Don’t Let Publishing Scammers Rob You


Predators take advantage of would-be authors with false promises of publishing and big profits. Because scammers are always getting exposed, they constantly devise new methods to deceive.

You need to know about these new theft attempts.

The 2020 Hit Parade of Scams

Author Anne R. Allen wrote in her blog in February, 2020 about emerging scam trends. I briefly describe those most likely to affect you. There are 6 more In Anne’s blog.

  1. Posing as a Legitimate Agent. A scammer exploited the reputation of the highly respected Donald Maass Literary Agency by masquerading as one of the agency’s best-known agents to sell literary representation and marketing.
  2. Charging for Interviews. In 2018, warnings went out about people who charged for bogus radio interviews. Now so-called magazines are employing the same practices. The interviews cost thousands, and the printed result is more like a flyer. You should never pay for an interview.
  3. Book Fair Placement. A book fair is really a form of an industry conference. Big Five publishers aren’t browsing for the latest and greatest indie book. They’re conferring with each other about the state of the publishing business. Do not waste money on this.
  4. So-called Self-Assisted Publishing Companies. They don’t help. All they do is publish your book. They do not promote or distribute it. They take your money and send you several cartons of high-priced books. You can arrange for the POD publication of your books for a much lower price.

In this context, Anne also notes that you should mistrust any offer from a company that focuses on print books only. That’s where they’re making their money.

Read this article in full at

This, by the way, is an excellent author’s blog to follow.

“I just loved your book. What was the title again?”

Writers Beware® is part of the Science Fiction Writers Association ( Anne Crispin and Victoria Strauss, both respected and successful authors, follow the latest in scams against authors.

In December, 2020, Victoria Strauss published detailed descriptions of two very active scamming organizations. The blog post also lists what you should look for if you want to research an offer that comes into your email. Read the post here.

Not long ago I got an email with the title of one of my books as the subject line. The writer (who was with a publishing company) claimed to love that book, and asked me to call. I did.

They wanted to publish my latest book. I asked for them to describe what they would do for me. There was nothing they offered that I could not do for myself. They’ve contacted me again since that call, seemingly forgetful that we already spoke.

If you get any unsolicited offer from someone who wants to publish your book, your safest bet is probably to delete the email. If you think it might be legitimate, check it out thoroughly, both through using the methods described by Victoria Strauss or by researching the company on Writers Beware®.

The most important message I can leave you with is that legitimate agents and publishers rarely solicit manuscripts unless they have some familiarity with you. If they heard you speak or read an article you wrote, they will always preface their offer with a specific reference.

However, this is not likely to happen. Agents and publishers are buried in unsolicited manuscripts. They don’t need to solicit them.

The bottom line in the sad story of scammers preying on unsuspecting authors is: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Pat Iyer Is an editor, author of 49 books, ghostwriter, and book coach. Chat with her about your ideas for a book, or need for an editor, by using the link of She promises to not try to sell you a pallet of books.

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