Book Reviews: Do Self-Published Authors Really Need Them?

There are long and short answers to this question, but the general gist of both is yes. Yes, self-published authors most definitely should make book reviews a part of their larger marketing strategies, and yes, this is a need, an absolute necessity. And an entire industry has sprung up around meeting this need! When readers are polled to find out where they most often discover the books which they’re buying, an overwhelming majority point to reviews hosted on websites like Amazon and Goodreads, as well as on private blogs or professional websites.

Readers searching online for new books often credit these reviews—and their average star rating—with playing a decisive role in whether or not they actually click the “buy now!” button. Even brick and mortar bookstores have been known to get in on the trend, both at Amazon’s pilot physical bookstores and in local independent shops, where handwritten tags often point readers to well-reviewed books. These reviews help everyone—whether a reader or a bookstore owner—narrow down the available options to those which are more likely to strike the right note.

Book reviews are the most effective publicity a book could receive, since they are easily shared both online and offline, using social media and word of mouth to spread into new markets. Reviews are easily transferred between people, and their content is easily accessible to readers of all shapes and sizes! Reviews are a badge of credibility, and the building blocks of your reputation as authors of self-published works. Even poor reviews are good publicity, so it’s a win-win situation. They are also a major time-saver, since the burden of the work is shifted onto the shoulders of the reviewer instead of the author in this particular circumstance, freeing up more of your time to do what you love most—writing your next book!

At Outskirts Press, we recognize the value of reviews and want to make them accessible to you! We offer a guaranteed book review service for Kirkus as well as for Blue Ink Reviews. And since it’s always a good idea to keep spare copies of your book on hand to ship off to potential reviewers, we recommend taking advantage of our discounts and other services in order to do so!

Our guaranteed book review services are just two of many options that we offer to help our authors market their books! For more information about our book marketing services, log into your Publishing Center and select Marketing Solutions from the menu.

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Author Poll: Writer Gabriel F.W. Koch wants your help with his cover

Gabriel F.W. Koch is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press. And he wants your help deciding his book cover.

Book Summary

The year is 2554 and the world is coming to an end unless an impossible mission-through 600 years of time travel-succeeds.

Maternal instinct knows no boundaries, including the nano-neural-net intravenously installed in Dannia Weston’s mind to repress her identity, allowing her to perform a mission 300 years before her time.

Transported to the year 1954, Dannia becomes a woman with a mid-twentieth century persona, college educated with an aptitude for mechanical invention. Due to her work during the war, she is employed by the U.S. government on a secret project. But what no one knows-including Dannia or those who sent her back to tinker with the mechanical past to reduce future pollution-is what might happen should she become emotionally involved in 1954. The 2254 science team programmed the nano-net to prevent the possibility of pregnancy, but each person reacts to strong emotional stimuli differently, and using birth control not available in 1954 is out of the question. When Dannia falls in love with Peter Hersh and becomes pregnant, her hormones erode a small section of the nano-chained network that stabilizes her new identity, triggering a mild memory rebirth…and threatening her mission and the fate of the world.

About the Author

Gabriel F.W. Koch is the 2004 winner of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award, as well as an award-winning photographer.

Please take a look at two possible covers below and then vote on the choice you recommend for Gabriel.

Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge Cover Option A

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Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge Cover Option B

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Amazon Extreme Package From Outskirts Press Prepares Self-Publishing Authors for Success

The Amazon Extreme Marketing Package from Outskirts Press offers self-publishing authors a head start on book marketing by taking advantage of the immense audience of, the largest online retailer in the United States. These valuable, popular options are complimentary for authors who start self-publishing in June.

June 2, 2015 – Parker, CO- Outskirts Press, the fastest growing self-publishing and book marketing company, announced today it is giving away its most popular marketing package (nearly $250 value) to authors who start their publishing process this month. The Amazon Extreme marketing package includes a Kindle Edition, Search Inside the Book Submission and Amazon Cover Enhancement, as well as a complimentary copy of Sell Your Book on Amazon by Outskirts Press CEO Brent Sampson — everything an author needs to jump start their book sales on

“This bundled marketing package is not available with any other publisher,” said Outskirts Press Executive Vice President Kelly Schuknecht. “Taking advantage of these proven Amazon promotional functions is the perfect — and perfectly economical — way for authors to launch their book sales with gusto by choosing to publish now with Outskirts Press.”

Authors who start with Outskirts Press by choosing the Diamond or full-color Pearl publishing packages will receive nearly $250 of Amazon marketing options free: an Amazon Kindle edition of their published book, Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” Submission service, and the Amazon Cover Enhancement once their book is listed on These authors will also receive a complimentary copy of the Amazon bestseller, “Sell Your Book on Amazon” by Brent Sampson.

The first prong of the Outskirts Press triple marketing approach is a Kindle edition of the author’s book. An Amazon Kindle edition is a way to offer one’s book to the fast growing audience of Kindle e-book reading device owners. Amazon sells millions of Kindles annually. Because customers still love reading actual books, Kindle is an inexpensive way for them to sample a book before buying the paperback or hardback edition. This is especially true for their readers who love fiction.

With Amazon’s Search Inside the Book feature, the second Outskirts Press marketing tool in this package, authors can also dramatically increase their chances to sell their books. Amazon has found that books that participate in this program are significantly more successful, on average, than books that do not participate. Being able to browse through sections of the book increases the confidence the customer has in the product and makes it far more likely they’ll purchase a copy of the book.

The third marketing strategy of the Outskirts Press marketing package is the Amazon Cover Enhancement service. Outskirts Press submits your cover image to Ingram at the time of publication. Ingram, in turn, distributes your cover image to online retailers like Amazon. By manually interfacing directly with Amazon, we can override Amazon and Ingram’s automatic process and get your cover image on Amazon much faster, usually within 2-3 business days rather than the standard 30-45 days.

Authors who wish to take advantage of the Outskirts Press Amazon Extreme marketing package only need to enter the valid promotional code, available on the Outskirts Press website at, while they order their publishing package and place it in their online shopping cart.

About Outskirts Press, Inc.: Outskirts Press offers high-quality, full-service self-publishing and book marketing services for writers and professionals who are seeking a cost-effective, fast, and flexible way to publish and distribute their books worldwide while retaining 100% of their rights, 100% of their profits, and 100% of the creative control.


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Author Poll: Writer Maureen Doyle wants your help with her book price

Maureen Doyle is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press. And she wants your help deciding the price of her book.

Book Summary

A riveting historical novel about John Doyle of Wicklow County, Ireland and his journey from a life of destitution to love and freedom in Canada.

Many people are familiar with The Great Potato Famine that took place in Ireland during the mid-1800’s. But few know the intimate and personal hardships and challenges that so many faced in an attempt to flee their homeland.

Inspired by actual events and personal family history, this novel is a love story. Not the usual romantic love story between two people but a love story of a man that is so devoted to his family that he’s willing to take extraordinary risks for them. The reader is taken on a courageous journey from County Wicklow, Ireland to Camden, Ontario, Canada. A sweeping and powerful epic adventure, A Journey in Time begins in nineteenth century Shillelagh, Ireland.

At the onset of the epic disaster of the Great Potato Famine, John makes a promise to his dying father that he will leave Ireland, his destination the shores of Canada, his objective saving his family from starvation and disease.

He must make the wrenching decision to leave his family behind in an Irish workhouse built for the destitute not knowing how he is going to accomplish his goal of finding land in Canada and bringing his family to safe shores.

With profound determination and unswerving devotion to his family, John faces the future alone with grace and courage.

Share with him the loves of his life and the unforgettable individuals that make John’s journey possible in this epic story of love, compassion, courage and determination that brings to life crucial and little-known chapters in Irish and Canadian history.

About the Author

Maureen Doyle is a freelance writer and multimedia artist. She spent over two decades in teacher education and as an officer in the United States Army before turning to write fiction full-time. Journey in Time is based on a true story and discovered family history. She found the courage and determination of so many touching and inspirational. She loves to write and wanted her debut novel to be meaningful sharing with others the hardships and heartaches that so many endured. She lives on Lake Oconee in Georgia with her husband Ron and two labra-doodles, Maverick and Grace Helen.

Please review the cover below and give us your opinion on the 310-page book price that you recommend for Maureen.

Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge the cover.


4 More Days to Get 10% Off Diamond and Pearl Self-Publishing Packages

We are pleased to offer a very special gift to authors looking to publish today: 10% off Outskirts Press publishing packages!

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Save 10% instantly when you choose to publish with our industry-leading Diamond publishing package or our full-color Pearl publishing package.

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Author Poll: Writer Taylor Hardman wants your help with her cover

Taylor Hardman is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press. And she wants your help deciding her book cover.

Book Summary

Bill Evans feels his life plan is on track. He has his own heating and air conditioning company in the hot California town on the banks of the Colorado River. He has enough work to survive if he keeps expenses down. The repairs and upgrades on an old house he bought at auction are coming along. Then, a box of old letters sends him on a detour.

A beautiful young history teacher offers to help him research the events described in the letters and learn more about the soldier and the young woman who had dreams of their own. Soon there is more than just research involved.

Having your own business is never easy, certainly not in a tight economy, and complications are soon multiplying. Can Evans meet all the challenges and still find time to follow his heart?

About the Author

Taylor Hardman worked as a high school teacher and administrator, teaching a variety of classes including creative writing and consumer math. Summers were spent helping in the family heating and air conditioning business. Interests include travel, reading, writing, and photography, especially pictures of the four Hardman daughters and family pets.

Please take a look at two possible covers below and then vote on the choice you recommend for Taylor.

Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge Cover Option A

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Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge Cover Option B

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Self-Publishing Author Spotlight: Newman Young

Each week, we celebrate one of our successful authors in our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight. This week Outskirts Press proudly features Newman Young, author of several books through Outskirts Press. Learn more about Newman Young and his educational works in this week’s Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Newman Young, originally of Vernon, Texas, earned both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Midwestern State University. He was a varsity athlete in football at the university. His career in education spans nearly four decades, where he held positions as a teacher, coach, principal-including time spent as the principal and superintendent of his daughter’s high school. He currently lives in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Circle the Wagons
In a school setting, the stage is set for some of the most interesting happenings to occur…So begins Circle the Wagons, a collection of public school experiences gathered and told by long-time educator and administrator Newman Young. During a hectic day at school and in very trying situations, teachers and principals will often say to one another, “We had better circle the wagons today,” a phrase that inspired the title of this book. The stories and anecdotes found within cover more than half a century, each one told from the perspective of a student, a teacher, a parent, an administrator, or a school board member. In all, 31 educators have contributed their experiences to this book. It is the author’s sincere hope that you will look fondly upon your own school days, and perhaps see them in a whole new light, as we Circle the Wagons.

Product details…

Format: 6 x 9 casebound glossy, 156 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (July 15, 2007)
ISBN: 9781432703448

Saddle the Wind
It’s a month after General Robert E. Lee has surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, but one Union Colonel in Texas is still looking for a little more glory from the Civil War. He figures he can take over the Confederate stronghold in Brownsville Texas with little struggle. He is wrong. After two days of fierce fighting, Colonel Theodore H. Barrett orders his Union troops to retreat back to the Texas coast and board a waiting ship. The Confederate Army has won the final battle of the Civil War. Young Karl Hagan is a brave member of that Confederate detachment at Brownsville. Saddle the Wind is his story. Like many of the men who settle the American West after the Civil War, Karl is a hard-working, God fearing man. His tale is one of risk taking adventures, cattle drives, ranching, romance and the settling of a close knit family on the rugged plains of the old American West.
Product details…

Format: 6 x 9 casebound glossy, 209 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (May 29, 2010)
ISBN: 9781432750169
Genre: FICTION/Westerns

Comanche DawnThe thrilling adventure of America’s frontier days was often punctuated by bloody, terrifying conflict between determined settlers and Indians who would brutally defend the territory that was rightfully theirs. One of the most tragic events in Texas history was the Comanche and Kiowa Indian attack and massacre at Fort Parker in May of 1836. Many inhabitants of the fort were slaughtered, scalped, and horribly mutilated. Some were chased into the woods, or ran away to escape. But five people were taken captive, including nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker, and her five-year-old brother John. Despite the violence between settlers and Indians, it was often the case that Indians would adopt children taken captive, and raise them as valued members of the tribe. Comanche Dawn is the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, adopted by the Comanche, the Lords of the Southern Plains. Saddle up and ride into the proud history of the tribe, their raids on Texas settlements, their fierce battles with the United States Cavalry – and immerse yourself in the remarkable life of a little Texas girl who would grow up to marry Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, and whose son, Quanah, would become a legendary Comanche chief.

Product details…

Format: 6 x 9 color casebound glossy, 127 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Jan 20, 2012)
ISBN: 9781432785031
Genre: HISTORY/Native Americans

Across the Rio Llano
The year is 1860. In 1861 Texas seceded from the Union. Young Lenz Adler is seized by a desire to join the fray and volunteers for the Texas Confederate 8th Cavalry. After the war, Lenz marries his sweetheart, Anna Krause, and they begin their life together, ranching and farming in Llano County, Texas.

Lenz is soon hired as a special agent of the Texas Rangers to check brands and track down stolen cattle from herds driven up the western cattle trail to Dodge City, Kansas. It’s a lawless period in Texas-a time of outlaws and cattle rustlers and Indian raids on settlements-and the Texas Rangers provide a measure of order for the developing frontier. Across the Rio Llano is a sweeping tale of these times, following one family’s fight to survive and prosper in this desolate, yet breathtakingly beautiful land.
Product details…

Format: 6 x 9 color casebound white glossy, 147 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Feb 28, 2014)
ISBN: 9781478729983
Genre: FICTION/Historical

Do you have a book of your own in the works? Let Outskirts Press get you started on your own publishing dreams!

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Get Your Self-Published Book Reviewed by Professionals Today!

As a self-published author, you need book reviews to complement your book, but you may not have the time to handle all of the details. As a published Outskirts Press author, you don’t have to! With our Book Review Submission Service, you can relax while we do all of the “heavy lifting” for you.

We have located and vetted book reviewers who have all shown the tendency to review alternatively/self-published books. Your book will be submitted to reviewers like:

  • Beth’s Book Review
  • Readers Favorite
  • Midwest Book Review
  • Book Ideas
  • Reader Views
  • Syndicated Reviewer
  • Rebecca’s Reads
  • American Book Review
  • Book Pleasures
  • Conny Crisalli
  • And MORE!

In addition to receiving a complimentary copy of your book, the reviewers will also receive a professional cover letter, a copy of your press release, and your sales sheet. We take care of all of that for you, including sending the review copy!

Reviews can take approximately 2-4 months (but can take longer) and are typically posted by the reviewers on their own website or blog. As always, remember that no one (including the author nor Outskirts Press) has any control over whether the book reviewer chooses to write a review, decides to share a review that is written, or what the review will say (positive or negative).

Submit your self-published book to top reviewers today!

Self-Publishing Author Spotlight: Dorothy Sweet Calhoun

Each week, we celebrate one of our successful self-publishing authors in our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight. This week Outskirts Press proudly features Dorothy Sweet Calhoun, author of several books through Outskirts Press. Learn more about Dorothy Sweet Calhoun and her educational works in this week’s Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.

After thirty-five years as a teacher, Dorothy Sweet Calhoun began her new career as a writer, which has allowed her to continue pursuing her educational and teaching interests. She believes that a child’s success in adulthood begins with being taught powerful, positive concepts and about consequences very early in life. In addition to teaching, Dorothy wrote curriculum and served as an assistant principal. She was named Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, awarded All American Scholar, and honored twice as an Unsung Hero. Dorothy continues to serve her community and her church, and often serves her school as a substitute teacher.

The Princesses of Arvally
The two princesses have come of age, and it’s time for everyone in the land of Arvallay to celebrate. But there’s one problem: Princess Thenia loves the color pink and wants everything at the celebration to be pink, and Princess Mykel loves blue and wants everything to be blue. The king turns to the boys and girls of Arvallay for help. How they solve the problem saves the day for the young princesses and teaches them valuable lessons they will remember forever.
Product details…

Format: 8 x 10 color casebound glossy, 21 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (June 24, 2014)
ISBN: 9781478731757
Genre: JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Prejudice & Racism


Six Bees for Children
This book is a collection of “Educational Wisdoms” and guiding principles for all children in grades K – 5. Over the years, as parents and teachers, we have made great efforts to teach our children these wisdoms and principles. With some we have been successful and with others not as much so. This hands-on treasure will be a valuable tool to any parent, grandparent, teacher in the classroom, and especially home school parents who foster great one-on-one learning. In addition, young children as well as older children can learn much from this terrific book, which might help to inspire success, build personal development and more self-esteem at the childrens’ various levels of maturity.
Product details…

Format: 8.5 x 8.5 color, 28 pages
ISBN: 9781478731757
Format: 8 x 10 color casebound glossy, 28 pages
ISBN: 9781478732877
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Aug 3, 2012)
Genre: JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Issues / Manners & Etiquette

Why Dinosaurs Are ExtinctWhy are dinosaurs extinct? This whimsical story for ages eight and up answers that question with a fictional twist on the beloved Bible story of Noah and the Ark. This unique and colorful book will inspire young imaginations while helping children build a strong Godly character.
Product details…

Format: 8 x 10 color casebound glossy, 29 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (June 25, 2014)
ISBN: 9781478731764
Genre: JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Christian / Learning Concepts



School Behavioral Issues In The USA
This book is from the author’s perspective as a veteran educator. It is intended to offer some insight, and stir minds to want to arrive at behavioral solutions, more suggestions, and more discussions concerning our children. Also, to help generate a measure of help for students, parents, school districts, and America’s communities.
Product details…

Format: 6 x 9 paperback cream, 56 pages
ISBN-10: 1478751983
ISBN-13: 978-1478751984
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Aug 14, 2015)


Do you have a book of your own in the works? Let Outskirts Press get you started on your own publishing dreams!

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Book Reviews and The Importance to Self-Published Authors

There’s more to marketing your self-published book than press releases, book tours and social media marketing. These tools are valuable and effective, but don’t overlook the value of “passive” marketing tools, such as book reviews.

As consumers, we rely heavily on word of mouth before we invest our hard-earned dollars in anything – and books are no exception. Readers have millions of choices in books, and they want to choose the right one. What other people say about your book can get potential buyers to take notice.

With that in mind, it’s vital for a self-published author to be seen by the right audience and get that valuable review. Outskirts Press authors who don’t want to do all of the “heavy lifting” themselves can take a simple path; let us do all the work for you with the Book Review Submission Service, which puts your book directly into the hands of 10 book reviewers vetted by Outskirts Press. As always, remember that no one (including the author nor Outskirts Press) has any control over whether the book reviewer chooses to write a review, decides to share a review that is written, or what the review will say (positive or negative).

Want a guaranteed review? Try one or more of our other book review submission services:

Are you ready to get reviews for your self-published book?