Author Poll: C. A. Ferguson, Ed.D. Needs Your Help With Her Cover

C. A. Ferguson, Ed.D. is self-publishing her first book with Outskirts Press, and she wants your help deciding on her book cover.

Book Summary

In Emerson’s recurring dream, she is helpless and terrified, watching the spaceship spin out of control and hurtle to Earth. She breathlessly observes the young alien woman, and from the depths of her own psyche, she feels certain that she is this alien, that she is experiencing one of her own past lives, and she is reliving her own death.

The dream began when Emerson’s parents were killed in a freak car accident. While mourning their deaths and haunted by the relentless nightmares, Emerson is abducted by aliens, chased and threatened by unknown men. Alone, overcome with fear, and with no one to turn to except her psychiatrist, who believes that she is imagining what is happening, Emerson feels her world escalating out of control.

Unexpectedly, three children with special powers, an ex-high school boyfriend, a young Native American man, and the Taos Pueblo medicine men come to protect and guide her as she is chased across a labyrinth of dirt roads, highways, and underground tunnels through Colorado and New Mexico. Emerson hopes this terrifying journey will lead her to answers—knowledge of who she is, her power, her purpose, and her destiny…

About the Author

Carol Ferguson, Ed.D. is a retired educator, writer, speaker and healer. Carol has studied ufology and abduction phenomena extensively and is a contactee herself. She has devoted her life to the exploration of metaphysics, energy healing, and the unknown. Carol lives in Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Please take a look at two possible covers below and then vote on the choice you recommend for Carol.

Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge each cover.

Cover A

Cover B

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

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


Let the Heart Speak

by Nomi Bachar

(5 Stars – 6 Customer Reviews)

Price: $17.95

Nomi Bachar’s “Let the Heart Speak” extends an invitation to open your heart to life, to let it deeply affect and empower you. This collection of short reflections and heartfelt responses to the experiences of life will move and inspire, gifting us with wisdom on our journey toward wholeness.

 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 Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

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How to Know You Need an Editor for Your Next Book

If you’ve spent much time researching the dos and do-nots of publishing, you’ll probably have read a number of different perspectives on editors and the work that they do in helping generate a polished, ready-to-publish manuscript. In fact, you might have read several dozen perspectives, or several hundred. There are, quite simply, thousands of authors and publishing professionals with strong opinions on the matter.

So: how do you know what’s real? And how do you know if you need to hire an editor yourself?

In self-publishing, the burden of editing is on you. Which is to say: it’s up to you to edit your work, or to track down and engage with the professionals who can take care of the various editorial processes for you. Spell check and grammar tools in your word processing software can only get you so far, as their algorithms lead authors astray as often as not. They are fundamentally incapable of recognizing some typos and misused words, and they often “autocorrect” perfectly correct sentences into something mangled and unreadable. They also have no way of noting inconsistencies, plot holes, and continuity errors. Word processors are not, in point of fact, insightful humans with decades of experience and an eye for sense and detail.

The only way to ensure that your manuscript becomes flawless (or even remotely near-flawless) is to hire a professional editor. This individual will be capable of editing your manuscript and providing a fresh set of unbiased eyes to double-check your work. In addition to correcting spelling, grammar, and stylistic bungles, a good and experienced editor will lend a good dollop of professionalism to your manuscript and iron out all glaring errors. These days, it’s entirely possible to find editors with decades of experience within the self-publishing industry. Outskirts Press has a team of experienced editors that we can set you up with.

Every author benefits from using an editor. After all, we all make errors, and it’s fundamental to your future success as a self-publishing author that you be willing to face that fact and take the necessary steps to address your need for an extra pair of unbiased, expert eyes.

So, how do you get started? Easy, visit: www.outskirtspress.com/p/editing and add professional copy editing services to your cart. Or, if you would like help identifying the right publishing options for you and your book, call us at 1-888-672-6657 to speak with a publishing consultant.

Learn More

 

Reading as Seduction: Writing Romance Novels

If you’re interested in writing a romance novel, that’s thrilling news! Romance is making serious waves in the publishing industry right now, and as the Washington Post calls it, romance has proven to be a “uniquely successful genre” in that it is one of the top performers in sales, across the board. What better time could there be to write that romance you’ve been thinking about? Simply put, there isn’t a better time! Stuck for ideas? We’re here with a few suggestions to help you put pen to paper (or pixels to screen) and bring your ravish read into the world, one step at a time.

STEP ONE: Center the book’s emotional crux.

By which we mean … from the very first page, you have to know what you want the heart of your book to be, and what kind of arc your characters need to have in order to evoke that heart from your novel’s first line to its last dot of punctuation. Readers love the romance genre because they want to be moved, and romances are the perfect vehicle for navigating deep and complex questions of love, relationships, identity, and hardship without leaving readers in doubt as to the final conclusion. Romance is, at its core, life-affirming! Readers know that misunderstandings will be resolved, tragedies overcome, and that love will triumph … most of the time, anyway. Even if there isn’t a perfectly happy ending, romance as a genre reaffirms that there’s more to life than just the mundane, and that change is the only thing we can count on. So, what is the point of your book? What emotion do you want your readers to feel or what emotional point do you want to bring home at the end? Write that down and stick it to the top of your laptop, or set yourself a reminder on your phone every morning when you sit down to write. This is what your book is about, and everything builds toward it … or detracts from your book’s efficacy.

STEP TWO: Center the action.

It’s no understatement to say that romance is a physical genre. And we’re not just talking about the sensual kind! No, romance is a genre which is underpinned by the characters’ ability to do things, and to move through the world in new and interesting ways. And remember that feeling, as we’ve mentioned in step one, is a physical sensation as much as it is a mental one. The quickest way to kill the forward momentum of your book is to stay always in your characters’ heads, describing how they think about various things. Instead of letting the dynamic tension bleed out of your text, follow what your characters do, and focus on building sensible action that builds to your emotional crux and its resolution. We’re not talking about packing in pointless action, because pointless is pointless is pointless, but rather about focusing on your characters as real and embodied people who inhabit real spaces and times, and who have conversations, go to work, battle each other with swords, or know how to bake a mean chocolate cake.

STEP THREE: Consider the formula.

Yes, there’s a formula. It can be rebelled against, reinvented, or responded to, but it can’t simply be dismissed. What’s the formula? Readers expect very specific things from the genre, namely:

  • A hero or heroine the reader can love and sympathizes with
  • A love interest the reader can respect and admire
  • A realistic conflict … something to keep the lovebirds at a perfectly tense distance. This conflict can’t be mindless, pointless, or easily overcome. It has to feel real and significant, something that can’t be dismissed after a couple of pages of rational conversation.
  • A satisfying resolution. This doesn’t have to look like any one thing (a marriage or an engagement, for example) but it does need to provide a path forward for the two main characters, either together or separately. But preferably, together. Statistics seem to indicate that romance readers really do love a happily-ever-after!

Once you have plotted out what you want for each of these points, the rest is … well, it’s the book! And it’s your book, one that we dearly hope you will publish so that we can read all about it. Following these steps may not always be easy, but we hope that they’ll provide that little extra motivation or inspiration to keep going as you write your next romance novel!

Not sure what you need to get started publishing your romance novel? Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com 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.

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Self-Publishing Author Spotlight: Katherine S. Egan

At Outskirts Press, Inc., we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors. This week we highlight self-publishing author Katherine S. Egan.

Learn more about Katherine through this week’s Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.

About the Author:

Katherine S. Egan combines an MS in Professional and Technical Communication with over 20 years of writing experience and numerous awards; a BS in Computer Science/Mathematics; a US Coast Guard Third Mate unlimited license (and a commission as an ensign in the US Navy); and lessons learned as a vibrant and healthy, loving wife, step-mom, blogger, optimist, philanthropist, lifelong learner, traveler, and outdoors enthusiast. Katherine found her true calling when her beliefs were validated at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Today she is an internationally certified Holistic Health Coach helping clients rediscover their path toward optimal health. She shares stories of women who have suffered and conquered illness, and she wants to help you find your extraordinary life, too.

Katherine is currently working on her second book.

Genetics Isn’t Everything:

Epigenetics proves that environment, food, lifestyle, and daily toxin exposure can lead us down a path of health or illness, depending on the decisions we make every day. By supporting the genes you were born with, you can live a healthier and happier life—and your jeans will fit better too. Guaranteed!

Working outside our passion is exhausting, but facing a life with illness or even a lack of energy is what really stops us from achieving our true potential. From a young age Katherine S. Egan intuitively avoided Styrofoam, plastic containers, and microwaves without ever thinking she would one day be destined to write, teach, and become an internationally certified holistic health coach, helping others learn how to achieve an extraordinary and healthy life. Her true mission? To spread hope.

“My passion is to help people understand that genetics isn’t everything. Just because you have certain family traits and genes or certain diseases seem to run in your family, there is no guarantee that you will get the same illnesses or conditions as your parents or grandparents.”

Genetics Isn’t Everything shares wrenching yet heartwarming stories about women who have taken health into their own hands and ultimately changed their lives with nutrition and self-care. A happy and healthy life, while not guaranteed to everyone, is within reach. You can change your genetic destiny. You can take back your life!

Product details…
Paperback
Format: 6 x 9 Black & White Paperback, 345 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Sep 24, 2017)
ISBN10: 1478790377
ISBN13: 9781478790372
Genre: HEALTH & FITNESS / Alternative Therapies

Ready share your inspirations and stories? Get published with Outskirts Press!

Start Publishing Today

Romance Your Readers With Four Quick Marketing Tricks

While romance novels are slowly gaining traction as a legitimate and delightful genre unto themselves, shedding the unearned stigma of their early “pulp” and mass-market years, there’s still a void to be filled. Very likely, if you spend much time surfing the internet, you’ll discover that there’s not a whole lot of quality advice out there on how to better market your romance novel apart from the standard, general, non-genre-specific advice given to all self-published authors. But this is, as the Washington Post calls it, a “uniquely successful genre” in that it is one of the top performers in sales, across the board — and sales don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. There’s an audience out there, and they need to hear about your book!

Here are four quick tips that will help you romance new readers!

ONE: Tap into the untold power of Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads is a reader-centric social media platform which privileges the kind of digital discovery tools so valuable to reaching dedicated readers, and readers of romance novels are incredibly dedicated. Have you ever known a reader in the genre to only ever buy just one book? While Amazon uses algorithms to optimize which customers are exposed to which recommended books, Goodreads relies upon readers to recommend books to each other using their reviews, shelves, giveaways, and group conversations. Both Amazon and Goodreads (which has, in fact, been purchased by Amazon but remained a separate entity) are powerhouses of the book world, and creating an author account and taking charge of your book’s sales page can reap untold rewards. Join a couple of group forums for romance readers (we particularly like the sound of the “Tall, Dark & Deadly” group, as well as the “Scandalicious Reader Vault”). Host a giveaway or two. Re-post your blog updates to your Goodreads author page. Offer to exchange reviews with other romance authors. Respond to readers’ questions in the Q&A section. There is literally no downside to getting on Goodreads and optimizing your Amazon page!

TWO: Make use of groups on Facebook. Yes! Facebook does have more to offer than just its author pages! The greatest untapped resource of Facebook is its group function, and I’m not talking about scheduling an event or posting on someone else’s home page, although those are also great ways to reach out. No: you can actually create your own group if there isn’t one which already suits your needs (do a quick search for “romance writers” or “romance readers” and see what comes up!) simply by clicking “Groups” from your home page, then “Add Group,” then “Create New Group.” Facebook will walk you through naming your group, adding members, choosing privacy settings, adding images and icons, and completing your “about” section. Make sure to include the hyperlink to your book sales page, and commit to commenting or otherwise engaging with your chosen group on a regular basis, and you’ll be sure to see a spike in interest.

THREE: Think hard about merchandising. Romance books are rife with symbolic artifacts: those objects which remind your characters of each other, and which serve as metaphors or vehicles for their attraction. We’re talking about that gold bangle on your leading lady’s wrist, or that fountain pen in your champion’s breast pocket. We’re talking about that bookmark your ingénue tucks into her copy of Leaves of Grass while strolling through the New England countryside in search of adventure, or that teacup which shatters in chapter thirteen. Think of how you can riff off of those artifacts, whether by ordering customized pens, sunglasses, or keychains with your website address on them, or by hosting a giveaway in which you give swag as well as your book as an incentive to enter. Think about more flexible means of advertising, too, whether by mailing a postcard featuring your book’s cover or printing bookmarks with the same, or by ordering posters to put up in the windows of local businesses. Merchandising can mean a lot of things, but it always means your book is always in your future readers’ minds!

FOUR: Put a pin in it. That’s right, I’m talking about Pinterest, everybody’s go-to home for recipes and home decorating tips. But you know what? Pinterest is also a fantastic place to market your book, as it is already being used by readers of romance to post their favorite book covers, movie posters, and digitally decorated quotes (in image form). You can create boards of your own, and specify them at will. You might have one where you store your “research” or “inspiration,” and another where you routinely post quotes from your own book. You might even go all-out and start a board where you pin recipes inspired by your book or that are prepared for or by your various characters throughout your romance novel, and a board where you post outfits or “fancastings” of your characters. Think about your ideal reader, and what will engage them best. What sort of home might they live in? What sort of recipes would they regularly look for? Build your brand from the ground up, in image form.

If you’re still not sure how to start marketing your romance novel, log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers. As an Outskirts Press published author, you can also access your Free Book Marketing Resource Center where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs!

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

3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Plan in 2018

Almost every blog, workshop, and website on the subject of self-publishing advocates for creating a book marketing plan even before your book has been printed. You will already have read about a number of marketing methods, from virtual book tours to book signings to book fair partnerships to glossy mailings featuring your book. Have you followed that advice?

Sometimes, even when we answer “yes” to this question, our sales numbers may not reflect the hard work and the (usually) good advice. You might even be following every piece of advice you’ve received to the letter. So, how could this be? And more importantly, how do we fix the problem?

The simple truth is that your book’s marketing plan may have a fatal flaw, and this flaw may be costing you sales. And truthfully, this is a common problem among self-publishing authors, which means both that you’re not alone and that we’ve figured out a couple of surefire ways to troubleshoot the issues.

Instead of looking at your book marketing plan as an enemy which is actively working against you, ponder these three questions. Your answers might just help reshape your marketing plan to be more insightful, more effective, and more successful at moving your book off of the bookstore shelves.

  1. Have you clearly defined your target market? When you wrote your first book, you just knew that everyone would love it. It would make you the talk of the town (or maybe even the talk of the nation or globe). It would be the “it” book that everyone would want to read. But … that’s a rather lofty goal. Many might even say that it’s an impossible goal, in that even the most successful authors (like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Jan Karon) aren’t able to reach everyone with their books. And that’s fine; they have developed loyal followings among readers who are committed to them and their books. That’s where their success lies, and even if you’re not a blockbuster breakout success on the scale of a Stephen King, one can learn from that core truth: loyal followings sell books. How, then, do you seek them out? First, ignore all of the white noise, and dispense with the idea that your book is for everyone. There isn’t a book on Earth that’s for everyone. So, who is your book for? What is your intended audience? Start locking in the details, from demographic details like age and occupation to the qualities they look for in books. Define your target audience with care, and with specificity. If you can’t name some specific characteristics, you won’t be able to market to them.
  2. Have you figured out what differentiates your book from the other books available to your target market? Can you tell us why your book is both different from and better than any other book on the market in its genre? Is there a lesson taught in your book? Are your characters easier to relate to? There has to be a reason why readers want to buy your spy thriller instead of the latest from John le Carré. As daunting as it is to consider as a competitor THE AUTHOR who leads the pack in terms of sales in your genre, doing so will help you figure out your book’s strengths. You aren’t just churning out another Vince Flynn action book; you’re publishing a book with its own strengths of plot and character. Find out what makes your book special and use that as your unique value proposition … in marketing as well as every other context.
  3. Have you updated your book marketing plan lately? The book marketing industry, like any other, evolves with blinding speed. If you don’t keep your plans up to date, your plan can easily become irrelevant and your book sales will flag. We recommend that authors review and update their book marketing plan at least once per year, and that they make sure to get other eyes on their plan than their own as well. Having that external insight is vital and important to making sure that every detail of your marketing plan serves a purpose!

Have your book sales been flagging and you can’t figure out why? Visit your Author Center account online at www.outskirtspress.com to explore more marketing options and resources, including the chance to book 5 hours with one of our award-winning Personal Marketing Assistants!