Outskirts loves to promote itself, and its press releases usually give me a reason to complain and warn.
The latest Outskirts announcement is titled, "Leading Self-Publishing Service Provider Outskirts Press Pays Authors $300 to Publish Books in February."
The press release says, "Authors who purchase the Diamond or full-color Pearl book publishing services in February are rewarded with a credit of $300 applied to their Outskirts Press shopping cart accounts. The $300 of “mad money” can be applied toward any production or marketing option offered by Outskirts Press, including official copyright registration, custom cover design, the Amazon Extreme package, among many others. 'There is no denying that a penny saved is a penny earned,' stated Outskirts Press CEO and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson during the announcement. 'And during these challenging times, every penny counts! $300 in options goes a long way toward making a great book a truly extraordinary one, and we hope it helps many authors fulfill their New Year's Resolutions of becoming published in 2012.'"
A quick analysis of "Mad Money Month" shows that the $300 is not composed of 30,000 pennies either saved or earned -- because Outskirts options are terribly overpriced. Even with a $300 credit, Outskirts will make plenty of money from the $999 Diamond or $1099 Pearl publishing packages, and the add-ons the company will pressure authors to purchase.
- You can use $199 of the $300 for copyright registration -- or you can pay $35 to register a book yourself. It's not difficult.
- You can use $149 of the $300 for Amazon Search Inside the Book submission -- or you can get it for free.
- You can use $219 of the $300 for a press release. Outskirts's press releases are laughably terrible. You can write a much better one yourself -- for free, and distribute it for free or a little.
- You can pay $119 of the $300 for contact information on five "celebrities" -- who probably won't read or recommend your book. You could get the info yourself for free. It's not hard to get Barack Obama's address.
- For $329 (over budget!), Outskirts will send ten copies of your book (which you pay to have printed and shipped to Outskirts) to book review websites. You could mail them yourself for about $50.
- For $49 you can get a T-shirt showing your book cover -- or you can get one yourself for $14.95 or $18.95 at Zazzle.com.
- For $219, you can get 500 business cards from Outskirtds, or you can get 500 cards from VistaPrint for just $29.99 -- or less.