Changing email addresses to combat spam

I’ve had the same personal email address at Outskirts Press since I started this company in 2002.  Like most entrepreneurs/founders, I was wearing “multiple hats” and doing multiple tasks in the early days, so while I had different email addresses for different departments (information, production, marketing, etc.), my own personal “Brent Sampson” email address at Outskirts Press has been the same for over 10 years.  As Outskirts Press grew exponentially, and as Outskirts Press added more people to assist with the hundreds, and then thousands, of authors “coming through our doors,” my email box exploded — sometimes literally, with the Outlook .pst file often becoming so big it crashed seemingly all the time, even with frequent archiving.   More people and more Outskirts Press email addresses were added to spread out the volume, but the fact remained that once people had my email address, they rarely used anyone else’s.

Spam is a lot like that. Once your email address is on some spam lists, it becomes nearly impossible to fight the deluge.  Spam/bulk filters and “rules” can only do so much.  In the early years of Outskirts Press, I was extremely prudent about keeping my email address off of spam lists, since I knew my normal, REAL email volume was bad enough.  To keep my email address from spam lists, I never used it when signing up for services/information over the Internet — I had a different email address specifically for that purpose.

However, over the past year, I became less concerned with protecting my personal Outskirts Press email address from spam, probably because my REAL work related email was finally becoming manageable due to aggressive delegation of responsibilities that I had held on to for so long.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why one was related to the other (perhaps subconsciously, I MISSED crashing my Outlook .pst file due to volume).  But, sadly, it only takes one or two “submit your email address here” missteps to lose control when those sites seemingly add your email address to other lists and then others still until you suddenly find yourself receiving hundreds and thousands of emails with subject matters as ridiculous and diverse as…

  • 2 easy steps to get 1500 in less than an hour
  • Just like your neighbors (receive cash back on your home Monday)
  • Urgent personal matter regarding your credit rating
  • Serious complications associated with mesh implant
  • Cheap Auto Coverage
  • Summer is here get fit with Dr oz
  • How to save your health, Brent Sampson
  • We have just what Dad wants and for only $19.99
  • Order modern medicaments for better sex. Cheaper than offline!
  • You shouldn’t go another day withoutb
  • MUST SEE- Dr Oz Exposes the new diet breakthrough
  • Unsecured Business Loans for Every Business Owner with Any Credit Score
  • Explore the Possibilities With Beautiful Chinese Women
  • Your Service Order Request: Home Warranty Confirmation
  • You Are Risking A Lot Here by not activating your policy- extended one more day
  • Home Security Camera Kits
  • Grab trusty medicaments against premature ejaculation. Works really fast!
  • Last Chance: Get 20% off your order + Free Shipping
  • Receive FREE Bible verses daily.
  • 2013 Medicare Plans
  • Take the guesswork out of Father’s Day
  • Secure your loan application in 7 minutes
  • Your pain can be quickly and effectively reduced today by Anatabloc
  • Log in details enclosed…Hot brides from Russia
  • Get the money you need
  • Discover this joint pain secret
  • Home Depot and Sears new window quotes.
  • Try the electronic cigarette on us!

… and that’s just from THIS MORNING!

Spam, your days of bombarding my personal Outskirts Press email box are coming to an end!  Over the next week I will be phasing out my Brent Sampson email address that I’ve had since 2002 and I will create a new one.   Doing so comes with some necessary logistic steps and some potential downsides, which I’ve listed below, but in this “war on spam” I have to consider that acceptable collateral damage. Here are the steps and downsides I anticipate:

1. Notify the Outskirts Press board, our executive Vice President, and the department heads at Outskirts Press that I’m changing my email address to something else. They, in turn, will disseminate that contact information to others in their respective departments.

2. Notify personal contacts like family and close friends of my change of email address.

3. Change the Outskirts Press system notices to my new email address (our system notifies me automatically of some statistics and milestones related to our company, so I’d still like to receive those emails).

4. Put an auto-responder on the “old” Brent Sampson email address that is “spam/robot” proof — this means, unfortunately, that it cannot mention my new email address within the body of the auto-response.

5. Realize (and come to grips with the fact) that much of the contact I currently enjoy with our published author-base may cease or be delayed. This downside is what has prevented me from changing my email address for so long. I enjoy hearing from our authors. Many of the authors who write to me have been with Outskirts Press for a long time, and I consider many of them friends.  The vast majority of emails I receive from authors are positive, and when they’re talking about something I love (like my company), it fills me with joy and pride to read what they have to say. I’ll miss that.  Once in a while an email I receive from an author is negative, and when they’re talking about something I love (like my company), it breaks my heart; and I do everything I can to a) address their concern in a reasonable way, and b) prevent the issue from becoming a problem in the future whenever possible.   But, the fact of the matter is that someone else now handles all those glowing author testimonials (new ones are added daily) and someone else now handles client concerns.    And that means it’s time to make this change.

Dr. Oz, I’ve seen the last of you and your diet miracles. Good riddance.

Brent Sampson hears from another self-publishing author

Last week I shared a recent correspondence I had with one of our authors about his self publishing experience with Outskirts Press.

Here’s another one, beginning with the initial email we received from her, followed by my email to her seeking her permission to share it, and then followed by her response:

“Hello, My name is Thurston Gray. I recently published my book The Pendant Project: My Journey to Awareness Through Art with Outskirts Press.  I wanted to let you know just how much I enjoyed my publishing experience…

Before I contacted Outskirts Press, I did my research.  I spent hours online looking through the various companies that publish for independent authors.  One of the things I most appreciated about Outskirts Press was the huge amount of information–clearly written–available on their website.  The three free ebooks, explaining all of the publishing/printing options available, gave me detailed information (and pricing) for the options I was looking for. So when I did make contact directly I had a clear idea of the package and the additional a la carte items I wanted…that helped tremendously on planning my budget.

My first contact with Outskirts Press was with Jodee, my assigned Publishing Consultant.  Amazing woman.  I had thought I was all prepared but I still needed to learn a lot about self publishing.  Jodee patiently answered every. single. one. of my questions in a professional, prompt manner.  She has amazing skill at ‘settling’ a newbie author. In short time, Jodee transferred me (and my book, no longer just a manuscript, hehe) to Jennifer, my Author Representative.

Jennifer worked with me on the details of a printed book.  Meaning that she walked me through the actual layout of the book.  Finalizing the cover, notifying me when I submitted my images in the wrong dpi, then working with me when I decided to change the layout of the book-last minute.  Again, just like with Jodee, Jennifer was thoughtful, patient and very willing to answer and explain, if needed, my questions.  Jennifer helped me to find the best layout to make my book profitable, sellable.  She worked with the production team and, together, they came up with beautiful layout which truly made my book, with it’s 100 images, make sense and flow for the reader.  Genius!

Dana did all of the paperwork to facilitate my Unique ISBN and the Library of Congress listing. And then she sent me an email confirming the registration. Big day, holding my ISBN number in my hands.

I am incredibly proud of my book.  It looks great. When my author copies were delivered, I opened the box and promptly burst into tears.  In my hands was a beautiful version of my dream.   Thank you.  My book is my personal journey of healing from trauma.  My audience, my reader, is very specific.  Within the covers of my book are words of encouragement, understanding and support.  Words that I did not receive. My motivation for publishing was to let other survivors know they were not alone.

My book has been listed on Amazon for three weeks now.  I have received many emails thanking me for telling my experience.  That I offered support and understanding; they were touched. They felt connected.

I hope that all of the good people at Outskirts Press get this…because you show up, and simply do your job, you touch people’s lives. You make a difference.  For me, certainly.  I wouldn’t have a book without you.  But also for every. single. person. who reads it. Your work connected us, the reader to me. Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.

Thurston Gray”


We receive a lot of emails like this from our authors, but this one struck a chord with me because it offered such an insightful summary of the process from her perspective. I thought it might help other authors who were nervous or anxious about taking the self publishing step, so I wrote Thurston the following email:

“Your email about your experience publishing with Outskirts Press was forwarded to me. It’s wonderful.  I think other authors would find it particularly helpful because it describes the process from an author’s point of view.  Would you mind if we published your email on my blog at and perhaps on our Outskirts Press blog at  It might help other newbie authors feel more at ease with what to expect…”


In true gracious form, she wrote back:

“Brent, I am glad you were forwarded email about my experience with Outskirts Press. I wanted everyone there to know how much I enjoyed it and how much each member of my Publishing Team participated in making my dream, my book, come true. Thank you.

Yes, you have my permission to use my email in any way you feel it would benefit other authors. I really appreciate the opportunity of lending my voice to the experience of self publishing with Outskirts Press!”

And, on a side note, her book really is wonderful… Congratulations, Thurston!



Author’s message to Brent Sampson

I’m easy to reach. In fact, I reach out to all our new authors who haven’t selected their publishing service within 4 days of starting with us, since that typically indicates they’re either still writing or still researching their publishing options — and in either case I can help.  The result of communicating directly with our authors is that I often receive wonderful feedback from them, such as this email from Mike Sullivan:

“As my book enters the final stages, here is my view of the process. First, your staff was exemplary in responding to any questions I sent and I would highly recommend Outskirts to anyone.

Two suggestions: One, on the page with the trim selections, add a note that if your text is typed on 8 and 1/2 by 11, then the corresponding trim size is _____. Or instruct the writer to go into the documents, click size and convert to the desired trim size.  I was really confused by this but Stephen was very good at guiding me thru the steps.

Secondly, note that the Author ID#is also the Title ID#. Here’s why: I elected to buy the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook packages. Kindle wanted to know my Title ID#. It took several emails to Outskirts to find out the Title ID# is the Author ID#. The emphasis on email correspondence, not actually person-person, could be a little intimidating unless, like myself, I had thoroughly looked in all the options and knew exactly what I wanted. But that was a small point of concern.  On a scale of 1-10, you are an 11!!!!.

Thanks again, Mike Sullivan”

Mike’s right, there is sometimes a point of confusion for new authors when the “size” of their manuscript changes in physical size from the original word processor trim size of 8.5 x 11 to the more common book size of 8×5 or 6×9, and this change in size results in a greater number of pages for the final book (which affects the book’s pricing).  His suggestion is a good one and we do have a table that provides some of the most common page count ranges and their corresponding trim sizes to make that conversion easier (although, ultimately, we perform this conversion for our authors’ convenience).

His second point gives some indication of just how logistic the publishing steps can be (and why it is a good idea to go into it with a self publishing partner like Outskirts Press in your corner). The number Amazon was most likely seeking for his Kindle edition was probably either the book’s ISBN or AISN (the latter being Amazon’s own internal identification number);  since our Author ID and Title ID numbers are our proprietary internal numbers, external channels won’t require them (and with our services, we deal with all those technical details with Kindle and Nook anyway, although we help authors understand these processes if they so desire).  The Author ID is simply a 5 or 6 digit numeric number representing the order in which authors start their publishing process with us (it reached 6 digits when we passed 100,000 registered authors). The Title ID is that number with a corresponding letter (representing a specific book from that specific author). So, for instance, the Author ID for our Facebook Anthologies is 43646.  The Title ID for Fandemonium Volume 1 is 43646A and the Title ID for Fandemonium Volume 2 is 43646B.

Thank you for the great email and feedback, Mike.

Brent Sampson blog updates

It’s been a while since my last post. June has been busy at Outskirts Press, with a lot going on, so priorities have not allowed the volume of updates to my blog that I would like. When I last posted, we were hosting our free social media webinar, which was our highest attended free webinar yet. Thank you to Elise in our Marketing Support group for putting that together for our authors and those from our social communities who registered.

Two days after that the polls closed on our Best Book of the Year contest and Susan Mercer was recognized as the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award-winner. Congratulations, Susan!

That following Monday we opened up a “sneak peek” for our authors to our new Book Your Trip to Hollywood suite of services designed to help authors turn their books into movies or a television series. And the following Friday we launched those first two Hollywood services officially.

And yesterday we announced additional styles to our growing suite of custom, full-color illustration packages.  Yes, a lot has been going on as Outskirts Press continues to help authors write, publish, and market the book of their dreams. I’ll discuss all of these events in more detail in the coming days/weeks.

Brent Sampson interviewed by Business RadioX

I was in Anaheim last week for the National Speaker’s Association “Influence ’11” conference, so this update about a recent radio interview I conducted is a bit late. I don’t mention all my interviews, but this one came about as the result of a seminar on self-publishing that I spoke at in Atlanta (the host of the radio show was in attendance), so I thought I would mention this one. Maybe another one will come about as a result of attending the NSA meeting. So a general comment for those starting businesses or publishing books – attend as many events as you can. You never know what it can lead to.

The folks at Business RadioX wrote this press release. Here’s a portion of it, and the whole release in its entirety can be found by clicking here, along with a link to listen to the actual interview, provided you have 40 minutes to spare.

Business RadioX Host Dr. Tim Morrison Interviews Brent Sampson Founder of Outskirts Press

Dr. Tim Morrison, Host of Write Here, Write Now on Atlanta Business RadioX interviews Brent Sampson CEO and Founder of the award winning Outskirts Press.

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) August 01, 2011 – On July 26th, 2011, Atlanta Business RadioX Host Dr. Tim Morrison had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO and Founder of one of Inc. Magazines Top 5000 fastest growing businesses in 2009 and 2010. Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press in 2003 and has turned into the premier source for full service self-publishing.

Morrison talked to Sampson about his own desire to become a published author and the frustrations he experienced that motivated him to develop Outskirts Press

To see the whole press release and the link to listen to the interview, click here.