Scam Publishers…Beware, by Victoria Strauss (Writers Beware)


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.

I’m continuously updating this list–adding new companies as I discover them, deleting the ones that disappear.)

MORE DETAILS HERE

30 thoughts on “Scam Publishers…Beware, by Victoria Strauss (Writers Beware)

  1. Tigerman says:

    My first book was published in print by Authors Solutions. When I querried the price they were going to charge, I said it was far to high. The saleslady said, no problem, You can change this. However, once I had sgned up, I was told I could not adjust the price. Therefre, take care and find out exactly what you are agreeing to before you sign a contract.

    • claire plaisted says:

      Totally agree. With my company I do Author Assist and Invoices go out after FINAL approval of work. This means you as the client get to see the work prior to paying. People say I should do a deposit, though so far I haven’t. I’ve also never hand anyone refuse to pay for work done. Though this would be mentioned in a contract.

    • mcguinty says:

      Dear Sir/ Madam.
      Thanks for the info, however, after receiving mountains of solicitations, I now have a new one… Please advise? Radio interview, invitation with America Tonight? Ella Jones, from Booktrail Agency, claiming, Kate Delaney, Emmy award, winning journalist, hosts, of The Kate Delaney Show and Forbes Book Radio, wants to interview me? The email claims, they received a press release, about my novel, ‘Kututu’. However, as far, as I’m aware, the last and only, press releases, on my novel, were, 2014…? Yes, I would be lovely, to promote my book on American radio, Ha ha… but why would, they solicit, an Australian author, out of the blue? If not a scam?
      kindest regards
      Olivia Osborn

      • claire plaisted says:

        You may like to get in touch with Writers Beware, which is where this article was shared from. I have no idea about radio interviews. I hope they may be able to assist you with this.

      • Caroline Evans says:

        Hi Olivia and all,
        I’ve just received a phone call from the very same people with the same details – Kate Delaney US radio show, America Tonight interview etc. – about books written by my (sadly deceased) Dad from a few years ago. Sounded wonderful until I was asked for the $1000 payment required for airtime, segment and sound engineer.

        Thinking about the boxes of unsold self-published books in the garage and trying to promote them in the USA seemed a logistical nightmare even if the phone call and radio interview was legit. Probably one to avoid!

        Kindest regards
        Caroline Evans

      • tonyquart says:

        @CAROLINE EVANS It’s almost always a scam if they ask for any kind of payment upfront, especially via phone call. It’s better to just block the number and maybe report them to authority. It will be good to share what number they were using when they called you, maybe to phone number directory websites like http://phonebook.ai, so that more people will be aware of these scammers.

  2. Joy Toylo says:

    I’m reporting a fraudulent company called “Bright Lights Distribution LLC” that is cold calling authors, collecting financial information over the phone and the non-delivery of goods or services that have been paid for.

    Their website: https://brightlightsdistribution.us/

    They are based in CEBU CITY, PHILLIPINES disguised as an American marketing firm located in 16 Boxwood Lane Hicksville NY 11801 and 9422 Phillip Avenue Norfolk VA 23503.

    They are “highly trained scammers” and are led by the owner Raphael “Ralph” Mariño and goes by the phone name: “Darren Matthews” and is usually the one you get to talk with when you give out your credit card information. He also uses another phone name: “Zack Daley” when calling VIP LEADS to make a sale of his own.

    I hope that this can help you and many more others that may fall victim to these scammers.

  3. loretta creech says:

    I was scamed by author house. they have kept all my roalities. I would like to get from under them but don’t know who to get to help.

    • claire plaisted says:

      Hugs. I’m sorry this happened to you. First of all if you signed a contract with them, there is a get out clause…It’s usually something like 90 days. I suggest you read the paperwork. Once you find it, send them notice to end the contract and they should give you all your rights back. I’ve no idea about your royalties, it depends on your deal and how many books they’ve sold on your behalf. Once you have your rights back again depending on your contract, they will have to take your books down from any sales site they used. You can then self-publish. If you wish to know how, Give me a yell when you are ready. You will need to learn how to do things yourself or pay people for things like Editing, Book Covers and Formatting (Interior Design). Traditional Publishing is a bit different and a bit harder.

      Good Luck

      Claire x

  4. jowensauthor says:

    Reblogged this on Jeanne Owens, author and commented:
    I got a call and email the other day from Editors Press and Media, claiming they’d been contacted by HarperCollins because they were interested in one of my books. It all sounded suspicious to me, because I’d never heard of Editors Press and Media and it seemed funny that HarperCollins would contact them instead of me or the company that published my book (or that they’d solicit authors at all). So I did some searching and came upon this post that confirmed my suspicions that it was a scam. Be careful, everyone!

  5. Onyx says:

    I trusted LIfeRich Publishing to the tune of $4,000! They printed the copies I contracted for and sent them to me as promised. I bought an ebook copy and found they had left out complete sections of the manuscript! Their marketing of my 800 page, 420,000 word book was shadowy at best. It’s been 6 months since I released for publishing, and I have yet to see a royalty check, although I know people who have bought my book on Amazon. I ended my relationship with them and will never trust another publisher with my hard work.

    • claire plaisted says:

      Glad it helped. I see too much Vanity Press still and it saddens me when people get caught out. If you look at the things we pay for in life, we always pay after the work is done, not before…so why change for a so called publisher?

      I have a few other blogs you may be interested in, though they were aimed at FIVERR Business there are some great ones there if you do your research. Each post gives ideas and questions to ask.

      Meanwhile, good luck.

  6. Geoffrey Gilbert says:

    Thanks for all of the intriguing revelations about these professional thieves. Can they be prosecuted for internet fraud?

  7. kcdunford says:

    Thank you for this! I was just called by Page Turner Press and Media. They offered me all kinds of unrealistic things, trying to win me over with “movie deals” and “deals with traditional publishers.” Long story short, I called them out on their BS and he ended up saying, “I don’t want to do business with know-it-all clients anyway!” Then I hung up. LOL. I felt a little guilty about being sassy until I found them on this list. THANK YOU!

  8. BHAUMIK says:

    I have been battling URLink Publishing over the book company’s exploitation of my very disabled, elderly mother who is an amateur poet. They call my mother at the crack of dawn when she is asleep. My mother’s caretakers have told them for nearly a year not to call at this hour because she is sick. URLink Publishing has swindled thousands upon thousands of dollars from my mother’s retirement account.

    I became suspicious when I was helping my mother pay her bills and found that in December 2020 alone, URLink had taken nearly one thousand dollars from her account. When I asked the “company” for an invoice, they said $600.00 was for a prize submission. I am actually a professor of literature and know that reputable, honest presses do not charge for prize submission. When I looked up the prize that they claim they needed $600.00 to submit her book, I found that the registration fee for the prize is only $100. They pocketed $500.00 for something that anyone can do for free. When I asked them for a refund based on astronomical, unethical charges, they said “no” because professional services had been “availed.”

    This first encounter lead me to find lie upon lie piled up: fake names, huge withdrawals, extensive coercion of my mother by individuals with fake names like “Jordan Baxter,” “Bella Dy,” and “John Keith.” The phone numbers on their own emails and webpage do not work.

    But the only wish of my poor mother who is terribly sick and in late stages of a disease is to have her poetry published. But this company is not to be trusted. And they have depleted significant sums from her retirement account that is vitally needed for her in-home care. I told them this fact and they were indifferent. They took the money (illegally) and ran.

    I have contacted the Better Business Bureau. I will also contact the FBI and federal consumer protection agency. If other people have been damaged to the extent that our family has, then please let me know if you are interested in a class action lawsuit.

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