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

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

Something to think about – Dodgy Book Promotion sites – The only numbers that are accurate are their prices by Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin, writer, and blogger, warns us about dodgy book promotion sites. We all should be very careful. Thank you very much for all your work, Sally!


Dodgy Book Promotion sites – The only numbers that are accurate are their prices.

First let me say that I am fully aware that there are established book marketing websites with testimonials as to their effectiveness. Prices will range depending on campaign and Amazon is probably one of the largest of the sites to offer a number of options.

But then there are the dodgy ones who have something phishy about their numbers.

But I am talking about the chancers who send you an email or approach you on social media stating that they can put your book in front of 200,000 potential readers and sell more of your books.

This happened to me the other day when and I was invited to connect with a company offering to promote my books. Before accepting I checked their listing and went to the website on their account. There were about 10 covers on books on their front page, a small menu icon on the left hand side (do dislike that.. give me a visible list so I don’t have to play games to find out what I want.) This offered a number of different categorie, but offered no information on services offered.

In the heading it stated the same promise that they could put my books in front of 200,000 potential readers and for further information to email them directly.. In other words not giving any information about services offered or a breakdown of costs. (POV)… and getting your return email address into the bargain.

 

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

Awards Profiteers: How Writers Can Recognize Them and Why They Should Avoid Them – Writer Beware

On the ‘Writer Beware’ blog I found an interesting and educational blog post about ‘Award Profiteers’. The post was written by the ‘Writer Beware’ blog owner, author Victoria Strauss. I thought it was important and should be shared with my fellow writers.


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Lately I’m seeing frequent ads on Facebook for high-entry fee literary awards, such as the International Book Awards ($89 per entry, though if you enter by April 30 you can get a special early bird rate of $69). It’s sponsored by American Book Fest (formerly known, at various times, as USA Book News, JPX Media, and i310 Media Group), which also runs the Best Book Awards, the Bookvana Awards, and the American Fiction Awards–all with the same huge entry fees.

I’ve also heard from a number of writers who’ve been directly solicited by a similar high-entry fee awards program, the Book Excellence Awards:

Legit awards don’t solicit, and they certainly don’t offer special sale prices (the pre-sale amount is a whopping $110). The Book Excellence Awards are run by Literary Excellence Incorporated, and as yet are the only awards program offered by that company–but I’m sure that will change. Profiteering awards often come in clusters.

So what is a profiteering award? Why are such awards a “beware”? Read on. What follows is a post I originally put online in 2015, but is still very relevant today. I’ve updated it to reflect changes in prices and details, and also to add some newer profiteers that have sprung up in the past few years.

******

Continue reading here

Publishing Contract Red Flag: When a Publisher Claims Copyright on Edits – ‘Writer Beware’-Blog

End of February Victoria Strauss of the ‘Writer Beware’ blog published an informative and interesting warning about the copyright claiming on edits by a publisher. Thank you very much, Victoria, for all your hard work, your research and your willingness to share all these red flags with us!


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

It’s not super-common, but I do see it from time to time in contracts that I review, primarily from smaller presses: a publisher explicitly claiming ownership of the 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 registering copyright in the author’s name or encouraging the author to do so, publishers are implicitly acknowledging that there is not. It’s hard to know, though, because it doesn’t seem to have been tested in the courts. There’s not even much discussion of the issue. Where you do find people talking about it, it’s in the context of editors as independent contractors, such as how authors hiring freelancers should make sure they own the editor’s work product, or how freelance editors might use a claim of copyright interest as leverage in payment disputes.

In 2011, Romance Writers of America published a brief legal opinion on its website (still on the website, but unfortunately no longer accessible by the public), indicating that the claim would probably not prevail in court. But that’s the only legal discussion I’ve been able to find.

The legal ambiguity of a copyright claim on editing is good reason to treat it as a publishing contract red flag. But that’s not all.

It’s not standard industry practice. No reputable publisher that I know of, large or small, deprives the author of the right to re-publish the final edited version of their book, either in its contracts or upon rights reversion. One might argue that in pre-digital days, this wasn’t something publishers needed to consider–books, once reverted, were rarely re-published–whereas these days it’s common for authors to self-publish or otherwise bring their backlists back into circulation. But publishers haven’t been slow to lay claim to the new rights created by the digital revolution. If there were any advantage to preventing writers from re-publishing their fully-edited books, you can bet it would have become common practice. It hasn’t.

To read the entire blog post go to:

Writer Beware:

Publishing Contract Red Flag: When a Publisher Claims Copyright on Edits