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 6, 2021

Scam Alert: Silver Ink Literary Agency / Editors Press and Media / Global Review Press


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

Last week, the Authors Guild sent out this warning:


Writer Beware has been getting complaints about Silver Ink Literary Agency for some time. It's included on our list of more than 100 similar Philippines-based publishing/marketing/fake literary agency scams. 

The Authors Guild isn't the only group whose name Silver Ink has taken in vain. It has also faked emails from Penguin Random House...


...in order to share an equally fake memorandum about PRH's supposed new submission guidelines...


...in aid of lending false credibility to the editing and other overpriced and substandard services Silver Ink pushes on its victims. 

Here's what else Writer Beware has found out about Silver Ink Literary Agency.

Silver Ink also does business as Editors Press and Media. The evidence: identical website content (compare the content on their marketing pages), identical (and seriously ungrammatical) language in contracts and other documents, and the use of Heather Allen's name in faked-up emails from both scams. (Ms. Allen, who now works for Abrams, has posted an alert on her LinkedIn profile.) I've also had confirmation of the connection from a couple of the snitches who occasionally contact me to blow a whistle or rat out their competitors. 

Editor's Press is actually the original scam; its domain was registered in October 2019, while Silver Ink's came to life a year later, in October 2020. Whoever ported Editor's Press content over to Silver Ink's website slipped up in the proofing department: 
Like its mini-me, Editor's Press plays the impersonation game to bamboozle writers into paying for editing. Its chosen target for fakery is HarperCollins:


You can read more about Editor's Press's impersonation scheme here

Silver Ink also does business as Global Review PressGlobal Review is the baby of the bunch; its domain was only registered in April 2021. 

Again, there's identical content on the marketing page--including, amazingly, the same uncorrected proofing error noted above. Silver Ink and Global Review both have business registrations in Nevada, and share the same principal and registered agent, Sandra L. Herrera of 3996 Kettle Rock Ct in Reno. (Editor's Press is registered in Virginia, also to what appears to be a private individual.)

The owner of these ventures is Gary Serdeña, aka Shawn Serdeña, aka Shawn Gatewood. According to his Facebook profile, Shawn (the name he apparently prefers) is from Tacloban City in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines, and enjoys posting photos of himself conspicuously consuming the income generated by his author-fleecing ventures.

Shawn's personal FB feed includes many references to Editor's Press, such as this one on the occasion of the company's one-year anniversary, and this one from a couple of months ago celebrating a brand-new business location. There's even a ribbon-cutting video. Ripping off authors is lucrative! 

(UPDATE: Scammers like Shawn are among my most faithful followers. Shortly after I published this, Shawn deleted all the posts and video I've linked to in this article. He also appears to have deleted the original Facebook page for Editor's Press and Media [unfortunately not archived by the Wayback Machine], and created a new one [currently with almost no content]. Additionally, he has changed his name on Facebook and Instagram: he's now going by Denzel Agaton, and claiming to live in California [a claim somewhat contradicted by his many posts and check-ins referencing Cebu]. The URLs of his FB and Insta presence memorialize his real name, however, and you can still see him posing in front of the Editors Press and Media logo.)


Shawn is an interesting example of how these publishing/marketing/fake agency scams evolve and spawn. He has posted photos of various awards he has won; in addition to documenting the several names he uses, they show that he worked for Author Solutions (the progenitor of the scam phenomenon of which Silver Ink and its siblings are a part) and then for Innocentrix--the name under which scammer Page Turner Press and Media does business in the Philippines--before starting Editor's Press in 2019. 

Shawn can also be found on Instagram. He has two TikTok accounts.

Silver Ink currently has an F rating at the Better Business Bureau, due to unanswered complaints
Editor's Press fares slightly better, with a C-, but only because there have been fewer complaints for it to fail to answer. Global Review has no BBB listing, likely because it's new enough that complaints haven't yet started stacking up. 

Last but not least...I know I'm a bit of a broken record here. But the number one way to protect yourself against scammers like Silver Ink is to assume that ANY out-of-the-blue solicitation is a scam. 

Sound extreme? It's not. Reputable publishers and literary agents rarely reach out to authors directly. For scammers, on the other hand, it's their primary recruitment method. With Silver Ink and the more than 100 outfits like it aggressively trolling for victims, you are safest if you treat all solicitations as non-legit, at least until you've investigated (you can search this blog, or email me). 

Mistrust, and verify.

1 comment :

Neil Taylor said...

I have been contacted by Rabiya Matthews (rabiya.matthews@silverliteraryagency.com), who communicated the following information about my book "The Tapestry of Israel":

I would like to talk to you about this exclusive contract we are trying to get for you from one of our clients—the Traditional Publishers, for book acquisition.

Last month I received a recommendation for your book to have a very good quality content and a high possibility to land a contract with one of our clients, Traditional Publisher. Now, before contacting you, we did test the waters for you and did a preliminary endorsement to our clients, and luckily last week I received 2 very positive responses. Macmillan and HarperCollins got interested in your book for book acquisition.
Once you land a contract with one of our clients, they will be buying the publishing rights of your book and you will receive an upfront payment that would range from $50,000- $80,000. So our main goal is to GET you that exclusive contract.

I was able to communicate with the Acquisition Managers of both companies and they have given me 2 criteria for your book to pass during the Final Book Endorsement:
(1) remove you from a self-publishing company
(2) have the book undergo developmental editing

In order for us to tailor-fit your book to what these Traditional Publishing Companies are looking for, we have created a strategic plan for your book and of course, this will involve expenses, lucky for you we do sponsorship and our agency is willing to shoulder 50% of the total investment and you as the author will shoulder the remaining 50% of the total investment for your book.

This is just a courtesy to see if you will be interested with the opportunity and wll give your book the recognition it deserves. This is the perfect time wherein all your time and efforts will finally pay off.

The plan for your book is precise and simple because we already have an edge with our clients since they are already interested in your book. All we need to do is just to pass the 2 parameters they have set for your book.
As early as now I wanted to congratulate you for passing the evaluation process and for becoming an official candidate for the Final Book Acquisition.

 
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