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.

August 16, 2019

From the Philippines, Not With Love: A Plague of Publishing and Marketing Scams


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

I've been expending a lot of words and time lately warning about the latest scam phenomenon to hit the writing world: fake publishing and marketing companies that, through outrageous prices and worthless services, extract enormous amounts of money from unwary writers.

Based in the Philippines (despite their apparent US addresses, phone numbers, and telemarketer names) and focusing primarily on small press and self-published authors (particularly authors who've published with one of the Author Solutions imprints), these companies recruit writers with relentless--and highly deceptive--phone and email solicitations. Some do provide the services authors pay for, albeit at seriously inflated prices and often of poor quality. Others just take the money and run. I'm hearing from a growing number of writers who've paid five figures in fees to one--or, in some cases, more than one--of these scams, with next to nothing to show for it.

Given how fast the scams are proliferating (I learn about a new one every few weeks), I thought it would be helpful to gather all the information I've put together about them in one place.

My posts about the scams--where they come from, how they work, and how to recognize them:

- Army of Clones: Author Solutions Spawns a Legion of Copycats
- Army of Clones Part 2: Twenty-One (More) Publishing and Marketing "Services" to Beware Of
- Solicitation Alert: LitFire Publishing
- Amelia Publishing and Amelia Book Company: Sons of LitFire Publishing
- Solicitation Alert: Book-Art Press Solutions and Window Press Club
- Solicitation (and Plagiarism) Alert: Legaia Books / Paperclips Magazine

A list of the scams themselves--at least, the more than 50 I've identified so far (the list is also posted in the sidebar):

- Access Media Group / Quill Space Media
- Alpha Books Solutions
- Ascribed LLC
- AuthorAide
- AuthorCentrix (formerly BookBlastPro)
- AuthorLair
- Author University
- Black Lacquer Press & Marketing
- Book Agency Plus
- Book Art Press Solutions / Window Press Club
- Book Avenue Publishing
- Book Magnets
- Book Reads Publishing
- BookTrail Agency
- Book Vine Press
- BookVenture Publishing
- BookWhip / Carter Press
- Box Office Media Creatives / Buzz Media Creatives
- Capstone Media Services
- Diamond Media Press
- Dream Books Distribution
- EC Publishing
- Global Summit House
- Gold Touch Press
- Goldman Agency
- Legaia Books
- Lettra Press
- LitFire Publishing / Amelia Publishing / Amelia Book Company / GoToPublish
- Maple Leaf Publishing
- MatchStick Literary
- Media City Publishers
- Netsfilm & Media Press
- New Leaf Media
- New Reader Media
- Okir Publishing /ADbook Press / Coffee Press
- Outstrip
- PageTurner Press
- Paramount Books Media
- Readers Magnet
- Royale House
- Rushmore Press
- Sherlock Press
- Stonewall Press / Uirtus Solutions
- Stratton Press
- Toplink Publishing
- Universal Books Solutions
- URLink Print and Media
- Westwood Books Publishing / Authors Press / Creative Books
- The Writer Central / IdeoPage Press Solutions
- YourOnlinePublicist
- Zeta Publishing

I know my warnings are having an effect, not just because I'm hearing from writers who've found my posts or my list and have been able to avoid being ripped off, but because some of the scams are getting...a little defensive. Book-Art Press now includes this in its solicitation emails:
The links are to anti-Writer Beware screeds from people WB has exposed.

The grievance is definitely on display in this one, from MatchStick Literary (it also showcases the scams' trademark fractured English):

See ya at Writer Beware, scammers!

10 comments :

Kanoy said...

This isn't foolproof, but if you want to find out if a person is Filipino, have them say "I want to take a journey to your country". If they pronounce journey as joorney and country as count (like Dracula) - ree, ask if they're on Luzon or Cebu, because they've just confirmed their nationality.

I live in Southern Leyte and go to Cebu every month or so. Being a call center worker (especially receiving and not making calls) is actually a high paying and rather prestigious job here.

Allen F said...

And we'll see replies telling of how good some of these scammers really are in 3 2 1 ... ;-)

Keep up the good work. When they whine you know you're impacting their bottom line.

Stephen Bentley said...

Like Kanoy, I too live in the Philippines. I would suggest a surefire way of telling if Filipinos are writing their scam emails is the wrong use of singular and plurals. Note the use of "feedbacks" instead of feedback. It's a dead giveaway every time.

Of course, I am not saying they are all scammers here but there is a scam cottage industry not just in the publishing world but also in the online dating world.

You do a great job, Victoria. So much so, I have started Tweeting your blog posts using your RSS Feed. I am @StephenBentley8 on Twitter.

Christine Tripp said...

The absolute easiest way to tell if a solicitation phone call or email is a scam.... is that they Contacted you in the first place! Publishers, Agents, just DON'T! The only time you'll be contacted is if you have submitted to them! So simple.

But I want to scream when I see the broken, beaten and bruised english used and scratch my head in wonder, that someone who prides themselves on writing doesn't see a problem when they get an email or call from a "Publisher" that can't construct a simple paragraph or even a sentence!

"our legal AUTHORITIES HAD taken necessary THINGS INTO ACTION to put these OPPOSING PEOPLE IN THEIR RIGHT PLACES" huh?

(where are the laugh emoji's when you need them?)

Wordrefiner said...

I am posting your blog links on my website and I am sharing your blog on my Twitter, Facebook accounts and LinkedIn. I greatly appreciate the service and information you provide. My website is https://www.wordrefiner.com

PT Dilloway said...

Doesn't the Philippines have any libel laws? Hopefully people are smart enough to realize what they say about Writer Beware is pure bull.

Viv Sang said...

Thank you for all your warnings. they are most helpful. And as Christine Tripp says, if the contact you, it'll be a scam.

Anonymous said...

Back when I was a newbie at this writing game, Writer Beware was my go-to to stay out of trouble. Thanks so much. BTW, my first and best lesson was: if they ask for money, fuhgeddaboudit!

Victoria Strauss said...

Thank you, Anonymous 9/03! Glad to have been of help.

Anonymous said...

I get the calls. I tell them to send it in writing and they hang up.

 
Design by The Blog Decorator