Three Red Flags – Warnings From ‘Writer Beware’ Blog – Written By Victoria Strauss

The last three notifications from the ‘Writer Beware’ blog, by Victoria Strauss, left me shaken, like so many others she provided us with. I normally try to spread word about scam, fraud, and other warnings as good as I can, but I refuse to drown ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ readers in negativity.

However, I think, it’s important that, in particular new Indie Authors know what dangers they might face when putting their books and their work ‘out there’. I therefore decided to publish one post with links to all three of Victoria Strauss’ warnings. Thank you for your great work, Victoria!


SCAMMERS TAKING BIG 5 PUBLISHERS’ NAMES IN VAIN: A GROWING TREND

I’ve been doing the Writer Beware thing for quite some time, and I Have Seen Some Shit. 
But this solicitation from a Philippines-based publishing and marketing scammer calling itself Right Choice Multimedia (among other names) is one of the most disgusting things that has come across my desk in a while…and that’s saying something. 


Here it is in its entirety. Read it and boggle. You can also scroll down directly to my (far more grammatical) debunking. Be sure to read all the way to the end, because I have some things to say about why Big 5 publishers should care that their trademarks and reputations are being co-opted in this way.

Continue Reading Here


CONTRACT RED FLAG: WHEN A PUBLISHER CLAIMS COPYRIGHT ON EDITS

This is an updated version of a post I published a couple of years ago.

It’s not all that common, but I do see it from time to time in small press publishing contracts that I review: a publisher claiming ownership of the editing and copy editing it provides, or making the claim implicitly by reverting rights only to the original manuscript submitted by the author.

Are there legal grounds for such a claim? One would think that by printing a copyright notice inside a published book, and encouraging the author to register copyright or registering on the author’s behalf, publishers are acknowledging that there is not. It’s hard to know, though, because the issue doesn’t seem to have been tested in the courts. There’s not even much discussion. 

Continue Reading Here


SCAM ALERT: PAPER BYTES MARKETING SOLUTIONS, BLUEPRINT PRESS, AND THEIR STABLE OF IMAGINARY LITERARY AGENTS

Once upon a time, there was a publishing and marketing scammer called Chapters Media and Advertising, owned by one Mark Joseph Rosario. Chapters pretended to be a US company–it even had dual business registrations in Wyoming and Florida, as well as a purported address in Nevada–but in reality, it operated out of the Philippines (much like its many brethren).


Chapters was an unusually devious little scammer. In addition to offering the usual substandard publishing services and junk marketing ripoffs, it had a sideline in impersonating literary professionals, including agent Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Agency and literary scout Clare Richardson of Maria B. Campbell Associates. I’ve written about both of these impersonation scams (as well as the issue more generally; Chapters was not the only one doing this).

Continue Reading Here

SPOOKY PHISHING SCAM TARGETS TRADITIONALLY-PUBLISHED WRITERS – Written By Victoria Strauss

Apparently not even traditionally published authors are safe from crooks. Victoria Strauss on her ‘Writer’s Beware’ blog describes one particular case on her blog. Please read it and be careful. Thank you.


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 that Little, Brown would be publishing “Re-Entry,” a novel by James Hannaham about a transgender woman paroled from a men’s prison. The book would be edited by Ben George.

Two days later, Mr. Hannaham got an email from Mr. George, asking him to send the latest draft of his manuscript. The email came to an address on Mr. Hannaham’s website that he rarely uses, so he opened up his usual account, attached the document, typed in Mr. George’s email address and a little note, and hit send.

“Then Ben called me,” Mr. Hannaham said, “to say, ‘That wasn’t me.’”

Mr. Hannaham was just one of countless targets in a mysterious international phishing scam that has been tricking writers, editors, agents and anyone in their orbit into sharing unpublished book manuscripts. It isn’t clear who the thief or thieves are, or even how they might profit from the scheme. High-profile authors like Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan have been targeted, along with celebrities like Ethan Hawke. But short story collections and works by little-known debut writers have been attacked as well, even though they would have no obvious value on the black market.

CONTINUE READING HERE

DISSSECTING A SCAM: THE LITERARY SCOUT IMPERSONATOR – Written By Victoria Strauss

On the ‘Writer Beware’ blog, I found a new warning from scams. Beware, new authors, and read carefully. These are dangerous. Thank you so much for all your hard work, Victoria!


 

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 services.
This time, I’m breaking down a very similar scam that, capitalizing on the pandemic-fueled popularity of Netflix and other streaming services (as well as the eternal writerly dream of having one’s book translated into film), is appropriating the name of Clare Richardson, Senior Scout for film and TV at the New York office of Maria B. Campbell Associates, to hoodwink writers in an unusually complicated–and expensive–scheme.
Here’s “Clare’s” initial approach:

CONTINUE READING HERE

Two Urgent Warnings For Writers! – Written By Victoria Strauss On Writer’s Beware

Victoria Strauss, who provides us on the ‘Writer’s Beware Blog’ with information of all kinds, warns us on October 16 and October 19 about two more ‘bad eggs’ that I would like to share with as many writers as possible. Thank you so much, Victoria Strauss, for all your efforts and work to help us!


OCTOBER 16, 2020

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 many companies with similar names focused on concert invites, event schedule, and DJ services.)
EMP and A&D are both based in Singapore, and both are just 11 months old (which raises interesting questions about whether they’re really different companies, though their contracts differ enough to suggest that they are). They present themselves as Webnovel partners, authorized to offer non-exclusive contracts that allow authors to continue to publish on other platforms (such as Wattpad, where both companies are actively approaching writers) if they choose.

CONTINUE READING HERE

——————————————————————————————–

OCTOBER 19, 2020

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 fine print of the contest guidelines. (I wasn’t able to provide a direct link to these, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the contest post, there’s a link you can click to see them.)
Here’s my main concern.

CONTINUE READING HERE

ALERT: SCAMMERS IMPERSONATING MAJOR PUBLISHING HOUSES – Written By Victoria Strauss

On the ‘Writer’s Beware’ blog I found the article below, written by Victoria Strauss. I think, it really is important we all are aware of the scams and we share the information to help many others keeping their eyes open. Thank you, Victoria.


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 are a couple of examples of the kind of thing I’m seeing.
Here’s the pitch one author received from “Michael Smith” of “HarperCollins” (see the email address):

 

To pass the “1st stage of the acquisition” of their book, and move on to “an exclusive contract,” the author had already been persuaded (by “agent” Arial Brown, who is as fake as this offer) to hand over more than $8,000 for a new website and YouTube video. Now, in order to proceed to the next stage, they must shell out still more cash for “Developmental Editing and Content Editing.” But not to worry–all that spending is in aid of big rewards down the line:

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

 

Writing Contest Beware: Pressfuls – Written By Victoria Strauss

Victoria Strauss of Writer’s Beware published another warning. This time she informs us about ‘Pressfuls’. Please, read it and spread words to help other authors be aware of that scam.


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

On Sunday morning, I woke up (late, I admit) to a flurry of emails about a website I’d never heard of before: Pressfuls.

The writers who contacted me reported that they’d entered a free short story contest this past September.

Continue Reading Here

 

Contest Caution: The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award – Written By Victoria Strauss

On the ‘Writer Beware’ blog, I found a warning about ‘The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. Thank you for your ongoing and relentless effort to keep us informed and cautious about the dangers in the writer’s world!


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

Founded in 2010, The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award bills itself as “the richest prize for a single short story in the English language.” And indeed, the prize is major: the winner receives a cool £30,000 (no, I did not add extra zeroes.)

With judges yet to be finalized, the selection process will include a 20-story longlist announced in May 2020, a six-story shortlist unveiled in June 2020, and the winner revealed on July 2. The shortlisted stories will be published in an Audible audiobook, with included writers receiving “an extra £1,000 fee, on top of a prize payment of £1,000”. To be eligible, writers must previously have had at least one work published in the UK or Ireland by an “established print publisher or an established printed magazine” (the Terms and Conditions include an extensive list of the kinds of publishers and magazines that don’t qualify). The contest is open for entries until 6:00 pm on December 13.

Continue Reading Here

A Pack Of Scammer Lies – Written By Victoria Strauss – Writers Beware Blog

I found this very interesting and informative blog post on the ‘Writer’s Beware Blog’, written by Victoria Strauss. Thank you so much for your tireless efforts to warn us about scams, Victoria. We really appreciate your hard work!


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

How do scammers entrap unwary writers? The other day, an especially egregious example came across my desk, in the form of this “proposal” shared with me by an author who really, really wanted to believe it was real (I’ve redacted the author’s name and book title to protect their privacy).

Not to beat a horse, dead or otherwise, but if you’ll glance at the sidebar, you’ll see that Alpha Books United is on Writer Beware’s big list of Philippines-based Author Solutions copycat publishing and marketing scams. (When I got hold of this proposal, on September 26, Alpha Books’ website was working fine, but when I checked it today it refused to load. “Mr. Ken Davis”, however, has not stopped emailing and calling the author who contacted me.)

Continue reading here

Writer Beware: Kiss Library: Pirate Site Alert – Written By Victoria Strauss

Today I discovered another very useful warning, written by Victoria Strauss on the ‘Writer Beware’ blog. Thanks so much for all the work you do, Victoria. We really appreciate your support and efforts.


I’ve gotten several alerts over the past week about a pirate site that’s new to me (though not new: this warning was first published in September 2017): Kiss Library, where many authors are finding unauthorized electronic versions of their books.

Kiss Library differs from the typical pirate site in a couple of ways. Unlike, say, Ebook Bike, run by serial copyright thief and “information wants to be free” ideologue Travis McCrea, it doesn’t simply offer pirated books for free download but appears actually to be selling them. Also unlike Ebook Bike and other pirate sites, it seems to promptly respond to DMCA notices.

I found two of my own books listed.

Continue reading here

Writer’s Beware: Scammers From The Philippines

Also on ‘Writer’s Beware’ I found the latest blog post about scamming emails from the Philippines. Victoria Strauss worked hard to provide us with an entire list of senders we should be aware of. Thank you very much, Victoria!


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

I’ve been expending a lot of words and time lately warning about the latest scam phenomenon to hit the writing world: fake publishing and marketing companies that, through outrageous prices and worthless services, extract enormous amounts of money from unwary writers.

Based in the Philippines (despite their apparent US addresses, phone numbers, and telemarketer names) and focusing primarily on small press and self-published authors (particularly authors who’ve published with one of the Author Solutions imprints), these companies recruit writers with relentless–and highly deceptive–phone and email solicitations. Some do provide the services authors pay for, albeit at seriously inflated prices and often of poor quality. Others just take the money and run. I’m hearing from a growing number of writers who’ve paid five figures in fees to one–or, in some cases, more than one–of these scams, with next to nothing to show for it.

Continue Reading Here