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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). (UPDATE 3/2/18: Legaia has consolidated its various Paperclips offerings, and now offers advertising packages for a full spread, a full page, and a half page, ranging from $2,599 to $5,499.)
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.
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, founded 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 followup blog posts:
Army of Clones: Author Solutions Spawns a Legion of Copycats
Army of Clones, Part 2: Twenty-One (More) Publishing and Marketing “Services” to Beware Of
From the Philippines, Not With Love: A Plague of Publishing and Marketing Scams
A complete list of the more than 50 companies I’ve discovered to date has been added to the sidebar.
UPDATE 4/19/18: Legaia is still at it. A solicitation from “Frank Parker, Senior Publishing Consultant”, just received by an author I know:
UPDATE 12/18/19: Legaia has re-vamped its website and removed a lot of the pages I originally linked to, so many of the links above go to Internet Archive pages.
It has also removed the costly publishing packages from its site, and now offers 349 Publishing, which it describes as “an all-in publishing service for as low as $349”. The individual marketing services are gone as well, replaced by “marketing packages” of Google ads and Amazon advertising. Prices range from $1,000 to $3,000.
There’s no longer any mention of Paperclips. Sometime in 2018, Paperclips re-invented itself as a sort of low-rent Entertainment Weekly, hosting a lot of paid movie features–but it’s still full of paid author content, and it’s still aggressively soliciting authors to buy in. And its prices have not gone down. Here, from a recent email solicitation,is an “executive full-spread ad” (on sale!):
UPDATE 9/15/21: The Legaia website is no longer functional, but it is still doing business–under another name, Get Started Books.