Web Resources that Help You Identify Scams
We particularly recommend "Evaluating Literary Contests" by Victoria Strauss and Absolute Write's Bewares and Background Check forum for discussions of questionable agents and publishers. Are you searching for a poem you submitted to a vanity contest? The Library of Congress offers this guide to finding it.
Blacklist Lit holds literary magazines accountable. Send them information about literary magazines, contests, writing retreats, and other organizations that treat writers poorly. See their current list of organizations to look out for.
On Entering Your Poems in Competition
Kurt Heintz advises poets on the kinds of online contests worth entering.
"ST Literary Agency - writers' break, or just crooked?"
Firstwriter.com advises writers to think carefully before signing with ST Literary Agency. ST asks you to provide a $129 "Admin Fee" when you sign up. Other areas of concern:
- ST is not affiliated with an official industry association such as the Association of Authors' Representatives
- Few well-established agencies advertise much, since they already receive plenty of manuscripts. ST, however, advertises aggressively
- Most agencies cultivate a specialty, and reject manuscripts that fall outside it. ST, however, is willing to accept most any manuscript.
This caution appeared in Firstwriter's August 2004 newsletter. Subscribe for free at:
Vanity Publishing Expert Johnathon Clifford's Site
British poet Johnathon Clifford has spent many years investigating literary scams. His archived website features vanity contest warning signs and related advice.
Warnings and Cautions
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website maintains lists of dishonest contests and literary agencies, plus tips to detect a scam:
Names publishers and organizations that writers have had disputes with.
Writing.org: Poetry Scams?
"The good news: You're a winner.
The bad news: It's costing you fifty bucks...
For a struggling poet, it can be painful to admit that a letter from a poetry contest or publisher is nothing more than a sales hustle. But what's worse: being honest with yourself or being the victim of a company that exploits the vanity of aspiring poets?"