The Top 10 Reasons to be Thankful for Self-Publishing

As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s time to take stock of everything there is to be thankful for. Family, friends, love, laughter … and being a published author (or the opportunity to be published soon). There’s never been a better time to be a writer. Here are just a few reasons we should all be thankful to be self-publishing in these exciting times:

  1. eBooks. Just having the ability to offer books in an easy-to-order format has opened up a massive sales channel for independent authors. As readers move from hardcopy to electronic books, the ability for anyone to get their book in front of these customers is priceless exposure — and offering an ebook is easy.
  2. Social media. When knocking on doors, making phone calls, buying ads and getting media coverage aren’t on your busy holiday calendar, reaching out to large audiences is still achievable, thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more. Author pages can be set up quickly, so you can let others know about your book from the comfort of your home.
  3. Author webpages. An author website can be created for free on many drag-and-drop website building platforms and most full-service self-publishing companies, such as Outskirts Press, provide a webpage to every author who publishes with them. You can easily provide this link to prospective readers so they can purchase your paperback, hardback, eBook, or even your audiobook on iTunes.
  4. Blogging platforms. The advantage of being an author is that you can put your writing skills to great use in your marketing. A personal or professional blog is a great way to raise your profile online, interact with readers and make valuable connections with others in the publishing industry. If you don’t have a blog, start one today for free on WordPress.
  5. Power of the press. Book announcements have come a long way in recent years. In an instant, a press release distribution service can get your book announcement to thousands of relevant news organizations worldwide. Plus, with the internet as a valuable research tool, an author can very quickly gather specific publications and broadcast media to target with personal contact.
  6. Goodreads. Self-published authors can easily make use of many selling tools on the Goodreads platform to foster relationships with readers, promote their books and sell more copies.
  7. Support when you need it. Traditional publishing houses typically provide a marketing push upon a book’s release but withdraw support as time goes on — especially if a book falls short of lofty sales goals. This doesn’t mean the window for success has closed; it only means the publisher no longer supports the author. Many of those authors now have the flexibility to pursue self-publishing when their rights revert back to them from the traditional houses. And they’re discovering that when they’re in charge — as all self-publishing authors are — they have the power to tweak their marketing approach, and keep more of the profits at the same time. It’s never too late to self-publish and market your way to success!
  8. AudioBooks. Back in the day (like 4-5 years ago), eBooks were all the rage. But the Internet never sits still, and what was a rising wave for eBooks just a few years ago has turned into a tsunami for AudioBooks as we enter the third decade of this new millennium. And no wonder! Between iTunes and Amazon, finding and listening to Audiobooks has never been easier, and publishing an audiobook is just as simple.
  9. YouTube. Everyone knows the number 1 search engine on the Internet is Google. But Google also laid claim to the number 2 search engine when they purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006 (granted, YouTube wasn’t the juggernaut it is today).  Video is quickly overtaking text as the medium of choice on the Internet, and YouTube is leading the way. Fortunately for self-publishing authors, it’s easier than ever to create a book video and upload it to YouTube to grab some of those viewers (and potential book buyers).
  10.  Amazon. Nowadays, the world’s largest retailer may be more concerned with making money than supporting authors (as revealed in this New York Times article), but there is still something to be said when a self-publishing author can be a #1 bestseller on the world’s largest bookselling website.

As this decade comes to a close, it is clear that self-publishing has changed in positive ways over the past ten years. We live in exciting times, indeed. And as we begin our 18th year of helping writers become published authors, Outskirts Press is thankful to be a growing part of this modern publishing renaissance — and thankful for authors like you who are paving the way!

How would you feel about publishing your masterpiece with the A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively?

Very Good!

Self-Publishing + Crowdfunding = Everybody Wins!

There is no doubt that self-publishing your book with a self-publishing company that charges fees in exchange for quality, service, and customization will result in a better book, statistically speaking, than publishing with a DYI online platform. So why do so many authors gravitate toward the latter?  Cost.

But imagine if there was a way to self-publish your book with a high quality self-publisher without spending a dime of your own money…

Enter crowdfunding. Wikipedia describes crowdfunding as: “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet… In 2015, over US$34 billion was raised worldwide by crowdfunding….This modern crowdfunding model is generally based on three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea or project to be funded [that would be you, the author], individuals or groups who support the idea [friends, family, and even strangers who like your idea], and a moderating organization (the “platform”)[Kickstarter, for example] that brings the parties together to launch the idea.”

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As of this writing,  exploring the “publishing” subcategory on Kickstarter reveals over 47,000 active projects seeking funding.  And that’s the rub. While it’s easy to post a new project on Kickstarter, it remains somewhat challenging to secure the necessary funding. In fact, according to a recent article in Publishers Weekly, publishing projects currently experience a 37% success rate on average.  “Success” is defined as a project that meets its minimum necessary monetary investment in order to move forward.  And when your book  is competing against 47,000 other projects in the publishing subcategory, it is easy to understand why authors may find it challenging to secure the necessary funding.

But there is hope.  The Publishers Weekly article (which you should take the time to read in its entirety here) mentions several tactics a proactive author can take to increase his/her chances for success. One is to set your investment needs relatively low. Many of the 47,000+ projects have investment requirements in the tens of thousands of dollars, while self-publishing packages with Outskirts Press, for instance, begin at just $849. Which project has a higher chance to succeed in securing its necessary funding? The one costing $10,000 or the one costing $1000?

Another tactic is to publish a children’s book, which experiences a 57% success rate on Kickstarter (that’s right, better than 50-50)!  Yet, another is to market your Kickstarter campaign just as aggressively as you plan on marketing your book. Tell your friends and family before, during, and after the project posts on Kickstarter.  Market and promote your project heavily during its entire run.  Communicate with backers during and after, and especially during your actual publication process. Keep them informed of your progress as your book nears publication.  They’ve just invested money in your book — they’ll be excited to read it. Which is to say, you already have a built in audience demanding your book. To say that puts you a leg (or two) up when the marketing phase kicks in would be an understatement.  Kickstarter itself has lots of great ideas about promoting a Kickstarter campaign here.

Once you’ve secured your Kickstarter money, it’s time to self-publish your book.  Outskirts Press can help you. Here’s to your great success!

 

 

 

The Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Kit

Nearly all self-publishing companies offer writers an “incentive” to join their newsletter or mailing list. In most cases, this is the company’s own “Publishing Guide.”  These guides vary from sleek sales brochures to informative books covering the process of self-publishing (typically with that particular self-publishing company).

Other self-publishers offer “white papers” or “tip sheets” or “advice columns” focusing on specific topics or obstacles an author may face when self-publishing a book. While often more informative (at least about said topic or obstacle), these white papers are usually much shorter, and therefore of less perceived value.

A few self-publishing companies combine their publishing guide with a robust collection of white papers and tip sheets to create a treasure trove of helpful resources for writers. The guide typically markets the company and its offerings, perhaps sheds light on the self-publishing and book marketing processes, and shines a spotlight on a successful authors.  The white papers, advice columns, and tip sheets, on the other hand, identify core questions or issues facing many writers and offers suggestions or solutions to pave an author’s path toward publication and success.

Outskirts Press offers just such a Publishing Kit to new clients for free at the following link: https://outskirtspress.com/book-publishing.html#ebooks

Watch the video about the Publishing Kit below:

Your complimentary Publishing Kit contains:

  • 7 Tips to Self-Publish Like a Pro
  • The most recent book by Outskirts Press President Brent Sampson: Self-Publishing Questions Asked & Answered
  • Our definitive publishing guide: Publish Your Passion
  • Book shepherd one-sheet: Meet Your Publishing Consultant
  • Author success white paper: 7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title
  • Author guide: Author Photo & Biography Guide
  • Author tip sheet: The Top 7 Marketing Elements to Include in Your Book
  • Author guide: Which Book Format Should I Choose?
  • Author white paper: How to Price Your Book
  • Publishing white paper: Diving into Self-Publishing
  • About Outskirts Press: Publishing brochure
  • One stop shop: Custom illustration samples in color and black & white

Everything About Book Royalties

When authors decide on the best self-publishing company for their masterpiece, one critical area is sometimes overlooked: author royalties. It can be a confusing topic because many publishers use different definitions to define what “royalties” means and different formulas to determine how author royalties are calculated.

In the simplest terms of definition, “royalties” means the amount of money that is paid to the author for books that are sold.

How are Author Royalties Calculated? The formula used to calculate the author royalties often varies from publisher to publisher and that can make comparing Publishers X, Y, and Z challenging.

For instance, some publishers will pay a percentage directly off the Sales Retail Price of the book, regardless of how much the book costs to produce, or how much the trade discount is. In these instances, it is not uncommon for the percentage to be fairly low (in the 5%-10% range).

This formula sometimes works to the author’s detriment, however, since book printing and trade discounting play such an enormous role in the book’s overall profit and the author has no say in what the Suggested Retail Price is. Without any say in the matter, authors are often left at the publisher’s mercy.

On the other end of the spectrum are publishers that pay a percentage of the book’s profit, which is the amount left over after the printing costs and trade discounts have already been accounted for. In these instances, you will more often see percentages in the 50%-100% range.

Yes, there are some self-publishing companies, such as Outskirts Press, that pay the author 100% of the net profit of the book when it is sold through wholesale channels, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

That royalty formula looks like this:

Suggested Retail Price – Trade Discount – Printing Cost = Book Profit

What is the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of a Book? It’s just what it sounds like – the cover price as suggested by either the publisher or the author. While nearly all traditional publishers and almost all self-publishers set the SRP for the author there are a select few self-publishing companies that allow the author to set their own Suggested Retail Price. Outskirts Press is one of them; the only requirement is that the price being set by the author is above the sum of the trade discount and the printing cost. In other words, the Suggested Retail Price cannot be below what it costs to produce and sell the book. Makes sense, right?

Of course, the reason this is called the suggested retail price and not the final sales price is because retailers have the discretion to decrease the price (in the form of a sale) or increase the price (to improve their bottom line) if they choose to. But doing so has no affect on the amount the author ultimately receives, which is always set on the SRP.

What is the Trade Discount? This is the percentage of the book’s SRP that the retailer, wholesaler (if any), and distributor take to “handle” a book. It’s how they make money in the book industry. Every book that is for sale with a retailer has given a cut of its retail price to all the parties involved in the form of a trade discount.

What is the Printing Cost? In simplest terms, the “printing cost” is the per-unit cost of producing one book. The reason there is such a discrepancy between offset printing and print-on-demand, one-at-a-time printing is due to “economies of scale”. While that topic is beyond the scope of this article, we have a whole blog posting about the role economies of scale play with your printing costs, and you can read all about that here.

The benefits to choosing Outskirts Press don’t end with 100% author royalties, as important as that is. You also retain 100% of your book’s rights, and receive unlimited wholesale and retail availability thru channels including Amazon & Ingram. Our flexibility and adaptability to your needs, coupled with our phenomenal services and staff, is just one of many reasons Outskirts Press is the only A+ rated and #1 rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively.

You can schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our consultants at https://outskirtspress.com/consultation.html or you can select your package to start publishing right now at https://outskirtspress.com/self-publishing.html

Get started today. People are waiting for your bestseller!

Promoting Your Outskirts Press Audiobook

One of the best ways to promote an audiobook is, not surprisingly, via audio (sound). Fortunately, when you publish your audiobook with Outskirts Press, a 5-minute retail sample is created for you and uploaded to sales partners like Amazon, Audible, and iTunes on your behalf. Your audio clips are also shared with you throughout the audiobook creation process. Be sure to keep them; you’ll need them for marketing.

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Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

Having your sample on Amazon and iTunes will carry the majority of your marketing weight, but there are other outlets you can pursue. Among them: YouTube, Facebook, and SoundCloud.

YouTube

The best way to use your audio sample clip on YouTube is to incorporate it with a book video. If you already have a book video, and some basic editing software, you’re 90% done. And if your book video doesn’t have any sound, you’re 95% done. If it does have sound, use your editing software to separate the audio track from the video track and then lay your audiobook track down onto the video instead. Rarely will the length of the audiobook track and the video match, so you’ll need to be creative to bring them in sync. Once you’re happy with your new audiobook video, upload it to your YouTube channel and other various video platforms.

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Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

If you do not have a book video, the easiest solution is to get one by clicking here. Or you can create a “video” by simply using a still image of your book as a static image for the video-length of your audiobook sample. Alternatively, and preferably, you could use your smartphone and a small tripod, and record yourself reading your book. Now that’s an audiobook sample that any YouTuber can enjoy!

In either case, don’t forget to take full advantage of the description field when uploading your video by making sure to include links to your author webpage and your product sales page on Amazon so they can buy your audiobook (or your hard copy alternatives if they prefer).

FaceBook

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Since Facebook makes it easy to post videos, the easiest way to promote your audiobook on Facebook is to use the same video you just created for YouTube and upload it to your Facebook page. Again, don’t forget to include the necessary purchase links in the “Write a post” box so your friends, family, and followers can easily find your audiobook and buy it.

SoundCloud

One of the newest ways to market audiobooks is via SoundCloud. Create an account at soundcloud.com and click “Upload” to upload your audiobook retail sample. You can also upload an image. Obviously, we suggest the cover of your book. Then complete the rest of the form, which includes the book’s title, the author’s name, and the narrator’s name. Just as with YouTube and Facebook, use the “Description” field to include links to your author webpage and Amazon product sales page.


Are you ready to publish your masterpiece with the A+ and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively? If so, click here to experience full-service, custom self-publishing the way it should be, at Outskirts Press.

Author Poll: Kim Black Wants Your Help With Choosing A Cover

Kim Black is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press, and she wants your help deciding her upcoming book cover.

Book Summary:

The hilarious, real-life antidote to holier-than-thou parenting philosophies!

Raising Wildflowers is for anyone who is currently raising kids and wondering if they’re doing it all wrong. It’s for those who wake up before dawn to make sure their kids get a healthy breakfast before school. It’s for the parent who struggles to help their child overcome unique challenges and cries in the bathroom while the bathwater is running to mask the sound. It’s for the one who sits up late at night, worried about whether their child will make it to college. It’s for those who work all day and come home at night to make a meal, do the laundry, and hand-sew that DANG sheep costume for the school play. And it’s for those who wonder if their kids have brushed their teeth this week or are wearing clean underwear.

This book is also for those second-guessing bringing children into this mixed-up, overpopulated world, those afraid to take that great big step: to create a human being and be dedicated to their care and feeding for—well, forever!

Kim Black shares how she and her husband survived child-rearing and even managed to hold on to their sanity—and that finish-line moment when they knew they had molded amazing little individuals into people they could be proud of. Kim hopes that by sharing her story, others will realize that they are not alone in this fantastic, crazy, terrifying journey that is parenthood.

About the Author:

Kim Black is the mom of three rock-star kids who survived their childhood, have full-time jobs, and pay most of their bills. She’s the wife to a goofball golf enthusiast whose greatest possession is his grill. Kim loves wine and art and greatly dislikes cleaning bathrooms and yard work. She lives in Texas with the goofball, her youngest daughter, her mother-in-law (yes, in the same house), and her two rescue dogs.

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

Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge each cover.

Cover A

Cover B

 

What Does Self-Publishing Have to do with Economies of Scale?

Many writers enter the self-publishing industry with an expectation about what their published book’s retail price will be once it reaches bookshelves. This expectation is based upon their life-long experiences of buying books from authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.

stephenking

They are often surprised and confused when they discover that their 300-page self-published print-on-demand paperback cannot have the same retail price as a paperback of comparable length that is published by Random House. “Why?” they ask.

The answer is because the retail price must be higher than the sum of the trade discount (typically 50-55%) and the production/printing cost of the book.  Why are POD printing costs so much higher? The answer is: “economy of scale.”

Wikipedia has a fairly extensive article on economies of scale that can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economies_of_scale

Most important among that information, as it pertains to self-publishing authors, is the following paragraph:

“The simple meaning of economies of scale is doing things more efficiently with increasing size.[4] Common sources of economies of scale are purchasing (bulk buying of materials through long-term contracts), managerial (increasing the specialization of managers), financial (obtaining lower-interest charges when borrowing from banks and having access to a greater range of financial instruments), marketing (spreading the cost of advertising over a greater range of output in media markets), and technological (taking advantage of returns to scale in the production function). Each of these factors reduces the long run average costs (LRAC) of production by shifting the short-run average total cost (SRATC) curve down and to the right.”

Basically, the more books that are printed at one time, the less expensive each individual book is to produce, which thereby allows the retail price to be lower. This is why a Harry Potter paperback is “inexpensive”, even at 600 pages, compared with a POD book of similar length. The publisher of Harry Potter printed 10 million copies all at once, thereby bringing the per-unit cost down to pennies. Of course, the publisher also made that sizable, risky, investment up-front – an investment that equaled millions of dollars.  Granted, that’s not much of a risk when you’re printing a Harry Potter book, but for 99% of the writers out there (even the ones who have traditionally published in the past), it is a risk few traditional publishers are willing to take nowadays and an investment even fewer writers are capable of.

Enter print-on-demand (POD) self-publishing. A book that is published POD operates on the exact opposite pricing model. Each book’s printing cost is based upon printing only one book at time, which protects the authors from making a sizable, risky investment up front.  Of course, that means the printing cost for each book costs dollars instead of pennies. And since the retail price must exceed the trade discount AND the printing cost, the retail price is naturally going to be higher.

The good news for Outskirts Press authors is that, when combined with EDI distribution through platforms like Amazon and Ingram, self-publishing writers never incur out-of-pocket printing costs for books sold wholesale, because the book is only printed after it is sold to the consumer. The printing cost is extracted from the retail price, along with the distributor/retailer’s portion, and the printing cost itself. Whatever is left is the “profit” from the book. The amount of “profit” that the author receives depends upon the self-publisher you’ve chosen, and varies from 20% – 100%. Outskirts Press is one of the few self-publishers that pays 100% of the profit to the author.

To publish your masterpiece with the A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively, visit Outskirts Press today.