Celebrate Your Book This April During National Poetry Month

Are you celebrating National Poetry Month? Each April, the Academy of American Poets sponsors this event, wherein authors and readers of poetry alike are encouraged to raise awareness about poetry and leverage its inspirational potential to spark new and beautiful works of artistry in the world.

This year, National Poetry Month includes Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 26th. On this day, the Academy encourages those of you who love poetry “to select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, and workplaces. Then, please join the conversation on social media by posting a link or screenshot and on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem.” So not only is there an entire month dedicated to promoting poetry in general, there’s also a day set aside specifically for the sharing of poetry in tangible physical form through in-person contact? This is one month you do not want to slip by unnoticed!

The Academy of American Poets provides a number of resources on their website to make participation easy for readers of poetry, but what about authors? And what about, specifically, self-publishing authors? Inspired by the “Other Ways to Participate” of their website, we’ve adapted their list to be more inclusive of those of you who have already published a work of poetry and are looking for ways to tap into the energy and theme of National Poetry Month to better market your own books.

10 Ways to own National Poetry Month as a self-published poet:

  1. Put together a printable file of a few of your best short poems and email it out to your friends, family, and fans in the same spirit as the downloadable resources provided by the Academy on their website.
  2. Recruit a team from among those friends, family, and fans who reply to hand out your pocket-sized poems in their local communities, and watch as your geographical reach multiplies exponentially!
  3. Host a “poem in your pocket” giveaway at your workplace or your local public library.
  4. Print off letter-sized posters of a few of your best short poems and ask local businesses to put up them up in their front windows or on their bulletin boards.
  5. Make it a treasure hunt by numbering each different poem. Encourage those residents of your town who manage to spot three or six or ten of these poems to take pictures and post them to social media and to tag you. Provide some special incentive or reward for those who collect the most, like a special limited-edition bookmark featuring your book.
  6. Be a ninja! Leave small, pocket-sized verses in public places, like libraries and bookstores and restaurants and businesses. Unlike the posters, these are easy to slip in a pocket and carry away.
  7. Design or order and distribute bookmarks with your favorite lines of your own poetry, as well as an image of your book’s cover.
  8. Add one of your own poems to your email footer … as well as a link to your book’s sales page! It may seem subtle, but it’s the kind of subtle which might just catch somebody’s eye.
  9. Every day, or even several times every day, make sure to post lines from your favorite poems on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr. There are dozens of apps which you can download for free or a small fee which will convert text into beautiful images which you can then post to your favorite social media platform.
  10. And yes, you really ought to send a poem to a friend. A poem you’ve written. Unlike these other suggestions, this one is intimate. It’s personal. It’s not about selling books or building your brand. It’s just about … you. You and your friend, who means so much to you. After all, poetry is the form language takes when simple words are not enough.

Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this April or at any time of year? It may be time to lean on an expert! Log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers.

To see our staff picks of amazing poetry books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

Prepare for National Poetry Month this April

Did you know that the month of April is, among other things, National Poetry Month? This makes April the perfect month to publish that book of poems you’ve been thinking about for a while, and not just because this month provides some great marketing opportunities; it’s also the perfect month to think about the reasons why we write, and the ways in which we put words together on the page. It’s a month to re-envision our craft as wordsmiths!

First, I might point you to the experience of Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol, whose first book of poems, Letters, to the Men I Have Loved, did more than moderately well … it did so exceptionally well as to remain on Amazon’s bestseller lists for months! Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol published through Outskirts Press, and in our interview with her on our blog, she said that the most rewarding part of being published “is and will always be” the ability her book had “to touch people.” Said Ms. Castro Marmol, “It’s crazy because I didn’t think people really read books anymore. But for me, having these girls go and buy my book, and spend their twenty dollars or so on Letters … it’s amazing, that someone believes in things still.” Readers have been snapping up copies of her books, both in physical and digital forms, at such a rate as to firmly prove that people still “really read books” … including poetry!

So how do successful poets do it?

Success as a self-publishing poet is all about consistency, commitment, and personal development. To help you become the best poet you can be, here are three ways to improve your writing as well as self-publishing your work.

  1. Read, Read, Read! Any time you want to improve your skills and become more successful, reading can help. Read poetry! Read books and articles about writing and publishing poetry! Read information about self-publishing! Read anything that inspires you to write and become the best poet you can be, but don’t limit yourself to poetry and industry-related books. Read fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and advertisements. Read everything and anything you can get a hold of. You never know what will inspire you!
  2. Stay Committed: If you want to be successful, you need to commit yourself to your craft. Make time to write every day. Look for ways to continue to learn and grow. Figure out what motivates you and include those motivations in your daily life. Share your goals with others so they can help you accountable. Never give up on dreams.
  3. Be Consistent: Whether you are writing, editing, or marketing, be consistent. Work on your poetry every day. Set a schedule for when you will write, edit, or market your work. Set goals for yourself, and make a plan to achieve them. Successful writers don’t write sporadically; they work on their craft in some way every single day.

Supposing that these three suggestions have provided you with the motivation you need, what next? Well, turn this list on its head and consider it a starting point … and a list of tips for starting your next book! The path to publication may not always be smooth, but there are ways to make sure it is well-lit and passable. And that’s why we’re here to provide you with the services and resources you need to move from a grand idea for your next book to a finished, published book of poems for the next generation.

Not sure what you need to get started publishing your poetry? Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it ready for publication. To see our staff picks of amazing poetry books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

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

Classroom Boredom Busters

by Donna Malone

(5 Stars – 5 Customer Reviews)

Price: $14.95

Donna Malone’s “Classroom Boredom Busters” will spark student curiosity and increase student participation with classroom activities that won’t add to your busy workload. Teachers of all content and subject areas in grades four through twelve can make every lesson come alive and become more memorable.

 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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The Best Reasons to Self-Publish … Are Free!

While print books are likely to always have a place with readers, ebooks are more than just the wave of the future … they’re the wave of the now. Each year, the market share for ebook publishing and consumption grows, and self-publishing authors like you are leading the way. And during the month of March you can take advantage of this trend by receiving a free Kindle eBook Edition and a free Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Edition with the purchase of an Ultimate, Full-Color or Basic publishing package from Outskirts Press.

If you’ve spent much time researching the ins and outs of self-publishing, you already know there are more benefits to ebooks than just market share and the ability to tap into the massive international popularity of the Amazon Kindle store and the device’s many millions of users.

The true magic of the Amazon Kindle and other dedicated e-readers is that they allow avid readers to instantly download books and newspapers, and carry a large library of reading materials with them in one compact device. Only books that have been submitted to the Amazon Kindle using their required process and in their required format are available for Kindle readers to purchase and enjoy, so professionally formatted ebooks are essential to success in the Amazon Marketplace. This holds true for the Barnes & Noble Nook Store, as well. Kindle editions of books appear on Amazon and in Amazon search listings just like hardbacks, paperbacks and any other format out there. More formats on Amazon means more exposure on Amazon, and the Kindle is heavily promoted by Amazon. Thanks to Google search rankings and algorithms, ebooks also have a better chance of showing up in general web indexing. Practically speaking, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of the Internet’s invisible paths to promotion.

Providing an ebook edition of your book is an important and valuable step towards rendering your book accessible to those readers who can’t read regular print — including children and seniors — and to whom an e-reader’s text size and other various graphical controls make the difference between reading and not reading. Ebooks are also far more accessible an option to readers of impaired mobility and to whom a trip to a physical bookstore or library is prohibitive, and to readers whose work schedules and home life likewise prevent them from making it into a store. There’s also the matter of the commuter, to whom ebooks are the only truly portable option in a busy day spent running from bus or train to work and back again. When you look at the various annual reports breaking down ebook readership, these groups lead the pack. And to these readers, an ebook edition is more than just a nice gesture … they’re necessary!

Which isn’t to say that tech-savvy readers who simply prefer ebooks aren’t also an important readership to whom you ought to market your book. Plenty of vacationers also prefer ebooks.

In addition to broadening your audience and raising your digital profile, electing to publish an ebook version of your book is a wise choice for authors looking to lower costs (as ebooks cost nothing to print) and lower their carbon footprint (ebooks save paper). Of all the options available to you, ebooks offer the highest return on your investment.

There are so many reasons to publish an ebook edition of your next book … and now there is one less reason not to by erasing the cost and offering you an ebook edition for free! To take advantage of this offer, all you need to do is add the Ultimate, Full-Color or Basic publishing package to your Outskirts Press shopping cart, then enter the promo code Ebooks-Free at checkout. The free ebook editions will automatically be credited to your account. But don’t delay! This offer is only available during the month of March.

For more information about self-publishing and book marketing services from Outskirts Press, visit us at www.OutskirtsPress.com! For professional advice, contact an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant. There are three convenient ways to connect:

  1. Call us at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
  2. Live-chat with us via our website
  3. Go online to schedule an appointment

The Votes Are In! The Winner of Our 2018 “Show Us Your Love” Contest Is …

Each year, we at Outskirts Press are impressed — and overwhelmed — by your entries in our annual “Show Us Your Love” contest. The level of interest we see affirms our dedication to providing a rich and varied range of self-publishing services to authors looking to take the next step toward publication … and it inspires us to outdo ourselves, year after year, in making your dreams a reality. Thank you, one and all, for the love you’ve shown. You are our very reason for being!

This year, we received extremely creative submissions, and are happy to announce our winner, the video that received the most votes across our social media platforms.

And the first-place winner is …

Jackie Fisher “The Lost Branch”

In her video, Jackie regaled us with the many reasons she loves Outskirts Press … and all in rhyming verse, no less! For her efforts, Jackie received the most votes and takes home a brand new, Microsoft Surface Pro Touchscreen Laptop. Congratulations, Jackie!

Jackie Fischer “The General” is 47 years old and lives in Coram, New York. She is a full-time Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation for the past 20 years. She is married and has one son. Her interests include hiking, skiing, playing piano, tennis and walking her dog, Woody. She loves to travel when time allows.

Book description …

The story of my Sicily connection is fun to tell. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit about Sicily, and how our family in America reconnected with our relatives across the sea. There were two brothers that were separated at a young age because of the strict rules of immigration back in the early 1900s. A hundred years later, a reunion of two families finally took place. There were sad times, happy adventures and special moments and memories that will last a lifetime.

Even if you couldn’t submit a video this year, you can still promote your book across your social media accounts. Consider creating a video about your book and posting that. Ask your friends and family to view your video and to “like” it. Any amount of promotion helps your book to sell and social media is a great place to start. Who knows? Maybe you’ll submit the winning video to next year’s Show Us Your Love contest!

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

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

Where the Magpie Cries

by Brett Bidwell

Price: $18.95

Brett Bidwell’s “Where the Magpie Cries.” Eighteen-year-old Bree Mier is trying to escape her past, but can’t seem to outrun it. She walks back to her little, unknown town in Colorado with haunting memories of what happened there–but when she is forced to share her story she has no choice but to relive her past.

 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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Write, Submit, Win!

Writing contests have long been a staple of the publishing community, but what about for self-publishing authors? Do they have a place in writing contests? The short answer is absolutely, yes they do! In fact, the average writing contest is the perfect place to showcase your talents and maybe even receive a small cash reward or a boatload of free publicity if you win. This is because writing contests are the province of the up-and-comers, a discoverability vehicle for readers, reviewers, and other experts in an industry which rewards grit and persistence.

The possible financial incentives to a writing award are self-explanatory, but what about the intangible benefits? Only one person can place first in any given awards category, so what other reasons might there be to submit, especially if you’re new to the scene? In many ways, the benefits boil down to credit, mental space, and deadlines. Which is to say, many of the most well-known awards contests publish both their longlists and their shortlists online or in print, and this is a great way to grab some free publicity. They also force you to take some time away from your work, as many contests forbid simultaneous submissions to more than one contest at once. If your work doesn’t win, you’re guaranteed to come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind, with a better sense for what you’d like to improve. And lastly, submitting to awards contests requires you to meet deadlines, and for many of us that little bit of extra external structure provides the necessary encouragement to finish one project and move on to another.

Whatever your reasons for entering, whether it’s self-encouragement or the desire for a cash bonus, there’s little to lose apart from an entry fee (and then only for certain contests), and a lot to gain!

So, where are the best places to submit? All you have to do is run a search through Google to discover there are hundreds if not thousands of possibilities when it comes to writing contests. We recommend you do a bit of research and find the ones which will suit you best, but in the meantime, here are five of our favorites, each of which caters to a different genre or publishing category!

    1. Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition: This contest is for writers 18 and older who have never had a novel published (in any genre). It is awarded to an original book-length manuscript featuring “murder or another serious crime or crimes […] at the heart of the story.” Winners receive a publication contract with Minotaur Books and a $10,000 advance against future royalties. Deadlines fall in the last quarter of the year.
    2. New Voices Award: Facilitated by the award-winning children’s book publisher Lee & Low Books, this is awarded to a previously unpublished children’s picture book manuscript of 1,500 words or fewer. The manuscript must be written by an author of color as the award is designed to celebrate and further diversity in children’s literature. Winners receive $1,000 in cash and a standard publication contract. Submissions are due by the end of September.
    3. Prose: Looking for a fun and fresh way to combat writer’s block? Prose’s unique format centers on weekly challenges designed to smash ruts and cultivate curiosity. Some come with prizes attached, usually between $100 and $200, but the prompts are brief and the submissions equally so: most of Prose’s contests are looking for submissions between 150 and 500 words. Quality over quantity, right? But the best news of all is that there are plenty of opportunities to win, and the prompts are designed to hone your skills.
    4. Words & Brushes: Here’s a contest for the visually-minded among you! The Words & Brushes short story contest is designed to foster collaborations between artists and writers. Authors select a piece of artwork from their gallery and submit short stories inspired by them. Prize monies are as high as $350, but the publicity is equally if not more valuable: winners gain spots in a future art book showcasing their collaborations. The deadline for this contest is usually in February.
    5. Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition: While this contest does charge an entry fee, it is also one of the highest-rated competitions by self-publishing authors who have participated in the past. It is also among the longest-running writing competitions out there. With a number of submission categories, including Memoirs and Genre Short Story, this is a friendly contest to many self-publishing authors! The Grand Prize winner receives $5,000, a feature in Writer’s Digest magazine, a paid trip to a writing conference, and lots of free promotion. Runners-up also have a chance at prizes. earn prizes in first through tenth places. This annual contest closes in May each year.

We hope you’ve found at least one contest here to keep your eye on as you continue to follow the path to publication! And if you find yourself needing a little help navigating your options and choosing the best ones for you, speak with one of our Publishing Consultants to get exactly what you need – and get the most out of it! There are three convenient ways to connect:

      1. Call us at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
      2. Live-chat with us via our website
      3. Go online to schedule an appointment