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#TheWriteWay Blog Post 15 - How NOT To Get Scammed

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first #TheWriteWay post of 2021!


I apologize for the delay -- life has been hectic, and I've been busy writing, editing, and, you know, trying to stay alive in this crazy pandemic. Things have gotten worse in Canada and now Ontario is in another strict lockdown.


Anyway, without further ado, let's delve into how NOT to get scammed.


Let's face it -- the world is FULL of scams and scammers. People want to take your money, your time, and effort and run with it. This is especially true when it comes to authors and publishing.




I don't want to see any writer get scammed, so let me give you a few tips to avoid that unpleasantness.


Agents Will Never Reach Out To You

Like, ever. So if you get an email from a publishing house or agent asking to work with you, it's probably a scam -- especially if they make promises like "I'll make you lots of money and your book will be a best-seller!"


(Really, no agent can promise that.)


Writers are the ones who query agents or send materials to publishing houses. Check out the blog Writers Beware (https://accrispin.blogspot.com/) for some great tips on things to avoid. Websites like ManuscriptWishlist.com, Querytracker.net, and the #MSWL hashtag on Twitter can help you find some legitimate literary agents and publishing houses to submit to.


NEVER Pay Someone To Publish Your Books

This is a big scam alert. Literary agents should NEVER charge you for anything. They only get paid when you sell something -- usually by taking 15 to 20 percent of your cut. Publishing houses are the same -- they take a cut as well. If an 'agent' or publishing house ever asks you for money or your credit card information, RUN.


Of course, this doesn't apply if you're self-publishing. You're doing everything yourself so yes, you'll have to pay. Check out Draft2Digital, Lulu, IngramSpark, and Amazon for some reputable places to self-publish your e-books and paperback copies. Spending money on marketing, editing, and book cover design can also up the bill, but again, this is to be expected. It's not a scam if you self-publish.


(I once received an email from a company called iUniverse. They had several packages offering to publish my books -- from 1,000 all the way up to 15,000 dollars! That's INSANE. Self-publishing is relatively cheap. Going the traditional route with an agent is free.)


NEVER Give Out Personal Information

Not your credit card, bank account, social security number, or anything else. This is good for every situation, not just writers.


My publishing house -- Fire and Ice YA, which is very reputable -- gives payments through PayPal which is safe. They don't even have my sensitive information. PayPal is super easy and I love getting paid that way!


Trust Your Gut

If something feels suspicion or too good to be true, it probably is. Listen to your intuition.


If An Agent Offers Rep...

Reach out to other authors they've represented. Don't be afraid to ask them questions and the agent, too. If the agent refuses, that's a big red flag.


Google Is Your Friend

Search up agents, publishing houses, and more for free on Google. Message boards can help!


Talk To Other Writers

On Twitter and Instagram, writers use the #WritingCommunity hashtag. If you have trouble with a contract or want to talk to someone, don't hesitate to reach out!


I'm also available if you have any questions for free. If you're worried about something, talk it out!


I know writers LOVE it when someone takes an interest in their work, and it's easy to get your hopes up. But please, take a deep breath and think everything through. You wouldn't want to fall victim to a scam and end up paying for it.


Have any other tips to share to avoid scams? I'd love to hear them!


I hope 2021 is treating everyone well!


Sincerely,


Dana

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