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

The word SCAM on a kaleidoscopic multicolord background (credit: Lars Poyansky /

I don’t think there’s much dispute that the many “imprints” under the Author Solutions umbrella are among the most negatively regarded of all the author services companies.

From the predatory business practices that gave rise to two class action lawsuits, to the huge number of customer complaints, to the relentless sales calls and deceptive recruitment methods, to the dubious and overpriced “marketing” services that are one of the company’s main profit sources, AS’s poor reputation is widely known. Along with other factors, such as the competition from free and low-cost self-publishing platforms, this has pushed AS in recent years into steady decline.

Unfortunately, whatever gap AS’s contraction has created has been filled by a slew of imitators. Why not, when hoodwinking authors is as easy as setting up a website and opening an account with Ingram Spark? In some cases, the imitators have first-hand experience: they’ve been founded and/or staffed by former employees of AS’s call centers in the Philippines (as well as ex-employees of other disreputable companies with operations in the Philippines, such as Tate Publishing and BookWhirl.)

The copycats employ spoofed phone numbers and fake addresses (virtual offices, PO Boxes, randomly-selected residential addresses) to convince authors that they are located in the USA or Canada. Their primary targets are self- and small press-published writers, whom they attempt to poach from whatever platform or press the authors are currently with; and the elderly.

The copycats’ approaches aren’t merely deceptive, but blatantly false: claiming writers’ books have been recommended by Amazon, or spotted by a literary scout, or discovered by a Big 5 publisher, or given a favorable review by a conveniently unnamed industry expert. Like Author Solutions, they hawk overpriced publishing packages and deceptively-described junk marketing services (services that cost little to provide and can be sold at an enormous markup). They also approach potential victims by posing as literary agencies and film companies. In a number of instances, they’ve impersonated well-known and reputable traditional publishers, literary agents, and production companies. Some have even gone as far as faking letters and contracts from Big 5 publishers and major movie studios.

Many of the services the copycats sell are completely fictional: for example, book insurance (there’s no such thing), an international book seal (ditto), or retrieving a book’s “license” so it can be re-published (again, no such thing). Nor do the scammers have any connections with Big 5 publishers or Hollywood producers: promises to “endorse” or represent are just window dressing to convince you to shell out money. Marketing services, such as book trailers or press releases, may be delivered, but are frequently of substandard quality.

Often the copycats simply take authors’ money and run. I’ve heard from writers who’ve spent thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars with these scams, in many cases for goods and services they never received.

I’ve written dozens of posts about these scams and their fraudulent operations, especially their brazen (yet curiously shoddy) efforts to impersonate reputable agents, publishers, and film producers. You can see them all here.

Fortunately, the scams share a set of reliably recurring markers that can help to identify them.

– Cold-call solicitations by phone and email. Like the Author Solutions imprints, the copycats are big on out-of-the-blue phone calls and emails hawking their services. Often they’ll claim your book has been recommended to them, or was discovered by one of their book scouts, or evaluated by a literary organization or traditional publisher. Sometimes they’ll claim to be literary agents looking to transition you to a traditional publishing contract or represent you to Hollywood, or film companies that have discovered your book and think it would be great on the silver screen.

Solicitation is the number one sign of a scam these days. Real literary agents, publishers, and production companies only rarely reach out to authors they don’t already represent. For scammers, on the other hand, it’s their main way of acquiring clients. Any out-of-the-blue solicitation related to publishing or movie rights, no matter what it’s for or who it appears to be from, should be treated with caution.

Copycat sales reps can be insanely persistent and aggressive (another page from the AS playbook). I’ve heard from authors who are being driven mad by incessant phone calls (that can’t be blocked because the callers’ numbers are spoofed) or repeated emails. Some copycats do business under multiple names, and will solicit authors separately under each name; or if they strike out under one name. will solicit again using another.

– Re-publishing or “re-branding” offers. A big focus for the copycats is poaching authors who are already published or self-published (often with Author Solutions imprints–I’ve long suspected that AS sells customer information, and it’s pretty clear that copycats’ staff either maintain contacts with Author Solutions workers who feed them information, or, if they themselves formerly worked for AS, took customer information with them when they departed). They claim they can do a better job, or price the book better, or provide greater credibility.

Often, re-publishing/re-branding is presented as a pre-requisite to representing writers’ books to traditional publishers; traditional publishers, the scammers claim, scorn self-published books, and your book needs to be re-published to remove the stigma. Beyond the fact that the “self-publishing stigma” no longer exists, re-publishing an already-published book so it can be published a third time makes absolutely no sense, and is not how the legitimate publishing business works.

Re-publishing/re-branding may have a price tag–anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars–or may be offered “free” with the purchase of something else, such as a PR campaign. Either way, it’s a gateway to the writer’s bank account. By demonstrating that they’re willing to pay, writers make themselves fair game for escalating sales pressure to buy more services, and/or fraudulent publishing and movie rights offers involving large upfront fees. Writer Beware has heard from writers who’ve lost enormous amounts to these schemes.

We also regularly get complaints from writers who bought a re-publishing package and have never received royalty reports or payments. When writers get suspicious, start asking too many questions, or the copycat judges that they’re tapped out, the copycat simply cuts off contact, leaving authors with no way to access and control their re-published books.

– Claims of expertise that can’t be verified (in the absence of staff and owner names), or that can be easily refuted (for example, if the scammer claims years of experience but their web domain was only registered a few months ago). Some scammers include fake staff on their websites, using stock or AI-generated photos and made-up biographies. Always make sure you can independently verify any claims of accomplishments or success. If you can’t, or if the company’s website makes it impossible to do so because it provides no specifics, move on.

– English-language errors on websites and in emails. The scams are owned and staffed primarily by people for whom English is a second language. Although the advent of ChatGPT and other AI-assisted writing tools is making grammar and colloquial errors much less common on websites and in written text than they used to be, this is still an important marker that too many writers are willing to overlook.

– Phone solicitors with foreign accents. Callers are in the Philippines, and speak fluent but accented English.

– A catalog of junk marketing services, and heavy pressure to buy. Not all the copycats offer publishing services, but most offer “marketing”: press releases. Paid book review packages. Book fair exhibits. Ingram catalog listings. Hollywood book-to-screen packages. Vanity radio and TV interviews. These and more are junk marketing: PR services of dubious value and effectiveness that are cheap to provide and can be sold at a huge markup.

It’s an insanely lucrative aspect of the author-fleecing biz, not just because of its enormous profitability, but because while you can only sell a publishing package once, you can sell marketing multiple times. The copycats’ marketing services are right out of the Author Solutions playbook: AS basically invented junk book marketing, and most of the marketing services offered by the copycats were pioneered by AS. AS also pioneered the high-pressure sales tactics the copycats use. Prices range from a few hundred to multiple thousands–and as noted above, each time you buy, you tell the copycat they can come back for more.

Are you looking for the list of 200+ copycat scammers that used to be here?

Now you can find it here.

Given how often I have to update the list–several times a week on average–it was just too time-consuming to maintain it in two places.

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!

UPDATE 12/10/19: I want to highlight this recent comment, which illustrates how ubiquitous and persistent these scams are. Bottom line: if you self-publish, you can pretty much count on being solicited. Be on your guard. (By “GoTo”, I’m assuming the commenter means GoToPublish.)

UPDATE 11/13/20: The latest scammer love note, left as a comment here. Good to know I’m still hitting a nerve!

 UPDATE 12/30/20: They still love me! I didn’t let these comments through, but I did memorialize them.


  1. Hi, fellow authors. Has anyone published with Europe Books, specifically working with an editor called Ginevra Picani? Just want to know if they're legit.

  2. Thank you for this list. I just got off the phone with Teri, who told me she was Filipino like me, from Authors Press soliciting promotion of my book at the LA Times Festival of books for $999. I will not be moving forward with them. Their content online, her follow up email with videos that screamed stock video/photography made me cautious that this seemed like a scam and then I saw you had them on the list. Authors BEWARE

  3. Please add RUSTIC HAWS to your list. They are a scam too. I paid them $999 and they did nothing for me only sent back exactly what I emailed with no change to the book cover or editing.

  4. I have recently been contacted by Pearson Media Group because they claim they want to sponsor my book into a movie. They are allegedly based in CA USA and the Production Supervisor is Markus…

    Please advise…

  5. I have been. driven crazy recently by YourOnlinePublcisit, YOP, to the point that they call call me 3 or 4 times a day. I have hung up on them immediately, screamed at them, cursed. them—they still call. I realized a while back what this is all about: they want to soak you. for. $8,000—that is their optimum fee. All they have to do is get 100 suckers a year and they've made $800,000—that is a lot of lettuce in the Philippines. Or, they can soak 50 suckers, and that is $400,000. So, why not just keep at me, or. you, for that matter? I've had these same jerks call from an endless list of phony publicity companies. They seem to get more urgent and. desperate with time. But, there is always that $8,000 pay off for them if they find the right pigeon at the end. Perry Brass, Belhue Press.

  6. Mary,

    Book Vine Press is included on my scam list in the post above and also in the sidebar…I've gotten many reports and complaints about their fees and poor service.

  7. Receiving several emails from "Book Vine Press" ( Not interested in dealing with them even if they are legit, but thought you might want to take a look & see if they actually are legit. Otherwise I'm tired of calls from a Florida area code several times a day. I don't usually answer the phone if I don't recognize the caller, however, one company from "Florida" actually filled my voicemail box after 3 weeks. They called several times a day. Ugh. Thanks for your work Victoria, much appreciated! -Mary

  8. Thank you, Anonymous 8/26. Always good to get confirmation that I'm doing my job!

    Mercedes–I honestly don't know. The solicitations from these scams heavily focus on writers who pubbed via Author Solutions imprints (since many of the scammers worked for AS, or have contacts there who feed them information). I also hear from writers who haven't used AS, though that's more unusual. I really don't think it's Kindle, though, simply because I rarely hear from KDP authors. I get questions and complaints about the scams almost daily, and if Kindle were selling authors' contact info, I think I'd be hearing from a lot more of them.

  9. Sweet Baby Jesus. It's not just self-published writers. I've gotten about a dozen calls from these dweebs over the past couple of months, all asking for me by name and then if I had written "random book of mine" although once it was "someone else's random book," and then going into their spiel. The thing is, I can't figure out how the hell they got my number. The ONLY thing I can figure is that I published the e-versions of a handful of my old books that we never sold e-writes to (because e-books didn't exist) on Kindle via the White Glove agency program, and I had to be listed as the "publisher of record." Could Kindle have sold these rat bastards our contact info?

  10. diana, I'm sorry to hear about Crest Media Distribution. Hopefully you can get your money back; one way to do that is to file a dispute with your credit card company, bank, or PayPal (depending on how you paid).

    Book Trail Agency is also a scam (the same kind of scam as Crest Media). For more on why paying for radio interviews is not a good idea (even if you get the interview), see my blog post:

  11. I just found out I was scammed by Crest Media Distribution. I feel so naive and stupid now. I am trying to get my money back. Interviews with Kate Delaney led by Book trail agency are they also a scam?

  12. Victoria Strauss you're MEAN NAYSAYER defaming start-up businesses with no VALID PROOF! – truth is you're PAID by AUTHOR SOLUTIONS! GET A LIFE!

  13. Thank you so very much. The Green Sage Agency emailed me today saying they had received an endorsement for my book from Amazon. Below you will find a quote from the email they sent me.
    "I got an endorsement for your book…from Amazon and this was given a very impressive rating. I'd like to invite you for an interview and ask you some questions to see if this would be a good fit for our company to offer partnership with or invest in."
    It is a good thing I did my research and found your blog. I took your warning to heart and deleted their email. Thank you, for saving my rear and the sequel I am working on.

  14. Thank you so much for your post to let authors know if the email you received is a scam or not. It happend to me, the other day, so glad I had a place to check the name and know it was a scam I was dealing with. Thanks again and I will let family and friends know about your site so they too can check into their scams if they ever need the information.

  15. Thank you SO much for your post and making it easy for authors to know what's a scam and what isn't. I really, really appreciate your work, you have no idea!!!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  16. Having Authored Way Of Life, Rhymes N Reasons The Lyrical Expressions, Meadow Skipper The Untold Story and co authored others, I found myself inundated with callers and e mailers promising all sorts of sales and recognition for a fee of course but none thought so highly of Way Of Life in particular that they would do their services on a contingency basis even though I offered under contract to provide them with the lions share of the royalties they promised I'd receive.

    Approaching 78 with very limited income I cannot throw away limited finds on potential scams. Thank You for providing this material. BOB MARKS

  17. Thank you so much for letting us self-published authors in on the pitfalls of answering our phone! Trafford & Co. has published all 3 of my books with integrity and attention to my requests for corrections of my errors in spelling, rewrites, etc., but using them has put me on the Author Solutions telemarketing victim's list, including many of the outfits which you have listed, in fact! I'm scheduled to talk with one of the "many" agents working with Beacon Books Agency, when in fact they have 2 employees who use, you guessed it, standard broken "Enlish." Thanks for your warnings! Narelle

  18. Hi Victoria,

    This is indeed a very helpful content. Not all are scam. I have published my book and everything went well. You are already giving people a bad impression in self publishing. I understand that you have had bad experiences about publishing but I don't think it's right that you are putting words in to the publishers' mouths. I think it's only fair that we listen to them. I wasn't given rainbows and butterflies when I published my book. It's just a matter of having a follow up after everything that's done. Also, I don't think language should be an issue here because not everyone in America speaks good English. I just don't think that we should be pointing at people/countries with our misfortune here in the publishing industry. I had a really nice experience with them. Just saying.

  19. Thank you very much for your work. I have been approached by such publishers and had to check out with your list to make sure they do not appear there. They all do! Some wrote faulty English, one even mentioned a wrong title as mine.
    As I felt I may again get hooked by a fake or vanity publisher, I wanted to try a regular publisher. Also, agents are infested with vanity agents, as I heard from an agency consultant. There is no rule that they all be in the AAR association or be supervised.
    It is high time a recognized literary association began policing all these fields or at least supporting your mission. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR WONDERFUL WORK. With best wishes NAVEEVN SRIDHAR

  20. Re: the comments above that I haven't responded to yet: I've researched Bright Lights Distribution and The Mulberry Books, and added them both to the list. The Mulberry Books is especially shady; some of its website isn't even populated with real text, and it's listed as "non-compliant" with the Colorado Secretary of State for failure to file required reports.

  21. Anonymous 5/26,

    Writers Republic has most of the markers of a publishing and marketing scam–solicitation, high prices, English-language errors, zero verifiable information on the company and its staff, and an emphasis on junk marketing. I'm not sure if it's a Philippines-based scam, though, which is why I haven't added it to the list. It is a scam, though.

    Would you be willing to send me whatever Writers Republic sent you, for my files? All information shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence. Email me at beware @ Thanks!

  22. Don't get scammed by Author University, they will offer you cheap marketing services, if u can't afford it then they will make payment arrangements. Believe me it's too good to be true. They offered me $799 wo
    with inclusions of creating a book trailer for my book, email marketing campaign and including my book on Miami Book Fair. None of it was ever fulfilled. I paid $799 in full. Save your money. I got nothing from them.

  23. I'd like to report Bright Lights Distribution LLC who scammed me for over $20,000 for my children's book!!! They promised the world to me and even told me that my book will be adapted into film if I do business with them! They offered to create a screenplay for my book with other obsolete marketing services but I haven't gotten anything from them in return! They took all of my money and I feel so crushed right now!! I never thought that they would do this to an 83 year old!! I'm having suicidal thoughts now. They've used me!!!

  24. Thank you very much Victoria.
    I was approached by one you haven't listed here, The Mulberry Books, and wanted to find out if you know of their legitimacy-or lack thereof lol
    Yes, THEY contacted me randomly
    Yes, the representative was Filipino (I could even hear background noises like the person was outside)
    and, of course, they offered to republish my book at a lower cost, were very pushy for me to fork out money and all that jazz.
    Thank you!

  25. Hi Victoria. Caught up in the scam circus for $9,000.00 dating back to August last year 2019.
    Have all necessary evidence of non committal to contract. Heap off. No bank action No police action. Money I have earn't from this rogue company from America in 10 months – PAGE TURNER MEDIA and PRESS -$7.85.
    All of these Filipino staff, are operating under assumed names. Abraham Caine. Cynthia Powell.
    Ava Harris. What a laugh! All film stars – NO they are all off Filipino extract. Is this legal? What are the authorities of all nation's doing to prevent this outright theft. I have tried for legal advice but they all want monies i do not own. I am a new writer at 88yrs living off the Australian Pension. Am i too old to write no way i am good 88yrs. But i wont get caught again. ALL WRITERS ARE A SITTING TARGET
    Thanks for all your GREAT WORK Miss VICTORIA
    Peter Poidevin Peter Poidevin U TUBE.

  26. Hi Victoria. I really appreciate this website, I’ve just had an approach by WorkBook. Sounded great but once again cold email. I said if you are wanting thousands of money forget it. Then a phone call sounded really good, republish, redo the illustrations all for free but you can do 3 instalments for about Us$250 x 3. I said no can’t afford that as it would be over A$1500. Not interested. While he kept talking I looked up your blog. Yep thanks so much. Felicity

  27. Hello Victoria,

    Yesterday I received a fairly legitimate-looking email from a "Regina Wilson" at Pearson Media Group saying my book had been strictly evaluated and qualified for their literary sponsorship program for International Film & Movie Recommendation. The suspicious word was "co-finance." I finally replied, offering to call her at a certain time. She replied in poor English – that is always the big tip-off for me. I can forward you the email, if you like.

    Ellen Korman Mains

  28. Thank you for your comment. One solicitor said she was calling from New York. I mentioned the virus there and she acted like it wasn't a big deal. That made me think she was either insensitive or not calling from New York. I don't know for sure if all the companies listed are scams but better safe than sorry.

    Best of luck to your mom.

    Rosanna Brand

  29. Thank you. My mother received an unsolicited call from Author's Note 360 just last week (3/2020). I even reached out to an author who has used them and received a glowing review. I then came across your blog and called my parents immediately. You have saved us a lot of money and heartache. Thank you so much…

  30. I self published three novels and have had my share of cold calls, sometimes 3 a day. I get proposals via email weekly. I don't answer the phone any longer as I don't want to hurt their feelings. About ten of them appear on your list.

    They sound very nice on the phone and complimentary but beware. None of them pronounce my name correctly or the title of my novels. Red flag. They actually say they've read my novel but don't know it's a trilogy. They also think San Diego is near San Francisco. Red Flag. They say they're in Texas or San Francisco yet do not know of The Crookedest Street in the World, Lombard Street. Seriously?

    So far I haven't fallen for one of them, and they've been calling since 2015. When they ask to redesign my cover and reprint that offends me. When they want me to be on every social media, that offends me. Not a big social media fan. When they ask if I want a radio interview, that's strange. When they ask if I want my novel to be made into a movie, that insults me. A big request lately is being in a book fair in New York. With crowds during this virus, I doubt if anyone would attend or if it would be held.

    If they aren't with a legit publishing company, I'm not interested. No more marketing scams, schemes, and promises, please. I don't want to hear their spiels any longer! Make them stop!

    Rosanna Brand

  31. Thanks for your work on this, Victoria. My publishing partner, Charlie Keil, was recently contacted by Book-Art Press over the phone. He passed the information on to me, so I went online and found their website, which seemed a bit bland. And then I found your writing on them. I also found a 2018 video on Facebook which purports to be their first anniversary party. Here's the direct link for any readers who are curious:

  32. Camptys,

    Golden Ink Media Services is on my list. The "no money upfront" claim is just a hook to get you in the door. You'd be asked for money soon enough.

    If they approached you via email, would you forward the email to me? Thanks.

  33. I was contacted by Golden Ink Media Services who said they were agents offering to promote my (Authorhouse) self-published book to mainstream publishers. They requested no money for the service, insisting they would take a cut from profits… EH?

  34. Reading the article and all the comments make me comfortable with my selfpub status. It's still a hobby though even if I've lucky with bestsellers in my genre. It's been but two years for me and have a long way to go, but I don't think I go to the extent of shelling out good money to publish. The money is better spent on ads.

  35. Anonymous 2/14,

    Pearson Media Group is certainly a scam. I've gotten a number of reports similar to yours. Reputable companies don't charge for such deals. Where books sell or option film rights, it's nearly always via reputable agents, who also don't charge upfront fees.

    Would you please forward me the offer you got from Pearson for my files? . Thanks so much.

  36. Hi Victoria, thank you so much for providing all this information about the potential scams, it's quite helpful. I have been offered a movie/screenwriting deal for my first book by Pearson Media Groups, where they have assessed my book's marketability. The offer is quite extensive, however, as I viewed the cost-sharing proposal, my instinct was to question its legitimacy. They claim to operate from Anaheim California. It's always exciting to be offered the book to movie possibility, the prospect that it may be a scam is disappointing.

  37. Do you know anything more about Beacon Books Agency? I was contacted by them recently. I am working with ReadersMagnet who provide marketing services that included setting up a website and representations at the various national and international book fairs. I see that they are on the list. The sales results have been poor.

    What are your suggestions regarding legitimate book publishers to approach?

    Peter Justus

  38. Thank you, Marshall. You have just confirmed what I found out through another source. Book Venture should be avoided like the plague, and their scamming business should receive a publicity fit for rogues.

    Thank you.

    O. K. Oyenekan

  39. Book Venture is listed with a Michigan office and many employees. But I found a locked door at a two-person office. They are scam out of the Philippines. Run from these people !!!
    I stopped into the New Leaf office in Columbus, Ohio, and found a virtual office. If you have an appointment with them, they will hang a sign with their name until your appointment is over. When I told them I stopped by their office, they cut off communication with me.
    Maybe you could publish a list of companies that are legit. I'm sure it would be a much shorter list for writers to review.


    Marshall Ginevan

  40. I think I got scammed a few times. I am in Australia and am going to find a reputable Queensland based publisher.
    At least I could visit them.
    Been done by Xlibris, Capstone Media and Parchment media.
    Did The Al Cole radio interview as well.
    Now Capstone and Parchment are not answering my emails.

  41. Great work!
    I have just stumbled on this Writer Beware. I got re-published by a company that calls itself Book Venture. Yes, they re-published my book, Karamba, which was earlier published by an Authors Solution outfit, Trafford Publishing, with all kinds of juicy promises. After paying them $5,000 dollars for publishing, they sweet-talked me into going into marketing, for which I also paid $5000. After this, they just vanished into thin air! All calls, emails inquiries were never answered. I later learned that although they use a US address, they do not operate from the US, but from the Phillipines! It is a big shame because outfits like this give others a very bad name.
    The name of their so-called marketing director who lured me into this scam bait is Hector Rivera. I will not be surprised if the name itself is a scam. Please put the outfit and he name on the black-list. They are disgusting!

  42. Thank you for all this valuable information about scams. I wish i had read all this 12 months ago before i signed up with a certain publisher.. They may have got my first book, but they won't get the next 3 in the series! The catalogue of lies, errors, & constant selling of 'services' actually made me ill..I'm just hoping sales are good & i can get back some of the extortionate costs!!

  43. I too have published with AuthorHouse, & my books were also printed in Milton Keynes. AuthorHouse ring me from Indiana, & also the U.K (where i live). I have also recently been canvassed by other 'names' which may all be part of Author Solutions. I ignored them!!

  44. Karen Ess,

    Online Book Club isn't one of the scams discussed in this post. They seem primarily to be a paid review service, but they provide other promotional services as well. Whether any of it is worth the money is an open question, especially since there's no way to determine or verify their membership claims.

  45. Anonymous 1/11, if they sent you anything via email, would you please share it with me, for my files? All information shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence. Thank you!

  46. What about Online Bookclub? I have been offered a 50% discount on their $97 package for mention in their magazine, and they promise that I can get my money back if I don't sell 200 books – I have to follow their publishing plan.

  47. I was just about to pay the invoice from (after several long conversations) and decided to do a bit of research before moving forward. Thank you for your posts. It is so disappointing to know this is so widespread. Thank you. you saved me $2500

  48. Anonymous 1/06,

    Please read the first of my posts about these scams (there's a link in this post), where I discuss how they sprang directly from Author Solutions and its outsourcing to Philippines-based call centers.

  49. I'm surprised that the whole "Author Solutions" crowd is not on your long list. That would include Xlibris, Author House, iUniverse, Trafford Press, and a few others. They all have the same mailing address in Bloomington, Indiana, but their work (78% of the employees, according to WIKI) are in Cebu City, Philippines. The last time I checked, they were wholly owned by an Iranian/American from Arizona, named Jahm Najafi, a wealthy venture equity banker (formerly with Salmon Brothers.) My personal experience with XLibris was terrible! All marketing and no "get the book out the door" expertise.

  50. Unknown 12/16,

    Author Solutions (AuthorHouse is one of its imprints) is headquartered in the USA, but it outsources a lot of its work to the Philippines. Book Art Press, on the other hand, is based in the Philippines–it has no actual US presence. Its address is fake and its phone numbers are spoofed.

    Diamond Media Press is the same kind of scam.

    All of these companies have arrangements to print books in facilities that are reasonably close to whoever is ordering them. So if you're in the USA and you order a book from BAP, it'll probably show that it's printed in the US. Ditto for the UK.

  51. I have published with Authorhouse, Authorsolutions and Book Art Press and I know they say they are from the Philippines but both publishers had my books printed in Milton Keynes and now I'm being harassed by Diamond media press. What's going on ?

  52. I self-published in 2013 with the help of a layout person who uploads directly to Lightening Source under an imprint he created — no connection to Author Solutions or Tate. I started getting calls from Maple Leaf, GoTo, LitFire, Page Turner, and Writer Central last year. What's irritating is that they're now calling my landline (I still have one at home…I know, I know), AND my unlisted cellphone, AND my work phone. I've sometimes had them leave messages at all three locations in the same day.

    GoTo just called me about five minutes ago. I know they're a scam, but I'm scared for all of those hopeful writers out there who don't realize that.

  53. Anonymous 12/03,

    I always do my research before posting something. (As you should know–otherwise why would you be here, trying to do down a competitor?)

    Stampa Global's website was only registered last August. I can't find any indication that any company called Stampa or Stampa Global existed before that time. So your claim to have worked with Stampa "before they even ventured into self-publishing" isn't really credible.

    As to why I've linked it to Capstone Media Services: on various retailers' websites, Capstone Media books have magically transformed into Stampa Global books. Here's another example. There are many more. The internet does often make it hard to hide your tracks.

    I do appreciate the mention of Crest Media–I hadn't encountered that one before. I'm not credulous enough to take your attempt at re-direction at face value, but I will check into it.

  54. Can you do a little bit more research before you post something like this? I have worked with Stampa in the past before they even ventured into self-publishing. What I do know though is that the same people who started CAPSTONE MEDIA SERVICES are the same people behind CREST MEDIA DISTRIBUTION SERVICES. Check Crest Media and tell me if I'm wrong. 🙂

    Their website is

  55. Just an update: I've added to the list. It ticks all the boxes: solicitation, unverifiable claims of expertise, bad English, junk marketing. Other clues include a design service named after a common Filipino street food (revealed when you go to pay for one of the sample covers on the site via PayPal).

  56. Hi, Nicole,

    I'll definitely look into In the meantime, would you please forward me the long email you received? My address is All information shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

    These Al Cole interview offers show how interconnected these scams are. They've been hawking vanity radio spots all along, from Ric Bratton and Kate Delaney (both of whom were also featured in offers from the various Author Solutions imprints)–but Al Cole is a new addition, and the different scams are adding him to their menu of junk marketing services at a rapid rate.

  57. Thankyou so much for your info. I was emailed by Word Art Press (which you already have) and also a scammer "Camry Valentine" from It had "CBS Radio Talk Show" in the subject heading. The email was very long, selling me a slot with Al Cole on his talk show which would air to 20 stations plus. It was orignally valued at $8000 but they were giving it to me for $2000. 😂 It was a very long email, with a track message at the bottom of it so the sender could see when and how many times I opened it. I want to warn all authors about it but are not sure how to. Could you add these guys to your list? I would really appreciate it. Thanks Nicole

  58. Cheryl,

    Reputable radio interview hosts don't charge for interviews. This is what's known as vanity radio–pay to play, just like with book publishing. Basically what you'll get is an advertising clip that you can place on your website, but other than that, what kind of exposure you may get is unknown, since Mr. Cole's various website provide no audience statistics (and I suspect the numbers aren't large; despite the impressive-sounding credits on his resume, Mr. Cole doesn't have much of an online profile–just 115 subscribers on YouTube, for instance).

    Also, since Mr. Cole's services would be sold to you through an intermediary, you can be certain there's a markup (probably a substantial one).

  59. Thank you for your great service and wish I had known about it earlier on, when I had and have invested some monies into two of the above companies. I now put it down to experience, and wish I did not come from the believe in trust and honesty. I can see I have been hoodwinked, in one case two of the books have been published but the prices they charge are so prohibitive that no one will purchase them. The other, you guessed it a book fair. You have the names up above, so I will not add to the list but a third one approached me the other day, and now yesterday, another one, with offers. Having just started to investigate these offers, and yes they all had accents, and I know the ring in the background noise of it being overseas, so fortunately, I could see that , common sense is most useful in life and rather than just take people at their word, to investigate more fully their backgrounds. I just wanted to add what I have experienced, but it has taken many years out of my life, and the sad part is the legitimate publisher that I was to have first dealt with suffered a heart attack, and thus the firm dissolved, so I know the value of my books. This was my downfall. Nevermind, I will keep trying and I thank you for the work you do, and for waking me up to 'real life,' and the schemes that are out there to make a quick dollar. I blame the companies I dealth, one very large, and myself for being gullible.

  60. I was contacted by Parchment Global with an invitation to be interviewed by Al Cole. The cost for "air time" was going to be around $2000, depending on the time slot. I noticed a posting on this thread from Anonymous, who said they just did an interview with Al Cole. Will Anonymous please provide more information–Who are you, how much you paid, did Parchment Global then solicit you to use their self-publishing services? The person who contact me was from Parchment, not from Al Cole's show. All seemed very suspicious. I declined the offer.

  61. Fair enough. As for the marketing strategies, we are conducting ongoing research and implementing the best digital age ways of book promotion. With all due respect, not every author will arrive at the same success you have by utilizing the same methods you implemented. In any case, we work closely with authors, and work to competitively stay on top of the marketing industry by observing trends and apply several strategies.

    We are a startup and are still rounding out our permanent staff, but I'll gladly put my info out there to take responsibility for the work my company does. Also, not everything is completely transparent in business but it's not necessarily out of a practice to deceive potential and current clients; often times it's a matter of keeping the competition at bay. Ever since we have had the work to show for it, we've gladly provided samples of our work in our service proposals, offer disclaimers where necessary, and I intend to keep that practice up, even if it takes a little more work and investment to accomplish because I believe in honest business.

    I've ordered our web team to create a portfolio of our work to put up on our website. We will continue to add to it as the list of our accomplished work grows. Readers can check it out soon at:

    Thank you for the response by the way! I do wish you and the staff of Writers Beware the best in all your endeavors.


    Lemuel V. Sapian
    Brimingstone Writer Services

  62. Thanks for your comment, Lemuel.

    Regardless of your intentions, the services you're offering–notably, press releases, book fair display, and book trailers–are largely worthless for book promotion, and a waste of money no matter how much authors are asked to pay. The book-to-screen package is, frankly, exploitative–selling screenplays to production houses is far harder than selling books to traditional publishers, and mostly done through agents, not "pitches."

    If you'd like to appear more reputable and transparent, I suggest you provide prices on your website, rather than requiring writers to contact you to find out. I'd suggest you provide a full list of staff, with bios–not just for the company in general, but also those who provide the services you offer, so that writers can assess their (and your) bona fides. Finally, I suggest you provide examples (sample websites, book trailers) and success stories (book to screen, marketing successes), to illustrate the effectiveness of your products. Without those, potential clients have no way to judge the quality of your offerings, or to know whether they are producing results.

  63. Hi Victoria,

    I appreciate your candor and the service you do for your fellow authors. At first the temptation is to cringe at the negativity, but it's understandable, especially in this day and age of dishonest schemes and scams. I too, have been victim of several in my time. It would be disingenuous to suggest a business owner isn't out to make money, but in our capitalist society I'm cognizant that poor service means dwindling business.

    So, I'm happy to provide the services we advertise, to the satisfaction of each of our clients. That has been my personal pledge from the beginning. As to my conscience in "persuading unwary writers to buy overpriced, bogus 'services'", what I will say is this; before entering this industry I invested time, money and effort learning online marketing. That's how I know it's not easy or cheap (if you want quality).

    The price of our services covers a little profit and the overhead just like any product or service advertised and offered out there. There may be those who may balk at the price. That is fine; they are welcome to put their own time, labor and money to accomplish what they want. But if anyone does purchase our services, I will personally pledge to see to their satisfaction.

    While I understand the hesitancy and suspicion given all the scams out there, I'd like to prove there are honest and decent business owners that will lose sleep to make sure they give what they say they will in exchange for the trust their consumers place on them.

    Again, thank you for the work you do. It keeps us business owners honest and aware that while making money is nice, good service is better.

    Kind regards,

    Lemuel V. Sapian
    Chief Executive Officer
    Brimingstone Writer Services

  64. Anonymous 10/21,

    I've gotten a number of questions about Folio Avenue, which has many of the markers of a Philippines-based publishing and marketing scam (including solicitation and junk services)–but I haven't added it to my list because it is actually US-based and its owner is identifiable and traceable, neither of which is typical of the Philippines scams.

    What you're being offered is still a ripoff, though. You may well be able to get some shelf placement for your book yourself, for free, by approaching store managers individually as a local author.

    Unknown 10/25,

    Like Folio Avenue, Brimingstone Writer Services (not Brimingstone Press) has lots of scam markers: solicitation, no info on the company or staff, typos on the website, and all the usual suspects in terms of worthless ripoff marketing (press releases, book fairs, even a "book to screen" package). No prices on the website, which is almost always a marker for big bucks.

    However, it too is US-based. I was able pretty quickly to trace it to this guy, Lemuel Sapian, who is based in Texas and owns or administers several businesses under the "Brimingstone" label, including an IT company and a landscaping service. He's an "aspiring minister", so apparently persuading unwary writers to buy overpriced, bogus "services" doesn't disturb his Christian conscience.

    So Brimingstone isn't a Philippines scam, but based on what's on offer (and the quality of the two Brimingstone-built author websites I found), it's still a ripoff. Writer Beware says AVOID.

  65. Is Folio Avenue Publishing and Marketing on the scam list? Do you have any info on this company? They are out of San Francisco, California. They contacted me today by cold call and gave me a pitch on physical book store placement of my self published children's book. They want $600.00 per store to place one book in each store for a 3 month campaign. Any info would be most helpful. Thanks.

  66. I don't think parchment global publishing is a scam, i just did an interview with Al Cole sponsored by parchment

  67. Laura,

    Did you use one of the Author Solutions imprints? That's how the scams get hold of a lot of people: they have access to AS customer information.

    I've heard from three people now (including you) about McNaughton Books. I found its website, and it's classic clone: solicitations, bad English, fake "about" info (they claim to have been in business since 2010 but their domain was only registered last April), re-publishing offers, Author Solutions-style publishing packages, junk marketing.

    So: McNaughton Books is another scam. I've added it to the ever-growing list.

  68. McNaughton Books just called a friend of mine with this scam. They might have been the same one who called me. I think they get your phone number from your copyright application, because I am not listed under the name I publish under.

  69. WOW after all these years is still able to defraud people. ZIt put my poetry on calendars, cups, etc., and was selling them without my consent. I tried getting info to sue them, but they kept changing their names. Why do federal and state agencies allow them to get away with this?

  70. Got a letter today from EC. Good grief. I wish I could remember the name of the one who actually had the nerve to call me on the phone,.

  71. I just received an email from Ralph Louis of Parchment Global Publishing encouraging me to interview with Al Cole on the CBS Radio program, People of Distinction. Thanks to your Web site, I now know that this is a scam. For others out there, beware of Ralph Louis from Parchment Global Publishing, phone number 1-610-686-3222

  72. I think you can add Folio Avenue Publishing to the list as well. Also sounded Filipino, cold call, marketing scam.

  73. They're also getting better at faking their names. "New Leaf Media" is clearly a ripoff of "New Leaf Literary & Media," which is a completely legitimate agency. The closer they can make their names to legitimate publishing houses and agencies, the more confusion they'll engender.

  74. Anonymous 9/19,

    You're absolutely right–these scams are rooted in the business practices of companies like Author Solutions and Tate Publishing, which outsourced so much of their business overseas because it was cheaper, and trained hundreds of Filipino employees in the deceptive, hard-sell tactics that are these companies' hallmarks.

    That's not the employees' fault, and it's no wonder that poorly-paid people, seeing how easily writers are deceived and how much money can be extracted from them, decided to grab a piece of the pie by setting up their own publishing and marketing services.

    Problem is, they're not just running Author Solutions imitation businesses (which would be bad enough, considering how AS takes advantage of writers). They are ruthlessly scamming people, with lies, insane prices, and non-delivery of services.

    So…yeah. These scams arise directly from the business practices of American companies (as I've made clear in my posts). But it's Filipinos doing the scamming, and the Filipino origin of these companies is one of their unique shared characteristics. So I'll continue to warn about them by pointing out, among other things, where they are located.

  75. Can't just blame it to the Philippines
    The employees are still cheaply paid regardless of the very expensive packages being offered.
    And guess what, they are backed by foreigners.. Americans mostly, there's Canadian.
    They are the ones who trained the pinoy and makes the pinoy lie about stuff.. You should know that also, Americans/Canadians are the ones hiring the people in the Philippines to do the scamming.. your own people

  76. Thank you, Victoria. I had been, as a newbie author, engaged in preliminary discussions with Dream Books Distribution, when a couple of incongruities raised some questions in my mind.
    You will have saved me some considerable trouble. I am very grateful
    So, the resulting question is: do you have a resource of REPUTABLE publicity experts for a self published author, whose publisher is not particularly focused on the publicity part of the business?
    Again, thanks.

  77. Thanks so much, Victoria. I was about to fall for one of the Philippines companies you list – they said they wanted to republish my book that had already been published by another Philippines company! I was about to be caught twice!!
    – Anonymous, 9/18/19.

  78. 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!

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

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

  81. 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!


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

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

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