Everything new authors need to know about avoiding costly and devious predators in publishing

You’ve written a book you’re pleased with, and now you’re ready to publish and promote. Congratulations! Unfortunately, many scammers will be out to get you now that you have pages to introduce to the world. All too often, novice writers will fall victim to wasting valuable time and money on fraudulent services in hopes of improving their chances of success.

Here, we’ll explore three common publishing scams and how to avoid them.

𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐦 #𝟏: 𝐕𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐦: A vanity publisher demands money from you upfront. They usually promise you editorial and marketing services and tell you that you’ll earn back the money you invest in no time. In a best-case scenario, you walk away, breaking even. In the worst-case scenario, they take the money, and your work never gets published.

𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙞𝙙 𝙞𝙩: A reputable publisher gives you options or will not charge for publishing your work. Be sure to do extensive research on any publisher that approaches you or that you approach. A good test of a publisher’s integrity is a Google search, typing in the publisher’s name followed by the words, scam, and legal. Follow sage-old advice: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐦 #𝟐: 𝐅𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐦: You find someone (or someone finds you) who offers their services as a literary agent. They charge you manuscript evaluation and editing fees upfront and may even provide editorial advice that can harm your manuscript.

𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙞𝙙 𝙞𝙩: Real agents will never charge you fees for manuscript evaluation or editing or even offer editorial services. A legitimate agent will expect payment after the books have been sold–not upfront. Keep in mind that anyone can be a literary agent. You read that correctly. Literary agents don’t require special licenses or qualifications. So, do your research. Look for reviews on Google and LinkedIn, and review their website before moving forward.

𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐦 #𝟑: 𝐅𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐬

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐦: Vanity publishers and fake agents are often behind this scam–they post “contests” and promise that winners will receive publications and editorial services in exchange for a steep entry fee. These “contests” are easy to win and add little to your reputation. Another type of fake contest scam is the “contest mill” scam. Contest mills will incessantly post contests and charge a hefty reading fee.

𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙞𝙙 𝙞𝙩: While legitimate contests often charge reading fees, they are appropriately priced — anywhere between $5 and $25 to enter. Be wary of any contest asking for an entrance fee above $40 or contests that are posted too often. In addition, research the reputation of contests before submitting your work.

And finally, no matter who you’re contemplating doing business with, do a Google search by including the name of the company followed by the word, scam.

You’ll be surprised what you come up with.

𝐍𝐨𝐭𝐞: You may want to view the video, How to Publish Your Book, On Your Own, Without A Publisher https://youtu.be/SkQy25JCgyc

This webinar will answer the following questions every self-publishing author has:

*How can I be sure the companies I work with have integrity?

*How much will it cost to publish my book?

*Can my book be published with no cost to me?

*Do I need a website, and how much does it cost?

*What about a blog, Facebook page, and other social media stuff?

*How do I market my book?

*What about eBooks?

*How do I get my book in Barnes and Noble, on Amazon, and other booksellers?

*What is a Library of Congress number, and do I need one for my book?

*How do I launch my book?

*What is an ISBN number, is it necessary, and how do I get one?

*How do I copyright my book?

*And, finally, can I expect to make any money?


Book publisher, editor, author, Author Masterminds charter member, founder of Readers and Writers Book Club, and bush pilot.

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Evan Swensen

Book publisher, editor, author, Author Masterminds charter member, founder of Readers and Writers Book Club, and bush pilot.