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Writers Beware! 2 Sites That Can Keep You From Getting Scammed

Noel Dwyer Assistant Editor

Noel’s Take On: Scams that Target Writers    ~   Two Websites Every Writer Should Know About…

As I get closer to sending my book out to agents (…oh God…), I’ve been gathering some resources on how to find out which agents, publishing companies, and services are valuable and which are scams. The face of publishing is changing fast right now, and that’s both incredibly exciting and ridiculously confusing.

Many, many people are in publishing because they love producing great books, but there’s also a gigantic industry of shady companies making their money off gullible and inexperienced would-be authors.

One of the best sites I’ve found for keeping abreast of both the good people and the scammers in publishing is the Absolute Write Water Cooler, a large forum of writers discussing their positive and negative experiences with agents, publishers, and other services in the industry. At the bottom of the page, there’s a search box where you can search for a name and find other writers discussing their personal experiences with that person or company. If you’ve gotten an offer or are considering a service, I strongly recommend searching this site.

Writer Beware is an organization sponsored by SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). While they’re fairly SciFi/Fantasy focused, much of their advice holds for any genre. They also keep a blog with in-depth discussion of scams and shady business practices in publishing.

Even if you’re not yet at the stage in your career where you’re seriously considering who to work with, reading through these sites can be valuable preparation. The more I understand about how reputable businesses in the industry behave and what kinds of offers should send up red flags, the smarter and safer I hope to be when I start putting my work forward.

Good luck!  

— Noel






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