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4 signs you’ve found a publishing scam

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Many people dream of being a published author. Scammers are playing on that. Here’s how you know you found a publishing scam.

Many people dream of being an author or a writer. You may want to get a book out there, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. You even have the novel ready to go, and you think you’ve found a publisher to take it.

There are some great publishing houses out there. Having this dream is great, but you need to look out for yourself. There are just so many publishing scams out there. If you just look up a simple Google search on the topic, you’ll find plenty of authors who have faced these scams.

Some of the problems come from what are known as vanity publishers. They’re not looking to help you make money the way they used to. Others are just downright scams you need to look out for, and here are the top four signs.

Fees just to read your novel

Your novel is ready* and you want people to read it. Publishers won’t ask for fees to read it. What you will find is you need to hire an agent instead. It’s the agents who initially read the novel and then look for publishing houses.

If publishing companies are coming directly to you, this is a huge sign that it’s a publishing scam. Of course, there may be a company that comes directly to you to say that they read it and they’d like to talk to you (or your agent) about it. They’re not asking for a fee just to read it. It’s possible that someone at the company found a copy and wants to run with it.

The scam is when they say they want a fee to read it. You see that, move on and hire an agent.

There are printing fees involved

I will say that there are some printing fees if you’re going the self-published route. This is to be expected. When I put my book on CreateSpace, I needed to pay to get a proof copy sent to me. It was a small amount to make sure it looked just right in the published form.

However, publishing houses shouldn’t be getting you to pay the publishing fees. At least, not upfront. A lot of this is going to be worked out in your advance and in your contracts. It’s important to have an agent to help you with this stage to make sure you’re not getting the runaround.

In fact, the legitimate publishing houses will want to deal with an agent. One of the biggest red flags of a publishing scam is when they want to deal with you directly and cut out the middleman.

They tell you it’s hard to publish on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, etc.

Have you had a company tell you just how hard it is to get your book on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel’s website, and more? This is a sign that they’re running a scam. They want you to pay for their “expertise” to get the books onto the websites.

The truth is you can do this yourself now. Self-publishing is very easy to do. It can get frustrating at times, and there can be a learning curve. However, you can do it for nothing.

You can pay for someone else to do it for you. This is something you could choose to do, but a publishing house isn’t going to make you pay for it. It’s all included in the contract that you sign—again, a good agent is going to help you with this.

A publishing scam will get you to pay upfront and then do nothing with your book. You’ll be out a few hundred dollars of before you realize.

The Hollywood publishing scam

Have you ever had a publishing company tell you that they can get your book in front of Hollywood execs? I have, and I had to laugh. This was a clear sign that it was a publishing scam*.

I’m not saying it’s impossible. However, it isn’t as easy as just having a publishing company putting it on a table for all the Hollywood execs to read. A lot of the time, books are turned into movies and TV shows because someone important is interested. Look at Terry Dresbach encouraging her husband Ron D. Moore to do Outlander and the way Erica Saleh enjoyed One of Us Is Lying.

The publishing scams running this trick will want you to pay upfront to get them to run the novel. They’ll say the fee is for their job to push for the book to be turned into a movie or TV show. However, once you’ve paid, they’ll ignore your calls.

MORE: Can you make money writing fanfiction?

There are some great publishing companies out there. The best thing you can do is get an agent and you’ll be able to avoid any publishing scam that comes your way.

Get in touch if you want help in working on your writing career.