The Return of a Notorious Publishing Scammer

The Return of a Notorious Publishing Scammer
September 20, 2017 Maggie Lynch
In DIY Publishing

Anyone who has been writing and publishing as an independent author, for any length of time, knows that there are hundreds of scammers out there. At first some of the worst offenders were actually picked up by traditional publishers to run their ebook side of the house and make some money off beginning writers. After a four year run, most of those publishers figured out that was a mistake and broke ties.

However, there continues to be plenty of “publishers” out there who take advantage of new writers desperate to have their books selling better. How do these scammers work? They offer to “publish” your book, but first you have to pay for some editing before they can publish. It’s true, we all need an editor. I pay for editing on every book I write. The difference is I pay a professional editor, one who has won awards for editing in my genre. When I was traditionally published (under contract to a legitimate publisher) I NEVER paid for editing. Legitimate publishers have a team of editors who know the house style, the market and expectations of that market where the publisher distributes. The worse part about scam publishers and their editors, is that they often know less than the average writer and can hurt your writing. Depending on the scammer, they also charge for marketing, cover design, getting put in their catalog, and any number of other “services.”

One of these scammer publishers recently contacted me via LinkedIn–Paradon Books Publishing via an Acquisitions Editor named Celina Marka (see David Gaughran’s post about the six aliases behind Paradon Books when he blogged in 2016). You may not think that simply linking to someone is a big deal. It is for me. I know that many of my followers count on me to associate only with legitimate people–authors, publishers, marketers, teachers. Once you endorse someone (even by just agreeing to link to them) you are saying I know and trust this contact to anyone else who knows me.

Unfortunately, along with the link invitation I saw that more than 400 of my own followers were Linked to this person and some of those followers have endorsed “her” for publishing and novels and editing. Please reconsider your link and endorsements. Paradon Book Publishing also uses a domain called Indie Writer Support. That is where they sell services and get you into the fold toward “publishing.” I am NOT linking to them here because I don’t want to give them any free advertising or even get them a single click. If you have linked with Celina Marka or Paradon Books or any alias of these “publishers,” please read to the end and ask yourself if this is who you want to be associated with in LinkedIn and thus signal your endorsement of them.

Paradon has a long history (since at least 2011) of scamming writers by offering paid editing services AFTER the naive writer falls for getting published by them. They also have a reputation for stealing copyrighted material and posting without citation, and using that material to endorse a piece of software that they pirated and claimed as their own. See this article by David Gaughran–bestselling author of Let’s Get Visible 

How do scammers get away with this year after year, even when warrants for arrest are issued? They move around the net. They shut down and open up a new account then start over again. They change physical locations. (Just because they say they are located in the U.S. e.g., Great Falls, Montana doesn’t mean they really are.) They use different names for employees. The same goes for pirate sites. PLEASE, exhort your author friends to do good research before signing with any publisher or even responding to a request to connect. Absolute Write, ALLi (Alliance for Independent Authors) Watchdog Desk, the Better Business Bureau in the U.S. (BBB), Indie’s Unlimited, and many more offer warnings on many scammers. They also have lists of legitimate publishers that have been vetted. Just because a publisher or author service has a pretty web page doesn’t mean they are legitimate. Just because you find them in Google, doesn’t mean they are legitimate. Just because 400+ people you know have linked to them on LinkedIn doesn’t mean they are legitimate. Just because they have thousands of followers on social media doesn’t make them legitimate. All of these things are easy for people to do within a few days of setup–especially people who are already scammers.

Many authors don’t pay attention to whom they are linking. They figure it’s adding numbers to their social media and making them look better. This is one to unlink from everywhere.

I know a lot of authors read my blog or subscribe to my email list. Please help me get the word out that Paradon Books Publishing is back and flinging a wide net again. Please warn all your friends and any new authors in your network who may be unwittingly caught up in this scam. If you have unwittingly accepted their LinkedIn invitation, connected on  FB or Twitter, I hope you will withdraw it. Do not give them any legitimacy.

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