Three ways to spot scams aimed at writers.

Drawing of an owl illustrating an article about three ways to spot scams aimed at writersHOOK

I’ve just been reading some posts on a writing group over on Facebook.

The opening post was from a man who claimed to be looking for coauthors.

On his initial post he said ‘no experience or up front fees.’

He also referenced his own website.

The site was ‘under construction’ and full of spammy writing – inviting writers to become coauthors with best-selling writers and stating that fees would be minimal.

Three bells rang.

  • First, what reputable publisher would be sniffing around writers groups on Facebook looking for writers with no experience?
  • The second clang was the ‘up front fees.’ The only publishers who charge up front fees are vanity publishers
  • Lastly – under construction – would a reputable publisher start business with an unfinished website?

Reputable publishers are overwhelmed, if not inundated with submissions from hopeful writers – many of these are experienced.

Therefore, publishers do not need to find writers on Facebook.

It is possible that you may be spotted on Facebook by a publisher, but highly unlikely. Very highly unlikely.

In the meantime, a vanity publisher, i.e. one who expects you to pay him for publishing might find it lucrative to advertise on Facebook groups.

This way they get to prey on the innocence and enthusiasm of inexperienced writers.

Okay, you say, but that guy said ‘no up front fees.’

old dog sleeping illustrating an article about three ways to spot scams aimed at writersLINE

Ah, well, you’d be right!

He did say that in his Facebook post, but when I checked out his website he had a different story – he said:

“Will you be next? Share the literary stage with bestselling and upcoming authors at minimal cost for maximum exposure.”

He also very helpfully provided various payment options on his site.

I asked him quite a few questions on Facebook and he was slow to answer and when he did he was evasive.

When I pointed out to him that he should be paying writers advances and fees etc., he didn’t answer.

But I persisted, and after a few more questions, he came back with this:

“I have not published anything before. I know a few authors who get hundreds, even thousands as fees from coauthors. I’m forming a Foundation and later plan on assisting teens that want to be in their own biz. I don’t care if writers have experience or not. I want the message to be hart felt and relateble.

So, he’s a publisher who can’t spell, and yet is planning a foundation – based on writers who pay him to write!!!

What he actually is doing is hoping to reel a few inexperienced and hopeful writers in and get them to write for free.


Inexperienced writers aren’t that great at asking ‘publishers’ questions, so by the time they realize what a scam this is – they may already have done a great deal of work.

They may have also have done this work for no money, or worse, even paid money for the privilege of writing for free!

This stuff makes me sick, but it keeps coming around – in various guises.

Even after I pointed out these problems, there were still eight writers, yes eight writers, telling him they were ‘in’ or ‘interested.’

There lies the problem.

Hope over reason – wins every time, ask the scammers.

Be careful out there.

Best wishes



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