Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


The Deadly Mondaine

by Craig N. Willis

(5 Stars – 1 Customer Review)

Price: $19.95

Craig N. Willis’s “The Deadly Mondaine.”  Eccentric and unpredictable, eighty something Hattie gets herself in the strangest situations. Because of her mysterious past, she becomes a suspect and the investigator in the different mysteries that weave through the story. Being slighted by her successful daughter, Ines, Hattie gets her revenge. In the end, Hattie’s journey of renewed self-awareness leads her to a kind of peace and satisfaction.

 

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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 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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Marbles – Eye of the Tiger by Myrna Doreen White

Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. It takes is a little thinking outside the box and you can market a self-published book in creative, affordable and impactful ways. Consider book tours! Tours are a great way to connect with your readers and technology has made them easier and more cost effective than ever!

Author Myrna Doreen White is taking her latest book Marbles – Eye of the Tiger, on tour — a Virtual Book Tour with Outskirts Press. This will allow Myrna to take her book into the far corners of the globe, all from the comfort of her own home! Keep an eye out for Myrna’s book as she will be featured on several blogs over the weeks and months ahead!


Luckily for us, Myrna was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of Marbles – Eye of the Tiger.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Marbles – Eye of the Tiger. What is it about?

Myrna: When Kyle, his mother and cat, move from San Francisco to India, Kyle’s life changes – a lot. And not just because his new city is so different from what he’s used to. Kyle’s life changes because of the people he meets, the mystery of the marbles, and the mystical events that happen. Finding a marble with special powers sends Kyle on a quest across his new city, and deep below it, where animals talk. Kyle and his new friend end up in a jungle that is filled with these animals and one who has lost his eyesight, which only a special marble can repair.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Myrna: I find that boys, especially, are less able to ‘find something to do’ on their down time, Whereas, girls have an array of activities, like doing things with their hair, making fancy girly things with friends, or of course, reading. Boys do read as well, however, it appeared to me; not as much. They seek adventure and look for an outlet, which I felt could be given through a book that had adventure, along with mystery, as well as friendships and values. A place where they can focus their energy on.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Myrna: I decided to self-publish so looked into different publishing outlets. I wanted and needed someone to help me to get it published and marketed as I’m not in a position to do all of that. After reading through various publishing firms, I felt that Outskirts Press showed that they had the ideas and help which could meet my needs the best at this point of publishing, for the first time.

OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

Myrna: Readers between the ages nine to twelve are at the level of reading my book. Both boys and girls could be interested in the type of story line I have written.

OP: What is special about your book?

Myrna: My book is easy to read and is not overly long as well as has short chapters that will allow a new reader to set it down comfortably and go back after each chapter, if needed, making it easier for them to read.

OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

Myrna: I believe that the story itself is more interesting and relatable to both, boys and girls but boys especially; along with the mystery, spirit and adventure.

OP: Have you published any other books?

Myrna: I have written short stories but this is the first book I’ve published.

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Myrna: Yes. I hope to do a sequel as well.

OP: Thanks for your time, Myrna! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Myrna White’s gift for listening and her interest in people’s life stories led her naturally to a career in mental health. Now retired, she enjoys the company of her three children and six grandchildren, whose imagination inspires her lifelong love of writing. Myrna also enjoys gardening, watercolors, photography, and gatherings of friends and family.

For more information or to contact the author, visit https://www.outskirtspress.com/marbles

This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.

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Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


Forger of Empire: A Novel of Genghis Khan

by Jeanne Blanchet

(5 Stars – 8 Customer Reviews)

Price: $22.95

Jeanne Blanchet’s “Forger of Empire: A Novel of Genghis Khan.” In this impeccably researched novel, this historical fiction author provides fascinating insight into the varied facets of the renowned Genghis Khan, the shrewd and brutal conqueror. Two rare occurrences at his birth were considered signs portending future greatness and power. As a young man, he rose from poverty and obscurity against all odds to become a military warrior and political leader who builds the largest contiguous land empire the world had ever known.

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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 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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The Importance of Custom Cover Design

Regardless of the content of your book, a thoughtful, beautifully crafted cover will play an integral role in the success of your book. Many a self-published author (and many traditionally published authors as well!) lament that, while they poured their soul into every precious word, they didn’t give enough attention to the package. Well, looks matter.

Not convinced? Think about how you make buying decisions in your local supermarket. Perhaps you’re trying a new soup or selecting wine to go with dinner. How did you choose? Odds are it was an eye-catching label that drove you to pick up certain brands. Maybe you read a couple product descriptions, and then you placed the prettiest among them in your cart.

Readers choose books in much the same way. While they usually do read book summaries to help them make a decision, how do they decide which summaries to read in the first place? You got it — the cover! Professional book cover art creates a number of advantages for your book in a crowded buying environment over plain looking covers:

  • Information. Custom cover art conveys important, specific clues to the reader about the content of your book. Clues imparted by color, theme, fonts and more, all tailored to your book, will instantly help buyers determine what your book is about and if it’s a good fit for their reading habits and preferences.
  • Credibility. Professional cover art immediately cues the reader — whether they’re aware of it or not — that the same care that was put into beautiful cover art was also taken in the writing of the book. It sends an instant message about quality — and you’ll want readers to perceive high quality right up front!
  • Visibility. Of course, you know your book is high quality, but if no one notices it, all that pithy content won’t matter. A custom crafted cover gets a potential book buyer to slow down for a second or two, which greatly increases the odds they’ll investigate further. It’s the first and most important step to securing a sale.
  • Targeting. An important function of your book cover is not just to appeal to any reader, but to appeal to the specific type of reader your content is intended to entertain or inform. For example, when creating a custom cover for a romance novel intended for young adults, a professional cover artist will take a vastly different approach than he would when creating a cover for a romance geared toward middle-age readers.
  • Marketability. A book and its cover add up to more than sum of their parts. Compelling content — packaged with an appropriate, targeted and smartly tailored book cover — makes for a marketable book that stands far better odds of selling than a strong book with a weak cover.

A professional custom book cover creates an attractive self-publishing package that readers will want to put in their shopping cart. While there’s never a guarantee that your stunning new artwork will immediately lead to an explosion in book sales a poorly designed cover is all but guaranteed to get passed by time and time again. And, the best part about compelling book cover art is that you don’t need an entire team of marketing gurus to get noticed. One knowledgeable and skilled cover artist can make a huge difference in online traffic to your book — and that makes a huge difference in sales.

 

Top 10 Ways to Use and Sell Your Book This Summer

When summer breezes in, authors will need to be ready with copies of their book for signing events, giveaways and, of course, those unpredictable opportunities to sell in person. An even 100 is a good starting point, but more or fewer is appropriate, depending on how much one-on-one selling you’re comfortable with. (We’re giving you some great ideas here — stay tuned!)

First, stock up with Outskirts Press now and you’ll get FREE shipping on orders of 50 books or more (within the continental United States). Plus, you’ll receive an additional 35-50% off your book order with our bulk discount … and still ship it free!

Now, why do you need those copies? Lots of reasons, but here are the top 10 places you can use your author copies and sell your book this summer:

  1. Independent Bookstores: Mom-and-pop shops in your local community are often more receptive to independently published authors, especially local ones, than the giant chain bookstores. Give them a free promotional copy of your book and a sales sheet, so they can determine whether to carry it. They’ll get a better margin ordering directly from the Outskirts Press bookstore than if they order from Ingram. And they’ll get the best deal if you leave them a stack on consignment. Owners of independent bookstores must compete with larger chains, and one way they do that is by offering their customers perks — like meeting a local author! Hint: You’ll find the bookstore proprietor will be much more willing to host your event if you offer to share the promotional responsibilities.
  2. Libraries: Introduce yourself as a local published author to local librarians and ask what resources are available to share your book with the community. Offer to do a book signing or reading event. If nothing else, offer to leave a copy for the library to display in the lobby and/or put into circulation.
  3. Writer’s Groups: Network with writer’s club members who have information or contacts that can help you increase your sales, and be ready to give copies of your book to people who may be able to pass it along to important power players, or who may simply be interested in reading it in exchange for an online review (or both!). Give them a taste of your book via a reading in a club meeting.
  4. Book Clubs: Reach out to local book clubs via social media sites like Facebook or MeetUp and propose your book for their summer read. This is a great way to sell 10+ copies of your book at a time. For information on how to create a Book Club Kit check out our How to Make a Book Club Kit TipSheet in your Author Center. Hint: Offer to lead the discussion at one of the meetings. Book clubs rarely turn down a chance to read books where they are certain to get the chance to meet the author personally.
  5. Coffee Shops: Local coffee shops are great places for book readings and signings. Ask if you can hang a poster of your book in their window or pin a promotional postcard or bookmark on their announcement board. Ask if they will consign your book as a point-of-sale purchase. Or offer to leave copies for patrons to read while they sip their coffee. If customers become engrossed in the story, they may go to Amazon to get their own copy to finish at home.
  6. Genre Retailers: Book signings and author events are not limited to bookstores. Yoga studios/gyms are great for health books. Kitchen gadget and independent grocery stores are great for recipe books (think yummy samples), toy stores are great for kids’ books, and lingerie stores work for romance novels. What kind of retailer is a good match for your book?
  7. Art Galleries: As a writer, you are an artist. If you can connect your book with an art gallery’s artwork (even if it’s just that you’re a local talent) they may be willing to consign your book. Ask if you can hang a poster of your book in their window.
  8. Restaurants: Restaurants are great venues for book events and great places to display your book poster. We’ve even seen local restaurants with books at the tables for patrons to read while they wait for their food.
  9. Radio and TV Stations: Send a pitch packet, including a copy of your book, to local radio and television stations offering to do interviews and live segments.
  10. Newspapers: Small-town publications regularly feature news briefs and announcements on everything from church events to student achievements to business openings. It’s not unusual for local newspapers to write feature stories, or at least a news brief, on newly published books from local authors or to publicize book signings or local events. Introduce yourself to the editor and leave him/her a copy of your book and sales sheet. In addition to a feature story or news brief, ask if the newspaper has a book review section or a place for serialized fiction. Leave another copy of your book for the book reviewer.

Summer readers are ready — are you ready for them? Order your author copies from Outskirts Press today for free shipping on 50 books or more, and additional bulk-order discounts!

 

Write, Finish, Edit: A Writer’s Guide to Moving Forward and Finishing

We’ve all pictured the cloistered writer hunched in solitude over a notepad or laptop, furiously scratching out word after glorious word well into the wee hours. The brilliance flows faster than he can capture it on paper until the day he triumphantly types “The End” …

Well, that’s how we imagine it, but it rarely goes so smoothly! Writing a book is a big project and a long process, and the direction is not always obvious or easy. It’s common — even normal — for an author to hit roadblocks. Call it writer’s block, brain cramps or something else, but it gets us all at one time or another.

Let’s face it: We need more than an imagination and determination to get to the finish line. Sometimes we need outside intervention, and it comes in many forms. Here are some writer’s block-breakers you can seek out next time the creative juice stop flowing:

  • Inspiration. It can be as simple as a walk or a favorite song, or as stimulating as a brainstorming session with another writer. Enlist someone you trust to motivate you to think about your story in a different light.
  • Advice. Sometimes the inspiration is there but you just need specific, practical guidance to iron out the wrinkles in your plot, character development or story arc.
  • Unbiased feedback. Enthusiastic cheerleading feels good, but it’s not always what you need. If you’re relying on friends and family for feedback, you’re better off with brutal honesty … but how many people you know are willing to provide it?
  • Editing. Leave this one to a professional. While it’s fine to lean on friends, family and fans for the final proofread for typos, hire or trade services with a professional editor to do the heavy lifting. They’ll not only whip your grammar, syntax, punctuation and spelling into shape, but will also make sure your story is organized optimally for clarity and enjoyment.
  • Help finishing. There’s no shame in handing off your “baby” to another writer. Ghostwriters are a poorly kept secret in the literary world and extremely common. Odds are some of your favorite bestsellers were penned — either wholly or in part — by a ghostwriter. A talented ghostwriter is adept at adapting to your voice and creating a finished work that is everything you envisioned, or even better than you pictured!

When writer’s get stuck, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Writing consultants, editors, Publishing Consultants, proofreaders and ghostwriters all fulfill different needs, so figure out how extensive your manuscript issues are before deciding on a path to getting it back on track.

Not sure what you need to get over that writing hump? 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.

 

Capture the Magic in Your Next Children’s Book!

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who might claim that writing children’s books is easy; in fact, most people in the know will tell you exactly the opposite. Publishing professionals, editors, and authors alike must face up to the peculiar challenges of the genre, which include writing a captivating story, generating eye-popping illustrations, and creating a marketing strategy which will appeal to both the children who make up your primary audience—and the adults who must pay for its purchase. And here’s a fun fact: sometimes children and adults like different things!

There is no other book genre out there which has such a division between its readers and its purchasers … but don’t let that get you down! There are ways to write and publish children’s books which will sell well to folks of all ages, and here we have put together a top six tips list to help you create your own.

  1. Mind your length. As any preschool teacher or children’s librarian can confirm, reading with children is most enjoyable for both parties when the book in question contains just enough text to carry the story along without exhausting their attention. The amount of text you can get away with per page will lengthen as your target audience grows older, but a general rule of thumb is to start with two lines of text per page for toddlers and to go from there.
  2. Pick a timely subject. Picture books are more likely to be picked up by parents, teachers, and librarians on the prowl if they tackle subjects which these adults want to prepare their children to face. In 2014, for instance, one of the most popular subjects was bullying. In 2015, diversity and Civil Rights spiked in popularity. In 2016, picture books featuring public service and leadership frequently hit the bestseller lists. One of the strengths of self-publishing is the fact that books can respond to current events, go to press, and hit bookshelves much more quickly than their traditional counterparts. Take advantage!
  3. Don’t dumb it down. You heard right—baby talk doesn’t carry as compelling of a story as a book which treats its younger audiences with a rich vocabulary and sophisticated sentence structure. Embed what some writers call “gift words” throughout your book, and elevate the beauty of your lines the same way you would for adults. After all, it’s very likely adults will be reading your book aloud to or alongside their kids, and this will transform your book from pure entertainment to a learning opportunity.
  4. Voice morals carefully, and cleverly. Young children will often miss the meat of your agenda, and adults may be turned off from purchasing your book for their kids because it strikes them as “too preachy” or because they disagree with your point. Many of the most successful picture books are indeed rich with moral material, and few will argue otherwise than that picture books are prime tools for teaching sound decision-making skills, but most of these success stories find clever, quiet ways to do so without alienating readers.
  5. Think about those end materials! Many of today’s best picture books include a few pages at the end which include notes for adults on how to make best use of the book in teaching a skill or an idea to young readers. These thoughtful additions often help parents and educators to recognize the care which went into writing and publishing the book, and to put it to work in a more intentional way.
  6. Humor me. Or rather, humor them! Children have a keen sense of humor, and are particularly sensitive to farce and comedy. Adults are more attuned to situational and other forms of irony. A good picture book will entertain everyone by tapping into intersectional forms of humor, just as a good children’s movie usually has some sort of mature subtext embedded within it to keep parents awake in the theater. You can also use humor as a teaching tool, so everyone wins!

In an ideal world, you would be able to focus on the act of writing your picture book, and not have to worry about the complicated minutiae of publishing and marketing your book which you may or may not feel prepared enough to tackle. Luckily, we already live in that world! At Outskirts Press, you can turn to us at any stage of the publishing process, whether you’re reading this newsletter and finding tips on how to move forward with your writing, or using our One-Click Publishing suite to publish your next children’s book, or exploring your options for illustrations and interior formatting. We offer a comprehensive list of services which we hope you’ll take advantage of as you work to translate your vision to the page!

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