Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on!

Over the Rainbow: The Path to Success, Health and Happiness

by Swot Zhai

Price: $25.95

Swot Zhai’s “Over the Rainbow: The Path to Success, Health and Happiness” is a compelling story, both entertaining and thought-provoking. It was written from the unique perspective of a Chinese author who has lived through multiple stages of life and recognizes that professional success, happiness, and health are intertwined aspects of a balanced life. “Over the Rainbow” provides a simple set of rules on how to stay balanced and enjoy success, happiness, and health.” —Jim Owens, President & CEO of H.B. Fuller

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Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit©, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon,, the logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates., 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.


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Feed Your Soul by Writing a Cookbook This Fall!

Cookbooks are special, aren’t they? They contain so many disparate elements that it’s almost difficult to conceive of them all making a perfectly unified whole … but they do! Consider the cookbooks you have in your house. It’s likely that you have several, especially if you’re already of the mindset to write one of your own. People who are drawn to write cookbooks often enjoy using them, don’t they? In any case: pick one up and turn it over in your hands, and flip through the pages. What catches your eye?

Very likely, you’ll immediately be able to name several key features. Beautiful pictures or illustrations, easy-to-read text, interesting recipes, and an easy-to-navigate index. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, including the world-famous More With Less cookbook–a cookbook so famous that it even has its own Wikipedia page. Why would people be so fanatical about a forty-year-old cookbook with no pictures and very little flair to its recipes? Here’s a hint: it has to do with the story behind the cookbook. While images and all those other features we’ve named above are indeed critical elements of a modern cookbook, they must necessarily be accompanied by something more. And that something is the story which you are sitting down to write!

Maybe you’ve already gotten started. Maybe you even have a finished draft, and a manuscript you’re wrangling into shape. Whether you’re just setting out to write the first few recipes or touching up the final backmatter, there are two things to keep in mind about writing a successful cookbook.

It’s all part of a whole. Everything in a cookbook must work to complement the other elements, or else you end up with a confusing cookbook which will frustrate your readers and culinary collaborators. There are a lot of ways to “do it right” when it comes to cookbooks, but one surefire way not to succeed is to provide something messy and difficult to parse. So take the time to trim things down, to simplify and streamline, and to make your cookbook a beautiful, unified whole wherein every element works to support the others.

It’s not ultimately about the food. Well, sure it is also a little bit about the food. In fact, a great deal may be about your food. But it’s also mostly about you and your story and what you bring to the kitchen. Later on, when your book is published and you start to sell it, you’ll be selling yourself and your story as much as you will be selling a beautiful book full of recipes. Knowing this at the outset is vital to writing a cookbook which celebrates your story and makes room for it as a living, breathing part of the aforementioned whole.

And there you have it: two important ideas to keep in mind as you whip up your next cookbook. For more information, visit us online at to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it ready for publication.

To see our staff picks of amazing cookbooks from many of our published authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.


Summer Series – Marketing Your Book on Amazon – Part 3

Welcome to Part Three of a three-part summer series focusing on successfully and efficiently marketing your book on Amazon. In Part One we discussed writing reviews for other products and books and explained why it is an important part of book marketing. Last time in Part Two we discussed three different techniques for soliciting reviews for your book and how to do it properly. Part Three will introduce you to three fun and interactive steps you can take right now to improve how Amazon’s search algorithm identifies your book.

Part Three: Using Reviews to Create “Activity” Around Your Book on Amazon

There are two obvious components to using reviews to generate book sales on Amazon — writing reviews and getting reviews. But there are also lesser-known elements of online reviews, and those are what we will discuss today. You see, Amazon rewards “activity” around your book by pushing it higher in its search results, because online activity signifies interest, and Amazon displays search results based upon what it “thinks” people are most likely to buy. So by including these steps in your ongoing “Review Process”, you tell Amazon’s program (algorithm) to “weigh” your book heavier than other books or products where these other steps are not being taken.

Step 1 – Indicate that positive reviews for your book are helpful. Each Amazon review includes a question that says “Was this review helpful to you? Yes or No.” As you receive new reviews, indicate that the positive reviews are helpful.

Step 2 – Every time you ask someone to write an online review for your book, also ask that they indicate other positive reviews as helpful. Clicking that little “Yes” button is fast and even kind of fun!

Step 3 – Comment on every review you receive for your book. If you receive a positive review, thank the reviewer for reading your book and for taking the time to write a review. It will encourage OTHER people to buy, read, and review your book. Bonus: If you’ve written another book, different from the book being reviewed, sign-off your comment with “your name, author of the new book, such-and-such.”

If you receive a negative review, ask yourself if you can address the negativity in a positive, non-confrontational or defensive manner. If you can’t, then simply ignore the review (being defensive or argumentative here will do more harm than good). If you can diplomatically and politely address the negative review, do so in a positive, and brief, manner.

If your book is receiving more negative reviews than positive ones, take note! Those comments may not feel like it at the time, but they’re worth their weight in gold. Save all of the feedback you receive and start working on a NEWLY-REVISED edition of your book. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as using the “Insert Product Link” (discussed in Part One) to point a negative reviewer to your newly revised book that incorporates their criticism. Why? Because nine times out of ten, they’re going to buy the book again just to see if you listened to them. Cha-ching!

Building Your Author Platform, Part Three: The Press Release & Finding Your Footing on Amazon

You’re in the process of writing your book. Is it too soon to start thinking about the possibility of writing a press release? Perhaps a better question would be: Are you ready to amplify your voice? Of course you are! And a press release may just be your next step in crafting a healthy and rigorous personal brand and web presence. In this, the third and final installment of our series about building your platform, we know what you’re thinking: Once you’ve written your book, you’ll be on track to building a marketing campaign to do it justice. But only once the hard part’s over … right?

Ah, but it’s never easy getting word out to new readers about a brilliant new book they should be reading. And while there are few events you might think worth publicizing with a press release, publishing your book should definitely be one of them. In order to really do it justice, you need to spend some time before your book is published … and perhaps even before the manuscript is finished … thinking about what makes your book special and formulating a written testament to those exact things.

Writing the Press Release:

Your book’s press release is a mission and vision statement for what goes on within its pages, a kind of written form of your elevator pitch. Just as it’s never too soon to start refining your elevator pitch, so too writing your press release can and maybe even should be a parallel activity to finishing your manuscript.

A press release is typically sent to the staffs of newspapers, magazines, bloggers, radio or television stations, and the administrators of various popular websites. If this sounds like a lot of work for one person to organize and distribute, that’s because … it certainly can be. But the benefits of a press release are extraordinary: the resulting national and even international exposure cultivates the interest of new readers who otherwise would never hear about your book. And publishing your press release before you publish your book is critical to drumming up interest and driving pre-orders as well as engagement on your author website and social media platforms, as we’ve discussed in previous installments of this series.

There are a number of ways to go about writing and posting a press release. You can write and distribute your press release yourself, or you can work with a self-publishing company that will partner with you to produce the press release for a small fee. Every company is different in what it bundles together, but Outskirts Press offers its authors the opportunity to have a professional writer draft a press release as a part of its Book Launch Bundle.

Generally speaking, no matter which company you opt to run with, you ought to be able to make moderate changes and corrections before the final draft of your press release is published and distributed. You should then receive a copy to use in your own marketing campaign, while the company makes use of its existing connections to distribute your professional custom press release.

Whether you write your own press release or opt to seek out assistance, the finished press release will help drive sales by piquing the interest of reviewers, journalists, bloggers, and members of the media by encouraging them to pick up copies of your book. It will also produce a wealth of polished written material for you to mine as you set up your Goodreads and Amazon author pages!

What’s the deal with Goodreads?

No list of author-friendly social media websites would be complete without mention of Goodreads. All users can create profiles, log the books they’ve read or are reading or want to read, rating them out of five stars and posting book reviews as they go. You can find your friends by interlinking your Goodreads account with Facebook or Twitter or Amazon, or by using their email addresses. Goodreads was purchased after its stratospheric rise by Amazon, so a lot of its features, like reviews and “buy from these retailers” links, are already well-integrated into that other behemoth of the book industry. Authors get even a little more love, in that you can create a specialized “Author Page” that lists your books (including pictures of their book covers), link to blog posts, and create and manage book giveaways.

The Goodreads Author Page is critical. Much like your Amazon Author Page, which we’ll get to a minute, your Goodreads Author Page drives a great deal of web traffic and will automatically be indexed by search engines like Google and Bing, making it a veritable treasure-trove for potential future readers. Once you have your Goodreads Author Page set up, you can announce the impending publication of your next book and create book listings which make note of the exact date.

Your Amazon Presence as Platform

There are two elements to your digital footprint on Amazon: the Author Page, and the book listing, and both of these elements can be crucial components of your marketing strategy once your book is published. But you don’t have to wait for your book to be published to set up your Amazon pages!

Your book listing page is what readers see when they conduct a search for your book by title, and it includes the cover image, summary description, publisher information, and reviews. The author page is what readers see when they conduct a search for you by name, and click the search option to display all books you’ve published. Your author page includes a headshot, brief biography, and a visually pleasing display of all of your book cover images, each of which is clickable. Book listings tend to be a more popular point of access, but the author page ought not to be overlooked, as it provides crucial cross-referencing information. You can mine the biographical information from your press release and include that information on your author page, and you can mine it for content specific to your book’s plot and genre and include that information on your book listing.

Amazon also allows for pre-orders, if you yourself decide to make pre-orders an option for your future readers. Whether or not you do, your Amazon pages are, like your author website, blog, and social media presence, critical components of driving interest in and web traffic to your upcoming book. The sooner you set these pages up, the sooner you can start generating “buzz” about your book’s upcoming release!

There are many ways to effectively build your personal brand and web presence on Amazon, some of which we’ve covered in detail on the Self Publishing News blog, and all of which boil down to intentionality. If you put in a dedicated effort to flesh out the information presented on your book listing page and your author page, and if you make an intentional effort to utilize the other tools Amazon has made available (hosting an Amazon giveaway and offering a limited-time discount are two fantastic examples), Amazon will almost certainly become the bedrock of your future sales and distribution systems.

Bringing It All Together Now.

When we first started this series, we posed the question: What is your platform and why is it important, even before you publish your first book? We hope that, over the course of this series, you have become convinced of the importance of crafting a healthy and rigorous personal brand and web presence, far in advance of actually publishing your next book. Self-publishing authors are most often building their platform from scratch, a daunting prospect for even the most silicon-savvy, and we likewise hope that you have found in this series a number of ways forward toward doing so. And in the meantime, we’re here to help you get started and to answer your pressing questions about the process. Please don’t hesitate to visit us online at to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it … and you … ready for publication!

Click here for Part One and click here for Part Two if you missed it!


Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on!

Mind vs. Matter

by Konrad Koenigsmann

(5 Stars – 9 Customer Reviews)

Price: $16.95

Konrad Koenigsmann’s “Mind vs. Matter.” The world has been carved into empires after World War III and the mysterious leader of a shadowy organization makes plans to take over the entire planet. A new force emerges, a father and son, who have unparalleled mental capabilities and they begin to use their mental prowess to battle for control of the world. This book is a gripping and thought-provoking award-winning novel.

 Learn More 


Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit©, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon,, the logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates., 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.


Would you like your book featured here? Buy Now

Your Book Can Be a Worldwide Traveler Too!

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? What if you could simply travel anywhere you wanted? Imagine the sights and sounds, the incredible locations and cuisine!

Now imagine you could send your book all over the world. All those amazing places you’ve just imagined—and now your book is there! With Outskirts Press, worldwide distribution of your book is no longer a dream, but a reality!

Outskirts Press boasts the most extensive distribution in the industry! You’ll enjoy the luxury of a worldwide market AND circulation of your book with celebrated names, such as: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Bertram and more!

Once you choose to self-publish with Outskirts Press, you can count on us to handle all the thorny details of book distribution, like setting up with each distributor, foreign taxes and more. And the best part is that no matter where in the world customers buy your book, you’ll enjoy 100% of your royalties – no small print, and no strings attached!

Need help getting started? Our Publishing Consultants are ready to help. There are three convenient ways to connect:

  1. Call us at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
  2. Live-chat with us via our website
  3. Go online to schedule an appointment

July Fireworks: Sales Explode When You’re Prepared with Author Copies — Get Them with Free Shipping!

An opportunity to promote or sell your book can arrive at any given time — are you ready to seize the moment? Watch spontaneous sales combust, just by recognizing your opportunities to sell and making the most of them when they arise.

For example, in everyday conversations you’ll find you have common interests with others. Use these connections to offer your book to like minds. Then, instead of hoping your new friend remembers your name and book title long enough to order it later, let them know they can purchase a more covetable autographed copy now!

But this scenario only plays out in your favor if you’re prepared with hard copies of your book. By staying stocked up before these marketing and selling opportunities present themselves, you’ll make positive impressions, important connections and plenty of unanticipated sales! The simple step of keeping copies with you means you’ll be ready to make the most of:

  • last-minute book-signing requests
  • radio, TV and newspaper publicity offers
  • book award submissions
  • review submissions
  • book giveaways to promote on social media
  • gifts to family and friends

To help you prepare for these inevitable opportunities, Outskirts Press is offering FREE SHIPPING on orders of 50 or more copies of your book within the continental United States all through July. Plus, you can take advantage of high-volume discounts and receive up to an additional 50% off your order — and still get your shipping at no charge!

Here’s how to get free shipping:

  1. Log in to your Publishing Center, select “order books” and place an order for 50 or more copies of your book(s) in a single format before July 31.
  2. Select normal ground shipping with a delivery address within the continental U.S. and proceed with checkout. (No promotion code is necessary. You will see the free shipping offer reflected in your total once you place your order.)

Share with us how you plan to use your author copies in the comments below. Happy selling!