Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Reality Check: Outskirts Press distribution vs. Real Self-Publishing

Inept vanity publisher Outskirts Press frequently brags and lies to make it seem like they have advantages over other paths to publication -- particularly independent (i.e., "real") self-publishing.

In an effort to get customers, Outskirts boss Brent Sampson has written many sentences on the company website and in his blog and books that are simply not true.

Perhaps his most outrageous fiction is this statement: "The majority of independently self-published authors find it nearly impossible to secure distribution through book wholesalers like Ingram and Baker & Taylor."

  • In reality, Brent has no way of knowing the experiences of the majority of independently self-published authors. It's highly likely that those people (which include me) have their books printed by Lightning Source, which provides automatic access to Ingram and Baker & Taylor. It's "nearly impossible" not to secure this distribution.
Bad Boy Brent has also written about the "headaches" caused by getting an ISBN and bar code, and "paying thousands of dollars to print thousands of books" and the “hassles of independent self-publishing, like guessing print-runs, managing inventory, and the responsibility of order fulfillment.”

  • In reality, that's all-self-serving bullshit. I’m an independent self-publisher, and the truth is I never ever think about print runs, inventory or order fulfillment. The biggest hassles I deal with are typos.
Outskirts also says, "One of the most common misconceptions about print-on-demand companies [euphemism for "vanity publishers"] is that their only value is printing books one at a time. While it is true that just-in-time printing is an advantage of publishing with a POD publishing service company, there are many greater advantages than just printing. Perhaps the best reason of all, however, is not the printing of the books, but the distribution of the books after publication."

  • That's more B.S. From Brent Sampson. Below is the distribution diagram for the more-expensive Outskirts Press Diamond, Ruby, and Pearl publishing packages.

What follows is a modification of the Outskirts Press chart that shows how distribution works if you are a real self-publisher and have your books printed by Lightning Source. All you lose are direct sales from the Outskirts Press website (which are probably insignificant). If you form your own little publishing company, you'll probably  publish faster, get your money faster, and make more money. If you publish properly, you should have better books and have a better chance of getting your books reviewed.


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