Self-publishing authors sometimes need a bit of a “hand up” in navigating this complicated industry. There are many technical terms to remember and many decisions to make. After all, your livelihood is at stake here. You want to make sure your book is priced right for your target market, you’ve have chosen the right publisher/printer, and that your cover design is flawless. Outskirts Press definitely understands these concerns because all of those things (and then some) are key to your book’s success.

As a leading self-publishing company, we are 100% committed to the success of all authors. So — instead of today’s post offering one piece of advice, we want to help as many of you as we can with your issues.

So, how can you take advantage of our generosity? Great question – you can do so just by replying to this post. What’s the catch? Well, really there isn’t one…except…your question does have to be posted as a comment on this blog post by Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 11:59 PM. Also, please keep in mind that this Q&A/Discussion isn’t intended to replace one-on-one consultation with a book publishing/marketing expert. If you require more personalized attention, you may consider our Personal Marketing Assistant or Marketing Consultation services.

So, let us have it — what’s your biggest burning question about the self-publishing industry?


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25 thoughts on “Are You a Self-Publishing Author in Need of Advice? Get FREE Help from Outskirts Press THIS WEEK!

  1. Thanks to everyone who participated in our week long Q&A session for self-publishing authors. We hope you’ve learned a lot, and that you continue to keep your eyes peeled to our blog for more information about other things we will be doing to help our authors in the near future.

    Happy Publishing!

  2. What are some good promotional resources and marketing methods to think of after the first wave of indie-published sales? First wave being friends, family, and that little bump in Kindle sales following an ARC review. My debut book’s publication date was Feb 3rd, and I have 70+ sales so far (plus the Amazon sales that won’t show up in my stats yet). Now what? How do I keep this great momentum going and avoid a slump?

    1. Hi, Tominda:

      Thanks for your comment!

      It’s definitely a good idea to get the momentum going for your book. Since I’m not entirely sure what you’ve done thus far, I can make some general recommendations that may work for most authors:

      1. NEVER stop marketing. Really, marketing your book is a permanent full-time job.
      2. Look into some virtual appearances for your book. Our virtual book tour is an option that our authors commonly use to gain some exposure.
      3. Treat your book like it JUST came out, even after it’s been published for years.
      4. Try to set up consignment agreements with independent bookstores in your area.

      These are a few things that will get you off to a great start.

      Let us know if you have any other questions.

  3. What would be the ideal circumstances for a book or white paper to be created as a simple downloadable pdf file…without worrying about cover, etc?

    1. Hi, James:

      The best method I have found for doing this is to open the document in Microsoft 2007 or newer and Publish the file as an XPS or PDF on the “Save As” menu. Other than that, there are many tools available online that can convert files as needed. You can Google “convert to PDF” and sift through the results for some online tools that can help with this.

      Thanks for your comment.

  4. I am writing my memoirs called, “The Virgin Wife Chronicles: Memoirs of a Failed Marriage.” I’m thinking that I will start releasing it slowly on my blog, like an online series. What are you thoughts about doing that from the standpoint of one day finding a Publisher? Will they like that I have done this or not like that I have done this?

    Is it probable to find an agent or Publisher before the memoirs are complete? I’ve been reading about selling your ‘concept’ before too much of the book is written to leave room for different possibilities. Is that likely or not?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi, Angela:

      Thanks for your comments!

      I don’t think that releasing your memoir that way (via the blog) will be the most effective approach. How would you track the effectiveness of it? A better strategy would be to release it via Kindle or eBook once complete. Then, once you’ve proven yourself on sales there, you can investigate the option of pursuing a publisher — since you will then be able to show solid sales figures and “proof” of your book’s likelihood for success. Texts for Kindle/eBook (or other e-Readers) can be sold much less expensively and when marketed correctly can also still earn you a rather significant royalty.

      Let us know if you have any other questions.

  5. My question pertains to the book cover. My brother is an excellent artist and I’m wondering if it would be more beneficial for me to use him for the cover art work or have it professionally done? Further, does outskirts do cover artwork specifically for the book or does it require you to choose from an allotment of choices, and is this part of a package?

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask.

    1. Hi, Richard:

      Thanks for your comment!

      Has your brother ever designed a book cover? While graphic design skills are important, there are certain guidelines that have to be followed. When you begin the publishing process, you will be given the information he would need to design the cover professionally. If he doesn’t have this past experience, I would recommend contacting a professional cover designer – whether it be one of our designers or some other outsourced professional.

      Also, the covers that come with all of our publishing packages are template covers. Our custom cover is an extra $299 – which is the cover we design just for your book.

      Let us know if you have any other questions.

    1. Hi, Jenetta:

      Thanks for your comment!

      Our best-selling authors use a number of different strategies to promote their books. Our most recent and most popular strategy is using the Virtual Book Tour. You may look at our Top 10 Marketing Options post to see what our authors have been doing.

      Even with all of the marketing options available in their Publishing Center, some authors still choose to strike out on their own. We plan on featuring some of our more successful authors on the blog soon, so keep your eyes peeled to find out more about what they’ve done.

      Let us know if you have any other questions.

  6. Does Outskirts Press have any suggestions as to the best way to market my book in Australia? Do I need a Marketer or a Public realtions person to do this? I want tobe able to link it all back to USA and pick up sales in both areas.
    I published through Outskirts Press in November and can assure those thinking of publishing that you can do no better than go with Outskirts. It is not the point of last resort. In fact for my next book it will be the point of first call. Every detail has been handled expertly and professionally, and in half the time and less the fuss than publishing houses. I can recommend that the author takes the Amazon package and the Marketing package. The one on one support was invaluable. I am sure Self Publishing and in particular Outskirts Press is going to be the way of the future. What author has time to spend months sending queries to literary agents only to hear after waiting 3 months ,that they don’t represent your sort of book, and they haven’t yet seen it and don’t want to. The only hold ups with Outskirts Press was my doing. I would be happy to talk to anyone procrastinating about which self publisher to go with. I did months of research and Outskirts press won hands down and I have not regretted a moment. Thank you Outskirts Press May you continue to be the best in the business.

    1. Hi, Lynne:

      It’s great to hear from you again!

      To have the most effective launch for your book in Australia, I do recommend contacting a local publicist. The reason I say that is because they are more familiar with the lay of the land and they most likely have good contacts in place already. Maybe they can do a book launch party or arrange some signings?

      Also, we definitely appreciate your kind comments about the self-publishing process. You are sure to be a great mentor to authors who are just getting started, and you’re right, query letter after query letter can be awfully mundane. We wish you much continued success with In Small Measures.

      Thanks again for your comments, and if you know of anyone who can benefit from the Q&A here on the blog, do tell them to post before 11:59 PM MST today.

  7. I was recently looking through a Writers Market book and they mention that the last resort is self publishing. I’ve also realized that when you get your work published by a publishing house it doesn’t always guarantee that they will promote your book and yet they take an enormous percentage of the sale of the book. Even the self publishing that amazon and other websites have to offer seem outrageous percentage wise even if you just want to do an ebook. I would like to get the highest return and percentage from my work so my question is, “How does one decipher the information given in Writers Market, which has been around for quite some time, and information that outskirtspress espouses about self publishing? Both source seem to be conflicting information and I would certainly like to get a more concise understanding of the benefits between self publishing and publishing houses. Thank you very much for this opportunity


    1. Hi, Richard:

      Those are great questions.

      Unfortunately, comparing self-publishing to a publishing house can feel like comparing apples to oranges, and reasonably so because while both are methods of putting a book out there for people to read, the two are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

      I will be completely honest in telling you that some authors do consider self-publishing as a “last resort”. They have submitted query letter after query letter with no luck. Or, they have gotten feedback from someone interested in their book, but before they can publish, they must make drastic changes to the manuscript. So, they turn to self-publishing.

      Also, there are some circles where self-publishing is not viewed in the most positive light. The reason is because there are some low-quality self-published books out there. Since no one “polices” these books, some are afraid that they may be low-quality. You will mostly run into these issues with high-level reviewers, etc. (at least until you’ve proven yourself).

      The biggest reason that the majority of authors I speak with turn to self-publishing is so they can maintain their complete artistic freedom. You also are put into more control of your financial rewards from the book. With us, for example, you can set your own price and royalty. You control how much distribution your book receives and you can market it however you choose.

      A solid analogy would be… self-publishing is to a publishing house as entrepreneurship is to a day job.

      Let us know if you have any other questions.

  8. Hi, Hollie:

    Thanks for your comment!

    We have held webinars before and definitely see the value in such an offering. We don’t currently have any scheduled, but this is on our radar. Keep a close eye out here on our blog for this type of offering for self-publishing authors.

    Also, we don’t offer a directory of Outskirts Press authors for privacy reasons, but we’re are also brainstorming ways to allow readers to get in contact with authors before hand without concerns of SPAM. Many times readers will contact us, and we will forward their questions on to the author as well.

    We appreciate the suggestions, and will definitely keep all of the publishing community up to date as we come out with new offerings.

    1. Hi, Elise:

      Thanks so much for the response! I’ll be looking forward to the webinar. And, I’m so happy to know that Outskirts is concerned about protecting us from SPAM. Thank you, again.

  9. Hi, Kaylene:

    Thanks for your comment!

    We only print our books on acid-free paper. I would imagine that most publishers would do the same. If not, I would definitely suggest looking around as books should be printed with longevity in mind. That’s a great question that we don’t get very often, but it’s definitely an important consideration.

    Hope this helps!

    1. Hi, thank you, that’s a relief. It’s sad to see the other books that are not acid free turn yellow. I wish my agenda was not so full so that I could hurry up and complete my book. I’m planning to use a pseudonym as a social safety net and a bit of humor so that people will know when I’m playing the role of author and when I’m just me. Do you have anything written up about how to use a pseudonym effectively. Who to tell, who not to tell, what to do if recognized and someone still does not recognize privacy, etc. When promoting the book, how do I use a pseudonym and handle the business side?

      1. Hi, Kaylene:

        Thanks for your comment!

        We don’t currently have anything written up, but that’s a great idea for blog post that we can put out at our self publishing advice blog. If you don’t visit it already, you can read many more nuggets of advice by visiting

        I will get something written up about that and posted soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

  10. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m a newbie at Outskirts and I have tons of questions which is why I’d like to ask whether Outskirts might consider offering a periodic one hour webinar for its authors? I like the spontaneity of webinars and the fact that attendees are able to ask/post questions as they occur and (if they’re lucky) have them answered immediately, which benefits everyone. If webinars aren’t an option, is there a directory of Outskirts authors? (Some sites, such as Ebay, allow buyers to ask the author/seller a question before purchasing, which I’ve done on occasion when the “look inside the book” option wasn’t available on Amazon or elsewhere.) I know that was two questions. Sorry. 🙂

    1. This really makes me look forward to seeing a webinaire. I hadn’t consciously thought of the “look inside the book” option. I’ll have to try to make sure that I put that one on my book.

      1. I’m so new to all of this, Kaylene, especially blogging. For instance, I was wondering whether you have a book with Outskirts. And, I just responded to someone who has a novella ebook for 99 cents but she didn’t give the name of the book or her last name in the blog so I have no way of finding and perhaps purchasing it. I’m hoping that some of this could be addressed in a webinar. You know, how to include signature lines and book title links in the blog. I remember Brent mentioning in his blog that blogging is so important for authors, but I don’t have a twitter or facebook account and it seems that those are more traveled. I sure hope the webinar idea takes-off.

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