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A New "Beware": Scammers Impersonating Reputable Literary Agents

Posted: 13 Aug 2020 10:28 AM PDT

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

I've written about this new "beware" twice already (you can see those posts here and here), but it appears to be a growing problem, so I want to put out a more focused warning.

Scammers--the same Philippines-based Author Solutions copycats that I've featured numerous times in this blog (also see the long, long list in the sidebar)--are impersonating reputable literary agents and agencies in order to bamboozle writers into buying worthless "services." Here are the misused names I've documented so far; the scam companies they work for are in parentheses:

- Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (TechBooks Media)

- Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency (Writers Desks)

- Danielle Burby of the Nelson Literary Agency (Writers Desks)

- Nelson Literary Agency (some guy calling himself Jason Smith, Book Scout, with a fake Nelson Agency email address)

For more info, go to:  Writer Beware®: The Blog.

CAROLYN HART! Oklahoma mystery writer has a new book out. "Ghost Ups Her Game" is now available from your favorite bookseller:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | Indiebound

I have written 61 books. The 62nd, Ghost Ups Her Game, will be out in August. The  WWII books are the most important to me and perhaps the best, Escape from Paris, Brave Hearts, and Letter from Home, but by far the most fun I’ll ever have in writing a book was the first Bailey Ruth, Ghost at Work..

Carolyn Hart's new book plus a short interview

I have written 61 books. The 62nd, Ghost Ups Her Game, will be out in August. The WWII books are the most important to me and perhaps the best,…


FREE PR & PUBLICITY  for your book



What is a Chargeback? What You Need to Know to Protect Your Freelance Business

This freelance writer learned about chargebacks the hard way, but hopefully her story means you won't have to. The Write Life  http://bit.ly/1CnkNxH


Looking for a Publisher?

by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

I always advise authors to be cautious about approaching a brand-new publisher

There's a high attrition rate among new small presses, and it's really safest to hold off on approaching them until they've proven they can operate without getting backlogged or running out of money. In practical terms, that means waiting at least a year after the press has started issuing books. This also gives you a chance to assess quality, and to get a sense of how (or if) the publisher markets its list. And it allows time for complaints, if any, to surface.

Also a concern: a publisher that doesn't disclose its staff. If you don't know who owns the publisher and who works for it, how can you determine whether they're experienced and competent--or, worse, have ties to questionable ventures? Inexperienced staff is a major reason for publisher death. And a publisher that crashes and burns under one name may start up almost immediately under another. In this case, a little Googling quickly discloses that Resurrection House's owner is author Mark Teppo. Teppo has industry experience, which is certainly an encouraging sign.

Go to http://accrispin.blogspot.com for more info.


Publish America Scam in business again,  for more info: http://accrispin.blogspot.com

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

What's in a name?  Quite a lot. Reputation, for instance. And where reputation is bad, scammers often try to cloud the issue with a name switcheroo.  PublishAmerica, one of the most notorious of the digital vanity publishers*, is the latest in the name-change parade**. Its new moniker: America Star Books. The PublishAmerica URL (www.publishamerica.com) now defaults to the America Star Books website, which is registered to PublishAmerica's co-founder, Willem Meiners.

Unfortunately, America Star Books has a clean profile on the Internet at present (which of course is the whole point). If indeed "nothing has changed," that won't last long. Linking the new name with the old, as I do in this post, can help. 


* How notorious? Just do a websearch, to see the thousands of complaints that exist online. Or plug PublishAmerica into the search box on this blog, to see the many posts I've written about its shenanigans. Or see Writer Beware's Alert, which I've updated today to reflect PA's new name.


By JEAN HAVENS Special Writer at Tahlequah Daily Press 

TAHLEQUAH — These days, just about anyone can publish a book, but getting people to buy it is another matter. “Everybody wants to write a book, but it’s just not that easy,” said author Bill Wetterman. “You have to have passion in order to really be a novelist. But you can self-publish on a shoestring budget.” 

Read the entire story here:  . http://www.tahlequahdailypress.com/features/x967391187/Self-publishing-More-work-but-more-control


Grammar Girl's New Guide for Writers

Are you feeling "all right" or "alright"? Does "biweekly" mean twice a week or every two weeks? Do you run a gauntlet or a gantlet? Is a pair of twins four people or two? 

The English language is always changing, and that means we are left with words and phrases that are only sort of wrong (or worse, have different definitions depending on where you look them up). How do you know which to use? Grammar Girl to the rescue! This handy reference guide contains the full 411 on 101 words that have given you trouble before -- but will never again. 

Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master in No Time (Quick and Dirty Tips) by Mignon Fogarty .  Paperback OR Kindle, $5.99 from Amazon.com


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Vistaprint has great bargain sales going right now. 

(I don’t get anything out of this, but I do use their products) Check it out at 



From the TWEETS!

Sweeties Picks @sweetiespicks

List your book giveaway for Free on our site! http://www.sweetiespicks.com/submit-a-giveaway … #giveaways #win


How to Spot a Fake: Rare Books http://www.cnbc.com/id/100649411 


Got an Orphan book?

Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

The issue of orphan works--out of print, still-in-copyright books, films, photographs, etc. whose rightsholders can't be found--is one that has been much in the news over the past few years. Copyright used to be dependent upon rights-holders' obligation to register their works; if works weren't timely registered or re-registered, they fell into the public domain. Now protection is automatic, with no need for registration, and the term of copyright has been extended far beyond authors' lifetimes. The unintended result is a huge pool of orphan works--whose rights no one is managing, and whose content no one can use. (How huge? It's estimated that in Europe alone, over 3 million books--13% of all in-copyright books--are orphans.)

Go here to read more: http://accrispin.blogspot.com


Brainstorming Non-Bookstore Sales

Think outside the bookstore box; learn how to find additional sales venues for your book: http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2011/03/brainstorming-non-bookstore-sales-by.html



What exactly is ‘first-person plural’?

Think “WE,” “US,” and “OUR” instead of “I,” “me” and “mine.”  Writers seldom choose this tricky ‘first-person plural’ point of view, with good reason. It seems impossible a group could think and feel, let alone act as one.


“THE QUILT LADY” feeding at risk children

Judy Howard said: Now 100% of all my quilt sales feed needy children through church food pantries from my exhibits, programs, antique quilt collection and 5 books about OK history including the latest “1905 Cookbook.” 


The Writers' League of Texas is a non-profit corporation, funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts.This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. 611 S. Congress Ave., Ste. 200 A-3, Austin, TX 78704/ 512-499-8914/wlt@writersleague.org.