Shining a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Also providing advice for writers, industry news and commentary, and a focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world.


Writer Beware is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Like many genre-focused writers’ groups, SFWA, MWA, HWA, and ASJA are concerned not just with issues that affect professional authors, but with the problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers. Writer Beware, founded in 1998, addresses that concern through the Writer Beware website, which provides warnings about literary schemes and scams, along with information on how writers can protect themselves; the Writer Beware blog, which covers schemes and scams in real time along with publishing industry news and advice for writers; and the Writer Beware Facebook page, which links to writing-related articles, blog posts, and news items and provides a forum for discussion.

Although we’re sponsored by US-based organizations of professional writers of fiction and non-fiction, our efforts aren’t limited by country, market, genre, or publication history. We’ve designed the Writer Beware website to be used by any writer, new or established, regardless of subject, style, specialty, or nationality.

“Writer Beware” is an officially registered service mark of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Writer Beware is a volunteer effort. SFWA funds our expenses, but we receive no salaries, stipends, or other remuneration. Our staff:

Victoria Strauss, co-founder of Writer Beware, is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone fantasy duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) and Passion Blue, a historical novel for teens, one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2012. She has written hundreds of book reviews for publications such as SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

She received the 2009 SFWA Service Award for her work with Writer Beware, and in 2012 was honored with an Independent Book Blogger Award for the Writer Beware blog. She’s webmistress of the Writer Beware website, which she also created, and maintains the Writer Beware database, blog, and Facebook page.

Visit Victoria at

Michael Capobianco has published one solo science fiction novel, Burster. He is co-author, with William Barton, of the controversial hardcore SF books Iris, Alpha Centauri, White Light, and the critically acclaimed near-future novel Fellow Traveler, as well as several magazine articles on planetology and the exploration of the solar system.

Capobianco served two terms as SFWA President (1996-1998 and 2007-2008), and has also served terms as SFWA’s Treasurer and Vice-President. He received the SFWA Service Award in 2004. He’s currently on SFWA’s Board of Advisors, and is SFWA’s liaison to the Authors Coalition.

Visit Michael at

Richard C. White is the author of tie-in fiction for a number of media franchises, including Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as an original fantasy novel, Gauntlet Dark Legacy: Paths of Evil.

Among other interesting jobs, he has worked as a journalist, a substitute teacher, an independent comics publisher, an analyst for the military, and, currently, as a technical writer.

Visit Rich at

In Memoriam

Ann C. Crispin, co-founder of Writer Beware and Chair of SFWA’s Committee on Writing Scams, became active in SFWA in 1983. She served as Eastern Regional Director for almost ten years, and as Vice-President for two more. With her husband, two-time SFWA President Michael Capobianco, she was a 2004 recipient of the SFWA Service Award.

Her more than twenty novels include the best-selling Han Solo Trilogy; New York Times best-selling Star Trek novels Yesterday’s Son, Time for Yesterday, and Sarek; the original series Starbridge; and her final novel, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. Her many freelance credits include articles in Writer’s Digest and the SFWA Bulletin.

Ann passed away in 2013, but her tireless work with Writer Beware stands as an enduring legacy. Visit Ann at


Writer Beware’s mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry.
  • We maintain and continually update the Writer Beware website with the latest information on literary schemes, scams, and pitfalls, and the most current information on what writers can do to protect themselves.
  • To complement the general advice and warnings on the Writer Beware website, Writer Beware’s popular blog provides up-to-the-minute information on specific scams and schemes–along with advice for writers, industry news and commentary, and a special focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world.
  • Writer Beware’s very active Facebook page links to articles, blog posts, news items, and warnings of interest to writers, and provides a forum for discussion.
  • We constantly research the problems we discuss, reading trade publications and subscribing to professional newsletters and mailing lists in order to keep current with issues and changes in the publishing industry. We’re in regular touch with reputable agents and editors, so we can better contrast their business practices to the nonstandard practices we warn against.
  • We maintain an extensive database of questionable literary agents, publishers, independent editors, writers’ services, contests, publicity services, and others. This database has been assembled thanks to the hundreds of writers and publishing professionals who have contacted us to share their experiences and to provide us with documentation. Our database is the most complete of its kind in the world.
  • We offer a free research service for writers with questions about agents, publishers, and others (e-mail us at The information we provide is supported by multiple similar advisories and complaints from writers, by documentation, or, in most cases, by both.
  • We assist law enforcement agencies with investigations of questionable agents, publishers, and others. Writer Beware has been instrumental in the convictions of several literary scammers.
  • We help build public awareness of literary fraud by writing articles (our work has appeared in the SFWA Bulletin and Writers’ Digest, among others), appearing at writers’ conventions and industry events such as Book Expo America and the American Library Association’s annual meeting, conducting workshops and classes, and participating in online writers’ discussion groups and message boards.
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