14 April 2011

Freelance Writing Scam Alert!

As freelance writers, we come across scams every single day in the hopes to find a real writing job through all the icky scams. 

So occasionally, I'll look on Craigslist in the 'Writing' section. I know, I know, Craigslist is one of the worst places to find any kind of job, especially writing jobs. In bigger cities like New York and LA, you can find a gem or two, but it's usually rare to find anything worth applying for. 

I came across a job posting that stated they were looking for authors for eBooks. My 'THIS IS A SCAM' alert went off in my mind, but there was no harm in at least finding out the criteria. 

I clicked on the link in the posting and it sent me to one of those free survey sites where they had a few questions that needed answered. The questions seemed legit. Name, what type of book you're interested in writing, why you want to write for us, etc. I figured they were using the free survey site just because it was an easy submission tool for them. 

A few hours later, about 8PM CST, I got a reply back through email which did not label me by name, but simply said, "Hello" and then had a form letter underneath it. 

The first part sounded good. They were all stoked and excited to bring me aboard and said a bunch of jazz words to get ME excited as well!

And then they said this:

The first step is for you to order your Book Submission Kit. This kit has everything you'll need to submit your book for publication including: formatting guidelines, royalty payment info (print and digital sales), distribution info, cover design info, manuscript support, and instructions for uploading book files. To order your Book Submission Kit, Click here: http://circleyellowpages.com/booksubmissionkit (Note: A $35 processing fee applies for Book Submission Kit)

Oh gee, is that all? I just have to PAY YOU before I get royalties? 

I read on and it said:

Once you complete the instructions specified in Book Submission Kit, your book will be available for sale at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and several other leading bookstores typically within 2 - 4 weeks. You will start earning royalty payments immediately after your book goes on sale.

So basically, I'd need to pay $35 for some submission kit and then submit under their name. But...I could just not pay for the submission kit, write my own eBooks under my own name and self-publish myself...for free. Obviously I haven't jumped on the opportunity to pay them money to publish my book.

Anyway, the point is, it's a complete scam. No true company will EVER ask you to pay a red cent for your writing or submission. THEY pay YOU.

So please be aware of CYP Publishing and Circle Yellow Pages.

Happy Writing!

--Morgan Barnhart


  1. That reminds me of the time I found this house for rent on Craig's list, but when the "owner" replied to me, he wanted me to fill out an application with all of this sensitive information. He said he was currently visiting in Africa and could not meet me in person (sound familiar?). Anyway, after a little research, I found out it was a real house, but it was not his.

  2. I think it's important to note that there are some completely legitimate publishers who charge a reading fee. For example, Narrative Magazine charges a reading fee if you want your submission to be considered for a cash prize, which the publishers create from the reading fees.

    But, overall, yes, if someone wants to charge you up front to publish your manuscript (especially if it's a novel) it's a scam.

  3. Great post MO! Thanks for keeping us informed :).

  4. @Ianterntorch Wow, what a scam! Glad you were able to figure it out and not get your identity stolen. :)

    @Gayle Oh absolutely, paying an entry fee for a contest is definitely ok, but yes, as you said, if you're trying to publish a book and they ask for money, run away!

    @C My pleasure. :)

  5. Thanks for the heads up! What a joke...

  6. Thanks for the observation,Morgan. I was heading down this road when it hit me that it might be prudent to see what was behind the curtain, so to speak. Thanks for keeping us abreast. That's good looking out brother! Steve