Danger, Danger! Scammer Impersonating an Agent

Over the last several weeks, a scam e-mail has been going around. The scammer claims to be Jenny Bent, head of the Bent Agency. The e-mail says that because of so many changes in the industry, specifically advances in technology, the biggest publishers find it hard to scout for books that will translate well across electronic media. But, the recipient is told, “we believe your book has great potential to be picked up (a list of big name publishers).”

Hopefully writers, especially those that have not recently queried the Bent Agency, will quickly realize that this e-mail is a hoax.

  • The first half of the letter works so hard to sound pretentious. As a result, it doesn’t entirely make sense.
  • There are also grammar errors.
  • The second half of the letter is copies from the agency web site.
  • Although the letter links to the agency site, the e-mail addy does not match the addresses on the site.
  • Agents, especially agents from prestigious houses, do not reach out to authors with whom they have no relationship.
  • The letter has no stated purpose. It doesn’t say, “please contact me.” It doesn’t say, “I want to do X for you.”

How does the scammer benefit from the naïve author? As explained on Writer’s Beware, writers are asked to pay for copy right registration, developmental editing, a book trailer video, work on their web site, book copies to be sent to book stores, and more.

If you are looking for an agent, as many writers are, it can be tempting to reach out if you receive this type of e-mail. Then the agent offers to provide various services, or refers the writer to someone who will provide them, for a fee. Payment is to be made via Venmo, Zelle, or a wire transfer because eventually it is expected that the author will realize they have been cheated and it is very hard to get money back that has been paid out through one of these methods.

Not content to simply use Jenny Bent’s name, the same scammer is also impersonating David Dunton of the Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

My advice to you is to familiarize yourself with Writer’s Beware. Scams are not new and you don’t want to fall for something that will distract and discourage you.