Friday, July 6, 2012

You ought to be in pictures: More money-wasting bullshit from Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press is the self-publishing company I love to hate. Its people do so many things so badly (and sometimes so dishonestly), that they are frequent subjects for this blog. I even wrote a book, Stupid, Sloppy, Sleazy about Outskirts (which needs to be updated).

When a traditional publisher like Random House sells a million copies of a book, it makes money selling the books. When a company like Outskirts Press sells 14 copies, it has to make its money selling services to the authors.

Self-publishing companies often sell high-profit add-ons at higher prices than authors would pay if they bought directly from the sources, like business cards and copyright registration. Some items that anyone can get for free, like a Library of Congress Control Number), must be paid for. Many extra-cost options -- like editing -- are really necessities. 

Outskirts seems to have stopped selling custom-made sneakers showing the image of a book cover for $99. Now Outskirts wants to grab as much as $15,239 from naive authors who dream of being the next Rowling, Clancy or Puzo.

Outskirts tells the starstruck: "If you believe your book would make a great movie or television series, the next economic step is often a Hollywood Treatment of your book. And when you book your trip to Hollywood with the Outskirts Press treatment option, a true Hollywood producer at a real Hollywood production company will be involved in contributing to and reviewing your treatment."

"Your treatment will be studied and evaluated by a credited Hollywood producer, which might include consideration for optioning. Your treatment will also be submitted to a searchable Hollywood database, used by other studios, executives, and producers seeking materials to pitch, option, or buy." Details are here. 

If you've seen Mel Brooks's The Producers, you may not have much faith in the Outskirts offer.

You might have a better chance of getting a movie deal if you get a few hundred friends to wear sneakers showing your book and parading on Hollywood Boulevard.

Outskirts loves to send out press releases touting the dubious awards the company has won, and the even-more-dubious awards it has bestowed on its cash-cow authors.

I hereby propose a lifetime achievement award to Outskirts Press for Chutzpah! (arrogance, gall, effrontery, audacity, etc.). The traditional example of the Yiddish word chutzpah is a man who killed both of his parents and then asked the judge for mercy because he is an orphan.

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