Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's August. Prepare for deceptive bullshit from Outskirts Press

It will soon be time for Inc magazine to publish its annual issue highlighting the fastest growing private companies in the USA. It will also be time for inept and dishonest pay-to-publish company Outskirts Press to brag and bullshit about its position in the list. 

Prior to 2012, Outskirts Press boss Brent Sampson (the same guy who confused "foreword" and "forward") used his blog to brag in advance about his company's pending Inc position, e.g.: ". . . the annual Inc. Magazine Fast 500 list is announced at the end of this month. . . . We placed #268 last year among all private companies and #1 among participating self-publishing services. We’ll see where we are this year when they’re announced later this month."

The phrase "
#1 among participating self-publishing services" is very revealing. I could not find even one other self-publishing service that Outskirts had to beat to become #1. I did not see even one of Outskirts's competitors on the list. It's easy to be #1 if there is no #2 that wants to be #1.

This year -- and in 2012 -- Brent had nothing to say in advance of the announcement -- a wise move.

For several years Outskirts had decent positions in the Inc. 500.

Three years ago Outskirts plummeted from the 500 into the 5000. The company still touted its dubious achievement, assuming that readers would not notice that FIVE THOUSAND is not the same number as FIVE HUNDRED.

Brent wrote: "In 2009 Outskirts Press . . . became the only self-publishing company to appear on the Inc. 500 list. . . . And in 2010, and again in 2011, Outskirts Press repeated its appearance on the Inc. 5000 twice more, and became the only self-publishing company to appear on the list of top 5,000 fastest growing businesses in America for three years in a row."
  • In 2009, Outskirts had a ranking of #268 (part of the top-performing "Inc 500").
  • In 2010, Outskirts dropped out of the 500 and was ranked #1266.
  • In 2011, the Outskirts ranking dropped to #3088.
  • In 2012, the company is ranked #4530, getting perilously close to the bottom of the barrel.
  • In 2013, if the trend continues, Outskirts will not even be in the 5000.

Outskirts competes in the "consumer products and services" category. It would be much more logical for a publisher to be in the "media" category or "business products and services." However, if Outskirts was listed one of those categories, it could suffer in comparison to more successful companies.

In a book he wrote, Brent provided the wrong name for the publisher of Roget's Thesaurus. Maybe he hopes prospective author/customers will be similarly sloppy and won't realize the mis-classification and that being part of a group of 5,000 is not the same as being part of a group of 500.

According to the info published by Inc, sales at Outskirts dropped from 2010 to 2011 -- a time of tremendous growth in self-publishing -- and Outskirts employment has remained at three lonely folks since 2009.

On 9/1/12, Brent faced reality and tried to make lemonade from the lemon-like news published by Inc. He wrote a blog post titled, "Is Outskirts Press the most successful self-publishing company?" 

He wrote: "it depends upon who you ask, and by what parameters “success” is being judged, but Inc. Magazine seems to think so, if their list of the top 5000 privately held companies in America holds any merit (which many would argue it does). For the fourth year in a row, Outskirts Press finds itself on this very prestigious list, which ranks the success of private companies (as defined by profitable growth) across a three year span of time. I won’t delve into the mathematics or business logistics for why accomplishing this feat four years in a row is difficult and, instead, I’ll just post the press release.  We couldn’t have this ongoing (unprecedented in the self-publishing industry) success without the continued support of our amazing authors and our talented production, sales, accounting, IT, and marketing folks. Thank you!"

Brent's self-serving and deceptive press release is linked-to here.

Although frequently a bullshitter, Brent is honest enough -- and foolish enough -- to tell us that: "Outskirts Press first appeared on the Inc. 500 list in 2009 as the 268th fastest growing company in America. In 2010 Outskirts Press was on the Inc. 5000 list again at number 1266 and again in 2011 at number 3088. For the fourth year in a row, Outskirts Press ranks in the top 5000 at number 4530 and continues a healthy annual growth rate of twenty percent."

  • Healthy growth rate? My ass. If this trend continues, Outskirts Press will disappear. 
  • Brent Sampson should be embarrassed -- not boastful.
  • He should be in hiding -- not sending out a really inappropriate press release.
  • Maybe he should consider changing the way Outskirts operates -- or just close the company.


  1. How does Outskirts Press keep finding customers. Is there an endless supply of ignorant authors?

  2. A preview of how Sampson will handle his fall from the Inc 5000: "Outskirts Press is the top-rated self-publishing service in the new Inc 50,000!"