Like many genre-focused writers’ groups, SFWA, MWA, HWA, and ASJA are concerned not just with issues that affect professional authors, but with the problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers. Writer Beware, founded in 1998, addresses that concern through the Writer Beware website, which provides warnings about literary schemes and scams, along with information on how writers can protect themselves; the Writer Beware blog, which covers schemes and scams in real time along with publishing industry news and advice for writers; and the Writer Beware Facebook page, which links to writing-related articles, blog posts, and news items and provides a forum for discussion.
Although we’re sponsored by US-based organizations of professional writers of fiction and non-fiction, our efforts aren’t limited by country, market, genre, or publication history. We’ve designed the Writer Beware website to be used by any writer, new or established, regardless of subject, style, specialty, or nationality.
“Writer Beware” is an officially registered service mark of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Writer Beware is a volunteer effort. Our staff:
She received the 2009 SFWA Service Award for her work with Writer Beware, and in 2012 was honored with an Independent Book Blogger Award for the Writer Beware blog. She’s webmistress of the Writer Beware website, which she also created, and maintains the Writer Beware database, blog, and Facebook page.
Visit Victoria at www.victoriastrauss.com.
Michael Capobianco has published one solo science fiction novel, Burster. He is co-author, with William Barton, of the controversial hardcore SF books Iris, Alpha Centauri, White Light, and the critically acclaimed near-future novel Fellow Traveler, as well as several magazine articles on planetology and the exploration of the solar system.
Capobianco served two terms as SFWA President (1996-1998 and 2007-2008), and has also served terms as SFWA’s Treasurer and Vice-President. He received the SFWA Service Award in 2004. He’s currently on SFWA’s Board of Advisors, and is SFWA’s liaison to the Authors Coalition.
Visit Michael at www.michael-capobianco.com/.
Among other interesting jobs, he has worked as a journalist, a substitute teacher, an independent comics publisher, an analyst for the military, and, currently, as a technical writer.
Visit Rich at www.nightwolfgraphics.com.
Her more than twenty novels include the best-selling Han Solo Trilogy; New York Times best-selling Star Trek novels Yesterday’s Son, Time for Yesterday, and Sarek; the original series Starbridge; and her final novel, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. Her many freelance credits include articles in Writer’s Digest and the SFWA Bulletin.
Ann passed away in 2013, but her tireless work with Writer Beware stands as an enduring legacy. Visit Ann at www.accrispin.com.
Writer Beware’s mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry.
- We maintain and continually update the Writer Beware website with the latest information on literary schemes, scams, and pitfalls, and the most current information on what writers can do to protect themselves.
- To complement the general advice and warnings on the Writer Beware website, Writer Beware’s popular blog provides up-to-the-minute information on specific scams and schemes–along with advice for writers, industry news and commentary, and a special focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world.
- Writer Beware’s very active Facebook page links to articles, blog posts, news items, and warnings of interest to writers, and provides a forum for discussion.
- We constantly research the problems we discuss, reading trade publications and subscribing to professional newsletters and mailing lists in order to keep current with issues and changes in the publishing industry. We’re in regular touch with reputable agents and editors, so we can better contrast their business practices to the nonstandard practices we warn against.
- We maintain an extensive database of questionable literary agents, publishers, independent editors, writers’ services, contests, publicity services, and others. This database has been assembled thanks to the hundreds of writers and publishing professionals who have contacted us to share their experiences and to provide us with documentation. Our database is the most complete of its kind in the world.
- We offer a free research service for writers with questions about agents, publishers, and others (e-mail us at email@example.com). The information we provide is supported by multiple similar advisories and complaints from writers, by documentation, or, in most cases, by both.
- We assist law enforcement agencies with investigations of questionable agents, publishers, and others. Writer Beware has been instrumental in the convictions of several literary scammers.
- We help build public awareness of literary fraud by writing articles (our work has appeared in the SFWA Bulletin and Writers’ Digest, among others), appearing at writers’ conventions and industry events such as Book Expo America and the American Library Association’s annual meeting, conducting workshops and classes, and participating in online writers’ discussion groups and message boards.
We welcome questions, comments, and especially documentation. Here’s how to contact us:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Snail mail: PO Box 1216, Amherst MA 01004
Correspondence and documentation sent to Writer Beware is held in strict confidence. Your name and contact information will never be shared, publicly posted, or otherwise disclosed except to appropriate law enforcement agencies, in response to an enforceable subpoena, or as directed by counsel.
We cannot accept anonymous complaints, complaints that don’t name the individual or company, or second-hand complaints (i.e., your report of your friend’s bad experience with his publisher–your friend needs to contact us him/herself). Any documentation you send must be original and complete (i.e., send us the entire email, not cut-and-pasted text).
Please do not send us your manuscripts or query letters! Writer Beware is glad to share information and answer questions, but we are not agents or publishers, and we cannot read or critique manuscripts, query letters, or any other form of writing. Emails with attached manuscripts or writing samples will be deleted without response.
Writer Beware does not accept donations. If you’d like to help support the organizations that sponsor us, please consider donating to SFWA’s benevolent funds or to MWA’s scholarship programs.