Scam Alert: Silver Ink Literary Agency / Editors Press and Media / Global Review Press / Best Writers Publishing House

This post has many updates. Be sure to scroll down.

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. (UPDATE 10/28/21: Silver Ink is currently soliciting from a “silverliteraryagency.com” email address.)

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. (Note: Silver Ink has changed its website since I published this post, so some of the links below will be to archived pages.)

Interesting parallels exist between Silver Ink and another self-styled publisher/agency, Editors Press and Media, aka Editors Creative Media. There’s identical website content (compare the content on their marketing pages), identical (and seriously ungrammatical) language in contracts and other documents, and both have used Heather Allen’s name in faked-up emails. (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 earlier scam; its US business registration was filed in November 2019, while Silver Ink’s was filed 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 Silver Ink, 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.

Editors Press was registered in the Philippines on June 28, 2020, as Editors Press and Media LLC Marketing Campaign Services, owned by Gary Agaton Serdena.

Silver Ink has a sibling, Global Review Press. Both are registered to the same individual, Sandra Herrera of Reno, NV.

Global Review is the youngest of the three; its US business registration was only filed in April 2021. Again, there’s identical content on Global Review’s marketing page–including, amazingly, the same uncorrected proofing error noted above:

One person claiming to be the CEO of all these ventures is Gary Agaton 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 companies.

Shawn’s personal FB feed includes many references to Editor’s Press, such as this pose in front of the Editor’s Press logo, and this post from a couple of months ago celebrating a brand-new business location. There’s even a first anniversary party video! Ripping off authors is lucrative!

Shawn is not an island: he acknowledges the help of two others in lifting his business into the stratosphere. Here’s the text of a recent speech, which he delivered on the second annivarsary of Editor’s Press and Media (the event also generated this awesome video). You don’t have to read it all–just this snippet:

“He”, in context, is God. Editor’s Creative Media appears to be the name under which Shawn does business in the Philippines (actually Editor’s Creative Media OPC). But who are “BM” and “SH”?

Well, as noted above, Editor’s Press and Media was registered in Virginia in 2019 to one Bobby Morrison (Shawn has thanked Morrison by name in at least one other video speech). Approximately a year later, in 2020, Silver Ink filed its Nevada business registration, with Sandra Herrera designated as registered agent (she is also the registered agent for Global Review Press). Under the circumstances, it’s not a huge stretch to guess that the “SH” Shawn thanks so fulsomely is Sandra Herrera.

I confess I don’t understand the exact nature of the relationship between Shawn and BM/SH. Are they donors? Investors? Beachheads for US operations? Just figureheads? Regardless, it’s pretty clear that both BM and SH, whoever they are, are key components of Shawn’s business empire.

 (In a letter from her attorney, Sandra Herrera claimed to be the sole owner of Silver Ink and Global Review.)

(UPDATE: Scammers like Shawn are among my most faithful followers. Shortly after I published this, Shawn deleted all the posts and video I initially linked to in this article [lucky I have backups!]. 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 is the subject of complaints at the Better Business Bureau. More complaints have also popped up on PissedConsumer.com.

Editor’s Press has a C- BBB rating, due to one unanswered complaint; it has also acquired a number of complaints on its Bizapedia listing. No online complaints currently exist for Global Review…likely because it’s new enough that they 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.

 UPDATE 9/21/21: Somewhere a tiny violin is playing.

 

UPDATE 10/12/21: That didn’t last long. On his Facebook page, Shawn is Shawn again, sharing inspirational thoughts and evidence of conspicuous consumption.

UPDATE 10/29/21: The impersonation game revolving around Silver Ink Literary Agency is alive and well. Check out this bogus “letter of intent”, supposedly from Penguin Random House (bonus bogosity: the “certified true copy” stamp at the bottom). The carrot: a supposed $30,000 “initial author royalty”. The stick: in the contract attached to the letter, the author was required to pay a $2,000 “rights and licenses” fee (there’s no such thing).

(In a letter from her attorney, Ms. Herrera denied that the Letter of Intent was sent by Silver Ink. She provided no information on who she believed did send it, stating only that its origin was “unclear”. You’d think, if someone out there were sending out fake letters with your business name on them, you’d be a bit more more concerned. But that’s just me.)

UPDATE 12/1/21: Silver Ink has updated its website. Among other things, it has re-worded some of the text on its Advertising Services page ;so that it’s not quite so obviously a carbon copy of the text on the equivalent pages of the Editor’s Press and Media and Global Review Press websites…and also to correct the embarrassing proofing error noted above (which as of this writing still survives on the Global Review Press website).

UPDATE 3/6/22: A new company name has been added to the roster: Best Writers Publishing House. It was registered in Delaware in December 2021.

UPDATE 4/5/22: As sometimes happens when too much negative information gets out there, Shawn has decided to retire the Silver Ink Literary Agency and Global Review Press names. Here’s the “closure” notice posted on the SIlver Ink website:

An identical notice appears on the Global Review website.

Note how these closure notices confirm the information Writer Beware has been providing about these scams–despite their denials to be based in the Philippines and to have no relationship with Editor’s Press and Media (information for which Sandra Herrera threatened to sue me).

Shawn/Gary & Co haven’t shut up shop, though: Best Writers Publishing House is alive and (for now) well.

UPDATE 5/16/22: Shawn & Co appear to be doing business under another new name: Scriptor House. I’ve gotten a number of reports of solicitations offering re-publishing and movie pitches.

UPDATE 7/29/22: Shawn & Co (as Best Writers Publishing House) have a new impersonation scheme. They’re falsely attaching the names of various reputable literary agents to solicitations that use the email address @directacquisitionsteam.com. Names I’ve spotted so far include Jenny Bent, David Dunton, Jamie Carr, and Elisabeth Weed. More detail in my followup blog post, here.

UPDATE 9/12/22: Shawn & Co are using a new set of false names: Allison Summers and John Morris, with the email address asummers.independentagent@gmail.com. How do I know this? Because they send out fake “letters of intent” that are largely identical to the one pictured in my 10/29/21 update, right down to the Reno address and the bogus “certified true copy” stamp.

9 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. I got the email below a couple of days ago (just noticed it in my spam box – but these guys were already on my scam-alert radar since they've sent me a few emails before, but I've never replied). It's virtually the same text as the one Neil Taylor received above, but they couldn't even name which book of mine they've supposedly been pitching haha, nor even address it to me (i.e. it looks like a copy/paste mass email job).

    Hi

    Good day!

    How are you today?

    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 positive responses.

    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 $150,000- $180,000. 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 4 criterias 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
    (3) Provide your own Intellectual Property Attorney
    (4) Professional Fee of the Publicist

    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 85% of the total investment and you as the author will shoulder the remaining 15% of the total investment for your book.

    This is just a courtesy to see if you will be interested in the opportunity and we'll 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.

    Kindly let me know of your preferred callback time, so I could phone you, and let’s discuss the details of this opportunity.

    Nathan C. Young
    Senior Literary Agent
    Phone #: ‪(775) 391 6489
    Office Hours: Monday – Friday (10:00AM – 6:00PM)
    200 S Virginia St 8th floor, Reno, NV 89501, United States
    Email: nathan.young@silverliteraryagency.com

  3. Hi All,

    Silver Ink Literary Agency is simply a scam device; Con artists! do not invest any money with this company. They are simly thieves. They a have stolen up to $5,000Aus from me through the promise that they will pitch my book to traditional publishers and I will be receiving payments once my books have been acquired.

    They come with all kinds of lies. Their phone numbers do not work and all they do is call you and pretend to be real. When one has exhausted his tricks, the other will follow up and start chasing money.

    The best mistake you will ever make is to return their email or calls. Just don't do it. You have been warned. The authorities are coming for them right there in The Phillipines, it is only a matter of time before they are all cught and jailed one by one…

    DO NOT FALL FOR THEIR SCAM!!

  4. I have known Shawn Serdena personally. Have you contacted the authority here in the Philippines for this matter already? He should face legal consequences for his actions.

  5. Hi Colleagues,

    Last week I received the below email from Silver Literary Agency, supposedly now directed by Steven Fisher in Reno Nevada, which, thanks to your Writers Beware post, I immediately confirmed to be a scam. The other clue, of course, is the highly generic nature of the letter (i.e. it neither mentions the author by name they are contacting, nor their book title, nor any other specifics).

    Hope this helps,
    Robert

    Hi!

    This is Steven Fisher, a Senior Literary Agent / Project Director

    We received a recommendation of a potential Deal and contract with the Traditional Publishers regarding your book.

    I am Interested in representing and endorsing your book to different traditional publishers, possible movie and series adaptation (if applicable) and getting you the best contract that you can enjoy.

    To get your book endorsed and acquired effectively by big names in this industry, we make sure that we evaluate your book to identify contributory factors of its current performance in the market. One of the major indicators of how a book is performing in the book industry is the number of reviews reflected on Amazon since the book was published. Many books are identified to be performing poorly, not because of their quality nor title but because of the expensive retail price and the lack of strategic marketing. Had these books been priced ideally, they could have done really well in the market.

    You will retain the copyrights, have a 100% lifetime royalties agreement, we enhance the cover and take care of the worldwide distribution in 7 major countries (US, Canada, UK, Australia, Africa, Singapore, and New Zealand) of the newly released material. We will re-launched the book at an ideal retail price and also get the book endorsed to our partner traditional publishing houses for acquisition; this process will not be terminated until we land a book acquisition contract for the newly released book. This endorsement will be sponsored by the company without any additional cost on the author's part.

    Being a self-published author as you are, it is almost impossible to get industry recognition. This is what this rebranding process will give you. We will remove you from the self-publishing world and introduce you to traditional publishers, something that self-published authors from Xlibris, AuthorHouse, Partridge and many others you can only dream of.

    If you wish to breathe life again to your book and secure its future or if you want to avoid this big blunder that other past authors made, this is the right path for you. Reach me via email or call me at my number below.

    Steven Fisher

    Senior Literary Agent

    Phone #: ‪(775) 391 6489

    Office Hours: Monday – Friday (10:00AM – 6:00PM)

    200 S Virginia St 8th floor, Reno, NV 89501, United States

    Email: Steven.fisher@silverliteraryagency.com

  6. I was contacted by Riley Rose of Fox Literary, and her company seems to be part of Book Bureau, USA which does have a website. They did reach out about a book I self published in 2014. Everyone I've spoken with has an accent. I've been skeptical from the beginning. Thank you for this article!

  7. Unknown 12/11,

    Book Bureau USA appears to be connected to a number of Philippine scams, not just Fox Media Agency. I'm still in the preliminary stages of research, but my guess is that Book Bureau USA is a lead generator for scammers.

Leave a Reply

AUGUST 3, 2021

An Important Message for Writer Beware Email Subscribers

READ
AUGUST 13, 2021

Scam Alert: TransMedia Agency / New Leaf Media LLC Impersonating Major Film Producers

READ