Book Award Scam Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

September 12, 2022
Hannah Jacobson

In 2020, there were over 50,000 reports of fraud across the globe. While we wish we could live in a society where this didn’t happen, we must stay vigilant to protect against scammers.

Thankfully, there are scam warning signs that indicate an award might become fraudulent. Learn how to spot a book award scam and what to do if you encounter one.

What Is a Book Award Scam?

Scams are fraudulent or dishonest acts meant to mislead and trick someone. Scammers are people who engage in these acts to extort information, money, or items from another person.

In the world of awards, an actual scam is extremely rare.

The unfounded fear of scams in the book award world is used very loosely and often holds authors back. When we boil it down, a scam is an organization that does not fulfill its promises.

What Isn’t a Book Award Scam?

As long as an award follows through with its promises, it offers authors an authentic and advantageous opportunity.

Even though a particular award may not be suitable for one author's goals, that same award could be wonderfully valuable for another author.

At Book Award Pro, we focus on positive opportunities for authors.

Don’t be afraid of awards; embrace them.

They offer you a fresh way to get your book noticed. Every step of the award process fuels your story marketing, helping you sell more books.

The Book Award Scam Warning Signs

Now that we have the correct definition of what is, and isn’t a scam, let’s discuss some scam warning signs. In our experience, when an organization exhibits these behaviors, it may indicate they will not make good on their promises.

Becomes Unresponsive

Did you submit and never get a confirmation?

Have you emailed the award, and it’s been weeks without a response?

Did their social media posts go silent, and they haven’t replied to the message you sent them?

When awards become unresponsive, don’t return emails, and won’t answer anything for weeks, this could be a warning sign that the award is a scam.

We believe customer support should happen within a day or two, but some organizations take longer, and that can be okay sometimes. If it has been over four weeks and you have not received a response, that would be considered an unreasonably (and unprofessionally!) long period of time.

Permanently Removes Its Website Without Notice

If you go to an award’s website and get an error, don’t fret. At least not right away. There are numerous reasons why a website could be down. Maybe they’re updating it, or perhaps the company that manages it had an outage.

Give it a few hours, and try again. If it’s still not working, wait until the next day to see if it’s back up.

After a few days without an update from the award, it’s time to consider this a red flag.

No Results Announcement in Sight

There’s a lot that goes into an award announcement. Don’t be surprised if an award reaches out and lets you know it will take them longer than expected to announce results.

However, if it’s well past the announcement date and there’s still no announcement or notice, it’s time to consider this as a warning sign.

Remember that while these are warning signs and red flags, it doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong. These signs serve to educate you and support you in determining the best path moving forward.

If you notice these red flags with an award you submitted to, there are steps you can take to get things on the right track or recover your investment.

What to Do if You Suspect a Book Award Scam

First and foremost, directly message the award and ask them for a status update. Try emailing, messaging them on social media, or writing a letter, depending on how you submit your book.

It could be an honest mistake, misunderstanding, or miscommunication. If that’s the case, the award will be receptive and responsive to assist you.

If it’s been a long time, and you’ve sent multiple messages to the award without hearing anything back, it’s time to accept that this is a book award scam.

If you have evidence of book award scams, please report them to us immediately. Book Award Pro tracks these kinds of issues, and we will be able to escalate awareness of this within the industry.

Keep records of your contact attempts. This documentation will enable you to file a chargeback request with your credit card company to reclaim your funds from the award.

Book Award Pro authors can rest assured that we will handle everything in the event an award we submitted for you becomes a scam. Every time we perform an award submission for our authors, we handle everything to manage that entry all the way to the finish line.

I’m Scared of Scams. Should I Avoid Book Awards?

Absolutely not. Avoiding awards would deprive your book of valuable recognition, awareness, and story marketing opportunities.

We’re not sharing this information to scare you. We’re trying to help you spot the scam warning signs and take action to avoid being ripped off.

In the many years we’ve been supporting authors to win book awards, we have only ever encountered two book award scams. In each case, as soon as it was determined to be a scam, we blacklisted the award from our system, informed industry organizations, and aided our authors in recovering their resources.

Please don’t let two award scams scare you away from the thousands of valuable award opportunities available.

Most awards are safe and legitimate opportunities for your story marketing. Book awards spotlight your book and provide you with inspiring and exciting wins to share.

If you’re a Book Award Pro author and we submit your book for you, we’re already taking care of you. We diligently track, monitor, and contact award organizations to ensure only the best for you.

Not a Book Award Pro author or we’re not handling your submissions? Consider upgrading to our Pro plan. This guarantees even if a previously legitimate award turns into a scam, we handle everything for you to make things right.

Our work serves our authors, and awards are increasingly improving their standards and professionalism. We’re proud to keep authors safe from book award scams and use their opportunities to the fullest.

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