Avoiding Agent and Publisher Scams
Writers want their book babies to be handled and cared for by folks who are truly invested in them and their work. But whether you're hoping to publish traditionally or to self-publish, there are literary agent scams and vanity presses eager to take advantage. This is why it's important to research who you're submitting your work to, what to expect from a legit deal, etc.
Just read this recent piece from AuthorsPublish regarding the uptick in literary agency scams.
How Can You Know Who's Legit?
With boutique publishers and new literary agencies popping up all the time, it can be difficult to identify if a place is simply new to town or a pitfall to avoid. Here are just a few resources to help you make sure you're taking the best approach—whichever path you choose.
First, Familiarize Yourself with Red Flags
However you choose to proceed, you can at the very least be familiar with common red flags—and if you happen upon one, let that be your signal to slow down and sniff around before committing to anything.
Next, Do Your Research
While often a Google search is enough to tell you your instinct is correct, there are great resources available for writers to help keep them safe.
Which one should be your go-to source on scams? Writer Beware.
Writer Beware founder Victoria Strauss is known to investigate fishy opportunities and keeps writers updated on who is safe and who to avoid. Follow her across social media if you can and take a look through these articles and lists:
Writer Beware Scam Archive This is a list of known scams to be wary of.
Writer Beware "Literary Agents" article A detailed guide to help you identify reputable agents vs. the red flags
Writer Beware "Self-Publishing" article Includes a general overview of self-publishing, as well as cautions/scams
Finally, Dig and Ask Around
Agencies and presses will often have the authors they work with showcased on their website. Try to find them on social media and see how their book is doing. If they're real (and actively posting), ask if they're willing to offer thoughts on their experience.