Writer Beware: Independent Contractor Scams

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 4.03.32 PMWriter Beware has a good post, and a warning, about scams being done by independent editors. With all the talk about big corporate publishing firms ripping people off, there are scams happening on the micro level as well. In this scenario, an editor contacts a writer and tells him/her about all the errors in the book – which the editor likely hasn’t read – only to then offer to fix the book for a fee. It’s sort of like in-person spamming. The editor does this enough times and eventually one person will take the bait.

This is at least the fourth (and most brazen) bait-and-switch scheme targeting self-publishers that I’ve heard about in the past couple of years. They all seem to operate similarly: the author gets an out-of-the-blue contact from someone claiming to have found text mistakes, or cover art problems, or even metadata deficiencies. The mistakes and problems may or may not be real. The person presents as a Good Samaritan, just trying to help the author out–but always, in the end, there’s an offer of a fix for money.

The post concludes:

Self-published authors, you are the new frontier in literary schemes, scams, and cons. Be careful out there. Verify credentials, don’t settle for unskilled service providers even if they’re cheaper or you like them personally, and beware out-of-the-blue solicitations.

So, writers, be on the lookout for these types of emails coming out of the blue.