Regular readers of this blog know that I have scorn, disdain, contempt, hatred, etc. for Outskirts Press. It's either the worst "self-publishing company" in the world, or the second-worst. It exists to extract often-huge sums from wannabe authors, and produces some of the lowest-quality books I've ever seen. In addition to blog posts warning people away from the company, I even published a book about Outskirts back in 2010.
I'm amazed that Outskirts still exists, but as P. T. Barnum allegedly said, "There's a sucker born every minute."
Not all of Outskirts's author/customers are suckers, but they are certainly fools for ignoring the abundant complaints online.
I have not paid much attention to the company lately, but this morning I received a press release touting a review of one of the company's recent books, One Last Season by T. Richard.
So, what's wrong with the book?
- The book is hard to find at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble—but other books with the same title are there. Book titles cannot be copyrighted, but it's best to try to be unique.
- The subtitle uses a small script typeface that is unreadable when the cover is shown in small size online.
- The author chose to use the initial "T" instead of a first name. This has been a common strategy for female writers such as J.K. Rowling who thought that young male readers might reject the Harry Potter books if they knew that they were written by a woman. The author of this book is a man who chooses to hide behind an initial. I don't know why. There are plenty of fine T-names. Tyrannosaurus Richard would be very memorable. Ted, Tom and Theodore are OK, too.
- A new author must work hard to sell books, and the publisher should help. Sadly there is no online preview available on the Outskirts site, or any bookseller site I could find. Readers should be able to sample a few pages before making a purchase—especially a very expensive paperback from a new author.