After over three years of book blogging, I’m ashamed to admit that I was catfished. I feel incredibly stupid, ashamed, naive and basically any other negative characteristic you can think of. I’m coming forward about this because I think it’s important for bloggers to know about this, so they don’t make the same foolish mistake I did. I know several bloggers who’ve been contacted by this individual and a bunch who already fell for it.
A woman”named” Corinne Rosanna Catlin has been contacting bloggers such as myself and masquerading as a publicity assistant. I originally thought the emails were sketchy, but I figured Corinne was a new employee and wasn’t familiar with the proper etiquette for approaching bloggers. I had so many clues from this sketchy email that she wasn’t who she claimed, but I was excited at the prospect of rekindling my relationship with PenguinTeen that my logic flew out the window.
Her following emails were much more professional and genuine looking that I quelled any doubts I had. I included my correspondence with her below in which she asked me which titles and genres I was interested in. I truly thought that Corinne was a Penguin employee at this point and was excited to review some books. I even gave this woman my address (which is redded out for obvious reasons) and trusted that this was a legitimate operation.
Today I got mail from Corinne in a box with a Penguin Random House label and a letter that was supposedly from Penguin Young Readers. I received one of the ARCs I requested, a random adult book from a Penguin imprint and a strange looking indie title. The YA book from my list had a “Thrift Books” sticker on it and I’m confident that Corinne bought the ARC I wanted online. This was all a ploy to make bloggers read her novel, Spectaccolo by Christine Catlin, which she claims that Penguin is now publishing in paperback.
I fell for it and so did many others, but we can’t let this scam artist exploit our community anymore. I know I feel violated and am angry that this charade has been going on for months now. Catlin has gone through so much effort to trip us bloggers up and all of this is truly insane. Please spread the news, I don’t want there to be anymore victims of this scheme.
This is the catfish and Penguin has been alerted about her. I had Googled her previously and this was the only thing that came up. She didn’t turn up on LinkedIn or any of the Penguin sites, but I thought 5000 people couldn’t be wrong. In addition, Heidi from YA Bibliophile found this post today after searching her online. “Corinne” had sent the maximum amount of emails that Gmail allows in a day, too bad I hadn’t seen this earlier (see more here). Since this post has gone up, I’ve received emails from an official PenguinRandomHouse address from a Corinne despite confirmations from a source that she doesn’t work there.
UPDATED again at 1/4/16 at 10:17PM.
Even more people have fallen prey to this scheme, some of which are minors. Penguin Random House is now getting involved in this and their Legal department will be handling this. There is confession to whether or not this individual actually works at the publishing company or not, different sources appear to be conflicting.
Also some sketchy stuff is going on the book’s Goodreads page. Thank you to Julie from Bloggers Heart Books and an anonymous blogger for pointing out the fact that some of the reviews for her book are likely fakes. Many of the reviewers’ accounts were created 3 weeks ago, most likely with the intention of giving herself a positive review.
To make things worse, she deleted her website and Twitter right before emailing me that she doesn’t have a Twitter account. Luckily, Crystal from Booki Emoji and others have sent me screenshots and has been investigating ever since I told her. Also the “publishing company” Silvestri Books has had their site taken down also. This keeps getting sketchier and sketchier.
Not to mention that, she’s been emailing from an official Penguin Random House email since this post went up and demanding that this post is “confusing and harmful.” She’s also been asking for my phone number “to give me a call.” NOPE.
Another blogger also pointed out that she has “Undercover Spy at a Major Publishing House in NYC” on her Goodreads profile. I think she should leave the whole espionage thing to James Bond.
I’m afraid there’s more coming out every hour and this mess never seems to end. Even literary agencies are wary of her, I wonder how elaborate of a web she’s created. This is all so scary in a Dateline kind of way.
@Cuddlebuggery It’s insane! The same woman tried to wiggle her way into an internship with me at the literary agency I’m work with. :/
— Danielle M. Smith (@the1stdaughter) January 5, 2016