Pub Rants

Writer Beware! Always Willing To Take One For The Team

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STATUS: Done for the night.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SUPER BAD by James Brown

This blog entry is for you Ann & Victoria. You two are super bad in the best possible way.

I think there are very few people in the world who are willing to take the time and energy to stand up for the rights of unsuspecting newbie writers who get scammed by unscrupulous people who call themselves “agents.”

Ann & Victoria have devoted countless hours to the cause. They have blogged about it. They have chatted on various writers forums to warn new writers of scams and to educate them on what they should look for. They have publically denounced scammers. And they’ve been willing to be sued. Yep, you read that right. They always say bring it on! Regardless of how many hours it will probably eat into their private lives.

That’s sacrifice and they deserve some major kudos!

And it makes me so happy to read about how the latest attempt to intimidate them with a retaliatory lawsuit has failed. The scammer failed to respond to discovery or otherwise prosecute the lawsuit. In other words, the criminal didn’t bother to show up.

How sweet it is! Now this “agent” is being investigated for fraud by the Florida Attorney General’s office.

And the good news continues! This just in from the Writer Beware Blog site. Because of their unrelenting hard work, The Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided to create a special task force to help agents in their field offices recognize and deal with writing scams.

Oh yeah. That’s super bad! Alas, if only it were true…

Still, the lawsuit was real enough. To salute the Writer Beware team, let me ask you this. What have you done recently to help spread the word about scammers? Have you blogged about it? Provided links from your website or blog to Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors?

Have you helped to educate a new writer on a writers’ forum or at a conference lately?

Be part of the solution. Blog, twitter, facebook and make those links live today. Let’s get the word out that scammer “literary agents” who charge fees will not be tolerated.

Monies flow to the author, not away.

36 Responses

  1. Lucy said:


    “And the good news continues! This just in from the Writer Beware Blog site. Because of their unrelenting hard work, The Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided to create a special task force to help agents in their field offices recognize and deal with writing scams.

    Oh yeah. That’s super bad!”

    Um, Kristin? April Fools is over.

    And yes, Ann was doing just fine until she decided to send the three of them to Quantico. At the point the FBI was going to issue them guns and badges, it dawned on me to read the date on the posting. 🙂

  2. Carradee said:

    Most of my acquaintances know that I write. When one of them gets interested in writing, he gets an earful of general advice, like “Writing takes work” and “If you want to do it, SIT DOWN AND DO IT.”

    It’s only when someone’s actually progressing in the novel writing that I trouble ’em with “Don’t pay for an agent” and “You probably don’t want to self-publish”, because that’s when they’ll remember it best.

    Now, if someone asks me how you sell your writing, then I skip the generals and get to the DON’T PAY FOR IT spiel.

    I’ve already had at least one person go “Really?” when I said that [famous author] didn’t pay for publication. Most people just go, “So that’s how that works. I wondered.”

  3. Tara Maya said:

    Aw, man, if it was just an April Fool’s thing, that’s too bad because an FBI division sounded awesome!

    Anyway, there’s been some brohaha about “#agentfail” lately. In my personal opinion, the real #agentfail “agents” are the ones exposed by Writer’s Beware.

  4. Madison said:

    I SERIOUSLY hope this wasn’t for April Fool’s. People really need to buckle down on scammers. Too many people are becoming subject to them and it needs to stop.

    Anyway, I always try to help as many people as I can avoid scams. Why? Because I nearly fell victim to one myself. WL Writer’s Agency. When I learned that this place was a scam, I started a Facebook group to warn others about it. Here’s the link and feel free to join. Invite everyone you know who writes.

  5. K. Andrew Smith said:

    I agree with your post: Ann and Victoria are so generous with their time and efforts, not to mention the money defending themselves in court, that it just blows me away. I tip my hat to them.

    I have a link to Writer Beware Blogs! on my blog, so I’m at least making a very small contribution.

  6. Catherine Haines said:

    Oh, that’s really excellent news. And it’s wonderful that all these people put so much time and effort into pointing out these agent scams. The best bit though is when the scammers get knocked down and we can all shout hooray and/or point and laugh.

    I have mentioned a few scams to people who were talking about trying to get published. Some of them took my advice, some of them didn’t. Some just don’t want to listen.

  7. Anonymous said:

    I do what I can on Yahoo Answers. Especially when some answerers are promoting self publishers (that work for or have been customers of)by giving deliberately incorrect information.

  8. Jane Smith said:

    I longed for the FBI story to be true. It would have been so wonderful.

    I got so fed up with watching writers get taken by scammers that I started my own blog, How Publishing Really Works. Ann and Victoria are kind enough to link to it on their front page, and have linked to it in a couple of their blog posts now: I’m having a great time blogging, and I know of several good writers who have avoided vanity publishers as a direct result of my blog.

    As you can tell, I’m particularly smug!

  9. Anonymous said:

    A friend of mine almost got scammed by an “agency” – she texted me with her great news, I googled the agency name and the brilliant information on Writer Beware popped up. I’m in the process of starting a blog at the moment – there’ll be a big fat link to Writer Beware on it, I promise!

  10. LJCohen said:

    What’s with all the spam comments???

    Anyway, the Writer Beware folks had me going with their April Fool’s post until the part about Quantico and the guns. Too bad–it’s a great idea!

    I have links to Writers Beware and Preditors and Editors on my website and I often recommend them both as resources to new writers.

  11. Joan Mora said:

    Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors are the final sites I check before sending a query. Thanks for the reminder to link and blog about them–I’ll do it today!

  12. Stephanie said:

    Great post. One that every writer should read. Links to Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors are going up on my blog right now!

  13. M. Dunham said:

    Whenever I meet people who are looking into publishing for the first time, I always direct them to P&E and a few other choice sites.

    Bravo, Ann and Victoria. Thank you for making all of us more aware.

  14. Judy Schneider said:

    When I first started to write professionally, so many more established writers were negative about the industry in a way that was very discouraging. I left many writers’ meetings feeling unguided and all alone. I vowed never to treat those who were on the path behind me in the way I was treated. Since then, I’ve tried to honestly help people write better manuscripts and attract an agent’s attention by sharing the mistakes I made and the tips I’ve learned along the way.

    That said, however, I don’t have links to those sites on my blog! I’m off to set them up right now. Thanks for a great post!

  15. Anonymous said:

    I love Writer Beware. I had a very complex question so I emailed Victoria and she helped me tremendously.

  16. HeatherM said:


    Thank you for encouraging writers to expose scammers. You’re right, the more people who do it, the less chance those scammers will have to take advantage of another newbie. The biggest question I had when I started sending my manuscript out was, is this or that agent legit? Sometimes it can be hard to find out. Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors are excellent but even they can’t list all of them. United we stand. . .

  17. Carolyn said:

    I get a fair number of emails from aspiring writers who’ve visited the Writing section of my website. I do talk there about scamming agents and how to tell if you’re heading into danger.

    But I also end up repeating that information for a great many of the people who email me, even when they haven’t actually asked about agents (because they don’t know enough yet to even ask that question). I give them links to the sites you mention and others, and I also reiterate your warnings.

    A writer only just starting to research publishing can easily end up feeling overwhelmed and confused about how the business works. Because it IS confusing when you’re still on the outside, and there isn’t any one-stop, here’s the rules organization. There’s no DMV for writers. As confused or unclear as these writers may be at the start, I always do my best to make sure they have the basics and know where to go for more information.

  18. Miriam S.Forster said:

    Whenever I meet someone who’s obviously new to the world of publishing, especially if that person is super-enthusiastic, I always tell them three things

    1 Never pay an agent

    2 Never pay a publisher (Unless you know why you’re self-publishing and what you want to get from it)

    3 Check out Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors before you sign anything.

    It’s only one person at a time, but it helps!

  19. nomadshan said:

    Jamie Ford and HOTEL just got a brief mention on the NYT Book Review podcast. (A bit off-topic here, but I didn’t want to use your query email address). Nice exposure!

  20. Anonymous said:

    I was one of those clueless newbies not too long ago. I was lucky enough to find a good writing forum before I fell into any traps. Now I’m much wiser to the ways of scammers and I’m trying to teach as many newbies as I possibly can.

    Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors rock for the work that they do! I check all the agents out with P&E before I mark them down on my list.

  21. Ian said:

    It seems it’s a jungle out there. I’ve just started writing and already it seems I’ve made a terrible mistake by posting the first quarter of my novel online. Rogue agents, ruthless publishing houses…..What have I got myself into?

  22. jimnduncan said:

    Speaking of educating writers. Super-agent Nathan Bransford is starting up a fabulous and fun new query contest: Be an Agent for a day! Go check it out! I get to take some credit for the idea too, which means I get to feel special for a day 🙂

  23. Ulysses said:

    When I first started trying to sell SF/F (again), I checked out the SFWA web site and saw the links there to Writer Beware. I always find con stories fascinating, so I had to check out some of their anecdotes. It was an eye-opener, and it led me to their blog. In addition to linking to it from my blog, I mention it to every writer with whom I have contact. A new writer who is not reading Writer Beware is a mark waiting to be taken.

  24. Anonymous said:

    In light of these comments as I read them to make very good sence!
    I wanted to ‘Alert those unsuspecting ‘Blogers’ that are being scamed as I’m writing this about ‘Blogger Talk’ owned by a Canadian Webster and his charming
    wife Rose! I was about to Blog on their Blogsite when I noticed a ‘Blinking Advertisment Banner’at:
    This “Bate N’ Switch” Banner said FREE To Submit A Blog and then they wanted me to pay $1.99 US Up.
    How do they “The Deloaches get away with this ~ Isn’t this against the Law? Then I found they have other websites they ask money
    from the writers and claim they have more then a million clicks to their websites and I find the main Poster is Rose Deloaches herself! I
    for one find this to be a scam on writers in more than one sence of the meaning of the word and something should be done about this
    Fraud on writers like myself. I didn’t walk…I ran to leave this comment!