November 10, 2021
Online scams against authors are on the rise and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Nearly every day, we hear from authors who have been scammed or would have been had they not first reached out to the Authors Guild to confirm whether an “offer” was real. Authors must remain alert for these kinds of scams and be careful not to fall for them.
The first rule of thumb is that if someone solicits you out of the blue with an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Common types of scammer outreach include offers to get your book published by a well-known publisher, including a large advance—but then you find out that you must first pay a fee; you pay, and then you never hear from them again. Others make false promises to actively market your book and generate huge sales in exchange for an exorbitant fee. To engender trust, these scammers regularly mimic real companies, editors, and agents, often using names and email addresses that closely resemble a real company’s email to deceptively request manuscripts.
It is important to view any unsolicited offers to publish or market your books with caution. The Authors Guild has an ongoing list of reported scams below. If you encounter a potential scam that is not listed, please notify us so that we can investigate it. Even simple Google searches will unearth reports of particular scams.
If you learn about any efforts to defraud authors, please contact the Authors Guild to let us know so that we can better protect our members. In addition, Writers Beware is an excellent resource for looking into potential scams in the marketplace. Penguin has also recently launched their own fraud alert page.
Click here to read the Authors Guild’s list of reported publishing scams.
We also have a list of publishers that have failed to pay authors on time or in full.
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