The 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Publishing competition has become another self-publishing scam. The contest is sponsored by Outskirts Press, the self-proclaimed "gem of custom book publishing." The grand prize is $3000 in cash, a "free diamond publishing package from Outskirts Press," and a three-day trip to New York to meet with four editors and agents (if they are in the same league as Outskirts, you’d better bring your credit card). All the winners will be published in a special book by, you guessed it, Outskirts Press, which is probably hoping that the naive winners will spend their award money on copies. And all it costs you for a chance at this once-in-lifetime opportunity to be suckered by a vanity press is $15.
They shouldn’t call this the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Publishing competition…they should call it the Writers Digest Publishing Contest To Lend False Legitimacy to the Vanity Press Scam Artists Who Advertise in our Magazine….but I guess that title is too long. And accurate.
UPDATE: Brent Sampson, the CEO and "publisher" of Outskirts Press, responds in the comments below. He says, in part:
Writer’s Digest could have chosen any company to be the sponsor of
their Writing Collection. The fact that they chose Outskirts Press
demonstrates that they recognize our benefits, and they’re in a
position of knowing.
That’s exactly what bothers me. WD should know better than to let a
vanity press sponsor a writing contest under the Writer’s Digest name…which just illustrates just
how little credibility they have left as a magazine that’s dedicated to
the best interests of writers. If Writers Digest cared at all about writers, they
wouldn’t accept advertising from predatory vanity presses or allow one to sponsor their writing contest (and offer a
publishing package with the company as a "prize"). Writers Digest should have found a real publisher to sponsor the contest…or not have a sponsor at all.
Outskirts Press is not a
publisher. They are a printer. They aren’t making dreams come true…they
are taking advantage of the
gullibility and desperation of aspiring writers and, if WD had any
integrity at all, they would have nothing to do with them.