Friday, August 14, 2009

Scammers Beware

The great majority, I would say, of writers looking to query agents or publishers have heard of the site/database called “Writer Beware.” Writer Beware for years has been sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It’s purpose is to expose publishing scams and educate writes on protecting themselves from fraud. To that end, it maintains a large database of literary agents, publishers, editorial services and literary contests they consider questionable.

The good news is that Mystery Writers of America is teaming up with them with a financial grant of $1000 and by sharing their booth at BookExpo and supplying speakers at conferences to talk about fraudulent publishing practices.

This is all good news for writers. And you can read the PRNewswire article for the full announcement.

And if you’ve never heard of Writer Beware, here’s a bit about it:
Writer Beware's efforts are not limited by country or genre. Their website can be used by any writer, regardless of subject, style, genre, or nationality. . .or professional standing. The Writer Beware blog offers up-to-the-minute information on specific scams and schemes, along with advice for writers. And Writer Beware offers free research service for writers with questions about agents, publishers, and others.
Have any of you ever checked the Writer Beware site before querying?

Also, be sure to check out the final post, Giving the Talk, in my Public Speaking for Authors over on The Blood-Red Pencil. You can also go back to review the three posts leading up to today’s:
Tuesday: Organizing Your Talk
Wednesday: Practicing Your Talk
Thursday: Preparing for a Reading

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This was my first visit to this site but I have now bookmarked as it does look like it has all sorts of useful information. Thanks.

  3. I actually emailed them about an agent (when I was looking for an agent) one time and quickly got several emails full of information. I'm very impressed with their service for writers and happy they're getting some support.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Got it bookmarked, seems like a prudent thing to do. I've used Predators and Editors site a lot in the past.

    The Old Silly

  5. That's a good endorsement, Elizabeth. I'm glad to hear it.

  6. Yup! I'd bookmarked that one a long time ago. Great site.

    My personal fav is still Preditors & Editors. I remember that one publisher was noted as "Currently in jail..." so I guess it would be unwise to submit to him! LOL

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

  7. Gosh, Helen, what an informative, helpful, and useful post. I guess I’m the only person on earth who’s not heard of or been to Writer Beware. (Not including Jane.)

    Well, I just remedy that. I clicked over there and found really useful information. It’s kinda similar to Preditors and Editors, but seems to have more explanation associated with their information. Their Web site is a little nice, too. Anyway, it’s bookmarked for sure. Thanks for showing me this site. Very helpful.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  8. Yes, very useful. I visit often. Likewise with Preditors and Editors. I check P&E before every query of an agent I haven't heard of.

  9. I'm ashamed to admit I hadn't heard of either of these sites. I only queried agents listed in Writer's Digest and other resource books like that, though. But I'm bookmarketing these as well. Thanks, as always, for the great info.

  10. Only recently found out about Writers Beware through MWA. In the past, like others, I had checked out Preditors and Editors. It's great to have this kind of resource to protect us from the creeps.

  11. Yes, I always check the different sites, starting with Writers Beware. Great that they're getting support. As writers, we're so eager to "get signed" we sometimes forget ANYONE can call themselves an agent!

  12. Thanks for that link Helen. I'm off to check it out now. I'm often quite scepitcal of too good to be true writer deals.

    When I first started writing about 6 years ago another writer said I should join eLance. I got seriously smacked down there. I wrote a pile of articles for a UK lawyer's website that required tons of research and never got paid. (1000 UK pounds- ouch!) I would never advise a writer to write for such places.
    Scams scams scams.

  13. Thanks for that advice, Lauri. What did we do before the Internet?

  14. I've not checked there before. Thank you.

  15. There is one time in particular when I should have checked that website. Unfortunately, it was before I knew it existed. A shame, because it could have saved me a lot of trouble.


    I love to spread this article around. It's by a writer, Lindsay Brambles, who got badly burned by picking the wrong publisher, and neglecting to find a reputable agent at all.

    Needless to say, the publisher he chose got two thumbs down from Writers Beware.

    I haven't swapped emails with him for quite a while now, but I hope he's still out there writing.

  17. I've heard of Predators and Editors but never Writers Beware. We really do need things like that to help us.

  18. Writers Beware is fabulous. I've recommended them for years. They're on top of all the current scams and they even take the time to answer personal questions privately. I am incredibly grateful to them for their efforts to stay on top of the people who engage in fraudulent practices.

    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

  19. Thanks for this post, Helen. I have bookmarked the site. I'm naturally suspicious by nature and a firm believer of "If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is". It's not possible to be too aware.

  20. In this day and age, you have to be a savvy writer and look out for yourself.

  21. 台灣南部高雄地區值得您信賴的婦產科診所

  22. I got emails offering to sell and list my books every day. The cost ranges from $100 to over $1000. It's good to know there are organisations protecting us from scams.

    Bargain with the Devil

  23. I am generally very suspicious and a web site like that comes in handy to offer me confirmation.

  24. Excellent information. I will be checking it out.


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