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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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...

Contest Scam Alert: Legaia Books Online Book Competition

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® When is a literary contest not a literary contest?When its purpose is to make money for the contest sponsor. Alternatively: when its purpose is to assemble a list of likely customers.Take the online book competition (or book literary contest, or books competition--it doesn't seem to have an actual name)...

Copyright Violation Redux: The Internet Archive's National Emergency Library

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® The enormous digital archive that is the Internet Archive encompasses many different initiatives and projects. One of these is the Open Library Project, a huge repository of scanned print books available for borrowing in various digital formats.Unlike a regular library, the IA does not purchase these books,...

Space Kadet: The Twisted Tale of a Sad, Sad Internet Troll

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® Scroll down for updatesA couple of weeks ago, my Twitter warning about an amateur literary agent received a fairly curmudgeonly response.Mistaking it for a serious (if misguided) comment, I responded with a thread about why it's, well, bad for an agent to lie about their credentials. Which prompted this:Ooookayyyy...

Writer Beware in the Time of Coronavirus

My home office, with feline assistant.Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®I rarely make personal posts on this blog. But, as I don't need to remind anyone, these are scary times.My husband and I are physically fit and in general good health, but we are both 64 and he has an underlying health condition. Based on everything we're seeing and reading,...

Beware: Pigeon House Literary / Druella Burhan

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® The internet and social media have transformed writer/agent/publisher interactions in many ways, one of which is the proliferation of Twitter pitch events, such as #PitMad, #DVPit, and others.While no online innovation has (so far) managed to supplant the traditional query-and request route, these events...

Mass Contract Cancellations at Mystery Publisher Henery Press

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® Beginning on Friday, February 8, dozens of authors with mystery publisher Henery Press received some version of this email.Dear ________,Before entering 2020, we felt it prudent to review future projections for _______ series, taking into consideration recent releases and overall performance. To provide...

Should You Pay To Display Your Book At BookExpo? (Short Answer: No)

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® BookExpo (formerly known as BookExpo America, but still referred to as BEA) is the US's leading publishing industry event. Attended by publishers, agents, booksellers, retailers, librarians, and people and companies from all aspects of the book trade, it's an opportunity for industry professionals to network,...

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