Friday, August 6, 2010

Reviewer of Outskirts Press book kisses her own ass. Book has copycat title and cover

Sally Shields loves a book about Sally Shields.

In the past I've complained about mutual ass-kissing in the publishing business, where authors write complimentary blurbs for each other.

I've also complained about a book that uses a blurb from an executive at its publishing company, and contains glowing reviews for authors who supplied blurbs.

And I criticized an author whose Amazon page includes a review from her editor.

But just when I thought I'd seen the lowest depth of literary corruption hell, I discovered something from even farther down. Not surprisingly, it involves inept and incompetent Outskirts Press.

Outskirts has just published the Highly Effective Habits of 5 Successful Authors (with no identified author). Its subtitle is: "How They Beat the Self-Publishing Odds, and How You Can, Too (and How to Publish a Book and Excel at Book Marketing)."

The skimpy 100-page book with the absurdly long subtitle sells for $9.95.  An eBook version is priced at $5. The book is basically intended to help Outskirts sell publishing contracts to more writers. I'll post a full review of it soon.

Depending on your outlook on such things, the title is either an homage to--or a ripoff of--The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a self-help book by Stephen R. Covey.

The Outskirts book came out last month and Amazon shows no sales ranking for it. It has just one review--but it's a five star review.

Reviewer Sally Shields says, "This book is really inspiring for anyone that has a book in their heart! Although getting published may seem like an insurmountable obstacle at the beginning, this book profiles 5 people who overcame any objections and created a book and followed their dreams! Learn what these 5 authors did - all in their own styles, to get their messages out into the world. You will laugh and cry reading about how both having a passion for your topic and a sincere desire to help others can propel one towards your own dream of authorship. This book is a reminder that we can all do it - by simply doing the little seemingly insignificant things each day that can eventually bloom into a pond that is filled with beautiful water-lilies - that will eventually be your book, and more importantly, your message to the world, and even, your legacy! "

There are three problems with the review:
  1. The writing sucks.
  2. Sally-the-reviewer is one of the five people profiled in the book she is trying to convince us to buy! She even "contributed to" the section about herself in the book.
  3. Sally was too stupid to use a fake name in her review so people would not realize that she was kissing her own ass.
Sally wants people to buy her home-study course: "Sally's Publicity Secrets Revealed." It appears that one of Sally's special secrets is to write positive reviews about books that tell about how wonderful she is.

Both the title and the cover design of the Outskirts book were copied from the Covey book. Some lawyers are going to be very busy.


UPDATE: Ronnie Lee, one of the other Outskirts authors included in the book, wrote an Amazon five-star review for a book he wrote. Is there a pattern here?


  1. The title and book design is an obvious rip off of Covey's books-- I noticed it immediately. I wonder if he's going to send a cease-and-desist. I just checked the US trademark office and the series is trademarked (you can't trademark a title, but you CAN trademark a series-- I did for my own book series). So Outskirts is riding a very fine line here. In fact, I think this book is going to get them in trouble.

  2. Anyone who writes as poorly as she does, and is so stupid that she used her real name when reviewing a book that she helped write, should NOT be teaching others.