Agent Scam Alert: How to Protect Yourself From People Pretending to Be Agents


Happy Monday Everyone! One of my projects
this year is to update the agent spotlights. One thing I have noticed is that
there is a warning on many agency websites informing writers that people are
impersonating agents at their literary agency. Then Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson
Associates Literary Agency mentioned that she and another agent at her agency had
been impersonated when she reviewed her agent spotlight for me. She recommended
that I warn my followers about this scam. Here’s what you should know not to be

Warning Signs That You Are the Victim of
an Agent Scam

Writers seeking an agent and
self-published authors are often the targets of individuals pretending to be a
real literary agent. Another scam is pretending to be a literary agent at a
fake agency. Here are some warning signs to watch for:

Charging you fees. Some fake literary agents offer
to help you obtain a publishing contract but will charge you reading, editing, or
other fees before they get you a contract. A legitimate agent will not charge
these fees and will only charge a commission, which is paid only if you sign a
publishing contract.

Contacting you out of the blue. Individuals
impersonating agents will contact you out of the blue. The reality is that
legitimate literary agents do not have the time or need to search for clients because
they are overwhelmed by queries from writers. One way to know the person
contacting you is a fake is to check their email address to see if it is a personal
rather than an agency email address or research the agency they claim to be

Claiming a publisher is interested. Some fake agents
claim that a publisher is interested in your manuscript and that they will
negotiate your contract for an upfront fee.

Marketing your book. Scam agents may also promise to
get your book into bookstores, get you a spot on a radio or television show, or
launch a press release campaign for an expensive fee. Many of their marketing
methods may not be effective and are overpriced. In addition, these scammers
don’t fulfill their promises.

Offering to get you reviews. Another scam that
fake agents are promoting is to promise an author that they can get them reviews
of their book—for a few hundred dollars each. Legitimate agents would never
charge this type of fee.

Making unrealistic promises. If an agent’s
promises seem too good to be true, they probably are, and it’s a red flag that
the person is a scammer.

Five Ways to Protect Yourself From Scammers

You can protect yourself from a fake agent and
other publishing scams. Here are five tips you should follow:

yourself on how the publishing industry works and how literary agents are paid.

very skeptical if you are contacted by an agent out of the blue unless an
author you know has referred you to an agent.

not pay any upfront fees to obtain representation or other services from an

you are unsure of the identity of the person contacting you, research them thoroughly.
Also, do not click on any links in their email.

up-to-date about potential scams by reading Victoria Strauss’ Writer Beware blog and other trusted
blogs or other publishing industry publications.

Additional Resources on Agent Scams

Here are the links to articles I read when writing this post and some helpful-looking podcasts on this issue:

Have been contacted by someone pretending
to be an agent? Do you have other tips on how to avoid being scammed? Share
your advice in the comments.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Saturday, April 1 I’m participating in the Honey Bunny Giveaway

Wednesday, April 5 I have an interview with debut
author Lauren Thoman with a giveaway of her YA mystery I’ll Stop the World
and my IWSG post

Thursday, April 6 I’m participating in the Dancing in the
Rain Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 10 I have an interview with debut
author Meg Eden Kuyatt and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Good

Wednesday, April 12 I have an agent
spotlight interview with
Roma Panganiban and a query
critique giveaway

Monday, April 17 I have a guest post by debut author Justine Pucella Winans and a
giveaway of her YA thriller Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything

Monday, April 24 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jennifer Chen Tran and a query
critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Saturday!



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