Is that writing market/agent/contest legitimate? It’s a question you should ask before you submit any of your hard work. But how can you find out?
One quick search can save you headache and heartache. Before you submit, click over to your favorite search engine and type the name of the market/agent/contest in quotations and add the word “complaint”. For example, “agent smith” complaint.
As an alternative replace “complaint” with “scam,” or “beware.”
This method is not foolproof, as new scams blossom almost daily and it is possible no one has posted a complaint yet. At the other end of the spectrum, occasionally legit people and places get unjust bad reviews. If you Google the company or person and see multiple complaints, it should raise a red flag for you.
Err on the side of caution and remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.