One Secret to Boosting Your Presence on Amazon (and 8 Steps to Take Next)

It’s a challenge for any self-publishing author to get noticed and stay relevant in the Amazon Bookstore. When sales are flagging, how do you get the ball rolling again? Sometimes the secret to getting something done is to do it yourself …

That’s right — if not many readers are buying your book, buy it yourself! Several times a year, purchase several copies of your own book from Amazon; five books each quarter is a good guideline to follow. This approach serves two purposes: It gives you a temporary boost in sales ranking to boost your profile; and it provides you with author copies you can use to promote your book in other ways. While it costs more up front to purchase from Amazon than to purchase discounted hardcopies from Outskirts Press, this approach could pay off in increased sales.

Now, for the next step. Here are eight smart ways to put those Amazon books to great use in your overall marketing approach:

  1. Sell them as signed author copies. Since signed copies are more valuable to readers, you can even recoup most or all of the difference in your cost by selling them at a higher price.
  2. Send them to friends and family on holidays and special occasions. It’s a gift for them and for you! *
  3. Donate copies of your book to libraries, schools, hospitals, retirement homes and veterans’ organizations, for example.
  4. Get signed copies placed in local boutiques and mom-and-pop bookstores. The fact that they’re signed may provide these stores with added incentive to carry your book.
  5. Send copies to local and regional news media along with a press release and/or your book sell sheet, and ask for a review, interview or news coverage. *
  6. Host a contest on social media for free copies of your signed book. Ask your followers to like and share your contest details for extra chances to win.
  7. Provide copies to bloggers who blog about topics addressed in your book. Ask them if they’d be interested in plugging your book on their blog or allowing you to place an add on their site. Or, offer to make their life easier by writing guest blogs. *
  8. And, of course, keep author copies on hand for any spontaneous selling opportunities. Put copies in a durable box in your car trunk, in your desk at work, and leave some with trustworthy advocates who are willing to sell on your behalf. *Works with either hardcopies or e-books.

See? Not only will buying your book on Amazon give you a ranking bump, but it’ll equip you to do other things that raise your profile among readers! Did we miss anything? Share your ideas about how to put author copies to great use, as well as how you improved your own ranking on Amazon.

Want even more help selling? Explore other marketing options at Outskirts Press and get started on the road to effective book promotion!

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Stock Up on Hot Marketing Materials at an Even Hotter Discount

There are gadgets, and then there are gadgets which change the face of publishing. The Espresso Book Machine is not just a pretty gadget that happens to churn out new books as quickly as the average human takes to brew an espresso; it’s a gadget that has the potential to close the last leg of the loop and put full creative (and financial) rights into the hands of those who have historically been excluded from the publishing process.

I’m speaking of you, the self-publishing author.

While the Espresso Book Machine’s many bells and whistles are nice features — like the database of rare or out-of-print books you can resurrect in all their original glory — the real appeal of the EBM is that it literally as well as physically puts a high-quality printed book in your hand in around seven minutes. For the average self-publishing author, the experience of holding and experiencing the weight of all those sleepless nights and odd hours writing is simply unattainable — that is, without a service like the EBM making a limited run financially manageable. Holding a clean and professional copy of your book is a reward in and of itself, and the expediency for which the EBM is renowned makes it easy to share the joy of your book.

That’s the magic of the Espresso Book Machine — and it’s magic you can put to work for your book with our Espresso Book Machine edition & distribution service!

Sound interesting? Perhaps you might hunt one down yourself. Every year, they’re becoming less of a trial to find, and cropping up in new and exciting places. There’s one at work in the University of Arizona’s library, for example, where undergraduates printed out copies of research-related texts, graduates printed out beautiful bound editions of their thesis projects, and professors printed out volumes of their own masterworks-in-progress.

Members of the public, too, have made the EBM a game-changer! According to Canada’s The Windsor Star, the Windsor Public Library’s EBM alone produced “10,699 books” within a three-year span. And best of all, according to the website WorldCrunch, the EBM and its competitors are on track to “save” the print publishing industry! At the Paris Book Fair, the CEO of the EBM’s main shareholder (reinsurance company SCOR) went on the record to say that the Espresso Book Machine and those who use it “will be the invisible hand that will adjust the market” by making it possible to print either 1 copy of a book or 1000 without the gymnastics of traditional publishing arrangements.

Maybe it’s time to pour a shot of espresso into your book marketing strategy-and we know just how to help! To make your book available through the Espresso Book Machine, log into your Publishing Center and select Espresso Book Machine edition & distribution service.

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Hurry! Receive 20% off Ultimate and Full-Color Publishing Packages

The Ultimate and Full-Color packages are two of Outskirts Press’ most popular self-publishing packages. They offer everything you need to make your publishing dreams come true at an exceptional value, and now you can save even more during this limited time 20% off promotion!

These comprehensive publishing packages include…

  • Customizable Covers
  • Formatting
  • ISBN and Barcode
  • Press Release
  • Free author copies

…and many other features you won’t find anywhere else.

When you purchase one of these packages, you’ll not only have a team of experts helping you during every step of the publishing process, you’ll also retain 100% of your royalties once your book is available to your audience.

To claim your savings, simply visit www.outskirtspress.com, select the Ultimate or Full-Color publishing package, and enter July20pct_2017 when you check out.

For more information about self-publishing with Outskirts Press, get in touch with your 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
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Stock Up on Hot Marketing Materials at an Even Hotter Discount

Let the world know about your book by hitting the ground running in your marketing efforts. Outskirts Press wants to help you do just that, so we’re offering self-publishing authors 10% off our popular Book Launch Bundle in July! It’s the perfect way to promote your hot new book independently.

The materials in the Book Launch Bundle lets you organize a marketing push that reaches multiple audiences on a variety of mass marketing venues: social media, print media, broadcast and any other format where you can reach out to a wide and appropriate audience.

The Book Launch Bundle price represents a huge savings compared to purchasing the same services a la carte. It culls together all the most popular, must-have marketing products into one comprehensive marketing campaign. These services were hand-picked to offer authors a multi-pronged promotional push, and includes:

  • Custom Press Release with distribution
  • PR Publicist Campaign with leads forwarded to you for follow-up
  • Social Media Setup, which lets you market to a large online audience cost-effectively
  • Book Video Trailer & Distribution to highlight your story in a compelling marketing video
  • Personal Marketing Assistant who’ll spend 5 hours assisting you in your marketing efforts!

All you need to do to launch your own book marketing campaign at a discount is login to your Publishing Center and place the Book Launch Bundle in your shopping cart. Enter Promo Code Book10Launch to claim your 10% discount and set your summer marketing machine in motion …

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Top 10 Self-Publishing Book Marketing Tactics for May 2017

There’s never been a better time to become a self-published author: The quality of services is better and, thus, the quality of the books. This all serves to make readers more receptive to the works of self-publishing authors.

But the fact is, you still need to get the word out! Book marketing remains one of the most vital elements to your success as a self-publishing author. Outskirts Press is an industry leader in post-publication support, products and services to a growing family of self-published authors.

So, how do you choose what’s right for you? Our list of Top 10 Book Marketing Tactics offers an excellent shortlist of our most popular marketing and promotional approaches you might consider as you begin or continue book marketing. Listed below are our Top 10 marketing products, in order of popularity.

Standard Press Release Standard Press Release: The Standard Press Release includes information about you and your book taken directly from information you supply for your webpage during pre-production. It couldn’t be easier.
Amazon Kindle Submission Service Amazon Kindle Submission Service:  Make your book available on Amazon’s Kindle e-book reading device. More formats on Amazon means more exposure on Amazon, and the Kindle is heavily promoted by Amazon.
Audio Excerpt option Audio Excerpt:  Recording a 3-minute audio excerpt is as easy as speaking into the phone. Pique readers’ interest by recording a pivotal passage or explaining more about the book.
Bookmarks Magazine Co-Op Ad Bookmarks Magazine Co-Op Ad: Reach at least 40,000 affluent readers guaranteed! Targeted exposure is key to your book’s success. Advertising in Bookmarks Magazine can help reach the audience that’s already waiting to read your book.
First Chapter Preview Library Distribution First Chapter Preview Library Distribution: Introduce your book to libraries, bookstores, media, reviewers, bloggers and readers by running a quarter page full-color ad along with a free preview of your first chapter in this catalog for three consecutive months.
Amazon Search Inside the Book Amazon Search Inside the Book: Amazon itself has stated that books participating in this program are significantly more successful, on average, than books that do not participate.
Personal Marketing Assistant Personal Marketing Assistant: Do you need help developing a book marketing plan? Arranging book signings? Establishing/developing your author platform? Hire your own Personal Marketing Assistant today!
Amazon Launch Bundle Amazon Launch Bundle: Save 25% on 3 of our marketing services focused on Amazon.com. This package includes the following options: Amazon Search Inside the Book, Amazon Listing Optimization and Amazon Author Profile.
Google Books Preview Program Submission Google Books Preview Program Submission: An inexpensive and extremely effective way to get your book in front of millions of readers quickly and easily.
Custom Press Release Custom Press Release:  Have our professional press release writer compose an original, unique press release for your book, submitted to you for your review/approval, and then distributed to our newswire service on your behalf.

Outskirts Press Published authors who are interested in any of these (or many of our other available services) can find further details and ordering information from the Marketing Options page of your author’s center.

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Congratulations to the Outskirts Press Top 10 Best Sellers for May!

Each month, Outskirts Press compiles book sales to identify bestselling works. In May, these books sold over 5,000 copies total and appealed to all types of readers. From poetry to inspiration to sports, nearly every genre is represented is this impressive list.

Echoes in the Canyon: Adventures in the Desert by Marco Behrens Myra Louise, a desert tortoise, and her close friend Minnie Squawking Bird, a cactus wren, live in the Arizona desert with their friends Stinky and Smelly-javelina brothers who have a propensity to seek out adventure…and trouble. The javelinas are schemers and dreamers, and Myra Louise and Minnie Squawking Bird have a full-time job keeping the boys grounded and heading in an appropriate direction. Luckily there is also wise Joe Fox-the law in this part of the desert-and his pals Reynard Fox and Hunter Coyote. Echoes in the Canyon is an entertaining look at the critters of the Southwest desert and their antics, and each chapter ends with lessons learned. Above all, this delightful book offers a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Arizona desert and the amazing animals who dwell there.
What She Feels by Chidozie Osuwa This is not just another poetry book filled with cliché quotes. It is every emotion a woman has ever felt when dealing with love, but could never put into words. This is looking at yourself in the mirror. This is finally being able to look at your situation from the outside looking in. This is a look into the too often scarred hearts of women. This is inspiration. This is hope.
Discipled by Jesus by Hal and Debbi Perkins Can 21st century Christians actually be discipled by Jesus? Perhaps more importantly, can one be a Christian, that is, a disciple of Jesus, if he is not being discipled by Jesus? This writing appeals to Scripture to affirm that Christians can be discipled by Jesus, and that they must be, and how they can be. The book further identifies how those who are truly being discipled by Jesus are thus being equipped to disciple others just as they have been discipled.
Race In America: A Call To Heal by Greg “Coach T” Thomas and David Smale The author’s message of loving one another in spite of race, color, creed or religion is inspirational to many. Coaches play a huge role in the lives of those they come in contact with, and Coach T represents what is good with leaders of young people today. He is truly a great role model. Drawing from his own personal experiences, which were not always ideal, he teaches others to be open minded, loving and hopeful for a day when our differences in this country, would be welcome and celebrated. Coach T’s message is powerful and enlightening.
Bible Studies from the Mount of Transfiguration – A Collection by Donovan Reid As it was for Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, when they sojourned with Jesus there, this inspirational collection of practical, personal and thought-provoking Bible Studies will provide revelation and insight as you journey through the scriptures. Complex theological and philosophical issues, such as, predestination and freewill are masterfully dealt with in simple terms that everyone can understand. Questions related to contentment, forgiveness, prayer and identifying one’s gift are explained in such a way that gives one a real handle on these challenges of life. This book is a must read for pastors, preachers, lay teachers and anyone seeking a vision of Jesus and a sound understanding of the Christian walk.
Bats, Balls, and Burnouts: A Life of Sports, Marketing, and Mayhem by Bob Wilber Bob Wilber grew up steeped in the baseball of a different time. He became part of the game professionally, along the way meeting countless unforgettable characters and collecting the memories of successes, disappointments, and adventures detailed here.
Life Snacks for Women: Create a Life of Excellence – Tips to Ignite Your Spirit and Inspire Your Life by Sharon A. Burstein, Award Winning Marketing and PR Strategist Life Snacks for Women inspires readers of all ages to look at life in diverse ways from different points of view. The words, tips and messages presented throughout the book are uplifting, make you pause, think, reflect and take action. Each healthy bite-sized tidbit gives your life a boost.
The Road Back to Me: Healing and Recovering From Co-dependency, Addiction, Enabling, and Low Self Esteem by Lisa A. Romano This story is told through the jagged peephole of the author’s awareness, examining her formative wounds and influences from the perspective of a woman who has now gained experience and wisdom. As she peers over her soul’s shoulder, she recalls the chaos of her once-fragile childhood mind. She shudders as she is reminded of the sting of her lonely childhood, her feelings of abandonment, and her painful memories of being bullied. Her childhood self was once so lost that she even contemplated suicide. As the years progress, her mind is riddled with obsession, compulsion, and a crippling sense of low self-esteem. A turning point arrives many years later, after marriage and the birth of three children. This story is about healing the faulty programming of childhood. It is about recovery from relationship addiction, food addiction, anxiety, and constant fear. It is a human story that will resonate with readers from all walks of life, and it offers hope to anyone who has felt imprisoned by the past.
Fred’s Guide to Stem Cell Transplants: Patient to patient talk and walk down this cancer path not chosen by Fred & Kathy Roth Fred knows facing cancer can feel like an impossible, insurmountable challenge. He has been through two stem cell transplants. He knows what it’s like to endure and survive the rough ride of diagnosis, assessing the risks, finding a donor, and dealing with the side effects. Having come out on the other side, Fred and Kathy have collected observations, ideas, suggestions, and insights to help you on your journey. Most of all, Fred’s Guide to Stem Cell Transplants is an encouraging, supportive resource to help you find the powers within you to add to your own healing plan.
My Heaven in Hells Canyon: Growing Up in Snake River by Violet Wilson Shirley This is one helluva narrative about one helluva woman who believed that Hells Canyon was her heaven. You’ll be captivated by Violet Wilson Shirley’s stories about ranch life in the deepest part of Hells Canyon. The Pete and Ethel Wilson family lived exemplary lives. Could we survive and scratch out a productive life in this rugged terrain with rattlesnakes, fickle weather, steep slopes, and animal predators constantly challenging our bodies and minds? Could we successfully raise eight children? After she retired, Violet returned to the canyon as a U.S. Forest Service volunteer at the Kirkwood visitor center. She contributed time almost every year between 1986 and 2004. Violet’s spirit is chiseled into the cliffs and slopes of Hells Canyon and floats above the rapids of Snake River as it plunges through that spectacular gorge.

Outskirts Press wishes to congratulate these successful authors for the dedication to craft that produced these amazing books, and to the dogged marketing efforts that led them to selling success. These titles and many others are available from major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, Books-A-Million and elsewhere-not to mention, through the Outskirts Press Bookstore at a considerable discount. To learn more about our products and services, as well as upcoming and current promotions, visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com!

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Edit to Get Ahead!

Editing is often the most painful part of the alchemic process that transforms a manuscript into a book. But we don’t edit because it’s hard — self-punishment without purpose is not the name of our game. We edit because our first drafts are not our best drafts.

We may edit ourselves because we sense the inevitability of our own mistakes — one or two slips of the fingers on the keyboard as we toil away — but we must look for others to edit our work, too, because we’re not always the most objective observers about our own work. We look for a third-party editor because, when you or I have spent six months or a year staring at the pixels on our computer screens, it becomes difficult to pick out the plot hole on page 60 or the typing error on page 115.

Editors aren’t a luxury we indulge in; they’re a necessity. Guy Kawasaki, a self-publishing author and entrepreneur of Stanford and U.C. Davis extraction, writes that all successful self-publishing authors “learn that the key to a great book is editing — grinding, buffing, and polishing — not writing.” He’s not just referring to a book’s inherent strengths and weaknesses — its objective existence as a great book or a not-great book — but about perception and reception. As a business founder and entrepreneur, Kawasaki recognizes the value in being taken seriously, and the business and social capital an author can and must create by doing so in order to move books off of virtual or physical store shelves and into people’s hands. Editing, he postulates, is the way to make this happen.

Perception, we’re often told, is reality. And while there might be some exceptions, it’s a general rule that readers are turned off by poor cover design, poor formatting, and poor editing. These factors and others collectively create the reader’s perception of a book’s professionalism, polish, and ultimately its value. Thus, a poorly edited book is likely to lose readers, while a well-edited book is likely to draw more potential readers by virtue of its good reputation.

The long and the short of it is:

  • Editing is important, both in terms of fixing small-scale issues and resolving large-scale difficulties, to selling books
  • We cannot objectively edit our own work, and those in our immediate social circle often don’t have the experience or expertise to step in and fill the void
  • Therefore, paying for professional editing services may be necessary, and it doesn’t have to break the bank or encroach on your independence

As you set off to determine whether or not hiring a professional editor is something you need to do, take your time. There are plenty of options out there, and because the market for true and deep copyediting has diversified in recent years, the costs are much lower than they used to be. The key is to do your due diligence in terms of research, and to trust your instincts when you get in touch with your potential editor.

Questions about Professional Copyediting or any of our self-publishing services? 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
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