cost/benefit of spending money for my writing since learning of Yog’s Law.