Like many genre-focused writers’ groups, SFWA, MWA, and HWA 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, reflects that concern.
Although we're sponsored by US-based organizations of professional fiction authors, Writer Beware’s efforts aren’t limited by country, genre, or publishing history. The Writer Beware website and blog can be used by any writer, new or established, regardless of subject, genre, nationality, or method of publication.
“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:
Ann C. Crispin, co-founder and Chair of SFWA’s Committee on Writing Scams, has been active in SFWA since 1983. She served as Eastern Regional Director for almost ten years, and as Vice-President for two more. With her husband, two-time SFWA President Michael Capobianco, she was a 2006 recipient of the SFWA Service Award. Her more than twenty novels include the bestselling Han Solo Trilogy; top-selling Star Trek novels Yesterday’s Son, Time for Yesterday, and Sarek; 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.
Victoria Strauss, co-founder and Vice-Chair of SFWA's Committee on Writing Scams, is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone fantasy duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) and Passion Blue, a historical novel for teens, one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2012. She has written hundreds of book reviews for publications such as SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards. 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.
Richard C. White
Richard C. White is the author of tie-in fiction for a number of media franchises, including Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as an original fantasy novel, Gauntlet Dark Legacy: Paths of Evil. 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.
What Does Writer Beware® Do?
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 a special focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org). The information we provide on questionable agents and publishers 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 a number of 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, 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: email@example.com
- Fax: 413-549-6363
- 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 himself). 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.
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.
Writer Beware ® is an officially registered service mark of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.