How Scammers Are Using Amazon and Amazon Trademarks to Rip Writers Off

Header image: photo of Amazon headquarters showing the Amazon logo (credit: Sundry Photography /

Fake Amazons

In the past year or so, I’ve noticed an upsurge in scams that employ the Amazon name, or the names of Amazon trademarks, to try and trick hopeful writers into believing they are working with a company affiliated with Amazon, or even with Amazon itself.

As is common with scams these days, many of these questions come from writers who’ve been solicited via email or phone (you can see one such story here)–but also from writers looking to self-publish, who googled “self publishing” or “Amazon self-publishing” or “KDP publishing” or a similar search term.

Right at the top of such searches are sponsored links purchased by Amazon fakers. For example, here’s what came up for a search on “Amazon Kindle publishing”:

Screenshot of results of a google search  on Amazon Kindle publishing: four sponsored links for Amazon fakes, with the real KDP publishing at #5

All four sponsored links are scams (see the list at the bottom of this post). The real Amazon KDP is down there at #5.

Some Amazon fakers use Amazon-ish logos, the better to further the illusion.

Logo of Amazon Professional Publishers, with Amazon logo font and reverse swoosh
Logo of Amazon E-Book Publisher, with non-Amazon font and Amazon swoosh

Others simply rely on the power of including “Amazon” or “KDP” in their names. Some include disclaimers indicating that they’re not actually affiliated with Amazon–but many don’t, and for those that do, it’s down at the bottom of their sites where it is easy to miss.

Although the proliferation of Amazon-named scams is relatively new, the type of operation they represent has been around for some time: these are all ghostwriting scams, similar to those I discuss in detail here. Ghostwriting scams sell ghostwriting services, but also editing, formatting, publishing, marketing, design, and more, and aggressively market themselves to writers who are looking to self-publish or searching for services associated with self-publishing.

The Amazon fakers exhibit the same set of markers as other ghostwriting scams: solicitation, poor written English (almost without exception, they are based overseas, primarily in the Philippines but also in India and Pakistan), claims of expertise that can’t be verified because there’s no concrete information about company or staff, false claims (for example, to have been in business for 10 years when their web domain was only registered a year ago, or to have worked on traditionally-published books by well-known writers), and unrealistic hype (“Become the next best-selling author!”).

They use the same tactics to make themselves seem legit: 5-star ratings on TrustPilot (where fake and paid reviews are rampant: a good review at TrustPilot is in no way an indication that a company is honest or legit), equally fake testimonials from people with no last names and/or stock photos. Some falsely attach the names of traditionally published authors to glowing reviews of their services.

Fake testimonial by "Blake Crouch" for Amazon Digital Publications

Another hallmark of ghostwriting scams: doing business under multiple names. For example, Amazon Digital Publications also does business as Pioneer Book Writers (their websites are identical).

Screenshot of Amazon Digital Publications homepage: identical text and format to Pioneer Book Writers homepage
Screenshot of Pioneer Book Writers homepage: identical text and format to Amazon Digital Publications homepage

Amazon Publishing Partners and Amazon Publishing Forum also have identical websites. Ditto for Amazon Global Publishing and Amazon Publication House. Amazon Publishing Associate, Worldwide Book Publishing, and Book Publishing Services share web content and formatting. And Amazon Publishing Pros shares text and “portfolio” items with Kindle Publishers Inc., Savvy Book Marketing, and Infinix Digital…ghostwriting scams all.

Ghostwriting scams often offer a fairly reasonably-priced package to begin with–but only to get you through the door, so you can be targeted for upselling pressure or fraudulent bookstore schemes (you’re told that bookstores want to order thousands of copies of your book; you have to pay for it to be printed, but don’t worry, 100% of the sales proceeds will be yours!).

I’ve also heard from authors who paid for services and never heard from the scammer again, or who received “edited” manuscripts that incorporated new errors, or who experienced delay after delay inadequately explained by excuses, or who protested quality issues or other problems and were suddenly informed they’d been transferred to a new company and the whole process had to start over. Most ghostwriting scams promise money-back guarantees–but surprise! They don’t honor them. Authors who persist may simply be ghosted, or, if the scammer is feeling frisky, threatened with bogus legal action and destruction of their credit score.

A few simple rules to help you avoid Amazon fakers:

  • Amazon does not charge fees for its self-publishing services. KDP is free. Amazon doesn’t sell adjunct services, either (such as marketing), and it doesn’t work with “affiliates” that offer such services. If you have to pay, you are not dealing with Amazon, regardless of what the company calls itself.
  • It requires no special or proprietorial expertise to self-publish on Amazon (or IngramSpark for that matter). Thousands of authors do it very successfully all by themselves. Don’t believe anyone who claims they can add some sort of secret special sauce to turbocharge the process. They’re not doing anything you couldn’t do on your own. (Whether you want to DIY is another question, of course. Not everyone does. But if you don’t, there are better options than a fake Amazon.)
  • Any publishing-related solicitation is highly likely to be a scam. Reputable companies rarely reach out to authors they don’t already work with. For scammers, on the other hand, it’s their main mode of recruitment.
  • If you’re looking for a reputable service, don’t click on sponsored links. Are all sponsored links scams? Certainly not. But plenty of them are, so they’re best avoided.
  • If you’re interested in self-publishing but aren’t sure where to start, visit Writer Beware’s Self-Publishing page…and do it before you start searching for a service or platform. It’ll give you the context you need to sift through the info you find online, and links to helpful resources, too.

KDP “Kickstarter” Fake

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten several reports of emails from “” with the subject heading “Amazon-Kindle KICKSTARTER Program!” They follow a couple of different formats:

The first solicitation boils down to a pretty standard re-publication scheme, where the writer’s book is re-published for “free” but they have to pay for the “endorsement” or “certification” or whatever (the writer who received this was self-published with one of the Author Solutions imprints, a favorite target for solicitation scams). The second is a bit more mysterious, but “you will retain complete control over your book’s content and pricing” suggests that it’s the same re-publication scam, just couched in a different (and more grammatical) manner.

Who is the scammer behind these missives? The second one provides a possible clue. The odd “Dear, [author name]” salutation, with its inappropriately placed comma, is characteristic of email solicitations from Page Turner Press & Media, which has been busily impersonating major motion picture companies for the past couple of years. You can see an example of one of these emails toward the bottom of this post. I’ve seen many others.

Regardless, Amazon does not offer a “Best Seller Program” (that’s the province of dodgy PR outfits), and in the extremely unlikely event that KDP ever contacts you out of the blue, you can be sure it won’t be from a gmail address.

A (By No Means Exhaustive) List of Amazon Fakers

Whether because the real Amazon has caught wind of their misuse of its trademarks, or too many unhappy customers have accumulated, Amazon fakers often have a short shelf life. All of those below are currently active, but many others have come and gone, as attested by still-existing search links that go nowhere or lead to “Account Suspended” notifications.

Amazon Book Publication
Amazon Digital Pro
Amazon Digital Publications
Amazon Direct Publishing
Amazon Ebook Publisher
Amazon Global Publishing
Amazon KDP Publishing
Amazon Kindle Direct Publisher
Amazon Listing Hub
Amazon Pro
Amazon Professional Publishers
Amazon Publication House
Amazon Publisher Partner
Amazon Publishers Online
Amazon Publishing Agency
Amazon Publishing Associate
Amazon Publishing Company
Amazon Publishing Forum
Amazon Publishing House
Amazon Publishing Hub
Amazon Publishing Library
Amazon Publishing Live
Amazon Publishing Partners
Amazon Publishing Plus
Amazon Publishing Pro
Amazon Publishing Solutions
Amazon Self Publisher
AMZ Book Publication
AMZ Books Publishers
AMZ Expert Inc.
AMZ Pro Hub
AMZ Profs
AMZ Publication Hub
AMZ Publishing Pros
KDP Book Associate
KDP Publishers
Kindle Direct Publishers
Kindle Direct Publishing
Kindle Publishers, The
Kindle Publishers Inc.


    1. I’m sorry, but looking at the website, it does look like a ghostwriting scam. With the logo and the name, it’s clearly trying to trick people into assuming that it’s the real Amazon KDP, but it’s got nothing to do with Amazon. It’s got other scam markers as well: English-language lapses, false claims (says it’s been in business for 7 years but its web domain is only 71 days old), testimonials with stock photos, and doing business under multiple names (check out the results of a search on a phrase from its About page).

      File a chargeback dispute with your credit card company. I often hear from writers who are able to get some or all of their money back that way. Good luck.

  1. Victoria: It is very helpful to know the scammers pretending to be Amazon. I was indeed contacted by Amazon Book Publishers and know they are not affiliated with Amazon. My question to you is do they actually provide any services? My guess is that they make the significant money, not from book formatting, but from selling marketing services, e.g. creating a web site, trailer, social media. Am I on the right track?

    1. You are indeed on the right track. Sometimes they do provide services, but based on reports I’ve received, the results may be substandard, or the author may be strung along with endless delays and personnel switches, or ghosted if they ask too many questions or insist on corrections.

      The scammers make money from selling services, of course, but also from aggressive upselling (the scammers regard whatever initial package the author buys as a gateway to their bank account) and from fraud, such as book order schemes or fake movie rights offers.

  2. A huge thanks of gratitude to Victoria Strauss for all you do for us authors. Thanks for your time and effort in keeping us informed.

    These scammers make my stomach turn. Their reaction to you on this comment thread only shows them for who they really are. What nasty behaviour. It’s unbelievable.

  3. I’m new to this group, but I do have a few comments to add about what I believe are unscrupulous publishers. Specifically, what I’m talking about are publishers of short stories (fiction) and nonfiction that shroud themselves with “Journal” or “Review” literary tags. Typically, these are not university magazines but, rather, private/independent online and print journals that are self-described literary magazines. Even a few publications that charge nothing (as opposed to “reading fees” of $3 to $20+) fall into the scammy writer-beware category. Since I’ve been in this business (as an author) for over 25 years, I knoweth from what I sayeth, from personal experience. Here are the worst of the worst: Literally Stories, Lascaux Review, Craft, West Trade (the absolute worst of the lot), Atticus (2nd worst), L’Esprit, Chestnut, and Sunspot(horrible). These publishers have been known to turn down Pulitzer Prize authors, Pulitzer Prize stories, and their own published stories resubmitted under a (fake) pen-named author. That’s correct. I am aware of at least two on this list that turned away the exact same story (under a different title and author) from a few years earlier that they did publish. Basically, what we have is a puppy mill set of publishers that are lying to you. In my opinion, they derive income by charging naive writers “reading fees” with no intent of ever giving the submission a fair shake. I hope this post passes censorship because I’m being as honest as I can be. My suggestion is to simply not submit your prose to the above publishers and save yourself the heartache. Thank you.

  4. Just like a relationship junkie on the rebound, I finally walked away from a publisher who promised that they would always be there for me and promised me the moon and I believed them. There were of course the warning signs – lousy in bed, no way to backup claims of success, always saying everything was going to get better, ,and then the neediness and ceaseless demands for attention and further proofs of my commitment in the form of checks. After another no show I went on one of those on line dating sites and was alarmed and then humiliated to find complete strangers comparing notes on Mr/Ms. Bookster. I was reduced to doing my work on two compromised laptops, using some working keys on one keyboard and working keys and a space bar on another just to have a full alphabet. And then i met the Amazon pros – I had heard about no strings attached relationships and thought I had just survived one, but I now knew the rules and thought I could navigate the treacherous and exciting waters out of a romance fiction. The first sign was that they got passed my bank’s security apparatus by calling sending the charge through before a second or third time before I had gotten off the phone with the bank’s security. But what the hell i thought, there are no rules! A year later and no measurable advancement in our relationship, I found out about the trip to Balearic Islands and the ‘other’ family. I am now working on my own, in candlelight and the filtered dim emission from my laptop. Cheap food from the 24 hour convenience store on the corner has made me flabby and I don’t even think I look or sound good. I found the rules for making cover art on Amazon Kindle so confusing I gave the pros a call. Don’t they owe me even that? Publishing for Dummies? Who knows. Maybe I will give it a try.

  5. One tip about the “Amazon publishing___” scams is at that address listed on the web pages are all fake. Amazon Publishing Agency and Amazon Global Publishing. both list a Wyoming addresses, a house and an abandoned building. Another lists a non-existent New York address on flatbush Avenue, and a fourth lists a Virginia address which is registered to a completely different business.

    Google maps street view is easy to use. Also, property tax records and business records are all public and in online searchable databases in the United States. Dont doxx anyone!

    But given an address, you should be able to go to the state (Virginia, New York, Wyoming, etc. ) and find the business registered to that address. And also who’s paying property taxes at that address.

    I guarantee you Amazon global publishing won’t be operating out of a random house in Sheridan Wyoming.

    I’ve tried to report as many of these as I can on trust pilot. But they’ve gotten smart about it. They’ll report a review And try to get it taken down.

    Also I strongly advise people if possible: Use a major credit card to pay. If something goes wrong you can dispute it. And while you won’t get your time and hassle back, There’s a good chance you’ll get your money back. Don’t give them your bank account information, your debit card, venmo, etc.

  6. Explain this, Victoria. This is the link,

    Steve Neylan says:
    March 6, 2023 at 7:19 pm
    Compound Media company says, they got my information from SFWA. Either they are lying, but how could they have my email? Did you sell my information to them or anyone from your company in cahoots with them? I don’t mind getting emails from compound media but I didn’t sign up with them and it’s only you who got my email. I have a feeling someone from your company is selling out our information.

    Victoria Strauss says:
    March 6, 2023 at 8:59 pm
    Since you’re not a SFWA member (SFWA members are the only ones who’ve gotten the Compound Media spam), and you don’t subscribe to this blog (I checked), and this is the FIRST time you’ve ever left a comment here (i.e., it’s the first time I’ve ever seen your email address), I have a feeling you’re fibbing, “Steve”. Plus, no one who has read down this far will have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. Nice troll, though (and thanks for confirming you’re a fan of my Twitter feed).

    Steve Neylan says:
    March 6, 2023 at 9:22 pm
    Please don’t bite me Victoria. You’re quick to jump the gun. I was only asking and I am a member, but confidence is not that high anymore. I can show SFWA credit charges, if called upon. This is not the first time it happened, I have these scumbags tailing me after sharing my info here. Now, it’s the compound media corp. Don’t infantantize anyone who questions you. Why not ask me for their explanation? Is it an admission of your guilt or ignorance?

    Victoria Strauss says:
    March 7, 2023 at 3:37 pm
    Hi Steve. SFWA’s Executive Director confirmed that you’re not in the membership directory. This is clearly a terrible oversight, and I’m eager to put it right. So please do forward those SFWA credit charges! I will pass them on right away so you can claim your rightful place as a fully paid-up SFWA member.

    Seriously, dude. You and your scammer buddies are just sad with this shit.

    Steve Neylan says:
    March 7, 2023 at 5:24 pm
    How on earth did you arrive at the conclusion that I am not a member? Just because you’re unfamiliar with my email, you’d say, ‘oh, you’re not a member.’ Taking the easy way out? Take the high road and admit your mistake! Integrity is easy to preach. Act what you’re preaching. You could have asked for my wife’s books, her name, our membership details, the email we used, etc. But instead, you rant. Is that your way of handling things? You even have the gall to switch to the offensive. Are you not interested in knowing what Compound media has to say? When my wife mentioned how much she spent on her book here on your show, your cohorts went ballistic and called us night and day. My wife only used that email here! Can you explain that? What a shame, Vic! Do you still have your faculties straight and sane, Vic?

    Yes, I’ll do that exactly and you return the fees!

    1. This doesn’t really showcase anything besides the fact you know where your ctrl+c & ctrl+v keys are. It looks like a splitting hairs/red herring kind of thing that Steve (who is probably you, for all we know) is trying to do. No actual “gotcha” here. Butthurt behavior from Steve, oh absolutely, but nothing really jaw-dropping

        1. Well, “Bob,” are you going to accuse everyone who actually reads the messages above, comes to the conclusion that Victoria actually investigated but that investigation confirmed not “Steve”‘s story but her suspicions (see March 7, 2023 message at 3:37pm), and notes that your e-mail points back at one of the scam operations specifically cited in the post from which you selectively quoted, of being Victoria’s “minion”?


          For those who are familiar at all with Brandolini’s Law, “Bob”‘s selective quotation and screed should seem like an excellent, intentionally asymmetric example.

  7. I write to bring to your attention certain concerns that have come to our knowledge regarding the business practices of Ms. Victoria Straus.
    It has been observed that Ms. Straus exhibits a vigilant approach, whereby she appears to engage in activities aimed at undermining other companies within the industry. These actions seem to be motivated by her desire to promote and sell her own services exclusively.
    We felt it necessary to inform you about these observations, as they may have implications for our professional interactions with Ms. Straus going forward.

    1. Her “undermining” this section of the “industry” is a exactly what needs to be happening. Your objections tell me everything I need to know about you. Predators abound around new authors—and bright lights on the “publishers” and unethical behavior as they scurry about are cleansing. I appreciate the work being done here.

    2. Ms. Cadell, your website features multiple grammar and syntax errors on the front page. Why in the great Gutenberg’s name would I trust you with my manuscript?

      As to your comment, most of us believe vigilance to be a good thing. Perhaps you meant “a vigilante approach?”

      1. I wanted to take a moment to emphasize an important aspect of the writing journey that often goes overlooked.
        It is crucial to recognize and embrace the fact that every author’s path towards success is unique. What may constitute success for one individual may not necessarily align with another’s aspirations, and vice versa. Each writer has their own distinct goals, visions, and definition of what accomplishment means to them.
        In this complex landscape of literature, it is essential that we avoid comparing our achievements or measuring our progress against those of others. Instead, let us celebrate the diversity within our community and appreciate the diverse forms success can take.
        Remember, your journey holds its own significance and purpose. Focus on nurturing your craft, pursuing your personal milestones, and staying true to your authentic voice. By doing so, you will find fulfillment in achieving what truly matters most to you as an author.
        Wishing you continued inspiration and growth on your unique path towards literary success.

        1. Your ability to to bullsh!t is quite a sight to behold. A simple answer would have done perfectly fine here but nope, you decided to answer like a Sphinx.

          Just say “I don’t know, I just wanted to rip people off and thought this was a sure bet” and be done with it

          1. Your resemblance to your mother, Victoria, is quite striking. Best of luck with the payments for those monthly subscriptions that you owe her. haha

    3. “Georgia” (probably an alias to make her seem American) works for Authorunit, one of the companies on my overseas scams list. If you hover your mouse over her name, you can see the link. I’ve seen multiple Authorunit solicitations of varying deceptiveness, some of which were sent by Georgia herself. Another Authorunit “Account Specialist” falsely offered a meeting with a well-known agent, in order to incentivize an author to pay thousands of dollars for a screenplay.

      No wonder Georgia wants you all to believe that I’m the scammer. (P.S.: I don’t sell any services, exclusively or otherwise. Writer Beware is an all-volunteer effort, and 100% free always.)

      1. Victoria, it would be appreciated if you could provide evidence to support your accusations. It is interesting that despite having a considerable following and receiving praise for your claims, you are unable to present any substantiating proof.

        1. Georgia, have a look at my many posts under the Impersonation tag. They offer many examples of “substantiating proof”, and a glimpse of the kind of documentation that backs up all my “claims”. (Yes, I know Georgia is trolling. This is just a FYI for anyone else reading.)

          1. Please provide evidence to support your claims. Consider creating a blog where you can present documented proof that substantiates the existence of these scam lists and verifies their accuracy according to your assertions.

        2. Scram, Georgia. Get a regular job.

          This is remarkably funny, seeing a scammer pretend to be hurt and also pretend to be part of the publishing industry instead of the scamming industry

          1. George, at least learn how to insult correctly. Besides, I thought as a “industry professional”, you would know how to talk, y’know, professionally? And not like a scammer desperate to say something back because their feelings got hurt after being outed as, welp, a scammer.

            Again, get a real job.

            And yes, my mother *would* want you to scram and get a real job. You would not be too far off the mark (if you had a better handle on English, I guess you would have said something more scathing instead? Lol.)

  8. As a freelance editor, I am often asked to recommend legitimate small presses or services for DIY publishing to clients, and in both cases have had the client come back excited to show me the offer to publish or contract for services and I have to ask them, “Why are you dealing with these crooks rather than the publisher/service I recommended?” In every case, they googled the name I suggested, but what popped up on Google was a sponsored ad for the crook, and they just clicked the first link with which Google presented them, apparently not noticing the name was different. I blame Google for putting illegitimate ads before the thing actually googled, but buyer beware I guess. Authors need to pay attention and do due diligence. (Showing your editor your contract before you sign it is likely a step in the right direction.)

  9. As a self publishing service professional I am happy to see information like this for uninformed writers. I used to distribute and publish books via my imprint Australian eBook Publisher, but I am no longer offering any new publishing or distribution contracts. The reason for this is because I feel it’s better for independent authors to go directly to platforms, such as Amazon and IngramSpark. Thank you for your research into the latest Amazon scams.

  10. You also need to watch out for marketers who contact you wish to market your book and then if you don’t they use fake Goodreads accounts on the ABC Bookclub to give you bad reviews.

  11. This is why I no longer use Amazon. Yes, Amazon carries by books but they have to purchase them from Ingram to do so. Since Ingram is the world’s largest book distributor, I feel pretty safe.

    1. This isn’t about Amazon, it’s about scammers pretending to be Amazon. They probably pretend to be Ingram, too.

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