Writer Beware®: The Blog

Shining a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Also providing advice for writers, industry news and commentary, and a focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the pu

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Dissecting a Scam: Fact & Fiction Entertainment and Literary Agency

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®In the past week, I've gotten two questions about solicitations from a literary agency called Fact & Fiction.* As I've mentioned many times on this blog, it is rare for agents to cold-call writers...but that's not to say it absolutely never happens.Here's the solicitation.Unlike other solicitations I've...

Contest Beware: "Lovecraft Country" Short Story Contest

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®HBO's buzzed-about new series Lovecraft Country has spawned a short story contest: For the Love of the Craft. Co-sponsored by HBO and The Root, the contest invites writers "to pick a decade or an important moment in Black American history, and weave a tale of the monsters that litter that time." There's a...

Alert: Scammers Impersonating Major Publishing Houses

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®A couple of weeks ago I wrote about scammers impersonating reputable literary agents. These are not isolated incidents: I have a growing file of reports and complaints about this growing phenomenon--including from writers who've lost large amounts of money.Now publishers are being impersonated as well. Here...

A New "Beware": Scammers Impersonating Reputable Literary Agents

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®I've written about this new "beware" twice already (you can see those posts here and here), but it appears to be a growing problem, so I want to put out a more focused warning.Scammers--the same Philippines-based Author Solutions copycats that I've featured numerous times in this blog (also see the long,...

Small Press Storm Warnings: Filles Vertes Publishing

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®I first heard of Filles Vertes Publishing (FVP) in late February of last year, when I was contacted by a writer wanting to know if I'd received any complaints. I hadn't--but a look at FVP's website prompted some concerns. On the plus side, FVP was distributed by Small Press United, the small press arm of...

Small Press Storm Warnings: Lethe Press, Seventh Star Press

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®LETHE PRESSFounded by Steve Berman in 2001, Lethe Press is an LGBTQ-focused independent publisher "specializing in the strange, the eerie, and the uncanny". In a publishing environment where small presses come and go like mushrooms, it has been in business for nearly two decades, and has garnered awards and...

The Impersonation Game Redux

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®A few months ago, I warned about a scammer impersonating agent Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. The fraudster in question turned out to be yet another of the Philippines-based publishing and marketing scams that I've been writing about so much over the past couple of years (see the sidebar...

Agencies in Turmoil: Red Sofa Literary Threatens Legal Action, Mass Firings At Corvisiero Literary Agency

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®On May 30, following blowback she received for her tweeted responses to the protests in her hometown of St. Paul, MN, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary posted a note of apology on the agency's website.Between then and now, Frederick seems to have changed her mind--at least, about her critics. Today, three...

Four Major Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over Unauthorized Book Scanning

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®This past March, I wrote about the Internet Archive's National Emergency Library--a spinoff from the IA's massive Open Library project, which makes scanned print books available to the public for free in various digital formats.While many of these books are in the public domain, many are not: they are in-copyright...

Evaluating Publishing Contracts: Six Ways You May Be Sabotaging Yourself

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® (A version of this post was originally published in 2014.)Several years ago, a now-defunct literary magazine called The Toast gained notoriety by demanding that its writers surrender copyright. In the widespread discussion that followed exposure of this author-unfriendly policy, I was struck by the number...

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