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  • Alex

The Impersonation Scam Targeting Authors

In the past few months, I couldn't help but notice the rise in the number of authors being scammed out of their hard-earned money in hopes of taking their book to the next level. I’m talking hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

I know, that’s a lot!

The Deceptive Web

I’ve noticed a pattern. Scammers often prey on authors by promising quick and impressive results for a hefty fee. They might pose as reputable publishers, agents, or marketing experts, making it hard to tell the difference between a legitimate offer and a scam.

In this week’s issue, I’m going to walk you through how these scams typically go down, what red flags to look out for, and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your work. By the end of this, you’ll be better equipped to avoid falling victim to these scams and keep your money where it belongs—invested in your genuine success.

Here's how it typically unfolds:

Step 1: Initial Contact

The scammer contacts the author via email, phone, or even social media.

They often pose as a high-profile figure from the publishing industry: a renowned editor, a prestigious literary agent, a producer from a major film studio, or even an executive at a prominent publishing house.

So, suppose the official email address for a publishing company like Harper Collins is Scammers might create an email address that closely resembles it, such as (notice "collins" has a single letter ‘l’) or, to reach out to the author.

Step 2: Flattery and Praise

They shower the author with flattery and praise, highlighting the author's talent and claiming to be impressed by their book.

Step 3: Enticing Opportunity

They offer an enticing opportunity. A lucrative publishing deal, representation by a "famous" agency, a movie adaptation of the book, or some other seemingly extraordinary offer.

Step 4: Creating Urgency

The scammer creates a sense of urgency, pressuring the author to make a quick decision to avoid missing out on this "amazing opportunity."

They might use fabricated proof to build trust, providing fake contracts, forged documents, or even websites mirroring real companies.

They exploit the author's lack of industry knowledge, offering confusing terms and processes that appear legitimate but are actually designed to confuse and extract money.

Step 5: Asking for Money

The scammer ultimately asks for money. This could be upfront fees for editing, marketing, or "processing" the deal. They might request ongoing payments for "services" or hidden costs.

Once the author pays, the promised services either never materialize or are substandard. In many cases, the scammer disappears altogether, leaving the author financially and emotionally drained.

Stay alert for publishing scams with these warning signs: unsolicited offers, excessive pressure, upfront fees, vague contracts, and exaggerated promises.

Genuine opportunities don't rush, charge upfront fees, or make unrealistic claims. Be cautious and protect yourself in the publishing landscape.

See you next week.




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