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BACK ON OUR SOAPBOX! REPEAT AFTER US: “Real Publicists and Literary Agents Do NOT Spam Authors!” by Angela Hoy and Brian Whiddon

BACK ON OUR SOAPBOX! REPEAT AFTER US: “Real Publicists and Literary Agents Do NOT Spam Authors!” by Angela Hoy and Brian Whiddon

We are receiving DAILY emails from authors all over the world. And, almost all of them begin or end with these four words: Is this a scam?”

Rather than continuing to research each and every one, we are going to start referring those authors to this article.

BELOW ARE THE TOP QUESTIONS THAT AUTHORS ALMOST ALWAYS ASK IN ALL CAPS…and our answers underneath each one.

HOW DID THEY FIND ME?
News Flash – You wrote a book. It’s on Amazon. You’re not exactly living “incognito” now. Like the sly monsters they are, scammers are casing Amazon. You can find new releases on the site. They simply Google your book’s title and your name. You’d be surprised how easily someone can find not just your home address and email address, but also your personal phone number. That “do not call list” you may have signed up for years ago no longer works.

Worse, some of them who can’t find YOUR phone number can find the phone numbers of your relatives. They may call your mother or sister, for example, and talk them up, making the offer sound phenomenal. Your relative may give them your phone number right away because the deal sounds amazing! Or, they may take down the scammer’s information, and pass the offer on to you.

Think about it. From the point of view of the average person, if someone is willing to track down your relatives, that may imply that it really IS a great offer. The person is desperate to get ahold of you so you can be a celebrity author some day!

HOW DO THEY KNOW MY BOOK IS SO AWESOME?
They don’t. Your book could totally suck but the scammers don’t care. The flowery language and false praise they are heaping on you about your book is completely non-specific. It’s a pile of the same lies they tell every author they contact. If one does happen to know anything about your book other than the title, that’s simply a more aggressive (say DESPERATE!) spammer or telemarketer. They may have bothered to read a line or two of text from the free excerpt on Amazon. But, more times than not, they only mention the title of your book.

THEY SAY THEY NEED TO PUBLISH A “BETTER” VERSION OF MY BOOK WITH A BETTER COVER, ETC. SO THAT IT WILL SELL BETTER.
Lies, lies, lies. The ONLY reason they want to publish a new version of your book is so they can charge you thousands to do so. If your book isn’t selling well right now, it’s not going to sell any better after you pay someone thousands of dollars to do what’s already been done, which is having your book published.

THEY SAID I CAN GET A MOVIE DEAL!
They already made that movie. It was titled “SCAM!” This is the biggest lie in the industry. Even if you pay them tens of thousands (or more!) you are NOT going to get a movie deal! Get over it.

Each year, out of MILLIONS of books published, only one or two become movies, or documentaries, or TV shows. And, those are usually written by celebrity authors.

THEY SAID (INSERT NAME OF ANY MAJOR CELEBRITY HERE) WANTS TO STAR IN THE MOVIE!
Now, let’s take a deep breath, and put our thinking caps on here. How many copies of your book have actually sold so far? No screenplay has been written. Do you REALLY think that Hollywood star is jumping up and down, clamoring to be the lead in a movie based on your book? Here are the facts: If your book hasn’t sold a million copies yet, that Hollywood star hasn’t heard about it.

THEY SAID (INSERT NAME OF MAJOR MOVIE STUDIO HERE) WANTS ME TO SIGN A CONTRACT! THEY EVEN SENT ME A COPY OF IT!
Anyone who would sign a contract they received, unsolicited, via email, without hiring a lawyer first probably deserves to get scammed. It’s a fake contract. The scammer has copied/pasted the movie production company’s name and logo into a document to make it look like real letterhead. Many movie studios now have warnings about these scams on their websites.

THEY SAID (INSERT NAME OF MAJOR NEW YORK CITY PUBLISHER HERE) WANTS TO SIGN ME UP AND THEY SENT ME A CONTRACT!
Read the answer to the question directly above. Same damn scam.

BUT, ANGELA AND BRIAN, I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE ALL OF THIS IS FAKE! IT’S REAL, I TELL YOU! REAL!!
Fine. Go ahead and listen to your ego instead of listening to us. Some people learn better by actually touching a hot stove than being told not to. We can’t count how many authors who have contacted us after being victimized by these scams. It is a very humiliating and expensive experience.

THE FACTS

The job of a literary agent and a publicist is to SELL YOUR WORK. Their job is NOT to charge you to republish your book, nor to turn it into a screenplay (at your expense), nor to upsell you on numerous other worthless services.

Literary agents attempt to sell your manuscript to a traditional publishing house. They will NOT charge you any fees. Only if they sell your manuscript to a traditional publisher will they (and you) make money.

Publicists sell to retailers and potential readers. Yes, publicists will charge an author fees for their services but they should NEVER try to sell an author on republishing their entire book. That screams scam. Also, they should never try to trick an author into paying for a screenplay that they can “shop” to movie studios.

Legitimate literary agents have slush files a mile high. They do NOT drum up business using spam and telemarketing tactics.

Legitimate publicists are professionals. And, they don’t come cheap! Any publicist who uses spam or telemarketing to get business should be avoided at all costs. If they have to resort to those low-brow measures to sell their own services, how much do you think they’re going to SUCK at selling your book?

Legitimate literary agents and publicists DO NOT PUBLISH OR REPUBLISH BOOKS. Let me repeat that. Legitimate literary agents and publicists DO NOT PUBLISH OR REPUBLISH BOOKS.

These scammers are pretending to be literary agents and publicists just so they can trick you into paying them for worthless services.

And, if they’re willing to do this to so many authors, do you really trust them with your royalties? If you complain about that movie deal that fell through, they’ll simply tell you there are no guarantees in the business.

Here’s what we CAN guarantee you:

If you have been contacted by one of these outfits, and if you have read this article, and if you have decided to sign up with them anyway, you’re going to be thousands of dollars poorer and, in a few months, you’ll be right back where you were. Your book will be for sale on Amazon, but under the scammer’s company’s name, you’ll be wondering how you can pay off all of that debt you’ve loaded onto your credit card, and the scammer, once they’ve drained your wallet, will be ignoring you because they’ll have moved on to the next victim.

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Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

Follow Angela: twitter | facebook | linkedin

Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Learn more here: https://24hourshortstorycontest.com/



 



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