Monday, March 28, 2011

If a man says "Wow! Yes! Wow! Yes!," would you think he's reading an Outskirts Press press release -- or receiving an oral favor?

Two days ago I ended a multi-month hiatus to once again point out the abysmal press releases produced and distributed by Outskirts Press -- the self-publishing company I love to hate.

I pointed out that Kelly Schuknecht, who is in charge of press release production, is a HORRIBLE WRITER, and that it would have been better if she majored in English in college -- not foreign languages.

I just read the Outskirts Press web page that promotes its press releases. It was hard not to puke on my monitor.
  • How do these idiots stay in business?
  • Why do writers do business with a publishing company that employs bad writers?
The page has an ABSOLUTELY STUPID illustration. It shows a newspaper page with the headline, "For Immediate Release." That phrase goes in the upper-left corner of a press release. No newspaper prints the phrase -- and certainly not as a headline. A knowledgeable publicity person should know this. Of course, Outskirts Press does not employ any.

Here's what Outskirts says, with my customary caustic commentary:

Have our professional [NOT!] press release writer compose an original [NOT!], unique [NOT!] press release for your book . . . 

There are very few events in your life that justifies [justify] sending out a press release. Publishing a book is definitely one of them! Have one of our professional [NOT!] writers [Maybe.] draft an effective [NOT!], engaging [NOT!] custom [NOT!] press release focusing on your book with the intention of driving more sales and increasing the interest of reviewers, journalists, bloggers, and other members of the media. [That probably won't happen. The real intention is to increase the profits of Outskirts Press.]

Once your first draft is written, you can made [make] moderate changes corrections [OOPS! There seems to be a word missing here. What happened to the "professional" writer?] for a final draft. You will then receive a copy of the final release to use as you see fit for your marketing efforts. [An Outskirts release is better-suited for lining the bottom of a bird cage.]

We will also distribute your professional [NOT!] custom press release through the News Wire. [I have not been able to find an entity with that name which distributes press releases. Actually, an Outskirts release will be distributed through several second- and third-rate freebie services which are generally ignored by the media.]

What is News Wire Press Release Distribution?

Distributed electronically to a database of approximately 100,000 media contacts, newsrooms, industry analysts, and freelance writers who receive daily email listings of press releases which match their filter criteria. [Not a sentence.] In the publishing category these include newspapers (Wall St. Journal, New York Times, USA Today, etc.), magazines (Foreword, Publisher’s Weekly, etc.), and applicable websites and ezines. [The names should have been in italics, and it's Wall STREET, not "St." A professional should know this.]

The press release is also posted to [Should be "through."] syndicated news feeds on [Should be "to."] other web sites [OOPS -- in the previous sentence, it was "websites."] through [Better make that "with."] our XML/RSS news feed. Adding this news feed increases exposure to your press release. [Actually, it means that even more people will ignore it. A while ago I checked on the circulation of an Outskirts release. It appeared in exactly ONE place -- a blog sponsored by Outskirts Press.]

For maximum distribution, each distributed press release is optimized for search engines indexing [What the hell is "engines indexing?"]. Search engines regularly spider index [A hyphen would be appropriate. Actually this may be the first time that "spider index" has been used as a verb.] our press releases. Such distribution typically takes place within 1 [should be "one"] month of ordering the Custom Press Release service and changes cannot be made to a press release once it has been distributed, nor are refunds for the Custom Press Release available once the writer has begun composing the release. [Gotcha! No matter how badly Outskirts botches the job, you have to pay for it.]

Author testimonial

What an incredible thrill it was for me, as a first time publisher [He's an author, not a publisher. Outskirts is the publisher. If this guy doesn't know the difference between the two, he is the perfect ignorant customer for Outskirt Press. He didn't even know to hyphenate "first-time."] , to read the customized press release from your ultra-professional [HOLY SHIT!] staff of writers! As I was reading the press release I kept saying to myself, 'Wow! ... Yes! ... Wow! ... Yes!'  [That sounds more like a man's reaction to fellatio, not a press release.] for the entire press release!  [I bet I can sell this guy a bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, or maybe a machine to convert gravel into diamonds.]

To say that I was enamored [Would his wife be jealous?] by the professionalism of your writers is certainly an understatement! [To say that, is an idiotic and ignorant overstatement.] After reading that press release I was ready to purchase 1,000 copies of my own book! [Uh-oh. Let's add insanity to idiocy and ignorance.] I can feel it! This customized press release will provide the hook that I will need to get my book into all kinds of markets! [Maybe a flea market or a fish market, but probably not bookstores.] I know that this book is special [Like special education?] and unique, but your eloquence [BARF!] has elevated it to a book that many people will read! [OMG! It's a 68-page paperback of poems priced at (GASP!) $32.95, and it has an Amazon sales ranking of worse than 3.5 million. The product description on Amazon is absolute garbage -- with bad punctuation and stray HTML indicators. It has four reviews. One is from a young photographer who contributed to the book and is likely a former student of the author, one review may have been paid for, and the review from the Midwest Book Review says little about the book.  Barnes & Noble shows one review -- from the same apparent former student.

I have to admit that this was the best investment of my life! [This guy is in deep shit.] To everyone out there that [It should be "who" -- and the author was an English teacher.] is getting their [My English teachers called this sin "lack of parallelism."] book published through Outskirts Press, it is an absolute necessity [More likely an absolute waste of money.] to purchase the Custom Press Release after your book is published! You will not regret it! [He should regret it.] A very special thank-you to everyone who works at Outskirts Press!" - Gregory J. Stang, author of Lifelines

[The release for this book has one of the world's most-ignorable, most-sleep-inducing headlines: "Published by Outskirts Press, Lifelines, by Poet Gregory J. Stang." The headline is supposed to attract the attention of a writer, reporter or editor -- not cure insomnia. Writing like this could replace Ambien. Reading it could require NoDoz.  Naturally, the release is poorly written, and has the traditional Outskirts errors.]

Since the author's input is integral to the custom press release [Why did we lose the initial uppercase letters?] , it cannot be composed until the author supplies the necessary information to Outskirts Press regarding their [ITS!] release.

You will receive a Custom Press Release  [Good -- we're back to uppercasing.] Form to complete for the purposes of having this release written. Any personal information submitted to Outskirts Press in conjunction with the Custom Press Release may be incorporated into the press release and distributed. This also means that the city and state of residence, according to the information you supply at the time of order [We need a comma here.] may be incorporated  [Uh-oh -- this sounds like a Miranda warning.] into the release and used to increase effectiveness [Extremely unlikely.] of targeted marketing during the press releases [Missing apostrophe.] distribution. Please specifically mention any information on the Custom Press Release form [Previously, "form" was capitalized.] that should not be included.

Outskirts says it distributes press releases to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Foreword and Publisher’s Weekly.

It's easy to prove that these publications have little or no respect for Outskirts, its releases, its books or its authors.

Just go to some of the publications' websites and search for some Outskirts book titles -- or even "Outskirts Press." it's highly likely that the search will turn up little or nothing.
  • A search in the Wall Street Journal shows NO mentions of Outskirts Press.
  • Ditto for Foreword and USA Today.
  • The New York Times has mentioned Outskirts Press exactly ONCE. The Times covered a book written by a former Yankees pitcher about Mickey Mantle, and wife-swapping. It's hardly a typical Outskirts book or a typical Outskirts author, and there is no reason to assume that the coverage in the sports section was the result of an Outskirts press release.
Good authors deserve -- and need -- good press releases. If you decide to have Outskirts Press publish your book, DO NOT LET THEM DO YOUR PRESS RELEASE.


1 comment:

  1. I'm easily excited, but I've never had an orgasm from reading a press release.