NOTE: Book-Art Press and Window Press Club are aware of this post, and have made changes to their websites, so some of the links below may not work–however, all were fully verified by me at the time of writing.
Note that there are a number of updates at the bottom of this post, including a new business name (Booktimes).
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.
This heartbreaking video from an author who was scammed by Book-Art Press to the tune of over $7,000 provides a window into the disgraceful lies and sleazy tactics this company employs to rip off writers.
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.
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 followup blog posts:
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
From the Philippines, Not With Love: A Plague of Publishing and Marketing Scams
A complete list of the more than 50 companies I’ve discovered to date has been added to the sidebar.
UPDATE 1/5/19: Book-Art Press has re-vamped its website, and the identical homepage content mentioned above has been removed (it’s still present on Window Press Club’s website). But it’s still English-challenged (“Book Art Press unlocks your book’s real potentials by being steps away from the common trend, usual steps, and stale platforms”), and the pitch (claiming they can leverage traditional publishing contracts) remains the same. If anything, the lies have been expanded, with claims of “strong connections” with traditional publishing houses, and partnerships with “several film-makers, producers, and studio executives” (un-named, of course).
Here’s one of BAP’s latest offers. Note the pretense that BAP is investing its own substantial resources, supposedly far exceeding the author’s “investment”. This is a classic vanity publisher ploy.
UPDATE 6/21/19: From one of Book-Art’s recent solicitation emails. Much of it is identical to the solicitation quoted above, but note that they’re now pretending not just to have contacts with “Traditional Publishers”, but to have been “built” by them to function as book scouts.
The cost has ballooned–it’s now $5,000 for “1000 Book Copies”, which they purport to match by investing $15,000-20,000 of their own.
UPDATE 10/18/19: Book-Art Press has re-vamped its website again, and upscaled its logo. It’s now claiming to be “a bookstore-endorsement specialist agency headquartered in 30 Wall Street, New York City, NY.” It’s still offering all the same publishing and junk marketing services, though.
Window Press Club’s website has vanished (could that have anything to do with its F rating at the BBB?)
UPDATE 12/13/19: Several sources have tipped me off that Book-Art Press is now also doing business as Booktimes. I’ve confirmed this myself, based on identical content included in each company’s email solicitations (see below).
Booktimes offers the same junk services as Book-Art, and exhibits the same scam markers. Its website also illustrates an increasing trend for the clones: not disclosing prices on their websites. You have to contact the company and provide a phone number in order to find out.
Solicitation from Book Art Press:
Solicitation from Booktimes:
UPDATE 1/18/20: Yet another company name for Book Art Press: Informa Global Solutions. Here’s its Facebook page. Here’s its incoherent About Us info. Here’s its recruitment ad. Note the email address at the bottom.
Informa is also the name of a legit UK company, which I imagine is no coincidence. Book Art has even borrowed the typeface for its logo. Compare and contrast:
Booktimes has just solicited me by phone. I requested they send me an email with the details of what they are offering. No investment on my part…they get 10% of the book deal signed with the traditional publisher. Interesting that they claim to be affiliated with "Traditional Publishing Companies…McMillan Ltd. And Simon and Schuster…". Poor grammar is all over the email solicitation. Brad, the manager contacting me, sounded competent, though something felt off in the conversation.
I too have been taken by this sleezy company. For some reason when I googled them I did not find this type of information. I am currently suing them. My attorney would like to hear from anyone else who has been taken by them.
BRANDON SCHWARTZ Phone: (646)844-5915