Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Do not fall for this. Not now, not ever. NEVER.

While at the Writers Digest conference I came across a business card from a person who proposed to solve all your querying problems.

She'd do it for you.

I heard second hand (so reliability is not 100%) that she was telling writers she could text agents and ask them to read client books.

After I stopped laughing, and after I stopped weeping with frustration, I just banged my head against the wall for a long long time.

It breaks my heart to think writers get sucked in by this kind of empty promise.

Let's overlook for the moment that I'd actually pay attention to a text from someone pitching me ANYTHING.

Let's overlook for the moment that pitching anyone by text isn't even polite, let alone good business.

If someone does this, and it's YOUR NAME she's pitching, guess how that bodes for you?

Well, it's not the end of the world. I simply discard queries from anyone other than the author. No matter how they arrive.

But you don't know that. And GreedForBrains certainly isn't going to tell you that.
So you get a big fat resounding silence and guess what. You think it's about you.

Well it's not.
Not even a little bit.
I never saw your work.

I only saw the lady with her hand in your pocket offering to rub your insecurities with snake oil.


K. White said...

"I only saw the lady with her hand in your pocket offering to rub your insecurities with snake oil."

So well said.

In yesterday's newsletter from Publisher's Weekly, there was a link to Writer Beware. It said scams aimed at writers are on the rise. While what this lady is doing might not technically be a scam, it sure stinks of one to me.

nightsmusic said...

This to me, isn't any different than the "we'll get your book into stores for free" scams you see advertised. No, they won't. They'll take thousands in printing/advertising/formatting/what-have-you fees up front and then, once you've paid those, you might get lucky and get one or two copies of a badly packaged book into your local drug store. Unfortunately, desperate people will try desperate things not realizing the long term consequences. :/

E.M. Goldsmith said...

While I did not attend WDC this year, I have been several times. I always run into people like the woman described here, offering paid services to do things that only the author can do or that an agent can do. I remember one guy offering to "agent" me for a small monthly fee. I knew better and told the guy that real agents only get paid when the author gets paid. He slunk away into the shadows.

Writers, be wary and visit the Writer Beware site and read blogs like this one and follow other reliable industry professionals. Protect yourself. The business is hard enough without all the rogues running about trying to scrape money from writer's near empty pockets.

Irene Troy said...

This is very timely for me. I belong to a local writer's group that was recently featured in a regional magazine article about writers and artists in our community. The attention brought the scammers out of the woodwork. Promises to write your query and submit it to a choice list of agents; "Best Selling author will edit your work and find you an agent." [No mention of book name or what is meant by "best-selling."] All of this for serious money and all without any semblance of legitimacy. It's both scary and depressing how many want-to-be-authors fall for these scams. Do your research people before parting with your hard-earned money!

Colin Smith said...

The sad fact is, the people least likely to fall for these scams read this blog. This should be a frequent topic at all writing events. Agents and editors at the event should host a panel where they talk about scams. At the very least, someone should design a "Don't Be Scammed!" flyer that goes in the registration packet along with your lanyard and free books.

Mister Furkles said...

I'm sure, given the phone numbers, she can text agents and ask them to read client's books. She could also ask agents to stand on their heads while singing Mary Poppins songs. Same result.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ya know that bridge in Brooklyn everybody said they wanted to sell, well it's still there and to think I threw my receipt away. Oh well.

Craig F said...

I recently saw a query that someone paid to "rebuild, edit, and make marketable". When you read you ended with one question: what the hell was that about.

It threw out concepts with nothing to reference. It had two things fully capitalized. The title was not one of them.

I agree with the snake oil thing, so much so that I offer you this

Casual-T said...

There once was a Nigerian prince by the name of Mr. Larry Mmbosi Esq., who had contacted me via email and kindly offered me representation as an agent in the literary world. In exchange for the small sum of $1231.51 (for administrative purposes) he swore a solemn oath on his ancestor’s graves (A long line of Nigerian royalty. Very trustworthy!), that, within 3 days of receiving the aforementioned small fee, I would see my book on the shelves of all major book stores worldwide. He even guaranteed that it would be a NYT Bestseller! (He knew some people who knew some people!)

Hmm... At first I was suspicious (I’m no dummy!). So I asked him how he knew my writing was any good, when he had never even asked for the book’s manuscript. He said that when he had read my posts on Janet Reid’s blog he immediately knew that my book would simply have to be quality stuff. This seemed more than reasonable to me! And besides, the fee he had mentioned, was ridiculously low, considering that the prince’s late wife (Princess Mmbosi Esq.) had bequeathed to me (out of all people!) the incredible sum of $17,000,000, which would be transferred to my bank account along with my advance on the 7-book deal he was going to secure for me (including health insurance, paid vacation days, and pension).

Suffice it to say, I am devastated that I misplaced his email address and am currently unable to get in contact with Prince Mmbosi. If anyone reading this has his contact info, please forward it to me. I’ll gladly share the $17,000,000 with that person (for a small administrative fee). Thanks!

Timothy Lowe said...

As someone who once thought he was savvy but has recently fallen for quite a few Craigslist scams, I can sympathize. Same with the mortgage accelerator program. For a small $200 fee, your bank will accelerate your mortgage. That means that instead of a payment every month, you make a payment every two weeks that is half that amount.

What they don't tell you is that 52 weeks contains 26 payments, two more than the 24 that would be equivalent given the 12 month calendar. You can achieve the same result by making one prepayment a year, and avoid the fee.

Yeah, I fell for that one too.

AJ Blythe said...

As Colin said, the folks swimming in the Reef aren't the ones who need to hear this - although it's always good to get a reminder. There must be desperate writers out there who do fall for the scams, or else they scammers wouldn't be around. Very sad.

Gigi said...

Obviously this scenario is a big no. But as someone with some major mental health challenges, it always guts me a little to hear agents say they would delete a query sent by anyone other than the author.

I wouldn't hire a blowhard who claimed to have a direct line to the publishing gods, but I can absolutely imagine a scenario in which I might do a trade with a writing buddy where we sent and monitored each other's query inboxes for mental health reasons or where someone in a major depressive episode might want to hire a VA to send out queries.

Now, I imagine in my scenario, the query would still be written by the author and sent with that person's name, so maybe it wouldn't trigger the same red flags? Would you also delete something sent by someone who identified themselves as an assistant or something?