Amazon Featured Book-of-the-Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on Amazon.com!


The Blow-up Man

by Nina Blakeman

(4.5 Stars – 14 Customer Reviews)

Price: $19.95

Nina Blakeman’s “The Blow-up Man.” West Texas is not a place for the weak…or a naive, young woman with a head full of fantasy. Life without a father has left Faye with many unresolved issues. They’re major contributors to her falling long and hard for her lonely, older mentor whose ex-wife is psychologically disturbed. In this psychological thriller, emotions run high among people with different personalities, fears and motives.

 

 Learn More > 

 

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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Win a free copy of Life After Death: Some of the Best Evidence from Outskirts Press #AmazonGiveaway

Outskirts Press author, Jan W. Vandersande Ph.D., is giving you a chance to win a free copy of her book, Life After Death: Some of the Best Evidence!

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Even if you don’t win one of the free copies, you can still order it from Amazon for an amazing price!

Do you want to promote your own Amazon Author Sweepstakes to tens of thousands of readers for your book? Click here.

An Interview with Award-Winning Outskirts Press Author Landria Onkka

The movie based upon Landria Onkka’s Outskirts Press book, The Rooftop Christmas Tree, premieres tomorrow night on UP, so we caught up with Landria to find out more!

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Outskirts Press: You published your first book, The Rooftop Christmas Tree, with Outskirts Press in 2014.  When did you first get a sense that you had written something really special that was going to touch a lot of people?

Landria Onkka: I knew immediately that this was different because it is based on a true story that, simply put, is proof of miracles. The world seeks hope and one of my missions is to share the message that ‘all things are possible.’ I spent quite a bit of time watching holiday movies to get a sense of what was out there, and recognized that there is a huge market for family and inspiring content. When I sat down and wrote both “The Rooftop Christmas Tree” and the sequel, “A Bell for Christmas,” I never doubted that they would end up on television throughout the U.S. The first time I told the story to friends, every one of them cried! I still cry at the ending and I am so excited to see it come to life with the awesome actors the production team chose!

Outskirts Press:  The Rooftop Christmas Tree has won a number of awards and recognition. Please tell us about that. 

Landria Onkka: Although I never let ‘one thing’ dictate whether or not my story is a success, awards can be good indicators. I sought out those contests that had positive reviews and credible critics. My first award was the East Coast Writers Award in Boston. It was honorable mention. I didn’t get a notification and at midnight of the day of the announcement I thought, “what the heck, I’ll go online to see who won” and was ecstatic to see my name! This was, after all, my first book and first contest! The book went on to win the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Fest last year. They flew me to Hollywood to accept the award and it really sunk in that I had a marketable and appealing story. “A Bell for Christmas” just took Grand Prize in Hollywood this past July. The judges said it’s the first time they had an author win two of their awards. I didn’t realize the depth of the accomplishment until a well known sportscaster attended the ceremony told me that it took him 15 years to get an award for his writing! That brought it home that I was on the right path.

Outskirts Press:   That is impressive! And, as you mentioned, the big news is that The Rooftop Christmas Tree was optioned for a movie! Congratulations! Tell us about how that happened.

Landria Onkka: I spent 20+ years in investment banking with a specialty in entertainment. So, I had a good handle on what producers and investors liked. I had worked on some major, well known movies and television series, but always on the business side. Now I was the writer and it was a totally different ball game! I stuck to what I knew would have a chance at an option which is why my first book reads a bit like a screenplay. I made it easy for a producer to translate it into a movie. In fact, they kept my title, most of the character names, and stuck very close to the story (which is unusual).  I got optioned within a few months of submitting my work to an agent and a few months later they went into production. My agent told me that she has never had that happen! If a ‘first book’ writer is fortunate enough to get optioned, they usually sit on it for a few years and most of the time it never makes it to the screen. I am thanking the Universe every day for my success!

Outskirts Press:   How involved were you during the production of the movie?

Landria Onkka: I had no involvement in the movie! As a former investment banker, I was able to quickly sign off on my contract because I already knew that the book writer is separate from the screenplay writer and the producers. It was important to hand it off to the pro’s which includes multiple award winning producer David Winning and let them do their magic. Once I establish my track record, I can then request some involvement in the production. However, I don’t recommend writers do that. Writing a story and producing a movie are two different things. Writers own their books and producers own the movie. That’s a good thing! Producers don’t want writers telling them what to do! “A Bell for Christmas” ‘first right’ went to my producers. I will know shortly what they will do with it. In the meantime, I have five more books coming out!

Outskirts Press:  What marketing efforts did you take leading up to the movie’s premiere?

Landria Onkka:  None! I made announcements, but thank goodness Outskirts Press has marketing programs and advice that they share about all of this! While UP TV handles all of the movie marketing, this is an incredible opportunity for me to promote my books! I’m still learning and now I have a Mini-course for writers, blogs, and Facebook set up to share with readers and writers! I have been invited as a guest writer for various websites, so I expect to continue to grow my fan base. It’s been a big learning curve for me! That being said, I already knew that my friends who went with traditional publishers had very little control over their marketing which posed issues. If the publisher doesn’t put marketing efforts into their books, then nothing happens. I learned from their experiences. They were tied to long contracts, had little control, small royalties, and marketing efforts were non-existent in the case of my friends. What money they earned upfront went into their own marketing efforts. Outskirts doesn’t place one author’s importance over another’s. They extend their support equally to ALL of their authors!

Outskirts Press:  The Rooftop Christmas Tree is a heart-warming tale, and ideal for this season. Any stories of how its message positively affected your readers and/or movie viewers?

Landria Onkka: I wrote the book as a fiction story because I wanted to add a romance. We all love romance! That part was fabricated. However, the most powerful message is “Miracles ARE Possible!” which is played out by one of the lead characters, Mr. Landis (beautifully played by Tim Reid). Year after year, he places a Christmas tree on his roof and spends Christmas in the courtroom and sometimes, jail. He is the rock throughout the story that reminds us that no matter what happens outside of ourselves, if we have faith, everything works out in ways that we sometimes can’t imagine. My friends would often say, “The ending wasn’t true, right?” The answer to that is that it ‘is’ true! Many people cry at the ending because it’s so powerful and positive. This is the first of what I call ‘The Miracle Series’ that demonstrates that all things are possible.

Outskirts Press:  Your second published book, A Bell for Christmas, is also Christmas related, and was published by Outskirts Press in May 2016.  Do we sense a theme here?

Landria Onkka:  When I read my movie contract, it requested ‘first right’ on the sequel. What? A sequel? Because “The Rooftop Christmas Tree” was based on a true story, it didn’t occur to me to write a sequel. So I got busy and within a few months of the movie production, I published “A Bell for Christmas!” My goal is to write a television series based on this quirky, small town where anything is possible! Outskirts Press made it incredibly easy to get the book out quickly. Once I approved the final copy, it was available worldwide and on Amazon within two days! While I personally shot the cover for the first book, I couldn’t do the same for “A Bell for Christmas” because we don’t have snow in Atlanta. Outskirts sent me to a free site with thousands of possible covers that didn’t require royalties or a release. I couldn’t have envisioned a better cover, that depicts an actual scene in the story. I have researched many publishers and I am so glad that I went with Outskirts. I have full control and 100% royalties. When I signed the movie contract, I didn’t have to check with my publisher to get a release, or get permission. I own my books! It doesn’t get easier. This is what I teach other writers because most aren’t thinking about having a movie made! The speed, quality, and control I gain from Outskirts is unmatched in my opinion.

Outskirts Press: You mentioned five more books. Are these all written for The Miracle Series?

Landria Onkka: Wooden Mistletoe is going to press within the next 60 days. Yep, another Christmas story that is ideal for television. I have many more Miracle Series stories and plan on releasing 2 to 3 annually in this uplifting series!

Outskirts Press: Do you have more books planned and/or already written on other topics or subjects?  What are your plans for publishing them?

Landria Onkka: The Mystery Series and The Mystical Series were just added! My biggest problem is keeping up with all of the ideas that are flowing. One of my books in the Mystery Series is another ‘based on a true’ story and is a murder mystery. Because it is a long book and well suited for the Big Screen, I considered taking it to a big publisher and found out that the process can take, and usually does, two years or more! It’s going to Outskirts the first of the year and then going to producers. Again, I can’t stress the benefits of self publishing enough! It has allowed me to accelerate my success!

Outskirts Press: If you wanted to offer advice to writers interested in following in your successful footsteps with an award-winning book that gets turned into a movie, what would you say?

Landria Onkka:  Every situation will be different, but there is one thing that every writer must start with – a commercially viable story. Know your network, study the subject matter, how long the movie plays and if there are commercials. Are you focused on ethics? Hallmark, UP TV and other channels love family values. Is it more ‘out of the box?’ Lifetime loves unusual stories. Think about your story and where it would be best suited. Is it a big screen candidate? That is a totally different strategy. I invite writers to sign up to my Newsletter that is packed with information on my strategy and advice on writing to sell to producers! I am also part of a group in Atlanta that seeks content and will be working in the role of producer next year. Most of all, do your homework, be prepared to present yourself commercially and don’t rely on your artistic talents. Film is a business! As for awards, Outskirts has an entire program that allows their authors to submit to credible contests and I highly recommend that authors use those services to validate their work! More information can be found on my site, http://landriaonkka.com 

Outskirts Press: Thank you, Landria. And congratulations on your success!  

Be sure to catch The Rooftop Christmas Tree when it premieres tomorrow night.  Click the screen-cap below for showtimes and the trailer.

xmass

Add a little FLASH (sale) to your Black Friday this year!

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Black Friday may not be an official holiday, but it more than makes up for its lack of official governmental status by being the absolute most intense shopping day in North America each and every year—and it only gets bigger with each cycle of the four seasons! This day, named so because many businesses find themselves recouping all operating costs and therefore “in the black” around this time of year, is the monster of all holiday sales. Who would’ve thought, back in the 1930s when retailers began opening their stores just a little bit earlier the day after Thanksgiving in order to grab the early birds before their competitors, that it would become the heart-stopping thrill ride that it is in 2016? These days, some shops hang up their OPEN signs at midnight on Thanksgiving Day—and sometimes, even earlier.

The long and the short of it is: Black Friday is a really, really big deal for self-publishing authors, just as it is for everyone else. And this Black Friday only— on November 25th—we’ll be giving you the necessary leg up on your competitors. How? From 8:00 AM until midnight, Outskirts Press will be offering a Flash Sale of $250 off towards the purchase of our Ultimate Publishing package or our Full Color Publishing package!

Taking part in the Flash Sale is easy—far easier than braving the aisles at Toys R’ Us or Target. All you have to do to take part is:

  1. Select the Ultimate Publishing or Full Color Publishing package by clicking the “Add to Cart” button on our website;
  2. Enter the promo code Flash250off at checkout; and
  3. Get started on your publishing journey!

For more information on our publishing packages, visit us online at http://outskirtspress.com/, call us at 1-888-672-6657, or chat with one of our staff using the live chat option on our website. Just remember, this is a limited-time offer that is valid today only!

Get started today-people are waiting to read your book.

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Thank You for Being You, Authors. And Thank You for Being Ours, Too.

thankfulSometimes we resist sentimentality around the holiday season because we feel as if everything worth saying has been said before, but we at Outskirts Press firmly believe that the truth is worth telling, and re-telling, especially at a time of year when the hectic nature of our private lives can distract us from what’s really important: our friends and families. You, as one of our treasured authors, are both friend and family—and we want to make sure you know just how much we appreciate you this Thanksgiving. Your business, your support, and yes, your friendship are the rock solid foundation upon which we have built a company around the idea that your stories are the cornerstone of an energetic, radical, world-changing phenomenon.

In celebration of you and all that you do, we wanted to highlight some of the authors who have published through Outskirts Press in recent years. These authors are, like the books they produce, representatives of a vibrant and diverse community engaged in storytelling, and we are so excited that they—and you—have chosen us to come alongside you throughout the self-publishing process. Here are a few quotes from our Author Representatives on some of their favorite experiences:


“Stuart Crane’s writing is award-worthy,” writes one Representative about the England-based author whose latest work, Farmer David: The Dunster Show has become beloved by all. “The illustrations are amazing!” Crane brings his characters to life and infuses them with all the energy and vitality of his current community in San Diego, as well as the beauty characteristic of his own English countryside roots.

If your taste runs more to inspirational adult literature, Exie Wilde Henson and her book Laurel’s Choices have inspired this testament from her own Representative: “She was, hands-down, one of my favorite authors to work with. She was so sweet and professional and allowed me to guide her through the [self-publishing] process with ease; I wish Exie the absolute best on her current book and her future ventures!”

Speaking of future ventures, this cookbook from Terry Lee Madere—Recipes of a Cajun—inspired lavish praise from his team at Outskirts Press. Says one Representative, “I was hungry just looking at this book!” Madere’s book contains, to paraphrase that same advocate, down-home recipes full of flavor. “Damn the diet,” the review ends—“and full speed ahead!”

For those of you looking for a great picture book to add to your holiday shopping list, you can’t go wrong with B.J. Loyd’s The Wishing Well, which our Author Representatives describe as containing “a message for all ages.” Said one Representative, “I loved working with this author, and I ordered a copy for my grandkids as soon as it was published.”

Or perhaps you’ll be touched and moved as much as we were by the picture book collaboration between Rhoda Leavitt and Sue Alsup, Our Gypsy Neighbors. Says their Representative, “The illustrations are done in watercolors,” making it “one of the prettiest books” we’ve had the pleasure of working on.

Rounding out our holiday picks for the kids’ corner, Barbara Cefalu’s ongoing series—The Adventures of Patty-Cat and Kittle and The Further Adventures of Patty-Cat and Kittle—carry on the lively tradition of Beatrix Potter and other animal-loving children’s authors. Says her Representative, her “kittens will knock your socks off with their engaging antics,” making her series “a must-read for any grandparent to a grandchild.” And holidays are for spending with family, after all!

Meanwhile, branching out into the realm of spiritual books, the legacy of Dr. T. Charles Brantley endures and eclipses many others. Dr. Brantley, with twenty books already published through Outskirts Press and more no doubt on the way, has, according to his Outskirts team, “not only published the most books with Outskirts Press, but his topics are very timely and applicable to real people with real questions.” Even just a sampling of his books should include such gems as Successful Marriages for Successful Men, Further Than Jabez: Come Against Selfishness Within the Body of Christ, Return to the Garden of Eden, and the popular League of Modern-Day Superheroes.

Last but certainly not least, we round out our list with Lenny Pollara’s We Will Never Forget, a work which inspired his Representative to say that he “epitomizes the true American Spirit of Heroism through his poetry,” and if that’s not enough to persuade you to pick up a copy of his pithy volume, perhaps its beautiful cover and the author’s legacy and fidelity to authentic representation of some truly devastating realities of life.


As you might have gathered, our wonderful team of Author Representatives are continually impressed with the authors who choose to publish through us at Outskirts Press, not to mention the quality of the finished products. We hope you’ll take a moment to celebrate our wonderful authors alongside us this Thanksgiving season, and maybe even take a chance on picking up one of their books for the upcoming gift-giving season to come!

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Ten fresh marketing tips for the holiday season

marketingtipsIn the months leading up to the end of a year, self-publishing authors often see a spike in activity around and engagement with their books–but this trend is no fluke. It’s the result of hard work and a fierce commitment to seeding, cultivating, and reaping the results of ambitious marketing strategies. According to the National Retail Federation, up to forty percent of sales for small and medium-sized businesses (that’s you!) take place in the last two months of the calendar year. That’s if, of course, the business owners figure out an innovative way to “sell to the season.” Quite the incentive to rethink things, isn’t it?

Any marketing amateur can tell you that the holidays are a special time of year, but what you do about it? How can a self-publishing author take advantage of the celebratory fervor in a way that isn’t trite and that hasn’t been “done” a hundred times over? This isn’t a problem particularly endemic to being an author; anyone who’s worked in a kitchen, for example, knows that there are only so many ways of making meatloaf–and any carpenter worth his or her salt knows that a table is always going to be a table, even when it’s at its most innovative. But when it comes to the art of making something–whether it’s with our hands on a keyboard or an eggbeater or a rotary sander–there’s a lot we can still do that won’t leave you feeling derivative. And there’s an art to marketing the things that we make, just as there’s an art to shaping them in the first place.

Here are ten ideas for you to knock your marketing campaign out of the park this holiday season. Take them as a starting point, however, and not a final verdict: there are plenty of other ways to rethink your approach to marketing, and your insight into the mind of your ideal reader will guide you to such points as might prove useful. And if you ever find yourself struggling to choose a path, the Personal Marketing Assistants at Outskirts Press can help you map the terrain.

10 “DOs” and “DO NOTs” : A Holiday Countdown


10.  DO NOT: Do Nothing Because You Can’t Do It All.

This might seem self-evident, but an all-or-nothing approach never helps anyone sell books–mostly because attempting to do “it all” almost inevitably leads to fatigue and burnout, and many authors never even reach that stage because they are too daunted by the sheer volume of marketing strategies available around the holiday season to strap themselves in and buckle down to executing a manageable set of them. And everyone’s boundaries are different: only you can know what your body and mind (and schedule!) can take during the holidays, accounting for all of the unexpected items that always crop up at this busy time of year. So don’t pay too much attention to the many articles and how-to pieces that float to the top in early October and percolate through the end of December preaching that there’s only one right way to market and proclaiming that These Three Simple Strategies Will Sell Your Book Right Now! or whatever their highly structured list of recommendations turns out to be.

The fact of the matter is, keeping it simple is, in fact, the way to go. Keep it smart, keep it simple, keep it sustainable–these are the guideposts to holiday marketing success. Pick a few core strategies you want to focus on this holiday season, plan them out ahead of time and make allowances for how much time and energy they’re going to take to execute, and let the rest fall away into oblivion. Do what you can do, not everything that you think you should do. And forgive yourself. Always forgive yourself if you haven’t managed to run twelve simultaneous giveaways and discounts and so on, all while picking up the kids from the airport or running to the grocery store for the nth time to pick up milk and all of the other minutiae which take over a holiday home. Do what you can do. The rest is just noise.

9:  DO: Think Community.

What’s special about yours? Do you have more than one? Most people–readers and authors alike–are involved in multiple communities, both online and off. You might be a member of your town’s general community, or a more localized neighborhood community. There are school communities, the bite-sized versions of which are classes and grades, and there are church communities. One mustn’t neglect to mention the many kinds of online communities, from social media networks to users of specialized forums and programs. In short, there are the communities we choose, and communities we’re a part of whether we like it or not. All of these communities possess certain characteristics which you can take advantage of for marketing purposes.

Consider your physical communities. Would your church consider hosting a reading? Would your school or public library accept a copy of your book for its collection? Could one of the blogs that you follow or forums you post to consider hosting a “blog-a-thon” featuring your book? Each community has its own structures for communication, and these structures are your bread and butter for marketing during the holiday season. Make a map of all of the different communities you’re involved in, and start brainstorming: how do they engage with the holidays? And how might you take advantage?

8:  DO NOT: Forget Your Reader.

During the frantic business of the holidays, it’s easy to find yourself caught up in your own drama–managing one crisis after another, playing host to friends and family and strangers alike, and navigating a whole host of hazardous emotions that belong wholly and singly to you. The problem is, for your book to hit a marketing peak this holiday season, you’ll need to sell your book to other people, not yourself–and it’s easy, oh-so-easy, to be so caught up in your own hurricane of experiences and feelings that you forget to really engage with your readers. And you won’t know what your readers think and feel unless you ask them, and really listen.

This winter, take a moment to reintroduce yourself to your readers. Get to know them. Demonstrate that you really care about them and want to reach them where they’re at, rather than assume they’re ready and willing to buy your book without being convinced that it will satisfy a need of theirs (not yours). Like writing, marketing works best when it’s a selfless act, at least in part. Don’t throw a party or host a giveaway if it’s not what your readers are asking for! Your readers are far more likely to buy your book as opposed to someone else’s if they’re made to feel important, listened to, and a priority.

7:  DO: Diversify.

And we’re not just talking about picking a new social media website to tweet or post to! Diversity is the name of the game in 2016, whether we’re talking about valuing cultural and ethnic and neurological and political and lifestyle diversity or the importance of making material accessible to a diverse demographic. When it comes to marketing your self-published book, consider ways in which you can bridge the gap between your book and its intended audiences by experimenting with different avenues of reaching them–diversifying your online presence to include new social media websites, yes, or committing yourself to market research in order to find out where your readers live and how they find their books–and by broadening your book’s appeal in order to be interesting and useful to audiences you maybe didn’t have in mind at first, when writing your book.

Diversifying isn’t just the same as “trying new things.” It’s investing real time and energy in finding the margins of your book’s appeal and the boundaries of your current marketing strategy–and breaking out of those preordained trajectories. It’s being selfless enough to consider the possibility that there’s more out there beyond what you think your book is about and egoless enough to consider the fact that there are more people to care about as potential readers than just the ones you originally had in mind. Diversifying is all of these things–and it’s also making sure to turn these question marks into action.

6:  DO NOT: Oversell.

We have a stereotype in our minds of a used car salesman for a reason–not because they’re all pushy and suave and compelling in problematic ways, but because we have all met people who oversell and felt alienated by the experience. Whether it’s a friend selling handmade products as a home business and who constantly brings it up over coffee, or a big business pushing an obvious agenda by calling you three times a day, the oversell is an immediate turn-off. We all know a too-polished sales pitch when we hear one, and this is absolutely something you don’t want to replicate for your readers.

And it is oh-so-easy to fall into the oversell trap. We all want to sell our books, and we all want to do it in as professional and engaging a way as possible … and as a result, we often practice our lines. A little too much. Spontaneity, for better or worse, has come to be equated with authenticity–and there it is, the buzzword of the decade! No matter what your marketing strategy looks like, there’s room for a blend of polish and verve. The key is to make sure your potential future readers feel as though your book has room to breathe and speak for itself. So sell your book this holiday season–not as the ultimate holiday gift, perhaps, but as a solid addition to the literary canon that happens to be available this holiday season.

5:  DO: Be a Tease.

As in, make a book teaser trailer! This is one of the few marketing strategies in this list with a tangible, actionable follow-through which you can master in a day or less. It’s also one of the most long-lived marketing strategies available to self-publishing authors, given that video has been around for quite a few decades now and has only become more accessible to modern authors and readers as time has progressed.

A short video clip featuring your book is a great investment. This holiday season, take a moment to think about putting together a book teaser trailer that specifically promotes your book as a great gift idea. Take notes from the advertisements you’ve found most memorable over the years, and you’ll find it’s often the narrative-driven ones that stick in your mind–whether it’s a visual interpretation of the idiom “as difficult as herding cats” or a depiction of someone’s holiday absolutely falling apart and being rescued by friendly neighbors. Your trailer, given that it centers on a book with its own built-in narrative, would be a great place to play out some of the same advertising principles! And the best part is, book trailers are sharable. You can post your video to YouTube and share it across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and any number of other social media platforms.

4:  DO NOT: Create “Filler.”

For a long time, companies emphasized generating content just for content’s sake–“filler”–as a consequence of the theory that sheer volume of material would boost sales. In effect, this was the marketing equivalent of filibustering or speaking in a monotone voice for hours in an empty room in hope that eventually, someone will hear. The problem with this theory is that the more companies who buy in to the strategy, the more people there are speaking in a monotone for hours in an empty room, competing for the attention of any one person who wanders by. The volume rises until everyone is shouting–and at that point, the potential customer exits, stage right. It has become increasingly clear that the modern shopper’s problem is not a lack of information, but an inability to navigate a profound surplus of information with the tools available.

This holiday season, don’t post blog posts or write newsletters or blast emails to your followers just to remind them that you exist and you’re trying to sell your book. You’ll just add to the noise, and potentially even annoy some future readers. The trick is not to try and talk over your competitors, but to offer something else–something genuinely new, vital, and interesting. This is not to say you shouldn’t create blog posts, newsletters, or emails–but a reminder that you shouldn’t write them to no purpose. Create content you believe in, and that you can stand by for years to come. Make every word matter.

3:  DO: Opt Out.

It’s worth remembering that the instinct to run counter to a trend is just as powerful as the desire to conform. And that instinct can be quantified, analyzed, and put to work like every other human behavior. Several companies have seen success recently by turning an idea on its head or rejecting it altogether. REI, for example, started a campaign encouraging its customers to #OptOutside (hashtag and all) on Black Friday instead of spending the day hunting for bargains in malls and shopping centers. A pinch of rebellion and a dash of solid marketing sense combined to perfection, creating almost overnight a whole network of support from other organizations and institutions, including the National Park Service and Subaru. It wasn’t framed in a negative light–no booing of companies holding sales on Black Friday–but it did create a new market. And instead of pulling in shoppers on a day when they’d risk maximum competition with other retailers, REI created a longer, more sustained demand tied to its image as a forward-thinking, counter-culture choice for people sick of being sold things–people who wanted to be reminded that their happiness, not just a company’s profit margin, mattered.

You can benefit from opting out, too. Your offerings may not resemble REI’s in format or scale, but there’s something to be said for the fact that you can create a movement rather than just a sales event. And it won’t hurt your bottom line, as the aforementioned examples illustrate. Market your book this holiday season by rethinking how the holidays work as a cog in the corporate machine, and your readers might just buy in as you opt out together.

2:  DO NOT: Trust the Same Old Tricks

… Or despair of learning new ones. After all, the science is in: old dogs can learn new tricks, and they have far more fun in the process than they would just repeating the same old ones time and time again. The same is true for humans–don’t worry, the dog analogy stops here–in that repetition is useful to a point when picking up a new skill or memorizing a new bit of information, but after that point usefulness diminishes. When it comes to marketing your self-published book, you don’t want to rely on using the same turn of phrase or even the same holiday special–because at some point, it’s just white noise. Everyone’s selling something between Halloween and New Year’s, and they’re often using the exact same strategies (in your case, giveaways, discounts, and goodie baskets).

Assessing your own success is vital here. Every year you absolutely must take a good long look at your numbers for the year in correlation with the marketing strategies you employed over the same period. Whatever isn’t working–and whatever’s working a little bit, maybe, but less than before–ought to land on the chopping block right away. If you’re seeing diminishing returns on an investment of your time and energy, you’ll see one in sales figures soon enough. A solid marketing plan whittles itself down to core practices on a regular basis, and then fills in the gaps with new ideas.

1:  DO: Blend “Old School” AND “New School.”

If this year has been anything, it has been a year in which new technologies and tastes have merged–sometimes messily–with a surplus of nostalgia. From television shows like Stranger Things to rebooted film franchises like Ghostbusters, from the rise of Pokemon Go to the return of Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance, and the constant reminders (courtesy of this year’s electoral race) of a golden era now some years distant, 2016 has in some ways seemed like a string of throwback headlines, one after another. But the most successful reboots and resurrections have become sensations not despite the existence of new technologies, but because of them. Whether it’s streaming television, advances in smartphone cameras and image processing technologies, next-generation computer graphics, or the chance to engage (potential) government representatives in Twitter wars, the Old School and the New School have melded in happy synergy.

And you can do the same. As a self-publishing author, you’re by default both a symbol of the New School (using new technologies) and a scion of the Old School (part of one of the oldest occupations on the planet: writing). But “new” is a moving target, so don’t forget to always, always seek out and seize upon new ideas, new technologies, and new potential audiences. Does it sound just insane enough to possibly be interesting? If yes, then give it a chance. Yesterday’s synergy of old and new included Instapoets and light installations on deserted beaches or derelict buildings. Tomorrow’s opportunities will be different, and you’re already ahead of the curve just by thinking about them


No matter what steps you take to boost your holiday gift sales this season, just remember: you’re not in this alone. If you’re uncertain of where to begin in creating a marketing plan for the holidays, Outskirts Press is available to lend a hand. Consider setting up an appointment with a Personal Marketing Assistant and step gleefully into the holidays with the confidence that your book will find new readers!


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Outskirts Press Recognizes October’s Top Ten Books

While every book we publish is a masterpiece in its own right, some of our books really move off of the shelves, and each month we like to recognize those authors for their hard work and dedication as well as thank them for choosing to publish through us at Outskirts Press. With no further ado, here are the top ten books for the month of October in terms of sales numbers!

What She Feels by Chidozie Osuwa

Dealing with love is never easy or straightforward, especially when it comes to prose and poetry, but Chidozie Osuwa handles this subject with a light touch and all of the grace of an artist sensitive to the complexities of experience. Hers is the heart of experience, and her language reflects the maturity of thought and wisdom gleaned from a lifetime of inquiry, exploration, and yes—the scars of heartbreak. Osuwa’s collection of poems avoids clichés and seizes upon fresh images, captivating readers everywhere and pushing What She Feels to the top of the list this month.

Letters, To The Men I Have Loved, by Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol

Whoever said poetry was losing popularity clearly hasn’t looked at our list in the last couple of years; ever since Mirtha Michelle Castro Mármol published Letters, To The Men I Have Loved this debut collection of poems has held its ground on our bestsellers list. And from all accounts, her popularity is well-earned, her poems unfolding with all the warmth and authenticity of the actress herself. Her second book of poems, Elusive Loves; Amores Esquivos, was released late last year, and continues her legacy of taking contemporary love poems to the next level.

From Darkness to Light:How I Encountered Jesus Christ, by Chris Adams Kalima

Trained as a monk from a young age in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Chris Kalima became the first black person to study at Lao-Tzumayana Monastery—and the first black man to become a high priest in Buddhism. But after 27 years as a Buddhist Priest, he had an encounter that would change his life—an encounter with Jesus Christ. This encounter and the mandate he received during this encounter have spurred Chris Adams on to become an author and to share his message of faith and healing. A runaway bestseller, this book is one to inspire and challenge a spiritual reader.

Serenity Granted: Accepting Hardship as a Pathway to Peace, by Richard Preston

Another selection which will interest our spiritual readers is Richard Preston’s Serenity Granted, a book about truth and consequences, particularly as relates to the crippling effects of drug and alcohol addiction. And Richard Preston speaks from a place of authority. Speaking as a man who “never met a party that he didn’t like,” he documents the progressive effects of these addictions as they took over his life for thirty years. With plenty of dark days behind him, Richard Preston’s words ring with hope and possibility as he leads his readers through the hazards of self-destructive impulses, correctional facilities, and even suicide attempts. But the story didn’t end there—and we can’t say much more without spoiling the story, but highly encourage you to check it out.

Forever Friends, by Priscilla Hansen

Just in time for holiday shopping, this fifth addition to our list is a beautifully illustrated children’s tale from author Priscilla Hansen, whose main character Abigail brings to life Hansen’s own childhood. This book follows Abigail’s search for “forever friends” to adventure through life with, and as she learns how first to be a true friend to others. Her friends, brought to life as five wonderful animal characters, fill the pages and Abigail’s life with creativity, kindness, and the joys of love. There’s a lesson to be learned here, and one our readers seem to embrace with abandon, placing this book high on our bestseller list.

Living Life to the Fullest with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: A Guide to Living a Better Quality of Life While Having EDS, by Kevin Muldowney, PT

Living with a genetic disorder is a great and ongoing challenge, as Kevin Muldowney reveals in this wonderful handbook for dealing with EDS, widely known as a painful disorder which can inhibit those who have it from living a productive and happy life. Topping the list of non-fiction books in our Health & Fitness category and coming in sixth overall for sales in October, this book provides a useful outline for an exercise protocol to alleviate the pain associated with EDS and develop muscles to help control the joint subluxations so common to those with EDS. Muldowney’s expertise on this subject has been accumulated over many years of work in therapy.

Concise Review of Critical Care, Trauma and Emergency Medicine: A Quick Reference Guide of ICU and ER Topics, by Asif Anwar

We might not be used to seeing medical treatises on other top sales lists, but here at Outskirts Press we are repeatedly blown away by the richness and diversity of our authors’ backgrounds and subjects of interest. In his A Concise Review of Critical Care, Asif Anwar walks his readers through the most commonly raised topics related to the area of critical care, trauma, and emergency medical treatment. Useful both in the field and at home as a reference, this book is a testament to Anwar’s background with the US Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Team, Wisconsin Air National Guard as a Flight Surgeon, and more. He recently released his second book with us, Fainting Pulse: ICU Chronicles.

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Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson

The fashion industry is a long-held fascination with American readers, but rarely does such an honest and forthright memoir come into the world as Nikki DuBose’s Washed Away. This book, a compelling glimpse into the negative effects that this industry can have upon those who work within it, chronicles DuBose’s path through many difficulties to emerge, still determined to live life to the full, stronger than ever. DuBose’s work is a testament to hardships endured and to the power of advocacy to improve the lives of others. Definitely a must-read—and our readers clearly agree!

Coco’s Hood Love: A Whirlwind of Twists and Turns, by Kymistry

Don’t let the title fool you—Kymistry’s new book Coco’s Hood Love is a tale as much about life’s struggles as it is about its joys. Orlando, Florida has not always been kind to Ashley “Coco” Sims, but it is her home and the setting of her ongoing search for love. This sassy, classy lady has taken years of abuse from a neglectful Delvin, but takes her future (and his fortune) into her own hands by fleeing for Atlanta, Georgia with her best friend Nikki. But will Georgia offer her solace and better luck in love? Our readers can’t get enough of this entertaining read, putting it firmly on our bestseller list.

A WAVES Desire: Book I, by Emerson Perry

Proving once and for all that romance is a genre worth respecting, Emerson Perry’s A WAVES Desire might just tick the right boxes on your holiday shopping list; rounding out our October top seller list, this book follows intrepid nurse and US Navy officer Lietenant Jasmine S. Kendrick on her quest to undo some of the world’s grief. Having lost her mother as a child and yearning for the affections of an absent military father, Jasmine is placed in jeopardy by a forbidden romance with a Petty Officer with a jaded past. Without revealing any spoilers, we strongly recommend reading this book, both to find out where Jasmine’s story ends and to enjoy the stellar writing in this debut novel, which will haunt you long after you put the book down.


Thank you, readers and authors alike, for celebrating these wonderful books. All of these titles and many more are available from major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, Books-A-Million, and elsewhere—not to mention, through the Outskirts Press Bookstore for a considerable discount. To find out more about our products and services as well as upcoming and current promotions, visit us online at www.OutskirtsPress.com!

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