Site of Interest : Writer Beware

This weeks site of interest is also known as Writer Beware.

Writer Beware is the public face of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Committee on Writing Scams. We also receive sponsorship from the Mystery Writers of America. Like many genre-focused writers’ groups, SFWA and MWA 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 SFWA and MWA are US-based organizations of professional fiction authors, Writer Beware’s efforts aren’t limited by country, genre, or publication history. The Writer Beware website and blog can be used by any writer, new or established, regardless of subject, style, genre, or nationality.

“Writer Beware” is a service mark of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Writer Beware is a volunteer effort. Our staff:

A.C. Crispin

A.C. Crispin, 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’s 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, The Eyes of the Beholders, and Sarek; and, most recently, the original fantasy novel Storms of Destiny. She also has many freelance credits, including articles in Writer’s Digest and the SFWA Bulletin. Visit her at

Victoria Strauss

Victoria Strauss, co-founder and Vice-Chair of SFWA’s Committee on Writing Scams, is the author of seven fantasy novels, including The Burning Land and The Awakened City. 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, and in 2009 she received the SFWA Service Award for her work with Writer Beware. She’s webmistress of the Writer Beware website, which she also created, and maintains the Writer Beware database and blog. Visit her at

Richard C. White

Richard C. White is the author of a fantasy novel, Gauntlet Dark Legacy: Paths of Evil, as well as several short stories and novellas, and an original comic series that’s currently being marketed to publishers. 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. Rich is an active member of SFWA. Visit him at

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 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 andWriters’ 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.
Contact Writer Beware®

We welcome questions, comments, and especially documentation. Here’s how to contact us:

  • Email:
  • Fax: 413-549-6363
  • Snail mail: PO Box 1216, Amherst MA 01004
We accept email attachments. If you send us paper documentation (correspondence, contracts, invoices, brochures, etc.), we will gladly reimburse your photocopying and/or postage expense.

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.


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