Scam-Spotting 101

This article was updated on July 4, 2014 and can be read here: How to Spot a Scam (click here). You can also read about other Indie Pitfalls by clicking here.

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4 thoughts on “Scam-Spotting 101”

  1. Good one.
    I’d add a few, if you don’t mind.
    MAIN ONE — you pay them to publish, then they take a slice of the sales. One or the other might be OK, but not both.
    –Their site doesn’t list books and authors… just “packages”
    –They will send you a printed book or brochure.
    –They are running ads for authors, or worse yet, paying Writers Digest to spam you with their offers.
    –Their whole reason for existence is to “help writers”

    1. Oh and a HUGE red flag — anybody who “guarantees” they can:
      –make you a best-seller
      –get you on the first page of Google
      –get you a hot-looking girlfriend for this weekend

  2. Okay, I’ll add a fancy one. I met with another local author who said she was “traditionally” published. After some questions I realized that she was not – and had been scammed. She is a bright woman and became very upset with me. “What do you have against traditional publishers, Lois?” The meeting did not end well.
    Here is the scam. She sent out thousands of letters. Finally, after a year and a half she gets an e-mail from a publisher. They speak on the phone, and he says, “before we can represent you you need a literary agent. Do you have one?” She did not. She was told that her work was so amazing and marketable that he knew an incredible agent, to call at exactly 6:00. When she called that very day the secretary immediately put her through. “Oh, yes Mrs. X, he is waiting for you.”
    Her call went right through, (…”and you know what a big deal THAT is, Lois” she told me when recounting the story.)
    Long story short, he accepted her in fifteen minutes. She signed away the rights, I believe, on her books, paid a couple of thousand for them to publish what was an already completed book, covered and edited, ready to load.
    I went to the site where she is published. It is not a small press, but a vanity publisher owned by… the agent who took her call.
    She is a very determined woman and I hope she has success. The unfortunate thing is that she has a lot of money and can pour it into this vanity publisher’s hands. Instead of picking my brain and then making up her mind how to proceed with her “agent” she became defensive because she realized I was illuminating a problem. Unfortunate for her.
    Thanks for the great post. Tweeting.

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