Scammers Impersonating Major Publishing Houses

From Writer Beware:

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about scammers impersonating reputable literary agents. These are not isolated incidents: I have a growing file of reports and complaints about this growing phenomenon–including from writers who’ve lost large amounts of money.

Now publishers are being impersonated as well. Here are a couple of examples of the kind of thing I’m seeing.

Here’s the pitch one author received from “Michael Smith” of “HarperCollins” (see the email address):

To pass the “1st stage of the acquisition” of their book, and move on to “an exclusive contract,” the author had already been persuaded (by “agent” Arial Brown, who is as fake as this offer) to hand over more than $8,000 for a new website and YouTube video. Now, in order to proceed to the next stage, they must shell out still more cash for “Developmental Editing and Content Editing.” But not to worry–all that spending is in aid of big rewards down the line:

Link to the rest at Writer Beware

PG had to talk a would-be author down from pursuing a scam like this.

If the excerpts above raised any more scammer red flags, they could be mistaken for Chinese New Year on Tiananmen Square

3 thoughts on “Scammers Impersonating Major Publishing Houses”

  1. Do we now have authors who can’t recognize something written by a foreign scammer? I’m betting India. Just read the thing.

  2. Oh goodness gracious, the English, how it makes me cry.

    Ahem. Who takes editing advice from someone who writes like the OP?

    Actually, Elliot01 reminds me that I’ve received emails like the one above. They were from India, but they were trying to pitch web dev work, which is what the website paragraph reminded me of. Usually, I only see those emails when I’m checking my spam folder for legitimate emails.

    A while back, I talked a writer out of going with a small press that featured similar substandard writing on their website. I pointed out the grammatical errors, and followed the publisher’s Amazon links for the books in their portfolio. No editing, none, and the books badly needed it. Plus the covers were something I could done in the fifth grade. My drawing skills are far below my own standards. Writers who love their own stories wouldn’t want me to draw their covers 🙂

    Something DaveMich said a while back–if I recall correctly, these types of emails are purposely written with bad grammar and misspelled words. The idea is to attract people of sufficient greed and gullibility to fall all the way into the scam. Once upon a time, I was mystified by the idea that you can’t con an honest person. Now I’m just mystified that people really are that easy to fool.

    • First time I ever heard the phrase was in HARRY IN YOUR POCKET, a vintage James Coburn dramedy. It’s on PRIME. It’s not wrong.

      People like shortcuts and miracle cures. Doing homework and understanding what you get into? Not so much.
      Snake oil salesmen of the 19th knew it and I expect scoundrels have known it since the stone age. It’s probably one of the ways cro-magnons preyed on neanderthals.
      “Here, Ogg, for the low, low price of three pounds of deer meat or two cured skins you can have this spear with the magic stonehead. It will instantly kill a dire wolf with one throw!”

      Lots of well-fed wolves in those days.

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