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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Outskirts Press is suing to stop my book and to collect $5 million for libel.


The shit has finally hit the fan.

Outskirts Press calls itself "the fastest-growing full-service publishing provider."

I have been critical of Outskirts Press both online and in print. Until now, the company has ignored my criticisms and complaints. In fact, no one at Outskirts has ever responded to my emails asking simple questions about the company, like how many people work there.

Outskirts is finally paying attention to me. They're suing to stop the criticism and to collect $5 million for libel. Maybe they got a new lawyer.

I maintain that Outskirts Press is often “stupid, sloppy and sleazy,” in printing and promoting books, and in promoting its own business.

I frequently detail Outskirts’s errors and deliberate distortions in this blog, and have recently published a book about the company: “Stupid, Sloppy, Sleazy: The Strange Story of Vanity Publisher Outskirts Press. How do they stay in business?

Herbert J. Skidmore, of the Skidmore, Appel and Wentworth law firm, is representing both Outskirts Press and Brent Sampson, its founder and CEO.

In a brief filed with the Colorado Supreme Court, Skidmore stated, “While it is extremely unusual for a publisher to seek to halt publication of another company’s book, Plaintiff has been grievously harmed in the past by Defendant’s malicious, unrelenting and unwarranted criticism. If this new book is allowed to circulate, it could mean the end of Outskirts Press, with loss of publishing opportunities for authors, loss of jobs, loss of competition in publishing, and the loss of a substantial investment by the Sampson family.”

The lawsuit asks the court to order termination of book printing, verified destruction of all copies in inventory, surrender of all profits from sold copies, and payment of $50,000 in expenses plus $4,950,000 in punitive damages for libel.

I consider the suit to be groundless, frivolous, vindictive and unconstitutional. I requested a dismissal of the suit, but if the dismissal is denied, I promise a vigorous defense based on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and several Supreme Court rulings. While courts have recognized some limits to free speech, truth is almost always a defense against libel. I have described Outskirts Press as inept and dishonest, and it will be easy to establish the truth of my claims. The evidence is abundant and overwhelming.

I have been criticizing the company online since 2008 without any contradiction or complaint. While Outskirts Press makes extensive use of online media in promoting itself, it apparently did not feel threatened by online criticism by others. It’s only now, when faced with a permanent bound volume of criticism that could be on a shelf in the Library of Congress for generations to come, that Outskirts – a book publisher – feels it necessary to seek censorship and censure from the courts.

I call upon Outskirts Press to end this foolishness immediately. It is absurd for a book publisher to ask a court to revoke my Freedom of the Press.

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15 comments:

  1. This was a dumb move for Outskirts Press, motivated by ego, not by reason or money.

    The publicity will make Outskirts seem stupider than people already think they are.

    You should win, but it may be expensive. Maybe you can get help from the ACLU.

    Good luck. Don't be intimidated. Keep kicking ass.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You could probably build up a big legal defense fund with donations from authors who were screwed by Outskirts.

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  3. Outskirts Press is an appropriate target for your April 1st spoof.

    No Skidmore is a member of the Colorado Bar, maybe he just drinks at one.

    The Colorado Supreme Court hears appeals of lower court decisions. Outskirts would have to file in a trial court.

    You are in Connecticut, The Colorado Court would have no jurisdiction in this case. If it was ever brought, it would have to be brought in Connecticut or in Federal District Court under diversity jurisdiction........

    ReplyDelete
  4. To Anonymous:

    Good detective work.

    The April Fools Rools require at least one "tell" that reveals the falseness to those who pay attention or do some digging.

    And, of course, no one should ever believe anything with a 4/1 date on it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What's really ironic is that the first inkling I had that OP was facing online criticism came when I started getting e-mails from them regarding how to fight back against such criticism. This, in turn, led to my googling OP, looking for the criticism that so obviously stung them. My personal experience is that while they did a good job with my book, I haven't been very happy with OP's marketing packages. A lot of buck for very little bang.

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  6. Maybe you have stopped me from making a big mistake. I just completed a very good comic book and was ready to contact Outskirts Press but something told me to check 'em out. Man, am I glad I did. All they run are scams! Now I've had my work stolen a few times over the tears and I don't feel like getting screwed again or ever. Thanks for the heads-up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you copyright your writings first before showing your work

      Delete
  7. The trouble with April 1st posts on the web, is that it's not necessarily anywhere around April 1st when someone happens to stumble across them...

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  8. I am currently dealing with Outskirts Press as a self published author. For one, I am finding a discrepancy in the figure they give me from my sales and the number posted on Amazon though Author's Central. Outskirts says I have sold a lesser amount than what Amazon reports. In addition, while Outskirts is quick to take consumer money, forcing buyers to use credit cards in order to receive immediate payment; they are exceptionally slow at paying royalties. And...are these royalties correct? I don't know who's running the show, but an IRS audit might be in order.

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  9. They apparently have a great staff of one, part-time receptionist 9-3. You never can talk to anybody and their professional staff appear to be non-salaried freelancers who live all over the country and connect via email..lovely and no accountability

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  10. I want to publish a book. What FREE online company/website would you recommend, if any?

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  11. To the latest Anonymous:

    No company will publish print books for free. If you want real books, you pay real money.

    It is possible to publish e-books for free. I've used Lulu.com for e-books in PDF format.

    It's best to budget $1,000 to $3,000 to produce and promote a professional-quality book.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for all your advice Michael! You Mentioned Lulu.com for ebooks...who would you recommend for POD, and why?

    ReplyDelete
  13. To Michael J. Lauren:

    For printing, where you do all of the prep work: Lightning Source or CreateSpace. For the least expensive book publishing package with a custom cover: Wasteland Press. For refreshing honesty, flexibility and author control: Dog Ear Publishing. For various degrees of service and assistance: CreateSpace. For deluxe full-service publishing and promotion and first-class books: Vantage Press

    ReplyDelete
  14. As Ben Franklin once said: "He who is in the mud likes to pull another in." Fortunately, we published a test book at the lowest cost as we heard many of these self-publishing firms are scams. We have such a niche market with numerous books and a POD is our best route to go. We have no problem with the quality of the book we got, but when we placed a small order of books (30) we never received them. Due to a computer glitch on their part the books were sent to an old address despite two attempts to provide the proper address. Outskirts blamed us, took no responsiblity then had the nerve to offer us a $25.00 credit for a new order.

    I am beginning to believe many of these self publishers rank right up there with diploma mills

    ReplyDelete