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Protecting Yourself from Literary Agency Scams

Protecting yourself from literary agency scams is challenging. Too many agencies are involved in charging large fees from writers, making it hard to determine the real from fake ones.

Writers need to be very wary in scouting for literary agents. Fortunately, there are ways to help you protect yourself from literary agency scams. First, you need to know how to scout one, and second, you need to know how to spot scammers. Here’s how you can scout for literary agencies.

How to Scout for Literary Agencies

Safely scouting for literary agents can protect you from scammers.

Create a list of literary agencies.

Search for lists of literary agencies by reviewing print market guides. Try reliable online sources such as Publishers Marketplace, AgentQuery, and AuthorAdvance. Use more than just one resource. You can review published books in the same genre as yours for reference. Authors sometimes mention their literary agents in their acknowledgements or website.

Be wary of search results. Scammers also posts ads and create websites, and even make use of search engine optimizations to prey on writers.

Ask the agencies questions.

Prepare the questions you will ask the agencies you have collected. One of these should be coverage of fees they collect from you. Consider it a warning if it consists of reading, evaluating, and marketing. These items don’t require payment. Also ask how they can help you get your book published.

Conduct a background check on the agency.

Search for reviews on literary agencies. Check what writers have to say about their experience with them. You can also consult membership rosters such as Association of Authors’ Representatives (USA), the Association of Authors’ Agents (UK), or the Australian Literary Agents’ Association (Australia) if they include the name of agencies you collected. Literary agencies included in these rosters have passed the required competencies and abide by the code of practices. This makes them reliable to work with.

Know more about the publishing industry.

Protecting yourself from literary agency scams includes knowing how the publishing industry works. Most writers who fail in this fall prey to scammers. Familiarizing yourself with the publishing world will equip you against these agencies.

How to Spot Potential Scammers

Knowing how to spot scammers is an important key in protecting yourself from literary agency scams. Here’s how you will know if an agency is a scammer or not.

Keep in mind that a literary agent’s earnings are mostly from the books they sell to publishers. Agents do not charge fees unless to cover certain items such as printing copies. They include these in their contract.

Don’t pay for editing or reading. If they request an advance payment, then ask for an itemized summary of its coverage. Consider renegotiating your contract with them.

Reputable agents approach writers after seeing their work, but beware of those in online forums. They sometimes pose as credible agents but are not.

Familiarize yourself with how publishing works and you will save yourself from scams.