Korede Abayomi signs copies of his novel Shebang! in what he claims is a bookstore but looks more like a library
Mr Abayomi is also known as Judd Miller (of Indie Writers Support), Richard Egland and Celina Marka (both of ParaDon Books Publishing), Bolade Omo Niaja, Faspoken Ase, Artis Reed and Abby Peace.
How it all began...
Welcome to the bizarre and frequently hilarious saga of ParaDon Books Publishing, a shameless attempt to con naive writers into believing that a one-man operation is a large, well-funded company founded by a newspaper mogul.
My name is Julia D Atkinson and I'm a member of the writers' advocate site AbsoluteWrite. On 17th November 2011 my fellow-member Gilhoughly, having noticed that ParaDon was "spamming the Net like a case of hives", visited the company's website and quoted some of the gems she found there:
"ParaDon Books Publishing is a privately-owned establishment, with distribution deals that reach all over the globe.
Other companies may offer similar services, but our services are the best, and come with a personal touch.
We have a fine team of qualified editors, and the best book cover graphic artists in the industry.
We publish both fictions and non-fictions.
Agent-submitted manuscript are excluded from the reading fee."
It was obvious that the people behind ParaDon didn't speak English as a first language and knew nothing about how commercial publishing works. NO reputable publisher charges a reading fee and NO reputable agent would steer their clients towards an amateur outfit like ParaDon.
Meet 'Celina Marka', International Woman of Mystery
The only name on the site was that of 'Acquisition Editor' Celina Marka, who offered some advice to potential clients:
"Here's a quick tip for all you writers out there; make sure your story have a good structure, intriguing plot, interesting dialogues, smooth pace, and one unforgettable character. I look forward to reading your submissions."
But Celina wasn't going to read submissions for free. She also offered her services on fiverr.com:
"I will review your short story for a possible publication with ParaDon Books for $5
Iwill review your short-story for a possible publication with ParaDon Books if your story have the juice to pump up a lot of short story readers. [Ooh...I love it when publishers talk dirty!] ParaDon Books Publishing is unlike any other publishers in the world. Find out how; www.paradonbooks.com We are currently looking for a large volume of short-stories to publish throughout the months of 2012. If you are a serious writer, here's your chance to get publish, and earn royalties for life."
Anthologies of short stories by unknown writers published by an unknown press are unlikely to be bought by anyone other than the contributors and their friends and family, as Celina would have known if she had any experience of real publishing. So who was Celina Marka and what were her qualifications for working as an acquisitions editor? Her biography on fiverr.com was, to put it mildly, hard to believe:
"I received my MFA from Stanford University in 2008, and worked as a freelance editor / newspaper columnist prior to my employment with ParaDon Books."
Stanford University? Unless that august institution's standards have plummeted in recent years I really, really don't think so. Freelance editing? Likewise. And if Celina had worked as a newspaper columnist, even for a small local rag, it seemed odd that a Google search for her name turned up nothing apart from her connection with ParaDon.
The only known photo of Celina Marka as it appeared on fiverr.com
The Invisible Newspaper Mogul
Meanwhile, back on ParaDon's website:
"ParaDon Books Publishing is seeking expert bloggers to advertise our new release books to the open general through their social media outlets; blogging, facebook, twitter, youtube, linkedin, etc. We'll pay our blogger a weekly recurring fee, and payrate will depend on how productive the blogger is, as graded by SocialMention.com"
More cluelessness. Why would a company with world-wide distribution need to do this? What's an "open general"? And it gets worse:
"We are a privately-owned establishment with 100s of upcoming authors whose titles will be available for sale. We offer a variety of novels from romance to mystery to urban fiction to your friends, family members and co-workers at a discounted price. Create home-based parties or simply sell out of the trunk of your car; any way you think you can generate sales in this profitable venture."
Ye gods...selling books at Tupperware-style parties? Selling books out of the trunk of your car? Unbelievable.
We accept fictions and non-fictions; horror, sci-fi, adventure, mystery, suspense-thriller, hard-boiled, erotica, romance, regional, poetry-chapbook, fantasy, espionage, urban fiction, chick-lit, western, Africa, Afro-American, short-stories, experimental, young-adult, graphic novel, children-book, memoir, cook-book, how-to, travel, religion, history, and true crimes.
A bona fide new publisher would start out by sticking to one or two genres - ParaDon will accept anything.
Then another AbsoluteWrite member discovered a surreal press release from ParaDon on the website of the London Writers Society:
"ParaDon Books Publishing, a new publishing industry co-founded by a newspaper mogul, Richard Egland, just announce its opening to writers [...]
"We will be the stepping stone that will correct the flaws of mediocre writing that’s circulating through the book market today, by only putting out writers of quality styles that will seduce and induce every readers minds. From now on, no talented writer will be rejected because there’s only enough room or budget to publish that one other writer. Every talented will have a chance to shine with us, and will. I have a fine team of qualified editors, the best cover graphic artists in the industry, a world-wide distributing channel, great promotion service, and we offer advance payment and high royalty pays to our authors. [...]
In the upcoming months when you buy one of our books, you’ll not only be getting a great story but you’ll also be owning a great piece of art that will look good on your furniture or digital library.
Once a manuscript pass the reading test and is accepted by us, the material will be quickly edited by one of our professionals and then converted into eBook and audiobook. The title will be made available through ALL of our distributing channels, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, iPhone, Podcast, etc for a regulatory period of six months, and the rating of how well your eBook and audiobooks sell within this period will determine the Advance payment that will be offer for the Paperback and Hardcover production of your title.
[Evidently ParaDon doesn't understand that advances are paid BEFORE publication and are based on the publisher's estimate of how many copies the book will sell.]
To the surprise of absolutely no-one Richard Egland turned out to be as invisible to Google as Celina Marka, which when you think about it is quite an achievement for a newspaper mogul. Perhaps Celina wrote for one of Richard's non-existent newspapers.
ParaDon's original website had a Guest Book on which I pointed out that no reputable publishers charged reading fees or had websites riddled with grammatical errors. My post was deleted within hours, as were other critical comments.
In Which ParaDon Fights Back and a Writer is Less Than Intelligent
On 18th November, the day after ParaDon made such a splash on AbsoluteWrite, AW's owner MacAllister got mail.
"The following message was sent to you via the Absolute Write Water Cooler Contact Us form by ParaDon Assitant ( mailto:[email protected] ).
Fighting words! MacAllister's reply on the following day:
"What slimy rock did these friggin' idiots climb out from beneath? I responded with my boilerplate for these situations:
Cyber-attack?! How old was this ParaDon 'assitant'?
"file your report, our cyber attack means publishing the same defamation about your site as you did us, we already have supporters much like your website willing to post our trends."
So ParaDon had supporters? Wouldn't it be strange if one of them rushed to the defence of his or her publisher! No, of course it wouldn't. Half an hour after ParaDon's cyber-attack threat along came a new poster by the name of IntelligentWriter:
"sorry to burst your bubble you guys, but i know somebody that's already signed to them, and his book is due for release next year... my friend is not a first-time writer either, so i trust there's something he found interesting about this publishing."
You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to detect a marked similarity between the ESL content of the ParaDon website and press releases, Celina Marka's limpid prose and IntelligentWriter's style. A poster who remarked on this drew IntelligentWriter's ire:
"please show me your resume mrs. english professor...I'm awaiting the resume of every self-promoting don't-know-nothing people that's bashing this revolutionary publisher. I myself have submitted my story to them, and will be back in the future to 'Promote my published book' in this same forum. I'm still waiting for that resume that proves you know English grammar more than me. I'll say no more. I guess only the future can tell. All i know is, literary agent don't respond to queries, major publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, writing contests (which i have participated in and paid for few times) don't respond to tell you who won, and self-publishing is frowned upon. That's leave me no choice but to look to the next best thing, and i heard great things about this publisher before this discussion began. Most of the comments i read here are flawed, and self-promoting. I am not who you're conspiring to be. I just don't want you guys to tarnish the reputation of my future publisher. That said, i hope ParaDon Books read this post, and take my submission into great consideration. My name is Preston Browne"
Preston Browne, eh? Alas, IntelligentWriter's little charade lasted only one hour and forty-two minutes. Back to MacAllister:
"For those of you playing along at home - IntelligentWriter is indeed posting from exactly the same IP that the person purporting to represent ParaDon was emailing me from, earlier today.
Quelle surprise!"IntelligentWriter couldn't resist a typically infantile jab at AW member Calla Lily (Alice Loweecey), a commercially published author:
Impressive, isn't it? This is how ParaDon described their Great Falls premises in that first press release:
"Located in the Big Sky area of Montana, this company’s infrastructure is surrounded by two stretched blocks of industrial installations, and the main office edifice."
Could the Montana Office of Consumer Protection have overlooked a building with an imposing glass facade bearing ParaDon's name? Is this the main office edifice?
In a word, no. For the low, low price of $1.99 glottisdesign.com will photoshop the name of your choice into this stock photo:
More waffle from Celina Marka, a woman we can safely assume is Korede Abayomi in a dress and high heels:
"Because of our growing affiliation with book store owners and online reviewers, we have extend our services to include Book-Signing Events; meaning that we can now schedule writers for a one-on-one appearance with their local fans / buyers at their nearest bookstores and libraries. Leave it to us to handle all the advertisement online (AmazonLocal, Groupon, Uniiverse, Craiglist etc) as well as offline (Hastings, Barnes&Noble, Powell's etc). The cost for this service is $350, and the writer must grant us the permission to promote and market the proposed AUTOGRAPHED copy of their book title. We will fulfill orders, sort out customers by their residencies, and have the writer (YOU) sign the books either at the Book-Signing event or at your own pace.
[I certainly wouldn't want to have boring readers bragging about me.]
Still working on a First Come First Serve Bases, I see. And thank goodness they made it clear that the inspired 'your book on the back of a supermarket receipt' scheme IS NOT A JOKE. Please, please tell me that no writers were stupid or desperate enough to pay Abayomi $4,500 for these worthless services.
On 12th June 2013 I received an email from Faspoken Ase:
"750 Book Buyers and Sellers
Yes, the ParaDon hydra had grown another head. Indie Writers Support, like Amazon Book Clubs, was probably created when the names of Abayomi and ParaDon Books attracted too much negative attention. The as yet nameless IndieWriterSupport Administrator was male and supposedly based in San Bernardino, California, the home of Korede Abayomi's mother and step-father. He also created IWP's website, which is full of strangely familiar phrases:
The outlandish claims are back again:
For this $100, we will introduce your book to hundreds of book clubs,
book reviewers, book store owners, literary agents, editors, publishers, expert bloggers, and
get you featured throughout all of our affiliated websites and social media networks.
We will do a major news release of your book(s), and guarantee you at least 500,000 viewers.
It's a win, win. You book is guaranteed to sell, and will be featured as 'Book-of-the-Day'
on this page and the many other websites that we sponsor.
Some of our promoted authors get as much as six or seven published reviews a day
on amazon.com if the story-line is very interesting.
Korede Abayomi was one of 'our up and coming Writers', and his book The Oracle was a Staff Pick.
When I visited Indie Writers Support on 18th October 2013 the company appeared to be flourishing. Indie Writers Support Administrator Judd Miller was quite obviously Korede Abayomi:
Judd/Korede could also be found on Elance:
Fury and Fellatio
...or, what happened when Judd Miller gatecrashed the invitation-only Yahoo group GANGSTEROLOGISTS in May 2013. It wasn't pretty. Marvel at the professionalism of the man who wants to publish your book!
We care, why? Stop spamming dude!
Judd, first you have to buy everybody's book and read it. I'll give you $100 if you do that. Just send us a photo of yourself surrounded by those books.
Eat a dick bitch
Go to https://www.ribbon.co/c20a47 or go to sleep.
Wow. That's not very nice for a self-proclaimed internet millionaire who wants to get other people's business.
By the way, I went to that site you mentioned at http://www.webdvloper.com./and this is what I got:
Bad Request - Invalid Hostname
Speaks for itself.
Wrong address dummy. Try it again, http://www.webdvloper.com/
Judd, this might be the wrong group to insult. Just sayin'.
What are you going to do? Please explain. You think i'll keep quiet while you insult me?
Judd, I didn't insult you, although I love being told to "eat dick, bitch." I certainly always respond to that kind of sweet talk.
A Chat With Celina Marka
Things went quiet until the summer of 2015 and might have remained that way had Abayomi not decided to embark on another spamming spree to relaunch ParaDon Books. The new press release was a slightly more literate version of the old one, with non-existent newspaper mogul Richard Egland still pontificating about the sorry state of the publishing industry. There were a couple of additions:
"Based on the amount of money reportedly invested into the company, ParaDon Books could be that next publishing giant that will rescue the book industry from its downfall, by publishing talented writers and distributing their works throughout a network that may reach majority of the book lovers in the world...
Every writer are urge to submit their work for consideration. All proposal package should include a query letter, synopsis, bio and the first 50 pages. All manuscript must be typed, well formatted, have a good story/subject line, edited, and be at least 200 pages long (except for children book, poetry chap-books, and graphic novels). [So manuscripts have to be edited before submission. What happened to ParaDon's 'fine team of qualified editors'? And real publishers need to know the length of a manuscript in words, not pages.]
When asked if ParaDon Books charge reading or publishing fee, the publisher declined, and stated that ParaDon Books do not charge fees of any kind except for payroll taxes. [I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.]
All enquiries ONLY are to be forwarded to Celina [email protected]
The new press release included the fake photo of ParaDon's HQ, and a Manta profile bolstered the illusion of the company being a potential publishing giant:
"About ParaDon Books Publishing
ParaDon Books Publishing is a privately-owned B2B/B2C company. Visit www.paradonbooks.com for more info.
Annual Revenue Estimate - $20 to 50 million
Employees - 50 to 99
ParaDon is apparently open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except for Sunday. Bizarrely, the company claims to be a member of Indie Writers Support, Pen Center America, Writers Guild of America and the African American Literature Book Club (a claim to belong the Mystery Writers of America was removed at the MWA's request).
At about this time Celina Marka casually dropped the following bombshell in a LinkedIn article:
I had no idea that Tolkien owned George Allen and Unwin!
Sceptical Gandalf is sceptical.
In late August 2015 I was the lucky recipient of three identical spam emails from Celina Marka:
ParaDon Books Publishing is currently accepting submissions for considerations. Your manuscript, along with the query letter, bio and synopsis, must be at 150 pages long, double spaced, edited, and completed. The proposal package must be a word document attachment only. Any other kind of file format will be discarded without opening. You can submit your proposal package directly to my subordinates at[email protected]. We will immediately start scouting through them.
I have Celina's permission! Isn't that adorable? Thanks, Korede! I couldn't resist asking Celina a few questions about the new press release. This exchange of emails took place in the first week of September 2015
A Not-So-New Face at ParaDon
Meanwhile, a Google search turned up what at first glance appeared to be a ParaDon representative who wasn't Korede Abayomi - a Mr Bolade Omo Niaja. Then I noticed the URL of his (now deleted) Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/korede.abayomi?_rdr
Evidently he wasn't such a new face after all. Niaja/Abayomi was the administrator of Readers Books, yet another ParaDon spinoff: http://www.readersbooks.info/
On September 6th he posted the following on FaceBook:
Curiously, Abayomi had made a similar comment about ABC back in 2012:
Amazon Book Clubs still exists on Facebook. When I visited on 7th September 2015 I was confronted by a large photo of a woman having sex with a horse. Mercifully it was removed within hours - it's good to know that Abayomi has some standards.
On the same day I was spammed yet again by Celina Marka:
Every ParaDon Books authors would instantly receive their very own customized email address (example,[email protected]); their own toll-line (example, 888-853- x10); their own bank card; 500 business cards; full services of Indie Writers Support; and websites like these,ww.bit.ly/1QFEtJT, www.bit.ly/1NRUBBa, www.bit.ly/1H1ZERCetc..
PaulJ is no doubt Korede Abayomi in a wig and false nose.
Sadly, ParaDon really has signed a deal with Vearsa - who should have done their homework before letting these bungling amateurs drag their good name in the mud.
Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam (bloody Vikings)
In mid-September Niaja/Abayomi boasted on Facebook about his compulsive spamming:
One of my best friends just invested $2000 in my new start-up. This time next year, our goal is to each own a mansion.....
What's your goal?
I'll say this for Abayomi, he's not lacking in ambition or self-esteem. Here he is in his Judd Miller persona reviewing his own book The Oracle:
On 29th September Judd Miller published an article on IWS entitled Create your own Crowd-Pleasing Book-tour Events:
"In today's lesson, I am going to show you how you can effectively create your own book-signing event, effortlessly. This process will take you less than an hour, and the result may attract hundreds, and maybe thousands of visitors to your book-signing events."
Thousands? Really? You'd better warn your local police force in advance - they don't take kindly to huge crowds thronging the streets.
"The very first step to creating a successful book-signing eventis to acquire a good position (book shop) for the gathering... try to get the book-store owner's permission (given that you don't a book-rep that will do this for you) to include their location in an article that you are submitting to the local newspaper concerning a book-signing event. Give he or she your professional credential, and a brief summary of what your book is about. Any free broadcast of a local business is always good to a local business owner, so the chance that the book-store owner will say no to your newspaper-exposure-proposal is slim. Promise the book-store owner that you will attract at least 100 book buyers of your own to the event, and that you will provide the paperback books that you will be signing & selling that day. Instead of paying cash to the book-store owner for using their location, pay he or she with your books, perhaps 50 to 100 autographed copies that they could sell for their own profit them after your book-signing."
Chances are that nowhere near a hundred people will turn up and the hapless writer will have to slog home with a load of unsold books.
"Many self-published writers have to find ways to market themselves nowadays if they still want to remain in the game, and not die of hungry."
Well, no-one wants to die of hungry. Writers can avoid this awful fate by...selling their books on eBay and other auction sites.
Just for once I'm in full agreement with Celina. Books are indeed not the only things sold on eBay.
You buy a copy of your book from your publisher - the publisher you've already paid to print the book - at a 50% discount, then re-sell it to double your earnings. In what strange alternate universe does this make economic sense?
"Before I give you the free websites that may increase your daily book sales, I want to give you one last advice pertaining to the pricing of your book at the websites. For instance (and for safe practice), if your book's original price is $21.00, and you can get a copy from your publisher for only $6.00, then it will wise if you start your bidding for the sale of the book (autographed or not) between $15 to $20, this way, you will attract more buyers, your effort will still be profitable, and you'll receive instant incomes (mostly through PayPal). The final bidding price for your autographed book may even double if the buyers are very eager enough to have the treasure (book) in the hand."
Your self/vanity pubbed book will almost certainly be a POD paperback. It probably won't have been edited to a professional standard, and if the majority of such books I've come across on the internet are anything to go by it probably wouldn't have stood much chance of being picked up by a commercial publisher. If its original price was $21 no-one in their right mind is going to pay MORE for it. And...'treasure'? We're not talking about Shakespeare's First Folio, despite the similarity between the Bard's style and that of ParaDon's founder (and I don't mean Richard Egland).
Another classic from Celina: how writers can get round email providers' anti-spamming controls:
"How to Advertise your book to 2,000+ recipients a day.
*unethical explanation snipped*
In early September 2015 I noticed that Cory Y Standby, a member of Indie Writers Support, had posted three increasingly angry messages on the IWS site concerning Judd Miller's failure to refund the $250 Standby had paid him in March for services that never materialized. All three messages were deleted by Abayomi, and at my suggestion Mr Standby reported Miller/Abayomi to the police in Great Falls. In Cory's own words:
"I am a new independent author who had my first book independently published in March 2015. I therefore have been looking at all means of publicity, and was attracted to the site -http://indiewritersupport.com - where I paid $250.00 online (through paypal) in late march 2015 to join the Bestsellers Programme advertised. Despite repeatedly chasing, and receiving all sorts of apologies and reassurance from 'Judd Miller' (who I am now told is not a real person but simply an alias for someone else who cons s gullible authors - Korede Abayomi), none of the advertised services have been provided. I have therefore repeatedly demanded back my money, but have faced silence.
The Bestsellers Programme appears to be the same thing as Elite Membership:
"To become an Elite Member of the Independent Writers Support Organization you must make the initial payment fee of $250 for the first year installation. Only after then will you enjoy the full work of our promotion staffs.
To fully support the dreams of all writers, we have integrated an automated system that can take care of every writer’s need during their book developing and promotion stage. Through our many software and website applications, our professional staff members can now develop more attractive book covers for authors, send out book releases to a mass of news outlets, publish article reviews about books onto many well-known websites, and make your (the author’s) nearly famous outlets even more famous. In the nine months since we started Indie Writers Support, we have published over 400 articles from well-known authors, collected over 150 book-trailers, garnered over 4,000,000 profile views, and attracted more than 2,100 active members. We expect these numbers to quadruple within the next six months.
Independent Writers Support has collaborated with many authors, and we (the staff) do so on the regular. We have raised a few authors to the New York Times best sellers list, and helped hundreds more achieve their publishing dreams, whether through book-cover creations, eBook conversions, sales & reviews, social media postings, book-signing arrangements, or book-store marketing.
The New York Times bestsellers list, forsooth! This, if true, would be a remarkable achievement. What a pity IWS didn't provide us with the names of these authors. And which books has IWS managed to get into bookstores, if that's what they mean by "book-store marketing"?
I also came across other references to Abayomi's dodgy dealings:
"There's one thing that worries me about a publishing company...when you can't click on it and come right to their homepage, the editors, info on how to publish with them, the history, the books by them, or the contact info etc. ParaDon books has no info. You have to keep logging in with a huge section blocking the pages. I paid through PayPal to get a book review and never heard from them?? Albert Sequeira
All of Abayomi's literary enterprises require members to provide their email addresses, which he then uses to make lists he sells back to authors so they can spam one another with details of their books.
"I suddenly started getting emails from [Amazon Book Clubs] and sent them an inquiry (thinking they were Amazon) and BAM! next thing I knew, there was a charge on my PayPal account! K S Brooks
"I dealt with these fools (Judd Miller) when they first started. At the time their services were much different. I paid for a service (100.00) which was suppose to be posting on various sites etc about my new release (2012 – Reflection) on two separate occasions. They claimed they did it the first time and I fought to get the second one done. No clue if they ever did it the first time. It got to the point that I threatened to sue and demanded my money back. Of course I never received anything back and simply gave up. They used to run a website too. Not sure they still do or not. I removed myself from anything having to do with them. BEWARE! I still get emails from Judd Miller (yesterday) asking me to join a web site.
"New authors are falling prey to Publicity Trolls who promise the world: for a ‘reasonable sum of money,’ and very little work on the author’s part, your book will be the splash of the social media universe for 7 days – there is usually a guarantee of 500,000 views or hits, too.
Sounds too good to be true – it is.
Don’t get sucked in. Most of these sites utilize spamming and only do email blasts to those addresses they’ve compiled of other authors who have fallen for their gimmick. If you take 5 minutes to look up their URL with the key word “fraud,” you’ll be surprised at what you find.
Recently on LinkedIn I came across a blog posting mentioning the promotional site indiewritersupport.compromising the world to new writers. I dug deeper and learned about this site’s history with Paradon Books and the promotional expert Korebe Abayomi. This sent up a red-flag for me immediately – I had been burned by Korebe/Korede before when he used “Amazon Book Club” as his borrowed platform for collecting your hard-earned $100 with the promise of sending out author info to all the book clubs associated withAmazon.com/ca. He even promised a report with links after the 7 day blitz… that never happened.
"On eNovel Authors at Work I’m doing a series on promoters. I test and vet. Indie Author’s Support is one I tested. I bought a 30 day membership, but after I blogged that my membership did not give me access, my membership was voided. Also that he was selling a 20,000 name Reader’s Digest subscriber list. Where did he get that? He lures authors by charging only $1 to put a book on the site. I didn’t name the site in the blog, but I warned all of eNovel members away. Paypal needs to drop him. You might consider sending the info to Paypal. That would shut off his cash flow. Or maybe not. He accepts credit cards, too. That is scary.
Jackie Weger : https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/the-one-where-an-author-steals-text-from-my-book-to-sell-pirated-software/
And from the IWS site itself:
"At 10:43am on April 11, 2014, Jennifer FitzGerald said…
I ordered a list from an email you sent me and I haven't received anything. When I sent a message to the email on your paypal account it bounced out. Would be nice to have this resolved."
"At 1:30pm on May 4, 2014, Tim Bryant said…
Hi I just recently signed up for one of your promotions regarding reaching over 20,000 readers and I have yet to receive the promotion or a form to fill out regarding which book I'd like to promote. Will you please contact me?"
Gentle reader, if you've lost money to any of Abayomi's schemes don't let him get away with it. Get in touch with the following:
The Federal Trade Commission
Montana Office of Consumer Protection
Great Falls Police Department
Better Business Bureau
After I reported ParaDon to the BBB and Abayomi failed to respond to their enquiries, ParaDon was given an F rating.
My complaint as it appears on the BBB website:
"ParaDon Books Publishing claims to be a large, well-funded business in Great Falls founded by 'newspaper mogul' ******* ******. A photograph purporting to show the imposing glass facade of ParaDon's HQ appears on several websites. The reality is that ParaDon is nothing more than a PO Box number in Great Falls, there is no such person as ******* ******, and the photo is an 'insert your name here' fake.ParaDon's owner and, so far, only published author is ****** *******, aka ****** *****, **** ******, ***** **** and ****** *** *****. He's also the owner of Amazon Book Clubs, recently shut down by Amazon because of its (deliberately) confusing name, and Indie Writers Support, a writer's group based on the false premise that sending a huge number of spam emails will generate book sales. Several members of IWS have accused ******* of not providibg services for which he was paid.The claims made by ParaDon are so absurd they're laughable, but sadly there are plenty of novice writers so desperate to be published they may well fall for them...A few years ago ******* was claiming to be a graduate of Stanford University - and by an amazing coincidence so was '****** *****'. It should be obvious from his poor English that he is not qualified to evaluate or edit manuscripts, although I suspect that ParaDon will accept everything submitted to them and make money by selling books back to the authors.
Desired Settlement: ******* is lying about the size, ownership and professional capability of ParaDon Books Publishing. There is no physical HQ in Great Falls or anywhere else, and no team of qualified editors and illustrators. He should stop making these ridiculous claims."
The BBB's response:
"On October 29, 2015, BBB contacted Paradon Books Publishing regarding their advertising and business location. BBB had contacted the City of Great Falls, MT and confirmed there is no business licensing for this company and the company is not located at the address advertised. Montana Secretary of State reports the company is owned by Korede Abayomi and is located at the same address as the Royal Motel in Great Falls, MT. BBB contacted the Royal Motel regarding this business and they could not give BBB any further information...
Therefore, BBB asked Paradon Books Publishing to provide BBB with substantiation for their business location and services provided based on the following claims on their website and press release:
The numbered statements below are actual quotes from their press release and websites.
1. Co-founded by Richard England, a newspaper mogul
2. Located in the Big Sky area of Montana, this company's infrastructure is surrounded by two stretched blocks of industrial installations, and a main office edifice.
On November 13, 2015, An administrator for Pardon Books Publishing responded to BBB with the following statements. First, he stated he was an "administrator for the company, not an owner." Furthermore, he had been in business for five years and every service has been provided. He referenced his website, www.indiewritersupport.com where he said "BBB would see that they provide free services, and at least 5 to 20 new people join their exciting website everyday. No harm." In addition, he said this would be the only response he would provide. Therefore, BBB did not receive any of the requested substantiation for their business location, practices or advertising claims.
The "administrator" could only have been Abayomi himself - there is no reason to believe that Celina Marka, Bolade Omo Niaja and Faspoken Ase are real people, let alone ParaDon employees. Abayomi registered the ParaDon website, is the only author published by the company since its inception in 2011 and refers to himself on his Twitter account as the creator of ParaDon Books. Who else could possibly be the company's owner other than the mythical Richard Egland?
It's interesting that when Abayomi set up ParaDon's PO Box in Great Falls back in 2011 he gave the address of the run-down Royal Motel ("I have stayed in a lot of dives over the years, but this one takes the cake" - Tripadvisor review). Mind you, I can understand why anyone hoping to rake in $25 'reading fees' from trusting writers might not want to give his home address.
Let Your Fingers Do The Walking
Back in September 2015 I couldn't resist adding a 1-star review to ParaDon's Yellow Pages entry:
"Paradon claims to be a large, well-funded company founded by newspaper mogul Richard Egland and based in Great Falls. They don't provide a street address but a photo showing the imposing glass facade of Paradon's headquarters can be seen on several websites. Paradon is in fact owned by Korede Abayomi, aka Judd Miller and Celina Marka. There is no such person as Richard Egland, the photo is a fake and the only person published by Paradon is Abayomi himself.
When I realised that I'd forgotten to mention Abayomi's other alias, Bolade Omo Niaja, and was unable to edit my review, I just knew that Niaja would eventually turn up to defend ParaDon's honour. Six weeks later along came 'Bolade N.' with a 5-star review (since deleted):
"Great publishing company. Highly recommended. The best publisher of ebooks. ParaDon Books is in Great Falls Montana. A start up company started by a group of programmers and developers."
Oh, what a tangled web we weave...Mr Niaja/Abayomi, I thought ParaDon was founded by newspaper mogul Richard Egland? And would that group of programmers and developers be your company www.webdvloper.com, whose name you removed from ParaDon's website when I made the connection between you and "the future of publishing"?
Another odd press release...and two phoney 'partnerships'
In early November 2015 ParaDon issued another strangely-worded and misleading press release:
"Apart from signing with Vearsa - to distribute our digital books to eBook channels, Libraries, eReaders, SmartPhones, Tablets, PC or Mac - ParaDon Books Publishing have also decided to partner with BookBub.com, to announce our new and discounted eBooks to their millions of subscribers, via emails and web posting. [This partnership came as a complete surprise to BookBub when I asked them about it.]
A full, signed agreement must be committed between us and an author in order for us to publish their manuscripts. ['Committed'?]
This is a blast to all Cold Coffee Cafe/Press Authors.
We take security very serious and warn our authors against any fraud.
Indie Writers Support falsely name Cold Coffee Press/Cold Coffee Cafe as part of their group. This is false, we only had an author's page on their website to advertise our book reviews. We have never had any other associated with this website or their creators.
We have removed our Cold Coffee page and all our authors' pages that our name on them from their website. Please report to us any thing suspicious from them, especially if they use our Cold Coffee Press brand in any way...
We like so many of you had an author's page on Indie Writer's Support website. We used our author's page to post our authors book reviews through our page RSS feed. We have deleted our author's page at Indie Writer's Support and will not use this website as a promotional avenue in the future. We have deleted all our authors pages that had on name listed on them. We do not want to expose our authors to any potential online fraud. They have many programs where they ask for money through credit and debit cards. We (Cold Coffee Press) only use Pay Pal which is completely secure for all our promotional package transactions.
If you have an author's page on the Indie Writer's Support website, it is completely up to you if you wish to keep your page. Just be very careful if you purchase something from their site.
Please be very careful when buying goods and services from the Indie Writers Support Website or any website that you do not trust completely. I always say research, research and research some more when shopping online for anything. Authors are sometimes more at risk because we tend to be very trusting people.
Please come post your comments once I post the discussion.
More ParaDon offshoots
Abayomi is the proud owner of two more book-based businesses, Readers Books (http://www.readersbooks.info/) and Worlds Bestselling Books (http://www.worldsbestsellingbooks.com/). They offer the same products and services as Indie Writers Support, which we'll look at in detail later. Readers Books ("READERS! WRITERS! REVIEWERS! COLLIDE!") is described, rather charmingly, as "a book depository website".
Book depositories - not just for Texas.
Four Years of Failure
It's been four years since ParaDon was founded. In all that time the company has published only two books, both by Korede Abayomi (Artis Reed is a pen name). The Oracle's dismal Amazon ranking - 9,443,626 - suggests that Abayomi can't sell his own books, let alone anyone else's. The 419 Caper isn't available on Amazon but there are a couple of editorial reviews on the Barnes and Noble site, which gives the book's publication date as 9/4/2012:
"I.W.S - Celina Marka
Another review by one 'BolickSalter927':
"All of us know about the Nigerian scams, particularly the infamous 419 code. Well I have unearth a complete story exploiting the ripoffs, and this e book could probably set lots of mischievous Nigerian scammers out of do the job and save the U.S the annually 50 % a billion bucks needed around the 419 investigations. What is this e-book? The 419 Caper, composed by Artis Reed. Though the story is fictional, the premise to this tale is promising being the toughest hardboiled fiction of its form.
This book exploit the 419 code to some amount under no circumstances exploited previously, and explains why the Nigerian 419 code is now considerably much better the Sicilian mafia codes.
The author to this ebook is no stranger into the guidelines himself, and he is a Nigerian mastermind that has perfected his composing ability and grammatically expose all kinds from the scams to their complete extent.
When this book is an FBI vs a Nigerian Kingpin story, the tempo along with the gradual plots in the novel absolutely expose the core formations of the Nigeria frauds as opposed to in no way in advance of, and in an extremely graphical strategy for producing.
Right here could be the premise towards the 419 Caper:
San Francisco Police undercover detective officer James White is a committed lawman man of twelve several years. He is the top undercover detective San Francisco has ever had, but when supplied the chance to consider out essentially the most infamous kingpin on the earth and make himself instant thousands and thousands, James would not wait. With Taye (the kingpin) now useless, all incriminating evidence prospects to James as being the killer. The only challenge is, how can anyone demonstrate his guilt, and whos good good enough to reveal his deep familiarity with the Nigerian criminal enterprise (the 419 scams) that experienced by now ripped america of The us of billions of pounds?
Any person can go through a cost-free preview of this e-book listed here, http://tinyurl.com/953whup
This e book can be obtained for down load on Kindle and Nook retail outlet.
Words fail me...just as they failed BolickSalter927.
ParaDon Books...coming soon (again)
Every now and then ParaDon claims that a list of their authors will be published in a couple of months. It never is. The press release quoted above states that ParaDon titles will be in the shops next summer, which is odd since we already know that ParaDon doesn't intend to print books (or pay advances) unless eBook and audiobook sales are strong. More evidence that Abayomi can't keep track of his own lies!
But what's this?
For those self-published authors reading this newsletter who have received our publishing offer, and has not yet responded, we need you to respond back as soon as possible so that we may include your book titles in our first circulations. Our team is ready for you.
ParaDon also offers 'library displacements'.
Wait a minute. If ParaDon's first titles are due any minute now (I'm writing this in December 2015) where is the pre-release publicity? Why isn't ParaDon's website operational and full of information about these books and their authors? Why is Celina Marka, supposedly the company's acquisitions editor, wasting her time writing nonsensical articles about the virtues of self-publishing? Shouldn't ParaDon's moribund FaceBook and Twitter be hives of activity?
The biter bit?
A recent member of Indie Writers Support caught my eye. On 3rd December 2015 Jay Rocket of San Francisco posted what looked like a spun article (note the substitution of 'sort' for 'type' in the main body of the article) entitled 'Fast Typing Tips':
"I had been attempting to enhance my velocity for a considerable length of time and I was not seeing much change. When I backed off and began being more exact as opposed to attempting to sort quicker I began seeing an increment in my writing velocity. I feel more in control also. Regardless I have an approach to go for my own objective yet am satisfied to see that I am presently enhancing and unwinding more...
For new typists: Practice. Write, write as much as you can. Take some essay help service and write.
It was followed by more in the same painful-to-read vein. Miller/Abayomi passed it off as his own work on his Goodreads page:
Who is Jay Rocket? Google searches for his name and photo turned up more oddities, such as these:
He's all over the place! Has the spam-happy Abayomi been spammed by a spambot?
ParaDon on Fiverr
Bear in mind that, when asked, Abayomi denies being the founder/owner of ParaDon Books - he claims to be merely an administrator. In which case it seem odd that in June 2012 'paradon' joined Fiverr and described himself thusly:
"I am a computer guru, and I spend at least 15 hours a day doing online announcements & promotions for various companies, artists, and independent salesmen.
I am also one of the creators of Indie Writers Support (google it), a website that's drawing over 2,000 visits a day. Let me be your promoter.
His involvement with Fiverr was brief. It fizzled out after twelve people in a row reported a "cancelled order, failed to deliver on time".
'Enticing' Book Trailers
From an email sent to members of Indie Writers Support on 2nd January 2016:
"Let us Create your enticing Book Video Trailer
Brought to you by the Indie Writers Support network,
in collaboration with LssTlk Film Productions.
This is a new wave of book video production for every writer willing to own their own copyrighted book trailers, for advertisements or event showings. The Author may even upload the file into their sale's channels (website, Facebook etc) and video media like Youtube, Vimeo etc.
The video productions done by LssTlk are always clean, awesome and very believable.
Listed below are links to couple of our samples;
By an an amazing coincidence LssTlk.com is owned by Abayomi's half-brother Tifase Somadhi. The company's website was created from a template that uses stock photos to represent staff members 'John Smith', 'Martin Doe' and 'Pam Wehinger', which explains why these three people apparently work for dozens of companies.
Let's have a look at Lsstlk's two book trailers (neither of which bother to mention the author's name in the title). Exhibit A: Diary of a Hip-Hop Publicist by Lynn Hobson. This 'Ebook promotional video' actually depicts the paperback edition of the book, which retails at $19.99 for a whopping 456 pages. It's unfortunate that the video gives the impression that the book is riddled with errors and printed in SCREAMING CAPITAL LETTERS:
Exhibit B: LUCK, "the ultimate 70 page stress management guide" by Sohma Somadhi. According to Amazon, LUCK is in fact a 28-page pamphlet self-published in 1975 by Mr Somadhi, who is Tifase Somadhi's father and Abayomi's stepfather. The video features this ringing endorsement:
"Our Family Decreased Stress by 40% Thanks To This Book! - Laura Kahn"
Wait a minute - what the heck is a thousandarie? I was baffled by this until I realised that it's probably a typo for thousandaire:
"One whose wealth is estimated at a thousand (as of dollars or pounds). Being a thousandaire is having the attitude of a millionaire; with a touch of bling.
Video trailers for books by unknown authors are notoriously ineffective. When they're as poorly made as these two examples by LssTlk they're utterly useless.
Hold on to your hats...
...because according to their Tweet of 10th January 2016 "ParaDon Books will launch in two weeks". We have been warned! And there's something rather odd about ParaDon's Twitter account, which was set up in October 2011:
Over twelve thousand followers and only two likes? I call shenanigans.
Plagiarism and Piracy
On 12th January 2016 author David Gaughran was astonished to discover that a sizeable chunk of his book Let's Get Visible had been used without his permission to promote KDSPY, formerly known as Kindle Spy, a software he'd never even used. The dastardly deed came to light when a reader of David's blog received an email from...yes, you've guessed it - Indie Writers Support. The email gave the impression that David's book had endorsed KDSPY, which wasn't even on the market when it was published.
David engaged Abayomi in a Twitter conversation, hoping to trap him into making a damaging confession. Needless to say, Abayomi fell for it:
WARNING1: a site called @IndieWriterSupp appears to be sending emails with text lifted from one of my books rewritten to endorse a product.
What book are you referring to? We don't even know who you are.
The "articles" with your Kindle Spy emails were ripped from my book Let's Get Visible. Which would be copyrighted.
The article was copied from an online article that I read and passed along to our authors...perhaps you should sue google.
FYI: I already have your six aliases, real name and address, and info on two arrest warrants out for you. Keep talking.
Six alias? Wow.
You should be grateful for the free exposure. Everything on google is liable to public sharing.
But wait...there's more!
"There was then a bit.ly link to purchase KDSPY, which suspiciously went direct to a PayPal purchase page rather than the site of KDSPY, followed by another call-to-action asking people to visit IndieWriterSupport.com – the same domain as the one which had sent the email.
Was it possible that Abayomi was a Kindle Spy associate and therefore entitled to sell their software via IWS?
No! The software was pirated, and Kindle Spy's team were already on to Abayomi before David got in touch with them.
I See Your True Colours (and that's why I don't love you)
This is what happened when Victoria Strauss of the highly-regarded blog Writer Beware mentioned Abayomi's software piracy and plagiarism:
I think Mr Abayomi has just summed himself up in a few words.
Indie Writers Support - What Do You Get For Your Money?
Let's press the Services button and see what's on offer.
I'd hate to have my book reviewed by an undignified reviewer!
"Our developers at Indie-Writers-Support have compute an ingenious website-layout (usable for every available books) that will soon become the futuristic themes for every publishing authors. Words alone cannot explain our innovative idea, you would just have to check it out yourself."
You know, if you learned to use words properly you might be able to explain your innovative idea yourself.
"Below are sample Author's Pages made on worldsbestsellingbooks.com for your viewing pleasure. Desktop viewing is highly recommended as suppose to smart phone viewing."
Both books have such poor Amazon ratings they're not much of an advertisement for IWS's services.
"Are you not excited?"
Is anyone else having a Gladiator flashback?
"We look forward to building you the most innovative website for your published book and give it the notoriety it deserves."
PLEASE BUY A DICTIONARY
Spamming is at the heart of Abayomi's little literary empire. He's happy to send thousands upon thousands of emails to bookstores, reviewers and potential readers whose emails he's harvested from the people who join his websites (the only way to do so is by providing your email), and he wants to sell lists of email addresses to writers so they can do the same.
"Your published title is guaranteed to sell and receive more reviews."
No it isn't. If your book is poorly written, unedited and unleashed upon the world by a vanity press nobody except your mother and best friend will want to read it. All the spam in the world won't sell a bad book, and a good book won't sell unless it has distribution and real publicity.
"By the end of the first month or two, your name and your book title will be well known on the Internet. And within a few months, you will find articles everywhere online about you and your book. Your title will become a ubiquitous presence on the net! 500,000 book views is what we guarantee you for this service for one year."
Utter nonsense. The vast majority of books, particularly self/vanity published books, fall into instant obscurity on the internet. Having your name and book title on the internet and expecting it to sell is like having your name in the phone book and expecting thousands of total strangers to give you a call. Sending out tons of spam won't help you.
"We hope that you are willing to take this poignant and cost-effective chance with your published book."
We are then treated to a list of software packages that can be bought elsewhere, and
"... a list of 40,000 book readers whom you may introduce your books to."
If you feel like spamming 40,000 people Abayomi has already told you how to circumvent your email provider's anti-spamming controls. And if you purchase his Email Marketing Software he'll throw in
"...a running list of 20,000 Goodreads email addresses (extracted using this same software) that you can use to promote yourself and books info."
The next offer sounds unethical and probably illegal - Facebook advertising:
"With the secret revealed by AnyAudience, and the combined skills gathered from KdXray, we can now effectively advertise any book to at least 100,000 active Facebook users (members of Amazon Book Clubs, Reviewers Roundup, Books, Books and more Books, FREE Ebooks -- Reviews & Promotion etc) for as low as $50. Guaranteed downloads and sales. Even Facebook's advertising rate can not match what we are offering you, and that's because we know how to crack and greatly deduce their advertising rates. If you are a long follower of our network, Indie Writers Support, then you will know that we have cracked few other codes of Facebook, and other networks, FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF INDIE WRITERS."
I deduce that Facebook won't share Abayomi's pleasure in his own altruism.
The next software package is particularly interesting as I suspect it may be pirated:
"KD Software for Published Writers"
KD Suite is represented by screencaps and it you try to purchase it you're taken to PayPal, not the software's manufacturers. I'm looking into this at the moment.
Finally - lists of emails harvested from Facebook, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and LinkedIn. THOUSANDS OF THEM. What will happen when the owners of these email addresses are inundated with spam from people trying to sell their books? They'll delete said emails without reading them.
More Wanton Cruelty to the English Language
An email from Indie Writers Support, sent on 19th January 2016:
"Happy Holiday from Indie Writers Support.
ParaDon Books is now accepting submissions. You may learn more about this revolutionary company via these articles;
We have a full list of who that have signed, and I must tell you, that are very exciting. You would be reading about them shortly.
You may read these articles to learn about us;
Read it again and weep for the sake of any naive writers who have entrusted their work to Abayomi's editorial skills:
"We have a full list of who that have signed, and I must tell you, that are very exciting. You would be reading about them shortly."
ParaDon is indeed a revolutionary company. I can't think of a single other publisher that was founded by an imaginary press tycoon, has a staff of one, has published two books in four years and has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau.
STILL Coming Soon!
According to ParaDon their website would be up and running in mid-November. Nothing happened. They told us that their first books would be released in December. Nothing happened. But wait - do I hear a Tweet?
Don't get too excited. The day before the big launch IWS sent out a 'Special Annoouncement':
"Start making money selling ParaDon Books.
Join ParaDon Books Publishing affiliate program and start earning money for every sale you send their way! Simply create your account, place your linking code into your website or social medias, and watch your bank account balance grow as your referred visitors become book readers.
How Does it Work?
The process is very simple:
1. Visitor clicks on an affiliate link on your site or in an email.
2. The visitors IP is logged and a cookie is placed in their browser for tracking purposes.
3. The visitor browses the book website you recommended, and may decide to order.
4. If the visitor orders, the order will be registered as a sale for you, and you will receive the 50% commission for every sale.
You would need to create a PayPal account in order to receive your commission payouts. To do this, go to www.paypal.me
Already an Affiliate?
Please visit the Affiliate Login page and enter your username and password to gain access to your account statistics, banners, linking code.
ParaDon Books Publishing first set of publications are due out on February 1st, 2016. Every affiliate would be notified of the releases via emails.(888) 623-3129
Apply for the Affiliate program at, http://paradonbooks.com/.../wp-affiliate.../affiliates/login.php.
Good luck indeed, because anyone who publishes with ParaDon will need it. We already know that ParaDon can't provide any publicity worthy of the name, now they've just admitted that they can't provide real marketing either. And nothing would induce me to use Paypal.me with any of Abayomi's businesses:
I Can Hear Music...Stolen Music
Korede Abayomi, who likes to think of himself as "one of the top net-workers in the world" and an all-round internet guru, thinks that "everything on Google is liable to public sharing". He evidently thinks the same about YouTube. Thanks to AbsoluteWrite member EltonDiva for pointing out that the music used in this promotional video for ParaDon is Cinematic Beats and Strings by Caspar Kedros:
I'm sure Mr Kedros would have no objection to his music being used, without payment, to promote a dodgy amateur publishing company.
ParaDon has an Affiliate!
A blogger who shall remain nameless recently made an important announcement:
"Affiliate announcement: ParaDon Books set to release their new authors
I’m always on the search for new publishers and news of new authors being launched, in an attempt to assist aspiring writers in discovering them too. In my latest research, I’ve come across a new publisher that is set to launch their new list of Authors during Feb 2016. Not only are they preparing to release their new books, but ParaDon is inviting authors of any genre to submit their work to them and try the new publishing philosophy that seems to be taking the world by storm, and changing the face of traditional publishing."
Oh, dear. Where to start? There is a wealth of information on the internet about ParaDon Books dating back to Abayomi's highly entertaining performance on AbsoluteWrite back in 2011. FIVE YEARS AGO. What kind of research could have missed this? What "new publishing philosophy" does ParaDon espouse?
"ParaDon is taking this paradigm shift by storm and already has a number of authors ready to be released. After months of preparation, the next two months will see new literature hit the market, and as one of their author affiliates, expect me to introduce you and [redacted] to them."
The only thing ParaDon is taking by storm is the credulity of people who can't or won't do the bare minimum of REAL research. Nothing on this website was particularly difficult to discover for the simple reason that Abayomi is a comically inept small-time scammer, not a criminal mastermind.
The blogger has now apologised for his error, for which I thank him. It doesn't pay to be too trusting, and the margins of the publishing world are infested with scammers and incompetent amateurs. You would be amazed at what you can find out in a ten-minute Google search.
When Cory Y Standby posted three critical messages on the Indie Writers Support forum last September they were removed within hours. Yet over the past couple of days (I'm writing this on 31st January 2016) two IWS members have posted about their inability to contact Miller/Abayomi about his failure to provide services for which they'd paid. Their messages are still there. What is Abayomi playing at? I took advantage of his mysterious absence to join the site under a false name and post the URL of this website. Now another unhappy IWS member has come forward! PayPal will soon be getting more complaints about Abayomi, so let's hope they decide to shut down his account.
In the meantime, dare we hope that Abayomi is too busy to censor the IWS forum because he's helping the police with their enquiries, as we say in England?
Sadly, no. When I visited IWS this morning (1st February 2016) I wasn't particularly surprised to find that every critical post had been deleted and that my membership had been suspended. How fortunate that I'd already taken these screencaps: