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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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Spooky Phishing Scam Targets Traditionally-Published Writers

 Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®The New York Times has published the story of a strange international phishing scam: unknown actors targeting traditionally-published writers, posing as their agents or editors to obtain copies of their unpublished manuscripts.Earlier this month, the book industry website Publishers Marketplace announced...

Attack of the Fake Literary Agencies: West Literary Agency, Stellar Literary Press and Media

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®Much of what I'm going to talk about in this post, I think most of my readers already know. But I'm getting so many questions about these two scam "agencies"--both of which seem to be super-active right now with solicitations--and providing so many warnings about them, that I think a broader warning is in...

#Audiblegate: How Audible-ACX Returns Policy Penalizes Authors

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®Do you have audiobooks on Audible, either through your publisher or via ACX? If so, you'll want to head over to author Susan May's blog.What follows is a long, detailed account of how Audible-ACX has been, in effect, hiding the volume of audiobook returns from authors by lumping them in with sales. Here's...

Disssecting a Scam: The Literary Scout Impersonator

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®I've written several posts about a fairly new phenomenon in the world of writing scams: scammers that falsely use the names of reputable publishing professionals, including literary agents and publishers, to lure writers into paying large amounts of money for worthless, substandard, and/or never-delivered...

Bad Contest Terms: T.A. Barron's Once Upon A Villain Flash Fiction Contest

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®Popular YA/MG author T.A. Barron is running a flash fiction contest. Stories must be 750 words or fewer, and the contest is accepting submissions through Friday, October 23. Three winners will receive prize packages consisting of books, games, swag, and/or gift cards.The catch? You guessed it. It's in the...

Bad Contract Alert: EMP Entertainment and A&D Entertainment

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®Lately I've been hearing from writers who've been solicited by one or another of two companies offering to distribute their books to Webnovel, a Wattpad-like platform based in Asia: EMP Entertainment and A&D Entertainment. (Note: there are a number of companies with similar names focused on concert invites,...

Pay-to-Play Alert: Europe Books / Europa Edizioni / Gruppo Albatros Il Filo

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®Over the past few weeks, I've gotten a number of questions about a publisher called Europe Books (EB). It's part of a complex of "brands" under the umbrella of Gruppo Editoriale Europa, including Europa Edizioni (Italy), Europa Ediciones (Spain), and Europa Verlagsgruppe (Germany)*EB's motto: "Our Books Travel...

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...

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