Written by Emily Harstone October 5th, 2023

Agent Scams: Increasingly Widespread

Over the summer and in the past few months, it has been increasingly common for legitimate agent websites to look a little like this:
The Book Group website, screenshot taken October 2nd, 2023.

In the past there has always been an issue with fake literary agents charging money (you can read more about that here), but the newer version of the scam which has become increasingly prevalent has been scammers impersonating established agents and agencies, and cheating the writer out of thousands of dollars.

In July of 2022, Writer Beware wrote a thoughtful post on the subject. Since then the issue has only increased, as evidenced by all the agents who now have pop-ups on their landing pages like this one:

The Knight Agency website, screenshot taken September 26th, 2023.

or notes on their agents page like this one:

Dunlow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency website, screenshot taken September 27th, 2023.

We’ve also received increasingly urgent letters from subscribers on this matter, having lost money from these scams.

A legitimate literary agent will never charge you money to represent your book, and this knowledge should help prevent future scams. A legitimate literary agent will always be paid a percentage of the advance and royalties you receive from a publisher once one is found for your book.

The more one knows about how actual literary agents and agencies operate, the less successful scam artists will be.

Here are two other helpful resources in terms of literary agents, that should help you steer clear of scams:

Literary Agents (a helpful and regularly updated webpage by Writer Beware)

How to Find the Right Literary Agent for Your Book

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2023 Guide to Manuscript Publishers. She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish. You can follow her on Facebook here.


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