Capture the Magic in Your Next Children’s Book!

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who might claim that writing children’s books is easy; in fact, most people in the know will tell you exactly the opposite. Publishing professionals, editors, and authors alike must face up to the peculiar challenges of the genre, which include writing a captivating story, generating eye-popping illustrations, and creating a marketing strategy which will appeal to both the children who make up your primary audience—and the adults who must pay for its purchase. And here’s a fun fact: sometimes children and adults like different things!

There is no other book genre out there which has such a division between its readers and its purchasers … but don’t let that get you down! There are ways to write and publish children’s books which will sell well to folks of all ages, and here we have put together a top six tips list to help you create your own.

  1. Mind your length. As any preschool teacher or children’s librarian can confirm, reading with children is most enjoyable for both parties when the book in question contains just enough text to carry the story along without exhausting their attention. The amount of text you can get away with per page will lengthen as your target audience grows older, but a general rule of thumb is to start with two lines of text per page for toddlers and to go from there.
  2. Pick a timely subject. Picture books are more likely to be picked up by parents, teachers, and librarians on the prowl if they tackle subjects which these adults want to prepare their children to face. In 2014, for instance, one of the most popular subjects was bullying. In 2015, diversity and Civil Rights spiked in popularity. In 2016, picture books featuring public service and leadership frequently hit the bestseller lists. One of the strengths of self-publishing is the fact that books can respond to current events, go to press, and hit bookshelves much more quickly than their traditional counterparts. Take advantage!
  3. Don’t dumb it down. You heard right—baby talk doesn’t carry as compelling of a story as a book which treats its younger audiences with a rich vocabulary and sophisticated sentence structure. Embed what some writers call “gift words” throughout your book, and elevate the beauty of your lines the same way you would for adults. After all, it’s very likely adults will be reading your book aloud to or alongside their kids, and this will transform your book from pure entertainment to a learning opportunity.
  4. Voice morals carefully, and cleverly. Young children will often miss the meat of your agenda, and adults may be turned off from purchasing your book for their kids because it strikes them as “too preachy” or because they disagree with your point. Many of the most successful picture books are indeed rich with moral material, and few will argue otherwise than that picture books are prime tools for teaching sound decision-making skills, but most of these success stories find clever, quiet ways to do so without alienating readers.
  5. Think about those end materials! Many of today’s best picture books include a few pages at the end which include notes for adults on how to make best use of the book in teaching a skill or an idea to young readers. These thoughtful additions often help parents and educators to recognize the care which went into writing and publishing the book, and to put it to work in a more intentional way.
  6. Humor me. Or rather, humor them! Children have a keen sense of humor, and are particularly sensitive to farce and comedy. Adults are more attuned to situational and other forms of irony. A good picture book will entertain everyone by tapping into intersectional forms of humor, just as a good children’s movie usually has some sort of mature subtext embedded within it to keep parents awake in the theater. You can also use humor as a teaching tool, so everyone wins!

In an ideal world, you would be able to focus on the act of writing your picture book, and not have to worry about the complicated minutiae of publishing and marketing your book which you may or may not feel prepared enough to tackle. Luckily, we already live in that world! At Outskirts Press, you can turn to us at any stage of the publishing process, whether you’re reading this newsletter and finding tips on how to move forward with your writing, or using our One-Click Publishing suite to publish your next children’s book, or exploring your options for illustrations and interior formatting. We offer a comprehensive list of services which we hope you’ll take advantage of as you work to translate your vision to the page!

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Launch Kids Into Literacy Heaven!

Marketing books can be difficult, especially when you have to market to two dramatically different groups of people: children and the adults who buy books for them!

It’s no secret that children want a few specific things from the books they read, and those things can be boiled down to beautiful, eye-popping illustrations and a quirky, fast-paced story which will keep them on their toes. But adults? They want to buy books for their kids which are instructive as well as entertaining, and thoughtful as well as funny. Both children and adults love smart, horizon-expanding picture books, but that horizon sometimes looks a little … different.

So how do you market your picture book so that it shows off all of these various facets? We have a few thoughts on how to kickstart your promotional campaign this May!

  1. Start your campaign with a memorable—and thematic!—event. In that the book you’re promoting is a kid’s book, it probably taps into some great themes as well as some exciting visuals thanks to your illustrations. Use this to your advantage! Kids love parties of all kinds and the themes which go with them, and you can usually rely on your local library or your local independent bookstore to welcome a literary event, like a book reading or launch party, for kids. Go straight to the people who will know best how to incorporate picture books and fun activities—your children’s librarian! Seriously. They do this all the time. Even if you don’t hold your event at the library, these folks are a great resource for ideas.
  2. Take the book to school. Like, a literal and actual school! It can be hard to break into the schools since the curriculum is often developed by people higher up in the academic hierarchy than the teachers themselves, but there are still ways to raise your book’s profile among school-aged kids! One of the most reliable ways to promote a children’s book is to put together a thirty to fifty minute workshop which you can scale up or down to any group of school students of any age (or at least a range of ages). Keep it portable, and flexible enough to adapt to a variety of classroom setups and sizes, and reach out to a couple of your local teachers and administrators to see what kind of needs a workshop around your book can help meet. Think big!
  3. Market to both children and the adults who will be paying for the book. Children’s books are unique in respect to the fact that the person who will be reading the book most often and the person who is paying for it are often not the same person. In many cases, too, adults are a necessary part of the child’s reading experience as well–picture all of those Story Times in the library, with grown-ups reading to little ones in their laps–so a book must have shelf appeal to both little ones (make an eye-popping display!) and their parents or caregivers (make it relevant and funny!). Use social media local parenting-related groups to reach out to these folks. Whatever you do, make sure your marketing strategies are reaching out to those who buy the books as well as those who read them!

Whatever path you choose to pursue in marketing your children’s book, we hope you’ll take advantage of the resources available through our website at www.OutskirtsPress.com, or make use of a five-hour session with one of our expert Personal Marketing Assistants, each of whom can walk you through the necessary steps to set up a rigorous, flexible, and far-reaching marketing plan suited to you and your book’s unique needs. At Outskirts Press, we’re here to help you at all of the different stages of being an author, from publishing to marketing to getting started on your next children’s book!

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Register Now for the 2017 Beijing Book Fair

International book fairs bring books, authors, and publishing professionals together under one roof and offer fabulous opportunities for authors to promote their own books. Authors can network, grow their fan base, increase book sales…and have some fun while surrounded by fellow book-lovers.

The 24th annual Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) kicks off August 23-27, 2017 at the China International Exhibition Center. Thousands of authors from around the world will gather at the fair to display their work. It’s also a one-of-a-kind opportunity to mix, mingle and network with booksellers, publisher, literary agents and other book-related professionals on the lookout for talent and compelling books.

No other country has experienced the growth in the world marketplace that China has, and that impact has been greatly felt in the publishing and bookselling world. Blossoming readership in China represents an enormous opportunity for authors to take advantage of the growing demand for book translations, and publishers are scrambling to feed the frenzy. There is surging consumer demand for all types of books, and getting your book in front of this potential market can have a tremendously positive effect on the success of your book.

Register now through Outskirts Press to exhibit your book at the Beijing International Book Fair. When you exhibit at the Beijing Book Fair through Outskirts Press, you’ll receive …

  • Prominent, face-out display of your book with only four other Outskirts Press titles
  • An Outskirts Press representative on-site to personally answer questions and advocate for your book
  • Valuable industry leads
  • We’ll forward inquiries about your book directly to you so you can follow-up!

Time is running out and space is limited, so reserve your space today! To purchase this option, simply log into your Author Publishing Center at www.outskirtspress.com and select Beijing Book Fair from the Marketing Solutions menu.

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5 Self-Published Books for the Special Moms in Your Life

One of my favorite quotes about motherhood is “To the world you are a mother, but to your family, you are the world.” Moms are amazing. They work around the clock caring for their families, they sacrifice so much to provide for their children, and they do it all with little thanks or recognition. Mother’s Day is an opportunity to thank the amazing mothers in your life. Whether that special lady is a mom-to-be, new mom in the trenches of the newborn stage, or a seasoned professional, Outskirts Press offers books that make wonderful Mother’s Day gifts. Here are five of our favorites.

Gramma Darling by Lissa Schroeder  is an EVVY award nominee. Beautifully written and stunningly illustrated, this delightful book for children, parents, and grandparents paints a nostalgic picture of unhurried summer days at a dear grandmother’s house. Seen and felt through the eyes of a child, every discovery is full of innocence and wonder.
Milk & Ink  is a charity project created out of the belief that starting with small acts of generosity and the wealth of relationships we can make changes and help others. While the Milk & Ink anthology focuses on the experience of motherhood, the creators also hope that the stories speak to fathers, daughters, and sons.
Parenthood: A Life Sentence by Robert Nicoletti, PhD  describes what parenthood requires from the moment of conception all the way to the role of grandparent, and possibly great grandparent. Each chapter in the book dwells on a particular period in the lives of children and their parents.
The Back-up Mom: A Stepmother’s Journey by Laura K. Wanger  focuses on the unique gifts and challenges of stepparenting that are rarely discussed. The Back-Up Mom is an invaluable, candid guide to stepparenting from the personal experience of a mom who has been there.
The Poetry of Motherhood: Baby-Inspired Wisdom from Their First Year by Rachel Bruhnke  is for new and seasoned moms. Different than any “baby advice” book, The Poetry of Motherhood gives both insight and inspiration to moms in that incredibly emotional and wonderful first year of their baby’s life. Through baby-inspired haiku poetry and reflections, many of the comical, practical, and poignant lessons of first-year motherhood and babyhood are represented.

All of these books, along with other Outskirts Press titles, are available from the major online book retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Books-A-Million and others, plus conveniently from the Outskirts Press bookstore. To learn more about our products and services, as well as upcoming and current promotions, visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to speak with a Publishing Consultant.

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The Path to Self-Publishing is Smoother Than Ever!

If you will indulge us just a moment, we’d like to compare the self-publishing process to conflict resolution and the scientific method. Wait, what? Each of these things has been distilled down to five simple steps, as we have done with the publishing process. Just as with conflict resolution, self-publishing is a negotiation of complex relationships–and just as with the scientific method, self-publishing through Outskirts Press is a careful, thoughtful, and exploratory enterprise which produces reliable–and sometimes revelatory—results!

The comparison, perhaps, ends there. But when we talk about five steps to self-publishing success, we’re not being overly simplistic or reductive. Within those five steps:

  1. Registering for a (free) Author’s Account
  2. Getting in touch with a Publishing Consultant and receiving a Custom Publishing Profile
  3. Submitting your manuscript
  4. Reviewing your digital files and approving them for print
  5. Sending your book out into the world to meet its eager readers

Well, within these five steps is contained the entire Outskirts Press publishing experience, including everything that will be done both by you and by our team of experts who will labor, behind the scenes, to ensure your masterful vision for your book is fully realized. It is no simple thing, producing a masterpiece–but we are committed to ensuring that you retain full creative control as well as full rights and royalties, without having to spend invaluable hours in labor or your hard-earned dollars in dimes on services which might not pan out. At Outskirts Press, we put your investment to work and commit ourselves every day to walking you through these five easy steps!

Outskirts Press is here to make your life—and your work—easier. We’re here to answer your questions, and we encourage you to visit the Outskirts Press website to chat with a representative www.OutskirtsPress.com or call us at 1-888-672-6657! You can even schedule a free consultation directly with one of our experienced Publishing Consultants at Schedule a Consultation.

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Best of Luck to the Official 2017 Outskirts Press EVVY Award Nominees!

This year, we have a brand-new batch of quality EVVY Award nominees to brag about! The EVVYs are an acclaimed annual award program sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association, or CIPA, which recognize and raise the profile of excellent independently published books. The EVVYs are judged by a panel of professionals on a qualitative scale of merit in a set of categories which broadens each year. As of 2017, there are fifty-one of these categories!

Each year, Outskirts Press officially nominates a small percentage of the books published during the year for submission to the EVVY Awards. Since a nomination is the first step toward receiving the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award, the standards are exceedingly high; we nominate, on average, just 2% of the books we publish each year-and these nominations represent the very best of our publications as determined by our executives and members of our production teams.

Outskirts Press official nominees and winners receive additional exposure of their books in featured Outskirts Press marketing channels, including our blog, social media networks, and in our email newsletters. The winners are announced during an awards ceremony hosted by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association in May.

Congratulations to this year’s Official Outskirts Press EVVY Award nominees, presented alphabetically below:

There’s more!

As a result of being nominated for the EVVY Awards, these Outskirts Press authors have taken the first step toward winning the coveted Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. Three of the nominees above who subsequently win an EVVY Award during the CIPA banquet this coming May will be selected as Semi-Finalists for our annual Best Book of the Year Award and its $1,500 Grand Prize. Stay tuned.

All of these books, along with other Outskirts Press titles, are available from the major online book retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Books-A-Million and others, plus conveniently from the Outskirts Press bookstore. To learn more about our products and services, as well as upcoming and current promotions, visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to speak with a Publishing Consultant.

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Prepare for a Summer of Book Sales with FREE Shipping In May!

Spring is an exciting time for those of us involved in self-publishing, with many authors taking advantage of phenomenal promotional opportunities such as spring book fairs as well as laying the groundwork for a summer of book sales and promotions of their own.

Stocking up for the big book-selling push can get pricey, however, and we at Outskirts Press want to lift some of the burden so that you make the most of the spring and summer seasons. To this end, we will be offering all currently published authors FREE SHIPPING on orders of 50 or more copies of their books within the continental U.S during the month of May.

It’s a good idea to have extra copies of your book on hand for those upcoming promotional events, including readings, giveaways, book fairs, and tours! By combining this free shipping offer with our bulk order discounts, you’ll be thoroughly prepared for whatever the summer throws your way— all without unduly depleting your bank account!

Here’s how to get that free shipping:

  1. Log in to your author account at www.OutskirtsPress.com, select “order books” and place an order for 50 or more copies of your book(s) in a single format before May 31.
  2. Select normal ground shipping with a delivery address within the continental United States and proceed with checkout.
  3. That’s it!

No promotion code is necessary. You will see the free shipping offer reflected in your total once you place your order.

If you’re not sure how to approach marketing your self-published book and haven’t yet taken advantage of Outskirts Press’ many promotional services, consider contacting a Personal Marketing Assistant to come up with a solid action plan for this summer!

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