Shining a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Also providing advice for writers, industry news, and commentary. Writer Beware is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.

August 16, 2017

Solicitation (and Plagiarism) Alert: Legaia Books / Paperclips Magazine

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

When the late, unlamented Tate Publishing & Enterprises went belly-up a few months ago, I started hearing from Tate authors who were being contacted by self-publishing companies and other for-profit enterprises looking to recruit new customers. Some of these were straightforward, reasonably reputable (if overpriced) businesses. Others...not so much.

Very active trying to snag Tate authors was Legaia Books.


Here's how Legaia describes itself (bolding and errors courtesy of the original):
Legaia is a book publishing company created to aid writers in seeing their works in prints. Whether you’re a beginner or a published author, and whatever is the genre of your work (memoirs, fiction, non-fiction, children’s book, or even poetry collection), it is always our pleasure to be working with you. Legaia has no reservations to anything in particular other than those that contradict what is in the terms and services. With the application of new technology and information, we are able to accommodate our clients and are maintaining this accessibility for a better relationship.
The whole website is written like this, which should be a gigantic clue that things aren't kosher. If that's not enough, consider the eye-poppingly expensive publishing packages (which don't offer anything that's not available elsewhere for much less money), the hugely overpriced "online media publicity campaign" (based largely on cheap-for-the-provider services that can be sold at an enormous markup), and the nebulously-described "Online Retail Visibility Booster", which costs $6,499 and wants you to believe that's a fair price for something called a Booster Tool that supposedly gets you more reviews on Amazon.

You can also buy advertising in Paperclips Magazine, which among other "opportunities" encourages authors to pay $1,999 for a book review or $4,999 for a "Paperclips Author Article." According to the Legaia website, Paperclips is "a social online magazine that showcases books and author experiences in the publishing industry"; according to email solicitations like the one above, it has "over 2 million subscribers worldwide" (a bit hard to believe, given the mix of terrible writing, puff pieces, and ads that make up most of its content).

What both website and solicitations fail to mention: Legaia and Paperclips are one and the same, a fact Legaia admits on its LinkedIn page. This is the kind of profitable closed loop that allows an author-exploiting enterprise to hit up its victims multiple times.

As for Paperclips Magazine, it's...interesting. Not just for the amount of money that must have been generated by all the author articles and ads. Not just for the insanely awful writing by the "Editorial Team" (screenshot at left).

No. For the plagiarism and the intellectual property theft.

The Paperclips website includes numerous short articles with the byline Chloe Smith. Much of this content actually belongs to other authors. For instance, a piece called 7 Active Reading for Students: here it is at Paperclips, under Chloe's name. Here's the original, attributed to the real author: Grace Fleming. How about 10 Keys to Writing a Brilliant Speech? Here it is at Paperclips. Here's the original, by Bill Cole. Ditto These Are the 8 Fundamental Principles of Great Writing. Here it is at Paperclips. Here's the original (with a different title), by Glenn Leibowitz.

I could go on. There are lots more examples. And that's just the Paperclips website. The magazine also includes stolen content. At least Why Print Books are Better than eBooks, and Ways to Improve eReaders bears the name of its true author, Greg Krehbiel...but Greg has confirmed to me that Paperclips published it without his permission. (It originally appeared here.) (I also reached out to two other authors included in the same issue, but as of this writing I haven't heard back.)

Any bets on whether Paperclips got permission to use images of Dr. Seuss characters on the cover of its latest issue? Or asked George R.R. Martin if it was okay to re-publish his August 2016 blog post--complete with original artwork from the illustrated anniversary edition of Game of Thrones?


A bunch of other things don't add up.  Legaia/Paperclips has a North Carolina address, but it's a virtual office. Legaia's LinkedIn page claims the company was founded in 2008, but its domain wasn't registered until late 2015. Similarly, Paperclips' LinkedIn page says it started up in 2012, but its domain wasn't created until November 2016 (I also couldn't find any issues of the magazine earlier than December 2016). I've been able to locate only two actual human staff members (neither website includes staff names, and the two names I've seen on Legaia's author solicitations, Emily Bryans and Serena Miles, appear to be wholly imaginary); both are based in the Philippines, and one formerly worked for Author Solutions.

Between these things, the English-as-a-second-language writing, the overpriced and exploitive "services", the plagiarism, and just the general sleazy feel of it all, I'm strongly reminded of LitFire Publishing, which has a very similar business model and M.O, and was established by Author Solutions call center alumni in the Philippines as a sort of low-rent Xlibris-AuthorHouse-iUniverse-Trafford clone. Are LitFire and Legaia the same operation? Probably not. But it wouldn't surprise me if Legaia has the same provenance.

"Emily Bryans" is currently soliciting authors for something called Paperclips Magazine's Author Circle, which is supposedly arriving this October and will feature "celebrity authors and multi-awarded literary contributors" (wonder how many of them know they're included?) No word on how much it will cost to join up, but I bet it's a bundle.

Writer beware.

UPDATE 12/15/17: Just found this, from the Better Business Bureau listing for Legaia. So much for the company's claim to be located in North Carolina (or the USA):


UPDATE 1/25/18: Legaia is one of a growing number of similar companies that appear to be Author Solutions imitators, staffed and, in many cases, started up by ex-Author Solutions call center employees in the Philippines.

These companies share a cluster of characteristics, including aggressive solicitation, re-publishing offers (often to authors who've used the various Author Solutions imprints), claims of skill and experience that don't check out (or can't be checked because they're so vague), websites and written materials full of English-language errors, and an emphasis on selling junk marketing services (which is where these outfits make the bulk of their profit).

For more information, see my blog post: Army of Clones: Author Solutions Spawns a Legion of Copycats.

UPDATE 4/19/18: Legaia is still at it. A solicitation from "Frank Parker, Senior Publishing Consultant", just received by an author I know:


32 comments :

Robin Hobb said...

You provide an essential service to writer's. Thank you.

davejrank@ameritech.net said...

Have you heard of Stairway Press? I know of a Tate author who was contacted by Stairway and he is now published through them. I'm not clear if they're another vanity or legit. Any information anyone could provide would be helpful.

Victoria Strauss said...

This Stairway Press? http://www.stairwaypress.com/
If so, they don't say they charge for publishing (and they deny they're a vanity press, which often means the opposite), but the wording on the website suggests it: "We offer complete marketing services powered by online media, social media and internet communities, professional editing and world class graphic design."

If you look at their book covers, I think they're exaggerating just a tad about that world class design.

davejrank@ameritech.net said...

Thanks for the comments, Victoria. If I learn any more about Stairway, I'll share it with you.

Good writing to you!

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to read about Legaia Pub. The information that is included in this article do not represent how Legaia approached me. The author prices are very reasonable for me to re-establish my books. I am not overflowing with money either. I did not have to use a complete team to re-start my books because they only needed to be re-printed. That might be the reason why my prices are good. I will have to revise 2 more books. Maybe, after that, the new book starting right from the beginning will be a different experience for me. When that time comes, I will tell you how it went. I can say at this moment, I am pleased with Legaia Publishing.

Erin Lilly said...

I'm so frustrated! I'm a former Tate author, never got paid. In March Paperclip magazine. Now I see this article. I've been contacted by Reader's Magnet,and booklix (think spelled that right) publishing. Either one safe? I'm finding some bad reviews about Reader's magnet.

Victoria Strauss said...

Erin Lilly,

I've gotten some questions about Reader's Magnet, which looks to me like a scheme very similar to Legaia (and probably also run by ex-call center employees in the Philippines).

I haven't heard of Booklix, and a websearch doesn't turn up much. Do you maybe mean BookLogix? If so, it is certainly soliciting ex-Tate and possibly ex-America Star Books authors. Though there's no explicit mention of money, it's clear that it is pay-to-play, with a pretty standard suite of Author Solutions-style self-publishing services--from the lack of prices on the website, though, I'm guessing it's seriously overpriced. If you're interested in self-publishing, there are better, more cost-effective options.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. Got a call from Paperclips yesterday and when I was told the price I said no. Then this morning my phone lit up with Legaia. I immediately went to the Internet to look them up and found this article. It confirmed my suspicion.

Erin Lilly said...

Thank you! Are there ones you recommend? I had looked up Paperclips before agreeing to do an article and didn't find anything bad about them in January. So tired of getting dipped and taken advantage of.

Victoria Strauss said...

Erin, I don't make recommendations, but if you're looking to self-publish I can give you some general advice. Ditto for traditional publishing. Drop me a line at beware@sfwa.org .

Anonymous said...

Hi Victoria, is it true that you were the Co-Owner of legaiabooks? and that you were terminated because of being unethical at work?

Victoria Strauss said...

Trolls, trolling. I think the comment above is from the LitFire folks, who are peeved about my expose of them and have trolled this blog on other occasions.

Caleb Goodson said...

Hah! They just contacted me today. They sent me a form letter that had typos, and the the wrong name at the top of the letter.

I bit, because I had some time to kill and I wanted to see what they would say. They claim to have 2 million subscribers to their E-magazine, and were asking for $1,900 for an advert (on sale from a regular price of FOUR GRAND!?).

I laughed, told him I could not afford any of that, and hung up.

Victoria Strauss said...

Caleb,

Would you share the form letter with me? beware@sfwa.org . Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I received a email from Mike Luke at paperclips yesterday. After the Tate Publishing incidence I am leary of anyone reaching out to me. I was concerned about them due some grammatical errors in the email that I received. Thanks for the validation

Anonymous said...

I got an email from them yesterday. I didn't know who Emily Bryans was and Geof Gilbert sounded exactly the same as the person claiming to be the receptionist. I trusted my gut feeling and hung up. Then this blog confirmed it. Thank you

Tania L. R. said...

This is what I received today. Likely not finding me on Amazon, but through iuniverse, I would assume, since they are head hunting through vanity press. Hi Tania Ramos,
How are you?
My name is Jim Belfort a Consultant here at Legaia Books USA. We sent you an email before regarding your book "Life by Chance". I would like to touch base with you again and see if you are still trying to market your book - we actually saw your work on amazon, I wanted to know more about it and that's why I contacted you personally. Anyway, I represent Paperclips Magazine a social online magazine that promotes success stories of influential authors and brands in the literary industry. I would like to invite you to promote your book with Paperclips Magazine and be part of this growing author circle and reach millions of readers worldwide.
Paperclips Magazine has articles written about well-known figures in the publishing business like J.K. Rowling author of the Harry Potter Series and the bestselling author Stephen King who sold 350 million copies worldwide. Anyway, Paperclips Magazine is known for having an Author Circle Community and their monthly magazine. In this community authors can fully express themselves by publishing articles and launching books in the magazine which actually boost their visibility since book readers can directly interact and buy their books within the magazine. I would like to see you and your book be part of that prestigious opportunity to promote your title. I hope this is something you are still interested in, are you?

Victoria Strauss said...

Ha! I like how "Jim Belfort" doesn't mention the huge amounts of money you'll have to pay for this "prestigious opportunity." Thanks for sharing, Tania!

Mp Mbutoh said...

March will make it a year since my book was published by America Star Books aka Paperbacks. After months of ceaseless emails coaxing me to promote my books, they suddenly went silent till now!They don't respond to my emails anymore. I tried one of their emails few weeks ago and my computer system malfunctioned!
This was my very first manuscript, and I had worked on the book for three years and at the end of my graduation from the University, I thought I should give it a try. I can as well say that I dropped it in the Atlantic Ocean!
I am not very worried about the book in question because each time I look at it, it sulks! After writing other books after that first one, I now realise that ASB published just anything it picked on the bin.
I have come to learn a few things as an African who used to look up to a great country like America and Americans as my models:
1) Even in a civilised country, educated people are still capable of stealing from African writers kilometers across the Atlantics without any shame.
2) How do I ever trust any American or and individual from there with my work?
3) It has given me a totally different view of those smiles I see on screen.
It is companies like ASB and others who give America a bad image to the world.
The day I travel to America, I'll claim my due_ rest assured it will be a media scandal_ an American company swindle an African upcoming writer. I still can't believe it, anyway. Good luck to the other authors_ if ASB can do all what I read above to you who are closer, then how more of authors like me kilometers across oceans?

Anonymous said...

I got exactly the same email from Jim Belfort and I have a published book on iUniverse.
Anything that sounds sounds so good should should signal buyer beware.
Interesting that he sent the email to me and not the name I used to publish the book. The only ones with this information are iUniverse.

Unknown said...

Are there any legit self publishing companies out there? I too am a former Tate author and have been contacted by a few companies wanting to represent me. After my experience with Tate, I am very hesitant to give them any of my time!

Victoria Strauss said...

Unknown,

I usually suggest that authors start by investigating the free or low-cost services with good reputations in the self-pub community: Createspace, IngramSpark, and Lulu if they want to do print as well as ebooks, and Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and the direct-to-ereading-device services (Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Press, and Kobo's Kobo Writing Life) if they want to do an ebook only.

All of these are DIY-style services. If you'd prefer a less hands-on, more soup-to-nuts service, BookLocker and BookBaby are worth checking out.

I generally advise authors to avoid the Author Solutions self-publishing services (iUnverse, Xlibris, Trafford, AuthorHouse, BookTango, and the self-pub services Author Solutions runs for major publishers, including Thomas Nelson's WestBow Press and Hay House's Balboa Press), since I've received many complaints about quality, price, and high-pressure sales tactics. There are also many copycat services that are even worse and that are actively soliciting authors; I've written
a blog post that identifies a number of them and provides tips on how to recognize them
.

Some self-publishing services claim to specialize in particular genres (such as self-help) or markets (such as the Christian market). This really isn't meaningful. Self-pub services do no targeted marketing (unless you buy it a la carte), and they all use the same distribution channels.

For information to help you comparison shop, a rundown on the benefits and challenges of self-publishing, and links to helpful resources, see the Self-Publishing page of Writer Beware.

Greg Russell said...

Hi all.
I too was contacted by these folks I never heard from and wondered who gave them my Email?!

I am not a published author yet but had contacted three publishing companies in the last year...it's all new for me.

I have a historical fiction series in the works with five books written and another four to complete this series. Would I be able to get some feed back on a good writer friendly publisher that I can trust?
I'm new and want to be treated with trust.

Thanks in advance!
Greg

Below is what was sent to my email. I have no plans to associate myself with them.

Hi Gregory Russel,
My name is Martha Page a Book Agent for Legaia Books. I wanted to touch base with you regarding your book "" to see if you are still trying to market it. Anyway, I did look into the publicity of your work but couldn't find any relevant publicity releases that could help you sell this book to readers. It makes me wonder if your publisher is even helping you market this beautiful work - are they?
Look, I would like to share with you an opportunity to get your book featured in Paperclips Magazine. The Paperclips Magazine has been a traditional route to promote books that need direct attention from book readers. Think of it as a common place where book readers and even literary agents discover their new favorite book titles and even order them straight from the magazine. If you follow this link www.paperclipsmagazine.com you will be able to read the magazine for free and see for yourself the opportunity that I'm giving you here.
I hope you still have dreams for your book because I believe there is more to it than what you have achieved right now.
Looking forward to speaking with you.
You can reach me at 1 (919) 914-9865 (Martha Page).
Thank you!
Martha Page
Sr. Publishing Consultant
LEGAIA BOOKS US, partnered with PAPERCLIPS MAGAZINE
Phone: 919-914-9865
E-mail: martha@legaiabooks.com
Website: www.legaiabooks.com | www.paperclipsmagazine.com
Privacy Policy: This policy covers how we use your personal information. We take your privacy seriously and will take all measures to protect your personal information. Any personal information received will only be used to fulfill your order, and may be used for internal analytical purposes. We will not sell or redistribute your information to anyone.

Jennifer May said...

Ugh. I too just recieved an email from Frank Parker. I unwittingly used Xlibris several years ago and then found out they didn't issue my IBSN numbers correctly. After many calls back and forth I told them to pull my book and stop contacting me. Now I'm getting this.

Kerri Yarsley said...

Stand in line, it would seem ...

My email this morning came from someone called Greg Murphy. It's word-for-word identical to Greg Russell's.

My reply is below:


Hi Greg,

I would like to believe that this is a genuine offer to help me market my book, however, the fact that there are “?” appearing instead of the dash and apostrophe in the book’s title indicate to me that this is just another marketing ploy done on a large scale with a very large number of books and authors being contacted.
I have gone through enough experiences with Amazon, CreateSpace and Balboa Press, and do not wish to throw away any more dollars to people who offer much but deliver very little.

If you truly are a genuine person, then perhaps you will actually read this email and contact me in a manner that allows me to believe that you have specifically read part (at least) of my book and not just send me links (dodgey or otherwise) to somewhere in the ether where I have to spend my time chasing up the next tree. Not interested in doing that; thanks all the same.


Kind regards,

...


Thanks Writer Beware for the information here about this latest scam.

Tom said...

I was contacted by this company in regards to an older and less popular book published by WestBow Press (Who is also an Author Solutions company). Here is the email I received:

Your book "Testing and Temptations" looks utterly great and it's absolutely brilliant. I wonder why you haven't gone much on public with this book. If you don't mind I forwarded it to my marketing team who I think could really help you with your goals on this book.

By the way, we represent Paperclips Magazine an online content distribution channel that features influential authors and aspiring bestsellers to the reading market. When I was looking at your book's ranking in amazon, though, I realized that you badly need a marketing platform to boost your book's visibility and ranking in the market - this really makes me want to talk to you.

Feel free to check out our magazine by clicking here or visit our website www.paperclipsmagazine.com.

Please connect with me and let's talk about your book. My number is 1 (919) 439-4733 (James Wolff). I'll look forward hearing from you.

Thanks!
Best regards,

James Wolff
SR. PUBLISHING CONSULTANT
LEGAIA BOOKS
Publishing Service Provider​
555 Fayetteville Street Suite 201
Raleigh, NC 27601, US
Phone: 919-439-4733
E-mail: james@legaiabooks.com
Website: www.Legaiabooks.com

-------------
Thanks for the article, it was helpful to connect some dots! Fortunately I will be removing my business from Author solutions entirely in a month or so.

Dr. Moris said...

As a former and very disappointed author of a Christian romance novel, I too have been contacted by jerks who try to work on the egos of writers who take pride in their hard work. I speak for myself for I'll not reach the status of truly standout writers. I look into the mirror and see the image of a person who was a high school dropout, and after a tour of military duty, went on to earn four college degrees. I was told as a youth my twin and I would never amount too much. Needless to say those people have vacated my childhood history. I went on to complete my first novel--forty years--followed by three novels, two of which are sequels to the first, and am in the midst of writing my third sequel. I'm 84 and pray I live long enough to finish the four-book series. Enough about me. My experience and love of writing is as strong as others who have crossed path with the UNCHRISTIAN PUBLISHER (Tate). The family are a disgrace to the name, Christian. I'd put them in the same pit in hell that Legaia Books Publisher representative (John Davis, Patterson, etc)need to be assigned. This company has contacted me a number of times telling me how great my book is (not was). How do they know all these great things? They mention Amazon. I can't believe Amazon is part of this sad conspiracy. I'll more than have to watch how this Tate, etc. story will end from the Publishing room in the sky. Until the Head Librarian calls my creative efforts in to His Books of Life I'll work hard at finishing my Labor of Love; my fifth Christian romance novel. Dr. Morris

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this article. I was contacted (at work!) by these guys. They identified me as a former Tate author and told me that the founder of their company was also a former Tate author and has "personally extended you an invite to republish your book at half the normal cost".
Thank goodness I Googled their name and the first article to come up was yours!

Deborah Williams Rodenhizer

Unknown said...

I just found an email from this "press". I was weeding through an old, partially inactive email address that was associated with my Tate days. I'm not even responding to them. It's despicable how we were already fleeced by Tate, now the vultures are swooping down on us.
I plan to republish my book, plus two more as part of a 3 for the price of 1 trilogy on Amazon or something like that. Screw these vanity publishers. I should have known better, but dagnabbit, we PAID for marketing, and got zilch!
Oh well. I'm lucky I sold some books and also have a middle school teacher friend who teaches my book to her students. So I get to go for an author visit a couple of times a year and talk to kids who have actually read my work. I'm sure some of Tate's victims don't even have that. The whole thing is sad, and it sucks.

Unknown said...

I posted the comment above. After thinking about it, I sent a strongly-worded email response, ordering them to cease and desist their operation. I also cited copyright law.
Anyway, about 5 minutes after hitting send, these people CALLED ME ON MY PERSONAL CELL PHONE!!! How the hell did they get my info? I published my book under a pen name!!
Tate probably sold all our contact info to these animals. I wish we could sue them, but the bastards are hiding behind bankruptcy.

Victoria Strauss said...

Unknown,

Tate outsourced a lot of its work to the same Philippine call centers that serve Author Solutions and gave birth to all these copycat operations. I wouldn't put selling authors to the devil past the Tates, but I think it's more likely that people who worked for Tate are now working for Legaia and others, and when they crossed over took Tate author information with them.

Mr. David said...

Just got a call from them and an email. It fits into the mold of everything you've said so far. Such a pitty folks like this are out there taking advantage of people with a dream. Well...I won't let them put a spear in mine!

Thanks for all your info,
Dave

 
Design by The Blog Decorator