Impersonating Agents: A New Face For An Old Scam

Image of a wolf (scammer) hiding behind a smiling mask

UPDATE: The scam profiled in this post is now using the email address in addition to


Acquisitions Galley
Best Writers Publishing House
Creative Media Editors Inc.
Editors Press and Media
Scriptor House
Writers Press Publishing House

A few weeks ago, the Bent Agency notified me that an email was doing the rounds falsely claiming to be from Jenny Bent.

First solicitation email from fake Jenny Bent

Though it links to the real Bent Agency website and cites the correct address, this is clearly a scam. Real, reputable literary agents very rarely reach out to writers they don’t already represent–and if they do, it’s a personal approach, not a form letter that doesn’t mention the writer’s name or the title of their book (note also that there’s no “To” category, indicating a mass mailing to multiple recipients). Other indications include ungrammatical text (apart from the last two paragraphs, which have been copied from the Bent Agency’s Who We Are page)–not something you’d expect from a reputable agent–and an email address that doesn’t match the agency’s web domain.

Impersonating reputable agents, editors, and publishing people is a very common tactic for the fake literary agency scams that are so common these days. I’ve written a number of posts about this phenomenon.

Usually what happens if a writer responds to a solicitation like the one above is that the “agent” promises commission-only representation–but it somehow turns out that the author has to pay, whether for re-publishing their book (most of these scams target self-published authors), editing, a video trailer, movie producer pitches, a book proposal, printed books to submit to “investors”, and more. In other words, it’s a bait-and-switch, with the “agent” being a front for the scammer that actually sells the “services”.

Ah, but sometimes it’s even more complicated than that.

It wasn’t long before I got additional reports of approaches by Fake Jenny. This one, designed to appeal to writers’ dreams of money and book sales, drops the Bent Agency text and links (and also clearly signals what writers will have to pay for):

Second solicitation from fake Jenny Bent

This one abandons the agent pretense entirely: Fake Jenny is now a “copyright coordinator and specialist”. But her email address is the same, and paragraph one is virtually identical to paragraph two of the first solicitation:

Third solicitation email from fake Jenny Bent

Here’s the “list of producers” referenced in the email’s final sentence (the content of the list appears to have been stolen from Stage 32). Note the reference to the company that purports to be its source: Scriptor House.

Note also the company referenced in Fake Jenny’s payment information: Best Writers Publishing House.

Banking information for Best Writers Publishing House LLC

(Side note: requiring payment by wire transfer or apps like Zelle and Venmo is becoming more and more popular with scammers, as these methods make it much harder, if not impossible, for writers to dispute charges.)

So is Fake Jenny a front for two different scammers? Not exactly.

Last August, I wrote a long post about a scam that did business in the Philippines as Editors Creative Media OPC, and elsewhere under several names, including Silver Ink Literary Agency. Silver Ink was an enthusiastic practitioner of the impersonation game, along with a variety of other deceptive tactics, such as faking contract offers and other documents from major publishers, and falsely claiming associations with industry groups such as the Authors Guild. I heard from authors who lost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to Silver Ink’s schemes.

Eventually, between my post, some decidedly unfriendly attention from the Authors Guild, and proliferating online complaints, things got too hot for Silver Ink. This past March, it closed down, along with its alter-ego, Global Review Press.

That didn’t mean the scamming stopped, though. Why would it, when ripping off authors is so lucrative? One of the advantages of running an online scam from overseas is that you can ditch one business name, register another, and resume operations in the time it takes to slap up a new website. That’s what happened here. Goodbye Silver Ink Literary Agency and Global Review Press; hello Best Writers Publishing House and Scriptor House (I’ve confirmed these connections via documentation provided to me). (UPDATE 2/16/23: The Best Writers Publishing House company name seems to have been retired–its website URL returns a “site not found” message. Scriptor House is still operational.) (UPDATE 3/28/23: Two new names have been added: Acquisitions Galley and Creative Media Editors Inc.)

Fake Jenny, in other words, is not just a front for a scam, but a front for scams that are themselves fronts for scams. And why stop at one fake agent? David Dunton of Harvey Klinger Literary Agency is also being impersonated, using the same email address and largely identical email text:

Solicitation impersonating agent David Dunton

Bringing the scam full circle, Best Writers Publishing House is targeting former Silver Ink clients with Fake Jenny emails. No need to buy new leads when you already have a list of people you know are vulnerable to fraud.

The moral of this story, as always: even if it uses the name of a reputable person or company, any publishing-related solicitation that arrives out of the blue should be treated as a scam–at least until you can definitively determine otherwise.

The Bent Agency website now includes a scam alert.

UPDATE 8/15/22: Also being impersonated: agents Jamie Carr and Elisabeth Weed of The Book Group.

UPDATE 9/12/22: Not content with merely impersonating real agents, the Best Writers Publishing House folks are impersonating imaginary ones, using a new set of false names: Allison Summers and John Morris, with the email address How do I know this? Because they send out fake “letters of intent” that are largely identical to those sent out by their earlier incarnation, Silver Ink Literary Agency, right down to the address and the ridiculous “certified true copy” stamp. Compare:

Bogus letter of intent supposedly from Penguin Random House, sent by Silver Ink Literary Agency
Bogus Letter of Intent supposedly from Penguin Random House sent by Allison Summers and John Morris

UPDATE 9/21/22: Agent Steve Troha of Folio Literary Management is also an impersonation target. Note the “To” line and the lack of personalization, which indicate that this is being sent out as a mass mailing.

Scam solicitation impersonating Steve Troha of Folio Literary Management

UPDATE 11/2/22: More impersonation: David Hale Smith of Inkwell Management and Sarah Haugen at HarperCollins, whose name was attached to a fake “book acquisition deal” email.

UPDATE 12/2/22: Yet more impersonation: Christy Fletcher of Fletcher & Co. and Nicole Cunningham of The Book Group.

UPDATE 12/15/22: Steve Ross of the Steve Ross Agency is also being impersonated by this scam. The email sent out under his name is somewhat different from the others, but it’s the second one I’ve seen that references this imaginary “International Book Seal.” When the other author who got one of these asked the agent impersonator what the heck a book seal was, the impersonator was unable to explain. Seriously, guys, if you’re going to make up a service, at least give your sales reps a script so they won’t be caught out!

Scam email impersonating Steve Ross of the Steve Ross Agency

UPDATE 1/13/23: Added to the impersonation list: Rick Lewis of Martin Literary Management. See that black block at the top of the solicitation? That’s the big list of email addresses this email went to. It’s been clear from the start that these solicitations are mass emails, rather than the canned but personalized approaches other scammers prefer, but it’s interesting to have proof. Given that the recipients are identified in the email as having used Xlibris, this strengthens my suspicion that Author Solutions sells its customer data.

Scam solicitation impersonating agent Rick Lewis of Martin Literary Management

UPDATE 1/20/23: More additions to the impersonation list: Caitlin Blasdell and Tom Miller at Liza Dawson Associates.

Harper has published a fraud alert on its website, though you have to really dig to find it.

Scam solicitation impersonating Caitlin Blasdell and HarperCollins

UPDATE 2/16/23: As I’ve noted before, scammers are among my most loyal readers. Apparently things have gotten a bit too hot for the email address, so they’re using a new one, (domain registered 10 days ago). It’s like putting on a hat and thinking no one will know it’s you, though, because the email itself is largely identical to the Caitlin Blasdell one above. And they’re impersonating agent Victoria Sanders.

Scam solicitation with different email address impersonating Victoria Sanders

UPDATE 3/28/23: A couple of new names for this scam: Acquisitions Galley and Creative Media Editors Inc. (a bit of word-order switching for the overall name of the scam, Editors Creative Media).

Here’s the latest email; note that while “Juan’s” signature includes the URL of the new Acquisitions Galley name, he’s sending from the telltale email address. The invoice referred to is for “developmental editing” from Creative Media Editors Inc., for $3,500.

Email with editing invoice from Juan at, with URL in signature for

UPDATE 3/31/23: More impersonated agents: Daniel Conaway of Writers House, Kirby Kim of Janklow & Nesbit, Peter Steinberg of Fletcher & Co., Rachel Beck of Liza Dawson Associates.

UPDATE 4/23/23: Here’s the latest solicitation from, impersonating agent Robbie Guillory of Underline Literary Agency. Different wording, but similar “representation requirements”, including the totally bogus International Book Seal.

UPDATE 4/30/23: Based on identical solicitation emails, it appears that a new name has been added to the scam roster: Writers Press Publishing House. Emails I’ve seen impersonate Macmillan.

UPDATE 5/24/23: The scam is now impersonating agent Dana Murphy (who really works at Trellis Literary Management) via the email address, with a laughably fake “letter of intent” from Penguin Random House and a “developmental editing services” agreement with Creative Media Editors Inc. Here’s CME’s banking info:


  1. It sounds like the old joke about an Italian sports car called the ‘Cosanostra’. When you lift up the hood, there is another hood.

  2. Excellent article. Most newbee authors are unaware of these scams. An unsolicited contact by a literary agent or publisher just never happens. Authors also need to be aware of companies that only work with authors interested in self-publishing. It isn’t an actual scam although they don’t come forward about their fees until you are asked to send them your manuscript without a contract. If you take the bait you will be on the hook for several thousand dollars or much more. I recently got a response to a query I sent to an agent. He told me up front he was wanting $0.02 a word for editing and, a commission on royalties. I also discovered he had been let go by the agency he worked for. This shows you the need to vet people and agencies before moving forward.

  3. Well ,add these names to the lists of schemers: Sean Roberts macmillan Publishers Talent Acquisitions Team
    email: The letter states: “Congratulations on your successful 2023 acquisition!”.. This is Sean Roberts, from the acquisitions team working with Macmillan Publishers ltd. Since we received a literary agent’s application this past March 2023, your book’s content and reviews have been approved. ……
    They list the date of contract release, the amount of the payment for rights to my book for five years, and the requirements for me to submit – including a query letter, sample book video trailer, author’s website, and photo. I sent all items but the book trailer – as I don’t have that item. I was directed to “get in touch with Fay Peters at Writer’s Press LLC…Email: I received personal phone calls from both Sean Roberts and Fay Peters. Then they tried to set the hook…. carefully suggesting that they would do the book trailer for me – but that it must be done in ten days… and that I would need to pay Fay Peters (the agent of referral) for this necessary item. The strange thing is that there was never a specific billing or mode of payment suggested in the many emails and conversations. I finally explained to Fay Peters that my lawyer insisted in reviewing the contract prior to any investment by me. When I stated this information, Fay Peters hung up the phone.
    This whole scam was so very realistic that I actually bought into it as My book is about a new way to present content in the primary grades and I believe that my book is relevant and informative at this time in history. All the sample contracts were on Macmillan publishers letter head – just like on their website! Is this not some kind of crime – to falsify identity in the act of misrepresenting a publisher – in order to convince someone to purchase a product needed to complete the process of entering into a legal agreement for purchase?
    Please let me know if anyone else has received this same offering. Jan Magray

    1. Hi, Jan,

      Thanks for your comment. I’ve heard from writers who received the same solicitation, with the same claim about Macmillan, and were referred to Writers Press Publishing House. Macmillan is aware they’re being impersonated, and have a warning on their website (though you kind of have to dig to find it).

      Sorry you were targeted. There are many impersonation scams, and some of them are really elaborate. The key is solicitation: reputable publishers, agents, and others don’t reach out to writers they don’t already work with–but for scammers, it’s their main recruitment tool. Any out of the blue solicitation should be treated as a scam, unless you can definitely determine otherwise.

  4. Dear Victoria,

    Huge thanks for letting people know that I am also being impersonated. I filed a complaint with the local authorities to no avail.

    A few weeks ago a Private Investigator helped me track the scammer/s down to an address in Toronto, Canada. However, jurisdictionally, I have no recourse. Moreover, just today, I heard from two new authors who were contacted by the scammer. It is so frustrating.

    Thank you again for shedding light on this scourge.

    Kind regards,
    Victoria Sanders

    1. Victoria, would you be willing to share any of the information your PI uncovered? I’d keep it confidential, but I’d be really interested to know more, especially since the parent scam is located in the Philippines.

  5. I’ve been researching agents and noticed some are listed with but I wasn’t able to find that agent on the agency’s website. Is this common for a new literary agent or possibly a scammer?

    1. Hi, Patti,

      It does seem odd that an agent who claims an affiliation with an agency isn’t listed on the website, but there could be an innocent explanation: as you say, the agent could be new and the website just hasn’t been updated. One way to check: the agent should be using the company email address. If they aren’t, I would say that’s a definite caution sign, given all the impersonation scams around.

    2. Thank you for this post. I had been emailing and calling back and forth with someone who I thought was Allison Malecha with Trellis Literary Management. Seemed on the up and up and was straightforward that I would need to get the editorial reviews done, and she recommended one. After I signed the “contract”, she was real quick to push for the editorial review, and sent a screenshot of the “Structural analysis and developmental editing” invoice for $1500 from none other than Creative Media Editors. I also received the forwarded email from her and the email was forwarded to her by I’ve sent an inquiry to just be certain and to make them aware at the very least, but your post helped me dodge a bullet. Thank you.

      1. Thanks for your comment, Tim, and I’m glad you found my blog. I’ve gotten several reports of the fake Trellis emails, and based on the M.O. I’ve been pretty certain they match up with this scam, which is responsible for the bulk of the agent impersonations out there…but I haven’t been able to document this. Would you be willing to forward me all the emails you’ve gotten, especially the one referencing Creative Media Editors? . Thanks!

  6. Book Vine Press said they wanted to make a movie with one of my westerns. They wanted $2500. I have paid $3000, and now I never hear a word from them.

    1. That’s unfortunately very common with Filipino scam companies like Book Vine Press–they take your money and run. I’m sorry this happened to you.

      If you paid by credit card or Paypal, and are within the window to file a chargeback dispute, I recommend you do that–I’ve heard from writers who’ve been able to get money back that way.

    1. Thanks for letting me know–I’ll add that name to my list of impersonated agents. Several of the agencies that have been targeted by this scam have added alerts to their websites–that can be helpful, since writers do check. Thanks again.

  7. I almost fell for a similar scam, this one representing a well known ‘movie producer’.
    The email spewed fawning admiration for my book, without ever mentioning its title or anything about it. Just how wonderful and imaginative and exciting that it was. Perfect for a movie.
    It was really fun for awhile. I responded enthusiastically and actually enjoyed the brief possibility that I was finally getting the break all writers dream of.
    But when the next email asked for money, reality settled in.
    My condolences to those who are successfully scammed. Hope is a weakness, not a business plan.
    I don’t write because I like to, or even because it is enjoyable.
    It is simply a harmless sickness where I create and inhabit realities. No harm in it.

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