January 11, 2012
It's Frustrating When Victims Fail to Protect Themselves - PART II | printable version
Last week, we discussed ways some victims could have protected themselves from being scammed online, including:
1. The victim of extreme upselling by a POD publisher
2. The victim of a failing POD publisher
3. The victim of a POD publisher that fails to pay royalties
4. The victim of a deadbeat magazine publisher/editor
5. The victim of an "on spec scam"
Over the years, we have helped hundreds of writers and authors who have been wronged or downright scammed by an individual or business in the industry. It's very frustrating when it's so obvious that most of the victims could have avoided being victimized in the first place, or could have at least limited their losses, had they simply done a bit of research.
Here are more examples based on actual complaints that have been sent in over the years.
6. VICTIM OF THE "WE'LL PAY YOU BEFORE THE OTHER VICTIMS IF YOU WRITE MORE FOR US NOW" SCAMMER
This victim is the person who is already owed money by a scammer, but who agrees to be owed even more under the promise that they'll get paid faster than all the other victims. The actions of this type of publisher are, in my opinion, blackmail. They promise to pay a debt only IF the writer does even more work for them. Sadly, in most cases, the victim still doesn't get paid, even after the additional work is done.
These victims can avoid becoming even more victimized by not only refusing to do the additional work, but by also telling the publisher they're reporting the (alleged) blackmail to the police department. Often, the threat of a call to the police can get payment a LOT faster than the threat of a lawsuit.
7. VICTIM OF A FEE-CHARGING EDITOR
Editorial content is the bread and butter of a good publication. However, a small number of unscrupulous publications are now charging writers to submit a query letter or complete submission. Can you imagine an employer charging applicants to submit their resumes? All writers should run as fast as can away from these types of companies, and should not hesitate to lambast the editor/publisher for trying to take advantage of hopeful writers.
8. VICTIM OF THE "WE RAN OUT OF FREELANCE MONEY FOR THIS YEAR" PUBLISHER
These publishers run ads online about how much they pay writers but, when a writer contacts them, they claim they're out of money this year. They tell the writer they'll be happy to accept their FREE manuscript this year and state they will have more in their budget next year. Of course, this isn't a guarantee that the writer will get paying work next year. In our opinion, this is a classic bait and switch. If someone asks you to write for free, tell them to stop victimizing others with their hobby, and to get a real job.
You should also then post your experience online so other writers know to avoid that publication.
9. VICTIM OF AN EDITOR WITH MULTIPLE FALSE ONLINE PERSONALITIES
You've probably heard of this type of scammer. An editor blames his publisher for failure to pay. Or, the publisher blames his "accounts payable department." Or, the accounts payable person blames the secretary. The writer usually finds out much later that the operation is run entirely by one person using multiple personalities to deflect blame for not paying his bills. In most cases, it's rare that someone will be the first victim of this type of scam and researching the person's name (if you can actually find their real name) usually turns up some past illegal activities.
10. VICTIM OF THE PSYCHOTIC/ANTI-SOCIAL/NARCISSIST SCAMMER
The narcissist's downfall is his or her need to always get recognition as the business owner. They want everybody to know they're the ones in charge because it feeds their narcissistic desire for attention and "respect." They can't help but use their real name on subsequent scams so people will know who they really are, even when this means they are likely to be discovered more easily based on their past illegal activities.
In the above two examples, if the potential victim had simply researched the individual's name and their company name online, they very likely will have discovered previous complaints about these individuals. One last idea s to search for someone's name and the term "lawsuit" to see if they have been sued in the past.
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker.com is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Read a price comparison of the most popular POD publishers HERE.
JOEL'S BookProgram: The Simple Secret To Writing A Non-Fiction Book In 30 Days, At 1 Hour A Day!
How to write your non-fiction book in 30 days.