Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Outskirts Press editing is like "no editing at all."
An Outskirts victim speaks
From Michael: I have frequently preached about the necessity of paying for professional editing of self-published and pay-to-publish books.
Unfortunately, there is no licensing exam or certification process required before someone is allowed to use the "editor" label. People tend to trust the editorial staffs at publishers, and may end up paying a lot of money for inferior editing which can severely damage a book that has been lovingly labored over for years.
Outskirts Press -- the vanity press I love to hate -- apparently has some terrible editors. Even a book written by Outskirts Press boss Brent Sampson is filled with stupid errors that no legitimate editor would have ignored.
What follows is a slightly modified email from an Outskirts author/customer/victim. This author paid $999 for the most expensive "Diamond" publishing package, plus extra-cost options including nearly $1,000 for "professional" editing.
I wish I would have read your blog before I published my first novel with Outskirts. I have had some scathing reviews due to the errors that were left in my book after I paid a small fortune for editing with the Outskirts editing team.
I was so excited when my book was first released, but after a few family members pointed out the mistakes left behind, I can't describe the restraint it took for me not to explode.
I tried to reason with my so-called marketing representative, but she simply hid behind the "fine print" they give you after they receive payment from you. It would have cost me another small fortune to revise the book, and I am still in debt from publishing it in the first place. The marketing representative simply would not assume any responsibility for mistakes that Outskirts made.
Outskirts made me feel paranoid about not getting their editing service, but when I did it was as if I had no editing at all. The only consolation that I have, is that I have a few fans that were willing to give me a chance as a new author. They loved my book.
I'm sure other writers would hate to be scammed out of their money for a service as unreliable as Outskirts' editing. I purchased the editing service for peace of mind, not to hold my breath each time a review comes out, only to be criticized for editing I paid for but did not receive.
From Michael: Outskirts seems to use the worst editors, but even the best editors are not perfect. I've seen some really stupid stuff in books published by major publishing companies. Sometimes an editor will create a mistake while trying to eliminate another.
If a reader finds errors, the reader will blame the author, not the editor. The author will ultimately suffer for all of the words associated with her or his name. Even after a professional and expensive editing, it's important for the author to read the book a few times, and to have it read by some amateur volunteers before approving it for printing.
This points out another advantage of being a "real" self-publisher instead of using a company like Outskirts Press. I published a book in October. Despite extensive checking and professional editing, I've found about six typos, and there are a few things I want to change because some conditions have changed. The total cost for me to make the changes, including getting a proof shipped for next-day delivery from my printer (Lightning Source) is just $30.