2017 Self-Publishing Retrospective – A Year in Review

What a year 2017 has been for Outskirts Press authors. With so many new options, impressive writers, amazing books, and industry accolades, it becomes impossible to highlight everything. So rest assured this is just a small cross-section of what made 2017 an amazing year for Outskirts Press and all our amazing authors. What you may notice as you revisit these highlights (and so many more are posted on this blog daily), is that Outskirts Press remains committed to providing excellence in both personal service and book production. Simply put, the professional quality of your book and your success matters to us. Here are just a few examples…

Brooke Lewis is not only a celebrity and marketing dynamo, but she is becoming a force to reckon with in the self-help, self-improvement, and guidance fields as well. Her two books, Coaching From a Professed Hot Mess and Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk may have been published in 2016, but 2017 is when her “author platform” really broke out, built upon the foundation of two well-received and highly-regarded works of non-fiction.

We’re always trying to make it easier for writers to publish amazing books. One way we do this is by identifying popular genres that are complicated to publish and then offering an elegant solution. A perfect example of this is cookbooks. Self-published cookbooks are very popular, but difficult to publish properly. For this reason, many delicious recipes still remain locked away in kitchen drawers everywhere. But with the 2017 introduction of our popular One-Click Suite for Cookbooks, we brought together all the necessary components for gorgeous and delicious cookbooks in one simple, inclusive bundle.

Outskirts Press author Jackie Fischer, author of The Lost Branch, became the most recent first-place winner of our annual “Show Us Your Love” video contest and won a brand new touch screen laptop computer as a result. Way to go, Jackie! Check out her video below:

Every year Outskirts Press makes charitable donations to, and partners with, organizations, associations, and foundations that look toward art & literacy’s future. One such organization is Colorado Humanities, which holds the annual Colorado Book Awards. The awards were launched in 1991 and 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. Judging generally occurs in April, and for the past two years, the awards ceremony has been held in Parker, Colorado (home base to Outskirts Press) and awards have been presented by Outskirts Press president Brent Sampson. Congratulations to all of this years Colorado Book Award winners!

Perennial Top 10 monthly bestseller Chidozie Osuwa built upon an incredible performance in 2016 with more Top 10 Bestselling Titles appearances in 2017 for his bestseller What She Feels and this year published the eagerly awaited sequel What She Still Feels. Even more inspiring is that these are genre-busting works of poetry (although art might be more appropriate); If there were any doubts that poetry could succeed in the self-publishing world, Chidozie shattered them soundly.

Another popular genre in self-publishing that isn’t always the easiest to pull off with excellence is the illustrated Juvenile Fiction. The difficulty lies in the oft-times complicated combination of words and illustrations. The writer of the story is usually the one initiating the self-publishing process and in many cases may not even have the illustrations yet. This was the reason we launched the One-Click Children’s Book Publishing Suite last year, which includes 15 full-color illustrations and the almost mandatory custom formatting necessary to marry the words with the art. But frequently the author is also the illustrator or pursues publication with illustrations already in hand. So 2017 marked the year we added another One-Click for Children’s Books Suite, at a lower cost since it doesn’t include the illustrations. It was a hit! And speaking of children’s books, that brings us to our 2017 Best Book of the Year winner…

Once again Outskirts Press authors were the most-awarded among all participating publishers at the annual EVVY Awards, bringing home 15 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards, including multiple first-place wins in different categories for Gramma Darling, by Lisa Schroeder, with illustrations by Doron Ben-Ami. Lissa is a teacher, speaker, and licensed minister living in Alaska while Doron resides in Connecticut, thus proving that successful self-publishing is not restricted by borders or limitations. Winning an Evvy Award is a pre-requisite to be considered for the annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award and its $1500 grand prize. Gramma Darling won four! Therefore, it may not have been a big surprise that it went on to win the annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award for 2017, marking the first time a children’s book has taken home top honors. To see all the details of her win and her book video, visit the blog posting by clicking here.

Congratulations Lissa and Doron!

Interested in being in the running for the 2018 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award? Ultimate, Full- Color, and One-Click authors are all instantly eligible.

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Self Publishing Year in Review: Oct-Dec 2009

The fourth quarter started with the hotly-anticipated announcement of 3 additional trim sizes for self-publishing full-color paperback books : 5.5″ x 8.5″, 7″ x 10″, and 8″ x 10″. These sizes joined the already available full-color paperback sizes of 8.5″ x 8.5″ and 8.25″ x 11″.

Right on the heels of Outskirts Press landing nearly smack-dab in the middle of the Inc. 500 list at #268, venture capital firm Foundation Capital and Inc. Magazine honored Outskirts Press again in the 4th quarter with “best of the best” honors from among all 500 companies.

The 4th quarter marked the introduction of two exciting new marketing options for self-publishing writers, namely the custom t-shirt featuring the author’s cover; and the first iTunes option, namely the Enhanced Audio Excerpt, which includes a professional recording of the author’s excerpt and the creation of an iTunes graphic, plus “podcast level” distribution.

The Enhanced Audio Excerpt was the reward for the author of the most popular Halloween Book Video, as determined by readers of this blog in the 4th quarter.  José Cepeda García’s book video trailer for his book, 21 Bizarre Short Stories, was voted the most popular, taking home 50% of the votes.  Press play to watch the winning video:

José Cepeda García’s winning streak continued when 21 Bizarre Short Stories became an official Outskirts Press nominee for an EVVY Award, and was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards, joining 13 other Outskirts Press authors, including category winners Elise Cooke (for The Grocery Garden), J. Laurence Stillwell (for The Soldiers of the Cross), and Leon Newton (for Titus). Congratulations to them all!

Ex-New York Yankee Fritz Peterson hit a home run in the 4th quarter when his book Mickey Mantle is Going to Heaven, debuted on the Outskirts Press Top 10 Bestsellers List for September and stayed in the top 10 for October. Mickey Mantle is Going to Heaven is also an official Outskirts Press EVVY Award nominee.

Meanwhile (and speaking of New York), the following 12 Outskirts Press books were featured in a full-page ad in the December 13th issue of the New York Times Book Review:

Following Joe
Hanging on a Twisted Line
Hooked
How do Religious Figures Induce the Establishment of Sects?
The ‘I Love My Bible’ Commentary
Immaculate Deception
The Immigrants
Life Under the Corporate Microscope
Schrodinger’s Universe
Through the Triangle
Unstoppable Confidence
Wrongsized

Awards season got in full-swing in the 4th quarter with talented and hopeful self-publishing writers keeping the Author Support department busy with hundreds of submissions to major book awards like the Benjamin Franklin Awards and ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

And, of course, the 4th quarter marks the time of year when the official Outskirts Press EVVY nomination invitations are sent to select authors.  Less than 5% of the books published by Outskirts Press are nominated for this prestigious annual award, currently in its 16th year. 

Below are the official Outskirts Press EVVY nominees for the 2010 EVVY Awards.   Please join us in congratulating them all!

 

 

The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell
The Channel
The Ghost Tree 
Let Your Innate Sing
Barnyard Babies To The Rescue
Dear Sebastian
Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains
Pieces ‘N Bits 
The Messy Buddha
How I Lost Twenty Pounds N Kept It Off
The Reluctant Survivor
Heroes of Googley Woogley
Dose of Revenge
Eddie’s Wake
The Sara Chronicles
In the Land of Cotton
The Mystery of the Moaning Banshee
Mickey Mantle is Going to Heaven
Compulsion
Dream Chaser
The Expedition
The Gate of Beautiful
Privileged Information 101
Christmas Treena
Murdock Mystery #1
As Long As He Needs Me
Life Against All Odds
The Paradise Puzzle
Mysterious Magical Circus Family Kids
A Bridge of Doom
Khan in Rasputin’s Shadow
Empire of Peace
Virginia’s Travel Basket
To Rhyme Is Not A Crime
The Smile of a Man Lost
Unlocking the Poet’s Realm
Charlie – A Boy With Reading Difficulties and His Dream
Both Ends Burning
21 Bizarre Short Stories
The Student Prophet: Initiation Rites
Burnarounds: Unlocking The Double Digit Profit Code
The Wedding Palace
The Transition
Bobby and Troubador’s Great Adventure
Robbobell
Through The Triangle
Ribbons and Roses
Aurora of the Northern Lights
Rainbow Bed
Mr. Emotions & Friends
From an Otherwise Comfortable Room
Life and Times of a Ragamuffin
Looking Glass
Holly Hill
The Adventures of Magellan
Emerge
It’s in the Eyes
The Breakout Year
The Bethlehem Scroll
 Cash in on the Obama $3 Trillion Spending Plan!
Ribbon Falls
Tirissa and the Necklace of Nulidor
Exploring the Sixth Sense

Self Publishing Year in Review: July-Sept 2009

Self Publishing “TV” came into its own in the 3rd quarter when the Self Publishing You Tube Channel launched, featuring book videos, book teasers, promotional videos, and book marketing videos. 

The 3rd quarter also marked the announcement of one of self-publishing’s most hotly-discussed marketing options, custom U.S. Postage stamps, which allows self-published authors at Outskirts Press to personalize first-class postage stamps with a full-color image of their book cover. These custom stamps are perfect to use in combination with other marketing options introduced this quarter, namely the custom publication announcements and seasonal greeting cards. Rounding out the marketing options introduced in the 3rd quarter is the Celebrity Endorsement Option, which helps facilitate celebrity blurbs, testimonials, and endorsements for self-published books (for cover design and marketing purposes).

   

In August, Outskirts Press became the only self-publishing company to become a Inc. 500 company when Inc. Magazine released its annual Fastest-Growing Companies list in the 3rd quarter.   Outskirts Press debuted on the list with a 3-year growth rate of 850%, making it the fastest-growing self-publishing company and #268 on the list overall. 

Joining Inc. Magazine in recognizing Outskirts Press was the US Commerce Association (USCA), which honored the self-publishing company with Best of Parker honors in the Publisher Representatives category.

 Closing the 3rd quarter was the exciting launch of Version 3.0 of the self-publishing website at OutskirtsPress.com, which combines familiar Amazon.com-like shopping experiences with full-service self-publishing services and eye-catching video product support:

And if you haven’t experienced the custom difference with Outskirts Press, now is the time to start…

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Self Publishing Year in Review: April-June 2009

The second quarter of 2009 began with the introduction of a suite of marketing services available on an a la carte basis for just $99 each.  These self-publishing book marketing options introduced in April included the Spring Arbor Christian Distribution network, Amazon’s Keyword Search Submissions, and Barnes & Noble’s See Inside Submission.  These three new options complemented an already-robust selection of marketing services available for Outskirts Press authors for under $100, including Amazon’s Kindle Edition, the book teaser, and Amazon’s Search Inside the Book.


 

The second quarter was a particularly productive one for many self-publishing authors, including:

Colorado best-selling author Irv Sternberg was recognized as an Awards Finalist by the Colorado Humanities Colorado Book Awards  for his Outskirts Press novel, Neptune’s Chariot.

 

While Benjamin “Coach” Wade of television’s “SURVIVOR” collaborated with author Tom Gauthier to publish A Voyage Beyond Reason with Outskirts Press.

Due in part to Coach’s “love him or hate him” persona on the hit television show, the book video trailer produced by Outskirts Press and the book itself became a hit.  The book was submitted to numerous book contests and awards, including the Writer’s Digest international self-published book awards, (being announced next spring).  Will Survivor’s “Coach” have another winner on his hands? Only time will tell…

On the heels of the announcement of multiple $99 marketing services, the active Author Marketing Department at Outskirts Press announced a line-up of inclusive marketing packages that each combined some of the most effective and popular options for a 25% author savings.

The five marketing packages are the Book Blast package, the Amazon Extreme package, the Promotional Materials Package, the Global Book Tour package, and the Book Award Submissions package.

    

Perhaps the most noteworthy news of all came in the 2nd quarter when Outskirts Press CEO Brent Sampson  distributed a press release recognizing the sales accomplishments of Outskirts Press author Gang Chen, who earned $111,000 in book royalties in just 6 months.  Mr. Chen gave permission for his success to be publicized and suddenly, the self-publishing industry had a professional face to prove itself a profitable venture even for authors who don’t get picked up by traditional publishers (or, as in Mr. Chen’s case, choose against it in favor of the greater degree of control and revenue opportunities through self-publishing).

Beating the odds financially is one thing… beating the odds in terms of age is quite another. Outskirts Press authors do both, as demonstrated by the youngest self-publishing author to write and illustrate multiple children’s books:

Dalton James was 7 years old when he published The Sneakiest Pirates and then when he was 8, he and his father began making public appearances at schools to encourage literacy.  Also by Dalton James: The Heroes of Googley Woogley and Mudhogs.

The second quarter came to a close the last week of June as Outskirts Press launched Self-Publishing Self-Help week, June 22 – 25, when four helpful topics were covered in great detail. These topics included:

Are you ready to be among the self-publishing highlights of 2010? Get published today!

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