Publishing Scams

Getting a book published is no easy task, however avoiding publishing scams makes it even harder!

Unfortunately some writers think that with some internet searching and the number of publishers available, fame and fortune are only a click away!

Every writer starting out will receive a large number of rejection letters from agents and publishers before they receive acceptance.

Nobody likes rejections, especially new writers and so they are the ones most at risk of falling victim to a scam because the scammers quickly accept their work.

Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Be on the alert for the most common of the publishing scams.

Types of Publishing Scams

publishing scams

There are 3 main types of publishing scams:

  • Fees to read and critique your work. There are people who call themselves a freelance editor or literary agent will offer to read and critique your work for a fee. People who charge to critique your work are probably going to scam you.
  • Writing competitions with entry fees. There are many contests advertised every year that charge large entry fees. If you are required to pay anything over about $5, it is almost certainly a scam.
  • Pay upfront for representation or publication. Publishing companies make their money when your book is sold [not before] and agents earn their money as a percentage of your book sales [no upfront fee]. So don't pay publishers to publish your book [unless you self publish] and don't pay a publishing agent to represent you.

One of the more recent scams is the:

There are many questionable companies offering to help authors get published, and unfortunately, many writers fall victim to their scams.

You should always check the credibility of a company before you consider contacting them or publishing with them.


The best two resources we are aware of is:

  • Preditors and Editors who provide extensive lists of agents, editors and publishers with information on which ones are reputable and which ones are not, as well as scam warnings and advice, and
  • Writer Beware  [on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website] who give good information on what to look for and also what to avoid, and a list of current scam alerts

Beware of any publisher that discredits either of the two organisations above.

Remember the golden rule: legitimate publishers PAY YOU for the rights to publish your work. You should never need to pay anyone unless you are self publishing!

Read our page on publishing scams advice that alerts you to the red flags to look for and the traps to avoid.

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