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. Writer Beware is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.

January 19, 2018

Solicitation Alert: Book-Art Press Solutions and Window Press Club

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

I'm getting a lot of questions from authors who've been solicited by an Author Solutions-style author services company called Book-Art Press Solutions.

Book-Art Press's website dangles the carrot of free publishing ("Why spend thousands when you can publish your book for free?"), but this is less a yummy vegetable than a poison pill. BAP's publishing packages are really just a way to steer writers toward a smorgasbord of junk marketing services (book trailers, paid review packages, press releases), questionable editing services ("A thorough applied for the material to be professional written, yet retaining the author’s voice"), and add-on services of dubious value (illustrations, data entry, and more).

BAP's website is full of questionable grammar and syntax ("What the authors feel and assured of is the press club’s transparent journey and reliable sources of publishing channels in every step of the way"), which should be a major red flag all on its own. Also, there are no prices anywhere on the site; you have to call to get that info. This is nearly always a big clue that the fees are huge; plus, forcing people to get on the phone is a classic hard-sell sales tactic. It's a lot easier to hook victims if you can talk to them directly.

BAP's solicitations are even more egregiously dishonest than is typical for this type of service. Its "Executive Consultants" present it as a "literary agency" that has stumbled on the author's absolutely brilliant book and wants to "endorse" the author to traditional publishers. There's already substantial interest, but first, the author must re-publish in order to gain "credibility". From one of BAP's emails (read the whole thing here):
We are not a self-publishing company. We work as a literary agency that will endorse your book to be acquired by a traditional publishing company. We have inside contacts with major publishers and we know which of them are most likely to buy a particular material. So you won’t need to hire literary agents to promote your book to major publishers as we’ll do the endorsement for you.

We have done a preliminary endorsement to 50 traditional publishers and 6 out of the 50 have shown high interest in your book. However, they’re quite hesitant since your book is self-published and it has not been doing well when it comes to sales.

We have made a strategic plan for your book. Before we can endorse your book to traditional publishers, we will need to build your book’s credibility and your brand as an author. Because, as of now, you are still an unknown author. We can’t afford any flaws once we endorse your book.
To take advantage of this amazing deal, all authors have to do is agree to pay for "at least 500 copies of your book (priced at $6 per book -- $3,000 total) to be distributed to physical bookstores across the globe for circulation".

Here's the closer. BAP may be English-challenged, but it has an excellent grasp of author psychology:
With a self-publishing company, your book’s success depends on how much money you are capable of investing; which almost all self-published authors are unaware of how this delays the success of your book. Delaying your success is more practical for their business. Because, the longer your success is delayed, the more services they can sell to you. Your pocket will be exhausted until it becomes empty because that’s how they earn as a business and how sales agents get commission from-- the more services they are able to sell, the bigger commission they get. And eventually you get exhausted as well and so you get discouraged to move forward because you have invested so much effort, time and large amount of money and you haven’t seen any progress with your book yet. Which probably what you feel now. And that’s the worst thing that can happen to an author -- despair. Your book is too great to be left sitting online among millions of books available in Amazon. It’s like a grain in a bucket of sand. Almost impossible to be noticed. Our goal for your book is to make its success faster and that’s by directly endorsing your book to executives so you can land a contract with a traditional publisher.
It's all lies, of course. There will be no 500-copy  print run. No brick-and-mortar bookstores will be approached. No publishers will be pitched. Instead, once authors have ponied up the initial $3,000, BAP will do exactly what it pretends is not its business model: solicit writers to "invest" even more money in additional marketing services.

Given the amount of casual plagiarism I've found in investigating similar services (for instance, LitFire Publishing and Legaia Books), I always do a phrase search. That's how I discovered Window Press Club. Like BAP, it's an Author Solutions-style publishing/marketing service. But although it has a different name, and a different logo...well, see for yourself. Here's WPC's home page...

...and here's the exact same text on BAP's home page.

There's plenty of other stuff that's identical, from the About pages to the marketing product descriptions to the "free publishing" promise and the absence of prices.

So did BAP plagiarize WPC? WPC's domain registration precedes BAP's (though both were registered just last year), and at first that's what I thought. But...they have the same phone number (though this appears to be an oversight, since a different number appears on BAP's Contact page). They filed the same press release for the same book on the same day last November. There's also this: a pitch for WPC that was once on BAP's website. It's been de-linked, but is still Google-able. Oops.

So it's pretty clear what's going on. WPC and BAP are one operation, posing as different companies in order to maximize their customer base.

BAP and WPC's domain registrations are both anonymized, but WPC's wasn't always. Originally, it was registered to Paul Jorge Ponce from Cebu City, Philippines, where the Author Solutions call centers are located. A connection? Looks likely.

Always, always beware of phone or email solicitors promising gifts.

UPDATE 1/25/18: Book-Art Press/Window Press Club is one of a growing number of similar companies that appear to be Author Solutions imitators, staffed and, in many cases, started up by ex-Author Solutions call center employees in the Philippines.

These companies share a cluster of characteristics, including aggressive solicitation, re-publishing offers (often to authors who've used the various Author Solutions imprints), claims of skill and experience that don't check out (or can't be checked because they're so vague), websites and written materials full of English-language errors, and an emphasis on selling junk marketing services (which is where these outfits make the bulk of their profit).

For more information, see my blog post: Army of Clones: Author Solutions Spawns a Legion of Copycats.


bev. washington said...

I received an email from them, stating my information was received, through Google. About my looking to published a Book, I came close to sending them a manuscript, glad I decided to do background on their motive, if real or fake.

Thank you

William Bentrim said...

Good post. I had a three month period where I received an obvious boiler room call from a firm that wanted to take my books to a new level. I have 30 kids books that I have self published. They wanted to dramatically increase my income. After the first call when I tried to explain that volume and money aren't my motivation I gave up and blocked them. They had good spoofing software that kept getting past nomorobo. They finally gave up but I'm sure they were nefarious. They also make those of us who self publish and help others self publish look bad. I have helped several authors get their books published. I've found them illustrators and never added a dime to the illustrators fees. The most I have ever charged was $650 and that was because I ended up designing and producing the cover for her. Point I'm laboriously making is that you can easily self publish if you are computer fluent, if not there are people like me who can help and it won't cost an arm and a leg. You can be published and it doesn't have to cost you a fortune.

Anonymous said...

Oh my worst nightmare come true. I turned over the $3000 and have had great difficulty in reaching anyone since. They did show me the "proofs" of the re-published book and I approved. But that was it. When I got the call, the very next day they tried to pressure me into another huge expense to be in the writers convention or some such name. They wanted me to make a decision about another expense within one day or I'd miss the opportunity of a life time. I passed on that, but I'm really regretting the first money and I'll pursue getting it back. Arrggghhh!!!! There seems to be no end of people's creativity when it comes to scamming others. I hope their actions come home to haunt them.

Bookgal said...

Victoria I wanted to personally thank you for posting this. I just got pitched by them and wow, super flattering, they didn't even mention my book title. This kind of stuff makes me so mad, taking advantage of authors like this is just terrible. We're going to share this article with our tribe, because it's worth mentioning this over and over again - ask good questions, be aware that there are unscrupulous people out there, ready to take your money and run.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review. I will delete their email asap!

Christie Bakeman said...

Thank you for your clear and concise blog. They have approached me and I decided to do some online research on them. I'm a self-published author, so of course I'd like the opportunity to increase my books exposure. Obviously this is not the way to do it. I appreciate you taking the time to post this.

Eunice Anderson said...

So glad to read all your comments as I was approached Thursday on my phone with the senior marking director(Shane Kane?)with Book Arts Craft(Press Solutions), saying my manuscript was highly recommended, discovered by a literary agent and they want to help me move it to a higher up publisher. And I was to specifically call back that day. I did but telephone receptionist said she was in a meeting, so never called back. I was immediately suspicious of this call and one thing really confounds me. She gave the title of my manuscript correctly so how did she get it. iUniverse? I quickly backed out of their group last year when I realized they were never going to publish my work. I called them yesterday and they declared they always send all manuscripts back (did I get my electronically story back?), so how else would Book Arts get my phone number and manuscript???

Victoria Strauss said...

Book Arts Press appears to be one of a number of similar companies started up by ex-Author Solutions call center employees in the Philippines. From what I've heard, these ex-employees take customer information with them, or retain connections with current employees who pass them information. That's one reason why so many of these outfits solicit authors with the various Author Solutions imprints.

Eunice Anderson said...

Thanks for you helpful reply. I even guessed a foreign accent in her voice so that was also suspicious. Besides the phone connection was poor so another hint at phoniness. So glad there is help out there like you. Thanks again.

Kristine Iskierka said...

So sad predators ie: scammers are making their living off our hard earned works of art. Thank you for your post -helped navigate in this world of sharks. I was cautious when I received the call also regarding my Childrens Book for republishing -I was hesistant, then different money figures being said- fast talking but seemed legit -"Olly the Terrified Toad" will remain right where he sits for now. -:)

Eunice Anderson said...

Thanks for your post. It still upsets me how this shark (Philippines?) got my manuscript from iUniverse? iUniverse assures me that they have full control over their manuscripts. But obviously they don't. The flattery that I have written a wonderful story almost got me. So for now it sits in my files waiting for ?

Chester Proctor said...

Like everyone else, I too want to say thanks so much for bringing this to light. I am glad I found this blog!

Lori said...

I received a call today, they sounded too good to be true, and guess what, they were. They had the same phone number but said they are Park Press /global publishing from New York. cost 3000.00, and they take care all editing, the advertising except through New York Times, which Id have to pay half if I wanted them. 8000.00 And that I had 6 Traditional Christian Publishers interested in my book. I asked what's in it for you? He said 10% commission from selling to Traditional publisher who would pay between 500,000- 1 million. But first they would publish my book and advertise it, and would take a year for full process before selling to publisher. So I asked him to email me all the information, he already knew my email. He said ok and he will call me Monday. I told him I would check it out and see if hes real, then pray about it with my pastors who hear very clearly from God. So he did not email and I doubt he will call back.
Thank God for Google I found this. Thank you all for sharing!

Stephen Sumner said...

I have to echo what many of the above posters have said/surmised. I too was solicited and I too had a look around and it's not a pretty picture. This was an excellent, enlightening, well-researched and informative blog. I thank you from the heart for taking the time and effort to make it public! Cheers! Stephen

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