Calling All Colorado Authors! Outskirts Press Wants You for the 2017 Colorado Book Awards

Attention, Colorado-based authors, editors, illustrators and photographers: Outskirts Press is once again sponsoring the annual Colorado Book Awards, and we want your submissions for the 2017 Awards!

The annual event is run by the Colorado Center for the Book, the program department of the Colorado Humanities, which is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of Colorado’s outstanding authors, editors, illustrators and photographers.

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The Colorado Book Awards—presented annually by Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book—were launched in 1991 with four categories of awards to recognize authors, illustrators, editors and publishers, and have since expanded to 10 literary categories. Many of Colorado’s most prominent authors have been recognized with awards, including David Milofsky, John Fielder, Tom Noel, Stephanie Kane and Linda Hogan, among others.

The deadline for applications for the 2017 Colorado Book Awards is January 9, 2017. Judging generally occurs in April, and the awards are presented at a ceremony in Parker in late Spring.

Visit http://www.coloradohumanities.org for more information about the Colorado Book Awards. Are you a non-Coloradan but interested in other book competition opportunities? Visit Outskirts Press to learn more about how book awards can help move your book to new levels of success.

Publish Your Story

We’re Rated #1 Because of You!

If you’ve stopped by the Outskirts Press website, you may have noticed the announcement that we’re still the #1 ranking self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews, an independent organization and member of the Better Business Bureau that is dedicated to providing you–and consumers of all kinds–with unbiased reviews of the top products available for online purchase today. This is a big deal, but it’s not just a pat on the back and a wink for us; a high rating from a reputable third party has every bit as much to say about you, whether you’re already publishing through us or still considering all of your options.

First of all, in the theme of November and the upcoming holiday, let us take a moment to thank you–all of you. Your discerning taste and your commitment to excellence holds all of us–all self-publishing companies, actually–to a high standard. This is so important because it gives us and everyone who works in the publishing industry the motivation to consistently produce stellar books and provide exceptional service.

Our top rating is also the result of your engagement. Top Consumer Reviews conducts thorough research before awarding a ranking, and one of the metrics they measure is “success rate”–and in self-publishing, that has a lot to do with your satisfaction. There’s extensive product testing and product claim verification as well as a whole host of other metrics to be examined–all of which you can read about on the Top Consumer Reviews website.

Thank you, writers! Your choices make a big difference to us as a company. You challenge us to be better than the rest. You challenge us to be the best.

Stack of Books

So let’s take a moment to talk about what our #1 rating means for you now, and in the future. Once we have an award or a rating like this, we don’t like to lose it (and we’ve held this rating with Top Consumer Reviews for years!). So we will continue to develop our services, calibrating them precisely to your needs. We will continue to provide top-notch industry professionals–from our Publishing Consultants to our graphic designers to our executives to our  Personal Marketing Assistants–whose experience and expertise are unparalleled in the field.  We will continue to produce books that meet–or exceed–your expectations (as you can confirm via hundreds and hundreds of testimonials here). We will reach out to you for honest feedback and insight into your experience as you publish, and use your responses to diversify our offerings and improve every level of our services.

When push comes to shove, this #1 rating isn’t just about Outskirts Press. It’s about you, and what you deserve. You deserve the best. And we’re going to give it to you!

Reach for the Moon and Land Among the Stars This Awards Season!

Book contests are a wonderful way for self-published authors to build upon their platforms and cultivate credibility. And yes, while they’re occasionally the hallmark of snootiness, awards ought not to be overlooked as the fantastic marketing tool they are! Not only will winning a book award (or two, or three) boost an author’s physical and social presence, they also create cross-searchable entries online and, as such, play a big role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

Yes, winning awards make for a great addition to your book listings on Amazon, Goodreads, and other websites, and they also give you a great excuse to throw a party or a book reading and possibly even release a new celebratory edition of your book! Awards do all these things–and they also perform a truly critical service in affirming your hard work.

It has been hard work, what you’ve accomplished. But awards aren’t just about you, they’re also about your readers! There are so many books in the world, and such fierce competition online and in bookstores for customers’ attention, that readers can easily be swamped by the sheer number of options available. Awards lend distinction, dare we say credibility, to help your book stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Book Contests

An award win or nomination increases your exposure in several key ways, including:

  1. Fleshing out your resume, biography, and social capital;
  2. Boosting your book’s marketing presence with feature articles in publications or online, in press releases, and elsewhere;
  3. Award badges which can be featured on your book’s cover, rendering it eye-catching both in stores and in online retail listings;
  4. Last but not least, several contests (including those held by Writer’s Digest and ForeWord Magazine) are attached to cash winnings, which can go a long way toward further marketing efforts for your award-winning opus.

It’s true that many contests have deadlines based upon the book’s publication date, so it is in every author’s best interest to enter as many contests as possible as soon after publication as possible.  But there are other contests that don’t depend upon publication dates (or at least, not as strictly), so even if your book has been published for a few years, your marketing efforts would be well-served to enter contests for which you are still eligible.

Published Outskirts Press authors can browse through the free Top National Contests & Awards ebook in their Book Marketing Bookshelf from within their Publishing Center for a vetted listings of many of the best book awards to enter (many of which have upcoming deadlines for submission).   Here’s just a sample of some of the awards with upcoming deadlines:

Top National Contests and Book Awards

USA Best Book Awards

  • Deadline: Fall
  • Website: USABookNews.com
  • Details: This contest is another option to spread your marketing dollars, as they accept manuscripts up to two years after publication. All winners receive industry and media exposure.

Benjamin Franklin Awards

  • Deadline: Fall/Winter
  • Website: IBPABenjaminFranklinAwards.com
  • Details: Held by the Independent Book Publishers Association, the annual Benjamin Franklin Awards is one of the premiere contests in independent publishing today, where Gold Medal winners in each category receive an engraved crystal trophy acknowledging their accomplishment.

Reader Views Literary Awards

  • Deadline: December of your copyright year
  • Website: ReaderViews.com/literaryawards
  • Details: With numerous categories and various awards per category (including cash prizes and publicity packages), the Reader Views Literary Awards should not be missed. And it’s easy to miss them! They have the earliest deadline among all these contests, so plan early.

INDIEFAB Awards

Deadline: Dec/Jan
Website: IndieFab.ForewordReviews.com
Details: Held by the prestigious review journal Foreword Reviews, the INDIEFAB Awards are a cornerstone of the independent publishers marketing foundation. Not only are winners featured in the print and digital editions of Foreword Reviews, but they play a role in a national publicity campaign.

Eric Hoffer Book Awards

  • Deadline: January
  • Website: HofferAward.com
  • Details: One submission automatically makes you eligible for numerous category considerations, including most-thought provoking work, best cover, best first-time author, and best over-all book, which comes with a $2,000 Grand Prize.


The Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards

  • Deadline: By invitation only
  • Website: OutskirtsPress.com
  • Details: Every year Outskirts Press recognizes one book as our official Best Book of the Year with this prestigious award that comes with a $1,500 Grand Prize for the winning author. The prerequisite for becoming one of the three special Semi-Finalists in this contest is winning a Colorado Independent Book Publishers Association EVVY Award.

Each award presents its nominees and winners with unique advantages, from cash and promotion in print and online magazines to possible literary representation in areas such as film and foreign rights, to promotion at public events such as the Book Expo of America.  But each award submission process also presents its own unique challenges, from entry fees to stringent eligibility requirements to the logistics of producing and mailing book copies to reviewers and judges–and as with many other marketing opportunities, this process can eat up a lot of a self-publishing author’s time, money, and energy. And with the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s easy to get distracted and miss the submission deadlines entirely.   Don’t let that happen to you!

If you’ve published with Outskirts Press, why not let us take care of the details? We’d love to help you, and we’d love to take your book to the red carpet!  But even if you choose to do it all yourself, make sure you do it.  Winning a book award for your published book is truly one of the most amazing feelings! There’s nothing quite like it.  Here’s to your great success!

 

 

 

Join Outskirts Press Authors at the Mountains & Plains Fall Discovery Show

The Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association is the place for booksellers, book lovers, and the book industry as a whole. This Thursday, October 6th thru October 8th, they kick of their Fall Discovery Show for 2016 at The Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel by welcoming 250 booksellers, 150 publishers, and 75 authors, including writers published by Outskirts Press.

For instance, Diane M. Bassett, the EVVY-Award winning author of 17 Hours will be in attendance, and she took a moment from successfully marketing her book to speak with us:

 diane .

Can you tell us a little bit about your award-winning book, 17 Hours. What is it about?

17 Hours: Tracking Down Our Runaway is the hour-by-hour true story of how we located and rescued our runaway daughter from sex traffickers that were going to sell her.

This is obviously an emotional book, and one that must have been difficult to write. Why did you decide to write about this incident?

I knew while it was going on that it was a major event and one that I should keep notes on.  Throughout the process the officials I interacted with continuously told me finding Sam would take me months.  However, when your child is being sold, nothing short of immediate results will do.  When I saw how quickly we found her, I asked her if she would be comfortable with me sharing the experience in the hopes it could help another family in a similar situation.  Samantha immediately agreed and added her notes throughout the book to give the readers an insiders peek at her thought process during this time.

What types of readers do you feel would be interested in reading 17 Hours? And why?

Any parent with a young daughter, or who knows someone with a young daughter, would benefit from reading 17 Hours.  I was so blindsided by the new techniques used by sex traffickers and how they get to our girls; I wish I had had this kind of information before she jumped out of her window.  Had I known no local park was safe anymore, or that a guy loaning her a jacket could be used a recruiting technique-I might have been more aware of what path she was on.

What do you hope your readers take away from 17 Hours?

I hope they walk away with an increase in knowledge about what to do if their child runs away.  Answering that immediate question, “What do I do?” after a child goes missing is crippling.  17 Hours has a Quick Tip Guide in the back to aid anyone searching for a runaway. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to find them- if you know where to look and how to get around their privacy techniques.

What steps are you planning to take in order to market 17 Hours to those potential readers?

I started with entering it in the EVVY’s, which went very well as I placed third.  I’ve also entered it in the USA Best Book Awards, and plan to enter it in the National Indie Excellence Awards as well.  I’m a member of CIPA and have arranged to have the book at the Mountain & Plains Fall Showcase.  I manage my own website, which is heavily linked to the book.  I’m working on the submission process for Hudson News booksellers as I believe it would make an excellent airport book.  I have been in contact with the managing editor of Pursuitmag.com, a magazine for professional private investigators, and they are running a full page author highlight on the book.  I’ve contacted all major libraries across the United States and many are adding it to their collection list for the new fiscal year.  I received a lovely letter from Linda Smith, the CEO of Shared Hope International thanking me for the book and the information it gives, and have been invited to do a vendor event alongside their organization so the book is featured.  Plus, I obviously read and follow the Marketing COACH emails as closely as possible!

Have you published any other books? Do you plan to publish more?

17 Hours was my first book.  I am currently writing my next book and plan to do an early 2017 release, with more to follow.  I have a lot to say!

Thank you for chatting with us, Diane, and for sharing your courageous story to help other families. And congratulations on your success!

 

An Interview with Award-Winning Author Marie-Yolaine Williams, author of Old Dog, New Tricks

Marie-Yolaine Williams is the award-winning author of two juvenile fiction books from Outskirts Press, both of which play a part in her Shelter Dog Series.  Her first book, Old Dog, New Tricks, was published in November 2015 and just won a 1st Place EVVY Award in the Juvenile Fiction category. Her second book, Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo was just published this past June.  Will it also be nominated for a coveted EVVY Award? Only time will tell.

Marie-Yolaine Williams is an attorney who loves kids and dogs. She has one child, a 7-year-old boy named Langston, and two senior dogs, Fenster and Keaton, both of whom were rescued. She wrote the Shelter Dog Series in hopes that it will encourage people to adopt dogs from shelters and consider dogs that are frequently overlooked by adopters. She resides in Atlanta with her family and a portion of her royalties will be donated to Lifeline Animal Project and Susie’s Senior Dogs, an organization that provides exposure to older dogs in shelters looking for their forever homes

In honor of World Animal Remembrance Month all September long, Outskirts Press has donated $1000 to the Dumb Friends League at this link and invites other animal lovers to join us. Marie-Yolaine Williams holds all animals near and dear, and we had an opportunity to ask her a few questions about her award-winning book and her Shelter Dog Series:

OP: Your story, Old Dog, New Tricks, is a heart-warming illustrated children’s story with a valuable message. How long did it take you to write it?

MYW:  Thank you. I wrote it in about a month. The technical aspect took me a bit longer, but the idea came from a statement that my son, Langston, who is now eight, made to me one day. There was a dog (Keaton) who caught my eye at our local shelter, and I explained to him that if we adopted the dog, she may only be with us a year or two because she was older. Langston replied that even if the dog only lived two more years, that is actually fourteen years in dog years. I had never looked at it from that perspective – from the dog’s point of view. And that’s when I realized I had been looking at things all wrong. This gave me the idea to write a series of books told from the point of view of an undesired shelter dog. The goal is to encourage shelter adoption of course, but also, to encourage adopters to consider dogs they may otherwise overlook. It seemed fitting to begin the series about an old dog, because they are so often passed over in favor of puppies.

OP: The story rings true.  Is the story of Boscoe the shelter dog based upon one of your senior dogs, Fenster or Keaton?

MYW: It’s about both of them, but it’s especially about Keaton because I adopted her last year and she was already nine. We have no idea how Keaton ended up at Fulton County Animal Services here in Atlanta, only that she was picked up as a stray.  But she’d obviously had a family before. She already knew all of her commands, was housebroken, and later on we discovered that she is an excellent READ dog. She loves her story time. I think in my generation, there’s a common perception that the “good” dogs are at the breeder, and the aggressive or bad dogs are at the shelter. And that’s absolutely not true. Most dogs end up at the shelter through no fault of their own.  Sometimes they were unlucky and just had an irresponsible owner. Other times, their owner passed and there was no one to take the dog in. There’s also eviction, or serious illness for the owner – all things that are not caused by the dog. It’s especially heartbreaking when a senior ends up at the shelter. I saw Keaton’s picture online and it broke my heart. She just had the look of a dog that had given up hope. We feel really fortunate that we are part of her second act – because everyone deserves one.  When we brought her home, she ran from room to room celebrating.

OP: What advice would you give to a family that is considering adopting an older pet?

MYW: I would say go for it! Because often young families think a puppy is the best fit for them, but in fact an older dog may actually be a better fit. At the time we adopted Keaton, Langston was reading.  He was really into the Harry Potter series. Either Fenster or Keaton would sit and listen to him read. They did so attentively and without being a distraction.  So I would especially encourage it if you have a child that is learning to read. Older dogs are a captive, non judgmental audience.  I noticed that when I was the one my child was reading to, he was more self conscious. No matter how encouraging I was, he seemed more nervous, like he was scared to make mistakes. I made the decision to have him read to a dog while I busied myself in the room ironing or folding clothes. He started soaring. It got to the point where he would ask, “Keaton, do you know what accelerate means? Okay if you don’t know it’s just a fancy way of saying go faster.” He actually got so confident he would stop to explain concepts to the dog he was reading to. In the book, the young boy, Max, reads to Boscoe, his newly adopted older dog, exactly how we do at home.

I’d also say, even if you don’t have a child who is reading, it’s a wonderful thing to teach a child – to look at things from the point of view of the dog. Older dogs are so grateful for their second chances. So even if that dog is only with your family a short while, it’s a lifetime for that dog. That second chance is everything in the world to them.  It teaches children to be selfless and care for those who have been forgotten, and I think that’s a good value to instill in them.

And if you don’t have children, older dogs require a lot less. They are perfect for someone who works a lot. They are just happy to have a warm place to lay their heads. On days I can’t be home, my dogs sleep the day away. They don’t chew furniture and are very laid back. We still enjoy walks with them and they are quite active, but they are much easier than puppies.

OP: How can others help in the support of animal adoption?

MYW: In the book, I try to encourage kids and adults to support animal rescue. Sometimes that means adopting or fostering a dog or a cat. Other times it’s just not the right time to have any pet in the house. There may be a member of the household who is allergic, or it’s just not the right time.  So I try to encourage kids to do things that help their local rescue.  Rescues always need newspapers and pet food, so collecting those items really helps. Or earning the money to sponsor a dog or a cat and donating it to their local shelter.

My father used to say everyone has to do their part. In other words, if I have 12 dogs, I’ll tire myself out and get burned out. I’m supposed to do a little bit and encourage others to do the same. So it’s all these little things that add up to big changes. A few years ago my son turned five, and we decided to forego the birthday gifts and just ask people to sponsor a dog or a cat at our local rescue. It led to an actual dog adoption, and many animals got what they needed instead of us being overloaded with toys we didn’t really need.

Here at Fulton County Animal Services, they have a great program called “Dog for a Day.” You can take a dog for a day on a hike, a walk, to Piedmont Park or home while it wears an “Adopt Me” vest. It’s great for the dog who gets out of the shelter for a day and gets exercise. And the exposure from the vest may lead to an adoption. There are so many ways to help even if you cannot take a dog home. I hope it’s this message (everyone does a little bit and what they can) is what people take away from the book.

OP: Tell us about the additional books in the Shelter Dog Series?

MYW: There are five books in the series. The first four have been written.  The next one will be out in the spring and I’m quite excited about it. It’s called “From Shelter Dog to Graduate – The Incredible Story of Clara Henri.” It tackles breed discrimination, and it’s written from the point of view of a Pit Bull. In fact, they are all written from the point of view of an undesired shelter dog.

The first book, “Old Dog, New Tricks” is about an older dog, Boscoe, who ends up at the shelter when his owner passes. The second book is called “Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo – Rescued is the New Black,” and it was published in late June 2016. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a number one hot new release in all three of its categories its first month on Amazon. That book is about black dog syndrome (which causes some people to fear black dogs) and superstition, which causes black cats to also be overlooked.

You can read the books out of order, and I do bring some characters back. My formula for the books is pairing invisible dogs with invisible people and having the invisible people be the heroes that save the day.  By “invisible people” I mean people you often don’t see in children’s books. I have all kinds of families in the series. The idea is to be as inclusive as possible. In “Super Mia” the adopter, Mia, has MS, and some days she needs to be in a wheelchair. The illness is only a small part of the story. She’s an amazing lady who is from Greece.  She rescues animals and runs a shelter, and she just happens to have MS. Heroes have varying degrees of agility and mobility, and sometimes they are differently abled. I think it’s important to expose children to that.

I’m very excited about the whole series, and my hope is that people see their family reflected in the series.  So if you’re being raised by Grandparents, a foster family, an adoptive family, or if your family is mixed race, you see yourself in the series.  I also have differently-abled characters and different faiths. You may see someone who is hearing impaired, or someone who suffers from seizures. It’s a blend of people who are all happy to be interacting with each other. I didn’t want the books to be segregated. I wanted them to reflect the world we live in today in 2016.

When you get to the end of the series, you see that many of the adopters and their pets know each other – I won’t say how though!

OP: We’ll just have to read each of them when they come out! Thank you, Marie-Yolaine.

MYW: Exactly! Thanks so much. Have a wonderful week!

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Click the covers for more details or to order…

Top “World Animal Remembrance” Books

Tomorrow kicks off World Animal Remembrance Month on September 1st, a time to pay tribute to, and honor, our passed animal loved ones. Yesterday’s post introduced two Outskirts Press EVVY-Award-winning authors for whom this is a subject near and dear to their hearts.  Congratulations, Marie-Yolaine Williams and Ellen Freeman!   This coming Saturday and Sunday we will interview each of them on this blog, respectively.

Both authors are donating a portion of their royalties to the animal care organizations of their choice.  And Outskirts Press has donated $1000 to the Denver chapter of the Dumb Friends League. If you wish to donate, you can see more details here.

Outskirts Press loves animals, and so do our authors! Today we recognize a dozen more Outskirts Press books that honor and pay tribute to our animal friends in recognition of World Animal Remembrance Month:

Congratulations to our EVVY Award Winners!

The Colorado Independent Book Publishers Association Annual EVVY Awards Banquet took place in Denver, Colorado last Saturday night, and once again Outskirts Press walked away with the most awards of any participating publisher, demonstrating that award-winning writers publish award-winning books at Outskirts Press.

Outskirts Press executives were on-hand for the event, and President Brent Sampson accepted the awards on behalf of authors unable to attend.  Published Outskirts Press authors from as far away as Florida traveled to Denver to accept their awards personally.

Here are our 2016 EVVY Award winners. Congratulations to them all!

FIRST PLACE WINNERS


1st Place Fiction/Mystery & Detective


1st Place Juvenile Fiction


1st Place Fiction/Action Adventure


1st Place Juvenile Non Fiction

SECOND PLACE WINNERS


2nd Place Juvenile Fiction


2nd Place Fiction/Historical


2nd Place Fiction/Action Adventure


2nd Place Religion & Spirituality

THIRD PLACE WINNERS


3rd Place Family & Relationships


3rd Place Fiction/Fairy Tales Folklore


3rd Place Fiction/Literary


3rd Place Social Science


3rd Place Juvenile Fiction


3rd Place Religion & Spirituality


3rd Place Fiction/Science Fiction


3rd Place Juvenile Fiction

MERIT AWARD WINNERS


Merit Award Poetry


Merit Award Fiction/Fantasy


Merit Juvenile Fiction


Merit Poetry


Merit Biography

Congratulations to all our EVVY nominees, finalists, and winners.  Winning an EVVY Award is a prerequisite to winning the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award and its $1500 Grand Prize.  Stay tuned to find out which three authors from the winners above will be the finalists…