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Publishing Scam Alerts

Read about known scams that have been reported to the Authors Guild.

Red text like a rubber stamp reading SCAM ALERT

Scams are an unfortunate reality in the publishing world. To help you stay alert to new entities seeking to defraud authors, we include scam alerts in our newsletter, which you can sign up for here. (If you’re an Authors Guild member, you receive our newsletter automatically.) We also update this page with new scam alerts as we publish them.

If you’ve come across or done business with a publishing scam, please email us at so we can assist you and let our members know to avoid it.

Scammers Impersonating Bestselling Authors on Social Media

May 23, 2024: We recently received a report about scammers impersonating bestselling authors in order to scam other authors. The author who alerted us discovered a Facebook page in the writing service category called a “verified fan club” that was pretending to be them and engaging with their followers. Another author reported paying the person behind the Facebook page $499 for a foreword, supposedly written by the bestselling author, with whom they thought they were speaking.

This is yet another example of how creative scams targeting authors have gotten in recent years, and we urge all authors to be vigilant about whom they’re engaging with on social media. If someone claiming to be a popular author offers to read or review your book for a fee, it’s almost certainly a scam. We also recommend that authors with large followings search for and report fake social media accounts.

Authors Guild members who have been targeted by a scam or whose names have been used by scammers can submit a legal request for assistance.

Noble Ghostwriting and Amazon Publish Center

May 7, 2024: Members have reported a pair of scams targeting new authors seeking publishing assistance. Two companies, Noble Ghostwriting and Amazon Publish Center, charged exorbitant upfront fees ($13,750 and $25,055, respectively) without delivering the promised services or support. One author reported paying these companies but ultimately had to self-publish his book on Amazon without any help from them.

Amazon Publish Center seems to have disappeared or at least changed names (the use of “Amazon” is infringing). Noble Ghostwriting continues to operate, potentially putting more authors at risk. Authors are advised to thoroughly research and verify the legitimacy of any publishing service before making a financial commitment and to reach out to the Guild if they would like assistance.

Fake DMCA Notices from AI-Generated Law Firms

April 19, 2024: Members have reported yet another scam targeting authors and other website owners. Several authors have received fraudulent DMCA notices from fake law firms claiming that the author’s website contains an image that is owned by the firm’s client, that the use of the image is copyright infringement, and that unless the author links to a certain website, the author will be sued. The emails link to websites for so-called law firms that appear to be real at first glance, but the firms don’t actually exist and the websites are fakes generated by AI.

While it’s important for authors to license photos, to be aware that they can be sued without a license, and to comply with takedown notices if they are infringing someone else’s copyright, do not respond to a notice asking you to link to sites outside of your own. These scam notices are not real and differ from real ones in that they demand that a website owner add links pointing back to websites that are full of low quality SEO content.

We urge authors to carefully review any messages they receive and to not add suspicious-looking links to their websites. Authors Guild members who are unsure about the legitimacy of a message can submit a request for help from our legal department.

Hybrid Publisher Red Flags

March 1, 2024: For this scam alert, we’re sharing a post from Jane Friedman’s blog on red flags to watch out for when navigating the complex world of hybrid publishing and paid publishing services.

While these warning signs don’t automatically mean a company is seeking to take advantage of authors, they’re good to keep in mind to protect yourself and avoid low-quality work or outright scams.

Read the full article here.

Author Reputation Press

February 16, 2024: Author Reputation Press is the latest company allegedly involved in fraudulent activities targeting authors. Reports have surfaced about the company luring authors with fake orders and offering highly overpriced marketing services that are not delivered.

One author reported spending an exorbitant $120,000 on services that were never provided. The author also experienced alarming instances of unauthorized credit card charges, including purchases at online retail stores like Neiman Marcus and, and a complete lack of communication from the company after payments were made.

Authors have also reported issues with receiving royalties, including checks being voided before they could be cashed. The company’s profile on the Better Business Bureau ( reveals numerous complaints from other authors who have faced similar fraudulent experiences.

Scammers Impersonating Folio Literary Management

February 2, 2024: A publishing scam has recently come to light involving fraudulent emails purporting to be from Folio Literary Management. Authors have received emails claiming to be from Erin Niumata, Senior Vice President at Folio, seeking personal information under the guise of clarifying representation details. The emails use a deceptive address very similar to the legitimate Folio domain.

A writer who is represented by another agent at Folio received one of these emails and promptly reported the suspicious activity. Folio confirmed that this communication is a scam and not from their offices, and alerted the Guild.

Folio urges all clients and the wider writing community to exercise caution and report any fraudulent attempts to collect personal information. If you receive any suspicious emails claiming to be from Folio Literary Management, please verify the sender’s credentials, and notify your agent or Folio directly. Stay safe and protect your personal information diligently.

More Film Adaptation Scams

January 19, 2024: We previously alerted our members about a scam involving a suspicious email from someone claiming to be from TriStar Pictures. Now, it seems the same scammer, still using the name Rhiley Roads, is continuing their deceptive practices, this time impersonating Dreamworks Pictures. The email congratulates the recipient on their book and mentions a pitch deck being prepared for Steven Spielberg, CEO of Dreamworks Pictures, for a producers’ Pitch Event in January 2024.

Key indicators of this scam include:

  • Request for Hollywood standard materials for Steven Spielberg’s review
  • Suggestion to hire professional screenwriters for screenplay preparation
  • The email address and contact details provided do not match official Dreamworks communication channels

We urge our members to remain vigilant and exercise caution with any unsolicited offers. Verify the authenticity of any communication by checking the sender’s email address and contacting the company directly through official channels. Remember, legitimate business propositions from reputable studios will not come from generic email addresses and will not require upfront payments or personal investments for screenplay development.

Stay informed and protect your work from such fraudulent activities. If you encounter similar messages, please report them to us immediately.

Fake Adaptation Offer from TriStar Pictures

December 8, 2023: An Authors Guild member contacted us regarding a suspicious email claiming to be a film adaptation offer from TriStar Pictures. We verified the email’s authenticity with Sony Pictures Entertainment, TriStar’s parent company, who confirmed it was indeed a scam.

Key indicators of the scam included a Gmail email address (, rather than an official TriStar or Sony domain. Sony confirmed that legitimate emails only come from an official email address that ends with Online searches found no trace of the sender, an alleged film scout named Rhiley Roads, but revealed reports from other authors associating the name with similar messages claiming to be from Lionsgate and CBS Studios.

We appreciate the member who alerted us to this publishing scam and advise all authors to exercise caution with unsolicited offers. Carefully scrutinize the sender’s name and email address, and contact them directly if you have any doubts about a message’s legitimacy.

Amazon Sues Fake Publishing Scams

November 17, 2023: On October 30, Amazon filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against 20 individuals and companies falsely claiming to be affiliated with Amazon, Amazon Publishing, and Kindle Direct Publishing. According to the complaint, the defendants target authors using websites with misleading names and URLs that replicate the look and feel of Amazon services. Victims believe they are working with Amazon, paying “substantial sums of money, often thousands of dollars, for grossly inadequate or non-existent services.”

We’ve included previous warnings here about scammers impersonating Amazon Publishing as well as Amazon Studios. We urge all authors to be vigilant, to ensure that web and email domains are legitimate, and to reach out directly to verify authenticity if you have any doubts about any communications you have received.

Scammers Impersonating Writers House

November 3, 2023: The literary agency Writers House recently alerted the Authors Guild that someone is impersonating one of its agents, Merrilee Heifetz, via email. The scammer is reaching out to authors claiming to be Heifetz and saying they work for an agency called Lighthouse Literary. The email appears to be an attempt to solicit manuscripts from writers under the guise of a fraudulent literary agency.

Authors should exercise caution with any unsolicited contacts claiming to be Heifetz, and other known literary agents and agencies in general. Always contact an agent or agency directly to verify authenticity before responding with a manuscript or any personal or financial information.

Scammers Impersonating Hachette Book Group

October 20, 2023: Hachette Book Group has published an alert on its website warning authors to be aware of scammers impersonating the company to solicit money and information. Tactics include fake job interviews and offers using Hachette’s name and logo, fraudulent publishing contract offers from fake agents that promise a large advance from Hachette and involve fabricated documents or claims of working with Hachette employees, and phone calls posing as Hachette staff demanding fees before entering into fake publishing agreements.

Please exercise caution whenever you’re contacted about a publishing opportunity claiming to be affiliated with a well-known publisher. Read more details and tips on how to avoid this publishing scam on Hachette’s website.

Pageturner Press & Media

September 22, 2023: A member of the Guild was planning to self-publish his latest book when an alleged senior agent from Pageturner Press & Media (Pageturner.US) assured the author that they could secure a publishing deal with an advance of $1.5 million with Basic Books, a well-known imprint of Hachette Book Group. The representative insisted that the writer had to make additional payments for advertising and distribution efforts. Despite reservations, the author made payments starting in May 2022. By September 2022, when the author demanded proof of the impending deal, they were provided with a false contract draft, along with deceptive phone reassurances from someone posing as an editor from Basic Books. This led to the author transferring a significant amount of money in September 2022.

The author’s communications with Pageturner were primarily via phone, with some emails. It wasn’t until one of the author’s associates reached out to someone at Basic Books that a lawyer for Hachette Book Group confirmed that there was no such contract issued by them and the situation was a scam. This is not the first time that Pageturner has been accused of scamming authors; you can read more about Pageturner’s practices at Writer Beware.

Book Writing Experts

September 7, 2023: We’ve received numerous complaints from Guild members about Book Writing Experts, which claims to be a professional services company for authors, offering writing, editing, design, and marketing assistance. Its website features prestigious magazine endorsements, positive customer reviews, and a Los Angeles address. This publishing scam involves a non-binding contract with a client for purported services. After securing initial payment, the company may provide minimal or substandard service, only to subsequently assert that the client has underpaid. It then demands additional funds to continue or complete the services.

Upon further investigation, there is no evidence of the magazine endorsements on the company’s website, and its claim to be a subsidiary of Mini Investments Inc. in Mechanicsburg, Virginia, appears to be false. Attempts to establish contact or serve legal documents have been met with confusion by the real occupants of the alleged address. The identity of the website’s owner is masked by a firm in Iceland known for its services in concealing website ownership, and the company’s Facebook page is administered from an overseas location.

Liberal Literature/Eagle Press Publishing House

August 24, 2023: An alleged literary agency called Liberal Literature (that also goes by Eagle Press Publishing House) reached out to a writer offering to submit his book to Simon & Schuster for $300. After the author paid for this service, the agency said his query was forwarded along and then requested more money for an author website and additional campaigns. When the writer refused to make additional payments, the agency threatened to stop a supposed “proposed contract” with Simon & Schuster.

We recommend that authors in this situation dispute the charges with their banks and report the scammers to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Reputable agents do not charge fees to represent authors and generally work on commission once a book is sold to a publisher.

Fraudulent Titles on Amazon

August 10, 2023: An old publishing scam has resurfaced on Kindle thanks to generative AI technologies. Jane Friedman spoke out earlier this week about fraudulent books being sold on Amazon under her byline that were clearly generated by AI. The titles and contents of the books were similar to things she has written in substance and style, meaning the perpetrators either fed her writing into an AI model in order to emulate it—or the AI they used had already been trained on her work. The titles appeared in search results on Amazon and were automatically added to her profile on Goodreads. While the titles were obviously fake, getting them removed was not easy.

Misappropriating authors’ names to sell scam books through Kindle is not new but has gotten worse with the advent of AI-generated content. While Kindle’s customer service responds to copyright takedown notices promptly, this kind of scam is not necessarily a copyright violation. Instead, it gives rise to unfair competition claims under the federal trademark law as well as under state laws. The Authors Guild has dealt with many types of scams on Amazon over the years and we set up a relationship with Amazon where we can escalate valid complaints on behalf of members that are not resolved through normal channels.

If you’re a member, know that we can help escalate these kinds of claims. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to search for your own name on Amazon and report books that try to profit from your brand through Amazon’s complaint portal. If you do not receive prompt assistance and are a member, file a request for legal services.

Great Writers Media

July 27, 2023: During the pandemic, Great Writers Media, a seemingly legitimate company, contacted an author with promises of a traditional contract and exposure to Hollywood film makers. Intrigued, the author was passed around different marketing and publishing agents, all appearing friendly and helpful.

The author was assured that their book would become a bestseller, featured in prominent publications like the LA Times, an interview with Kate Delaney Radio, and a spot on cable channels. However, the company demanded additional payments for “Reading” and “Marketing costs.” The author was asked to pay a staggering $140,000 to secure exposure on the channel Nickelodeon and $4,500 for the promised radio interview with Kate Delaney.

The author invested around $18,000 in the scheme but didn’t receive responses to his queries nor any royalty payments. The scammers used wire transfers and Payoneer, utilizing fake names to appear legitimate. Unbeknownst to the author, these scammers were based in the Philippines, using fake US phone numbers and addresses. The author is now undergoing an arduous process with their bank to recuperate the funds.

Book Festival Scams

July 13, 2023: We’ve heard from authors who were contacted by individuals claiming to be with a publishing company that would sponsor their book at festivals such as the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. The scammers say that their company will pay part of the book fair fees if the author pays the rest of the fee to them.

Scammers Impersonating Literary Agents

June 30, 2023: Liza Dawson Associates has posted a notice on their website advising authors that scammers have been impersonating some of their agents, using a fake email domain, and pretending to work for the acquisitions teams of major publishers.

Anyone receiving such an email from someone purporting to be a Liza Dawson Associates agent can email the address on the agency’s website to confirm its legitimacy. Scam emails should be reported to the FBI.

FBI Alerts Production Studios and Publishers to Scams Targeting Authors

June 8, 2023: The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office has issued a report on financial fraud schemes targeting authors by impersonating film production studios. The report warns production studios and publishers that scammers are emailing authors impersonating real or fake executives at their companies.

The report included scam indicators to watch out for, such as:

  • Names that don’t correspond to actual employees
  • Email domains that don’t correspond to a company’s legitimate domain
  • Phone numbers or emails that don’t match a legitimate employee’s published contact information
  • Requests for funds

Scammers Impersonating Amazon Studios

May 18, 2023: We’ve heard reports of authors receiving emails and phone calls from scammers alleging to be with Amazon Studios. The scammers use a variety of aliases, including the names of real Amazon executives, and claim to be interested in adapting their books for film. We urge any authors receiving such messages to be extremely cautious and never respond without first confirming they’re real.


May 4, 2023: We were recently alerted to a book writing and print-on-demand service called The person who wrote to us was charged $400 to join, then another $3,700 to register the copyright for her manuscript. The company claims to have won awards, but its website was only created in January, and all its reviews were submitted on the same day.

Writers Value

May 4, 2023: One of our members was recently approached by someone claiming to be from a literary agency representing bestselling and award-winning authors. The Writers Value website uses an old logo of the Authors Guild but is not associated with the Guild in any way.

Amazon Publishing Office

April 10, 2023: We’ve recently been alerted to a publishing scam claiming to be affiliated with Amazon Publishing, using the domain name We have alerted Amazon to this use of their trademarks, and as of this week, access to the website has a warning notice saying “Dangerous Website Blocked.”

Silver Ink Literary Agency

November 10, 2021: Silver Ink Literary Agency, which also solicits authors as Silver Literary Agency and Global Review Press, falsely alleges partnership with top publishers (and sometimes with the Authors Guild) and promises publication with the proclaimed partners if you provide a “contributor’s fee” of several thousand dollars or purchase other purported services. No legitimate literary agent will ever charge such a fee. Silver Ink recently has altered its initial approach by substituting specific publisher names with replacement terms like “traditional American publisher” and in some cases no longer mentions guaranteed publishing in their initial outreach.

Manuscript Phishing Scams

November 10, 2021: Some authors have been approached by unknown parties and asked for copies of their unpublished manuscripts. The purpose of gathering these manuscripts is unclear.

Phishing Scams Claiming to Be from Hachette

November 10, 2021: Hachette Book Group (HBG) has also advised us about similar, targeted efforts that employ sophisticated schemes to obtain manuscripts and other information from Hachette’s employees, authors, and associates:

“We are continuing to see attempts to impersonate HBG staff, authors, and agents to obtain both manuscripts and financial information from our authors and employees. These latest attempts include additional use of impersonated domain names similar to our actual company domains (addresses using rather than, in an attempt to create confusion or take advantage of anyone who doesn’t notice these details.

The hackers continue to use industry jargon and insider terms and information to enhance the appearance that their emails are legitimate. There is also evidence to suggest that the hackers are conducting ‘man in the middle’ attacks, where they contact two parties fraudulently (for example, an editor and an author) and impersonate each to the other.”

Translation Solicitation Scam Claiming to Be from Hachette

November 10, 2021: HBG has also warned us about a phishing effort to solicit free work, alerting us that someone had apparently impersonated one of their editors-in-chief to commission a reader’s report for a recently published foreign language novel; the reader provided the report but was not paid. Please keep an eye out for similar scams soliciting work.

Scams Claiming to Be from Penguin Random House

November 10, 2021: Authors have additionally received emails in the past claiming to be from Penguin Random House (PRH), but have found an assumed “m” to be a deceptively arranged “rn” upon closer inspection. PRH has constructed a fraud alert page to notify authors of known scams and provide dedicated telephone and email support through which authors can verify whether PRH has indeed originated any purported offers. 

Scams Claiming to Be from Macmillan 

November 10, 2021: Recently, some authors have received a document entitled “Book Endorsement” purporting to be from Macmillan. It states that a book “has been picked for procurement of rights” and guarantees the author a minimum of $700,000. But the author must first pay the “literary agent” a fee of, say, $3,000. The email on the form is a fake one—

Macmillan has posted the following warning on its website:

“Please be aware that fictitious solicitations purporting to be ‘Letter(s) of Interest,’ job openings, and/or requests for payment are occasionally circulated online by individuals posing as Macmillan representatives. Macmillan does not solicit agents, authors, or job candidates in this manner. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a communication purportedly from or on behalf of Macmillan, please email before taking any action.”

Possible Scam: Truman Publishing

November 10, 2021: Truman Publishing has been reported to us as a possible scam by multiple members. Based on a review of its website, we suspect that may be the case and will continue to investigate.