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 editing...is 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.

28 comments :

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

Anonymous said...

I received 3 calls from a grandmotherly voiced woman regarding endorsement of my book by John Miller with Book-Art Press, yesterday. It was very intriguing as the title was written under my pen name and was under contract for publishing. (Before returning the call I contacted my people and posed numerous questions. Satisfied that something was Up and required further investigation, I hit call back, received an instant VM, left my number and name to call back.) John Miller called me. I wanted to know how he got a copy of my book and asked for a PDF to be sent to me the moment he identified himself. I made this same request 9 times during the conversation. He started out with Penguin and Random House and that their sources were my editor, or literary agent. Someone had sent my work and I was in the top 20 to secure a traditional contract this year. I would be selected for a partnership with his firm and secure a traditional contract with Penguin or Random House or Harper Collins. He had enough info to make me very concerned, that my current contract with my publisher had been breached. I let him talk and wrote down the punch terms. $8,000 for 800 books...100% royalty...10% by example of $30,000 for securing even the lowest priced contract of $300,000 from a traditional publisher. I said I'd have to go over my current contract with my attorney and wanted a copy in PDF of my book, before I made any commitments, and arranged for a return call on Monday afternoon, so I could finish my research and due diligence. (This would entail my confirmation that my transcript showed no contact information, only the publisher, the copyright ownership, and is written under my pen name. He did not have any of this.) He finally agreed to send the PDF, I confirmed my email address. Within a half hour he sends the copy of his sales talk sheet, the wording is identical and excerpted from those above. My reply email stated I was disappointed that he could not fulfill his word by intent or performance and since there was no PDF, there was no need to speak any further. Due diligence is your best friend and a scammers worst enemy. We were all gifted with the inside alarm, it is our choice to heed its alert. Our words are everything.

Eunice said...

Thanks for sharing. We all want our work published so we could be fooled with these fake people. We so need this site. And we need contributors like you. And me.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your explanations. I was approached by a "literary senior agent" for my book, went on their website, and when clicking on the contact us link, it goes nowhere, same thing for the menu, so their website is really amateur, but still I am happy to read your analysis, thanks for taking the time to do so.

Unknown said...

CAL said:
I have been called by this BAP and left such extended messages of all the wonderful things they could do for my book. I of course was very suspicious especially after I called back and a recorded voice just asked me to "leave my name and number and someone would get back to me." Right. So the person who left their name does not have an extension? I immediately looked them up on the web and found your very informative warning. Thanks for doing this. The heart is surely "desperately wicked and deceitful who can know it?"

Anonymous said...

I've been getting back-to-back calls from a Matt Brodie, executive consultant at Book Art Press Solutions LLC suggesting that my book is highly recommended... it's about to get acquired by traditional publishers and who knows if this is a half a million dollar contract...blah blah blah. I know miracles do happen but something just didn't sound right. Glad I read this post. Thank you Victoria, for making us aware.

Unknown said...

I wish I had received your warnings six months ago. I was naive and not experienced in the ways of the trade. I had three books published by Trafford Publishing and got tired of their harrassing me for for marketing money. The first of this year I got several calls from the likes of Book-Art Press. What sucked me in was my desire to promote my children's book that my husband liked so much. But I haggled money claiming I could not afford their cost. Despite my reservations, I signed an "Agreement" with them and handed over $1000 partial payment. It took me a couple weeks to electronically send my manuscript but two days after sending it, I head the bad news from a book club I had just joined that Book-Art was not to be trusted. I immediately emailed my contact at Book Art and said I had to opt out of the Agreement (as I had 60 days in that Agreement to do this) and my reasons were financial (which I had already claimed before) and for health reasons (I had just had some cancer removed). They were very "concerned" and "understanding" but still tried to hang on to me at perhaps a lesser cost. I talked to several people including the "supervisor". I was told that I could not get the full $1000 back because there were expenses, like editing the book. I told them that they had only two days to edit a book that didn't need editing and besides they had said in their speill that they only took their cut out of the money a traditional publisher would give me for the rights for my book. These calls went back and forth for two weeks (presumably so some child could edit my book so they could prove they did some work) and they sent me the edited version of my book. It was by far the worst editing I could ever have imagined and, unfortunately, I told them so. Finally I received an email saying they agreed to refund my money and I would get it by a certain date. That date came and went. They I got another call for another Book Art person who said she understood I was unhappy with the editing on my book and assured me she could do a better job. I reiterated that my reason for withdrawing from my Agreement was because of financial and health reasons. When I asked about the people I had originally dealt with, she said they had transferred or were no longer with the company. I have written upteen emails to the company, tried to call but had to leave a message, which I did numerous times and still no call-back, and even sent a registered letter. Still, I haven't given up. My book club leader has offered to see what he can do and there is always SENIORS AGAINST CRIME to check in with. This whole ordeal makes me angry, distrustful, suspicious, frustrated and resentful. And there is not much one can do as tomorrow all they have to do is change their name and go right back in business. Carol from Florida

Lori said...

Wow! So I’m so glad I did not do anything with Art book press who made things sound so grand. They said six traditional publisher were interested in my book and it could mean 500,000- one million dollars! Sounded wonderful but, after hearing the money not being refunded, I know for sure they are scammers.
Thank you for sharing! God bless and restore all that has been lost!

Victoria Strauss said...

Carol from Florida,

What a nightmare! I'm so sorry. Thanks for sharing your experience--I know it will help other writers. Please let me know what happens. You can email me directly at beware [at] sfwa.org.

Brian Taylor said...

Wow, so glad I checked them out on here, thanks for the posts. They approached me earlier in the year and I blanked them after many phone calls. I was at a pretty desperate place then with other stuff on my mind and nearly fell for it. This week a voicemail was left so similar to one of your other posters that Shane King, executive director, needed to speak to me as my book had been recommended by a Literary Agent for publishing by tradional route, blah blah, they were willing to invest, exciting opportunity etc. These people are soo unscrupulous. The trouble is I have another approach from a similar sounding name so it makes me suspicious, BookAdPress Inc. from the US but soon to be moving to the Philippines. Luckily I have my manager out in the Philippines, so I just refer them to her and deflect their traffic. Thanks again for the information.

Victoria Strauss said...

Brian Taylor,

I'm guessing that the similar sounding company is AdBook Press, which is associated with (and actually probably the same as) Okir Publishing. Both AdBook and Okir--like Book Art Press/Window Press Club--are Philippine-based Author Solutions copycats. These companies are a real plague, and they're multiplying like mushrooms.

Jackie said...

So grateful for google!

I have been receiving both phone calls and emails from a "key agent account manager" at Book Art Press. I originally asked "John Miller" to remove my name from call list.

Several days ago, while deleting lots of emails from all sorts of organizations, I came across one of his emails regarding his connection to a traditional publishing company, and my curiosity peaked. We set up an appointment for a phone call for today. I accepted his call at noon today. As a published author -- with both traditional and self-published books, I was quite intrigued with his offers, which became more enticing by the sentence.

I was speaking to him on our house phone, and as alarm bells went off in my head, I then picked up my cell phone, and then my ipad, and did a google search of the company.

Imagine my "surprise" to discover this website, filled with cautions about why NOT to get involved with this person and this company. Almost word for word, the script he read and/or recited to me was found among the many cautionary comments posted in the site.

I informed "John Miller" that I needed to speak with my husband about the initial investment from me and arranged to call him back later this evening. I then hung up and read more of the comments, and in greater depth.

Needless to say, "John Miller" and Book Art Press will NOT have my business.

THANKING everyone for your cautions.

Peace, Jackie

Anonymous said...

Wow!, Thanks to my thriftiness, I did not agree to anything. So I began a search and I stumbled upon this. Wow! Unbelievable how unscrupulous a thief can be. Yes, I have a manuscript with iUniverse.

Anonymous said...

I received a call today from Book Art Press, picked up the phone half-way through the message. I listened to the pitch and waited for the bottom line, which was the same as the above posts. Knowing it didn't make sense and was a scam, I informed him that it was not possible at this time to invest anything more in the book. I'm glad I found this site to confirm my suspicions. Thank you.

Jan Dougherty said...

I also received a call regarding my book that has been available since 2010. Did a search and found you blog. Thank you so very much. I'm sure I'm not the only author that appreciates this type of reporting.

 
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