3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Plan in 2018

Almost every blog, workshop, and website on the subject of self-publishing advocates for creating a book marketing plan even before your book has been printed. You will already have read about a number of marketing methods, from virtual book tours to book signings to book fair partnerships to glossy mailings featuring your book. Have you followed that advice?

Sometimes, even when we answer “yes” to this question, our sales numbers may not reflect the hard work and the (usually) good advice. You might even be following every piece of advice you’ve received to the letter. So, how could this be? And more importantly, how do we fix the problem?

The simple truth is that your book’s marketing plan may have a fatal flaw, and this flaw may be costing you sales. And truthfully, this is a common problem among self-publishing authors, which means both that you’re not alone and that we’ve figured out a couple of surefire ways to troubleshoot the issues.

Instead of looking at your book marketing plan as an enemy which is actively working against you, ponder these three questions. Your answers might just help reshape your marketing plan to be more insightful, more effective, and more successful at moving your book off of the bookstore shelves.

  1. Have you clearly defined your target market? When you wrote your first book, you just knew that everyone would love it. It would make you the talk of the town (or maybe even the talk of the nation or globe). It would be the “it” book that everyone would want to read. But … that’s a rather lofty goal. Many might even say that it’s an impossible goal, in that even the most successful authors (like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Jan Karon) aren’t able to reach everyone with their books. And that’s fine; they have developed loyal followings among readers who are committed to them and their books. That’s where their success lies, and even if you’re not a blockbuster breakout success on the scale of a Stephen King, one can learn from that core truth: loyal followings sell books. How, then, do you seek them out? First, ignore all of the white noise, and dispense with the idea that your book is for everyone. There isn’t a book on Earth that’s for everyone. So, who is your book for? What is your intended audience? Start locking in the details, from demographic details like age and occupation to the qualities they look for in books. Define your target audience with care, and with specificity. If you can’t name some specific characteristics, you won’t be able to market to them.
  2. Have you figured out what differentiates your book from the other books available to your target market? Can you tell us why your book is both different from and better than any other book on the market in its genre? Is there a lesson taught in your book? Are your characters easier to relate to? There has to be a reason why readers want to buy your spy thriller instead of the latest from John le Carré. As daunting as it is to consider as a competitor THE AUTHOR who leads the pack in terms of sales in your genre, doing so will help you figure out your book’s strengths. You aren’t just churning out another Vince Flynn action book; you’re publishing a book with its own strengths of plot and character. Find out what makes your book special and use that as your unique value proposition … in marketing as well as every other context.
  3. Have you updated your book marketing plan lately? The book marketing industry, like any other, evolves with blinding speed. If you don’t keep your plans up to date, your plan can easily become irrelevant and your book sales will flag. We recommend that authors review and update their book marketing plan at least once per year, and that they make sure to get other eyes on their plan than their own as well. Having that external insight is vital and important to making sure that every detail of your marketing plan serves a purpose!

Have your book sales been flagging and you can’t figure out why? Visit your Author Center account online at www.outskirtspress.com to explore more marketing options and resources, including the chance to book 5 hours with one of our award-winning Personal Marketing Assistants!

Write, Finish, Edit: A Writer’s Guide to Moving Forward and Finishing

We’ve all pictured the cloistered writer hunched in solitude over a notepad or laptop, furiously scratching out word after glorious word well into the wee hours. The brilliance flows faster than he can capture it on paper until the day he triumphantly types “The End” …

Well, that’s how we imagine it, but it rarely goes so smoothly! Writing a book is a big project and a long process, and the direction is not always obvious or easy. It’s common — even normal — for an author to hit roadblocks. Call it writer’s block, brain cramps or something else, but it gets us all at one time or another.

Let’s face it: We need more than an imagination and determination to get to the finish line. Sometimes we need outside intervention, and it comes in many forms. Here are some writer’s block-breakers you can seek out next time the creative juice stop flowing:

  • Inspiration. It can be as simple as a walk or a favorite song, or as stimulating as a brainstorming session with another writer. Enlist someone you trust to motivate you to think about your story in a different light.
  • Advice. Sometimes the inspiration is there but you just need specific, practical guidance to iron out the wrinkles in your plot, character development or story arc.
  • Unbiased feedback. Enthusiastic cheerleading feels good, but it’s not always what you need. If you’re relying on friends and family for feedback, you’re better off with brutal honesty … but how many people you know are willing to provide it?
  • Editing. Leave this one to a professional. While it’s fine to lean on friends, family and fans for the final proofread for typos, hire or trade services with a professional editor to do the heavy lifting. They’ll not only whip your grammar, syntax, punctuation and spelling into shape, but will also make sure your story is organized optimally for clarity and enjoyment.
  • Help finishing. There’s no shame in handing off your “baby” to another writer. Ghostwriters are a poorly kept secret in the literary world and extremely common. Odds are some of your favorite bestsellers were penned — either wholly or in part — by a ghostwriter. A talented ghostwriter is adept at adapting to your voice and creating a finished work that is everything you envisioned, or even better than you pictured!

When writer’s get stuck, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Writing consultants, editors, Publishing Consultants, proofreaders and ghostwriters all fulfill different needs, so figure out how extensive your manuscript issues are before deciding on a path to getting it back on track.

Not sure what you need to get over that writing hump? 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.

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Get Your Book Started — or Finished — in 2015 with Help from a Professional Ghostwriter

Could 2015 be the year you enter the self-publishing realm? Why not? It’s only January, and 11 1/2 months is plenty of time to crank out a book.

Professional Ghostwriting Services

Or is it? Perhaps writing that great American novel was your 2014 resolution too. Oh, how the best-laid plans go to the wayside! Between work schedules, kids’ practices and sports events, social events, family obligations and chores around the house, it seems there’s never enough time to spend hours each week on a pet project. Writing, it seems, is always the first thing to get set aside. And, darn it, you had suc

h a terrific idea for a bookl!

Well, get it done anyway — hire a ghostwriter! Ghostwriting is one of the most poorly kept “secrets” in the literary industry. Almost every celebrity autobiography you have ever read or heard of was written by a ghostwriter.  Even hugely successful authors like James Patterson collaborate with other authors to produce high-quality books so prolifically. Ghostwriting is a great option for any writer, but is particularly effective for busy individuals who have a need for a book but simply lack the time to compose (or finish) the manuscript.

Ghostwriting services can be contracted to write the entire book, get you through a particularly difficult part of the manuscript or to finish it up for you. They’ll even rewrite one that’s already complete, but not in the condition you want. Professional ghostwriters are adept at matching the “voice” and “tone” of material that is already written, and they’re always extremely flexible to your needs.

So, if you need a little — or a lot — of help getting that writing finished, consider getting the ball rolling with your own professional ghostwriter.

Need help getting started or getting finished with your book? Let Outskirts Press get you started on your own publishing dreams!

Start Self-Publishing Now!

Do You Have a (Self-Publishing) Dream? 5 Steps to Making Your Dream a Reality

Martin Luther King Jr. had many dreams that seemed lofty in the climate of his day. Step by step, many of them have come to pass. So, in honor of MLK’s dream, Outskirts Press would like to help self-publishing authors Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Servicesrealize their own dreams.

When you’re at the beginning of the self-publishing process, having an actual book in hand can seem unattainable. That’s because we all tend to view the finished project — which is a big deal — and fail to see all the little, completely doable tasks that make up the finished project. So, we’re here to tell you this: Dream small!

You’ve heard the expression, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Don’t think of the publishing journey as a single, thousand-mile trip. Think of the easy steps you can take to make that self-publishing journey:

  1. Write on schedule. Whether your goal is a daily one or a Sunday marathon while eveEbook Packageryone else in the house is watching football, regularity is your best friend. You don’t have to shoot for a massive page count, either; every small step you take gets you closer to the finish.
  2. Envision a finish line. Know what you’re working toward. Do you know how your book will progress and how it will end? If you don’t, write an outline, first and foremost. It doesn’t matter if you end up straying from your original vision. Just knowing there’s a path to follow will help you take that next step.
  3. Get your other “ducks” in a row. Start thinking about, and making arrangements for, elements of a published book besides the writing: cover art, formatting, interior illustrations, publicity, etc. Line up someone to create the book cover art, or draft a few ideas to give to your publisher; put your manuscript in the proper format; start pre-publicizing your book on your Facebook page and Twitter feed. All these things will need to be done sooner or later, but if you get a jump on them early, your book just seems more “real.” That visualization will motivate you to follow through on the writing and all the steps to self-publishing that follow.
  4. Publish/market on schedule. “Then End” isn’t really the end when it comes to self-publishing; it’s the beginning of a new phase of authorship — selling your book. Just as writing requires planning and discipline, so does the publishing and marketing processes. Set up a schedule of things you need to accomplish to get your book sold: contact the publisher, send in your manuscript, choose a cover, order hardcopies and electronic versions, send out custom press releases, put together a press kit, and contact the media (TV, radio, newspaper, book reviewers, etc.). Resolve to take one or more of these steps each week to get visibility (and added sales) for your book.
  5. Ask for help. Despite the name, self-publishing doesn’t have to be done in solitude — there’s Ghostwritingassistance for just about anything that stumps or overwhelms you. There are specialized artists who can create an eye-catching book cover, marketing experts with dozens of tricks up their sleeves to boost book sales, publishing insiders who can help you snag high-profile interviews — even professional ghostwriters to take your compelling plot and bring it to life!

Yes, publishing a book is a big dream, but the small steps you take to achieve that dream are very much in your power!

Do you have a self-publishing dream? Make your dreams come true — we’ll show you how!

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Self-Publishing Help: 6 Ways in Which Hiring a Ghostwriter Now Can Pay Off Later

So, you’ve had this fantastic story swirling around in your head and scrawled on scraps of paper at the bottom of your desk drawer for years now. The only thing left to do is to plunk it all down in one, tidy little document. Your hurdle? Time (or the lack thereof).

If your great American novel truly has been languishing, long forgotten, in a tattered notebook for many months or years, what are the odds that that terrific story will ever actually see the light of day? What good does it do to dismiss the idea of hiring a pro, if you’ll never have enough time to get to it? It is difficult sometimes for an author to justify hiring a ghostwriter — ghostwriting can run into many thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the project — but there are many instances in which the investment is more than justified by the benefits ghostwriting provides.

  1. Time: An average novel can range from 50,000 to 100,000 words or more. Needless to say, cranking out that kind of volume requires a huge commitment. Even if you spend two or three hours each night writing, you could spend many months, even years, getting your story down on paper. And if your day job is full-time or requires overtime, there’s not much time left for what amounts to a second job. A professional ghostwriter, on the other hand, does this work for a living, assuring that your story gets regular attention — giving you time to live a real life!
  2. Definitive Timeline: There is no average timeline for writing a novel. Some experienced authors may crank out a rough draft in a few months, while others can Outskirts Press Ghostwriting Servicesagonize over their manuscript for years. Still others may never complete their work. The advantage of a ghostwriter is that he will work with you to determine the timeline for completion of the work so it’s guaranteed not to linger unfinished. A ghostwritten novel can take anywhere from three months to more than a year, depending on the size and complexity of the project, but it will get done. And the sooner it is, the sooner your book starts selling and earning you money.
  3. Professionalism: Ghostwriters, particularly ones associated with a publishing house, generally have a great deal of experience crafting stories and compelling characters, all while employing the rules of grammar. They’re generally accustomed to writing under strict deadlines, and as such, are conscientious about getting their work done in a timely fashion.
  4. Tailored Service: Many would-be authors fear that handing the writing over to another person will result in a book that’s not “them,” one that doesn’t reflect their own unique voice. However, this is exactly what an experienced ghostwriter has been groomed all her life to do! Before tackling your project, a professional ghostwriter will spend time getting to know your style. She may also provide you with “preview” pages so you can ensure that the style she’s using matches your vision. If, in the end, you don’t feel the writer is a good fit, you can choose another who is.
  5. Creative Control: Even once you’ve placed your project in the capable hands of a ghostwriter, know that it is still your baby! It’s your name on the cover and your reputation that will be built. Your ghostwriter will work with you as closely as you wish throughout the project to ensure that it’s heading in the direction you envisioned.
  6. Potential Savings: In many cases, hiring a ghostwriter can actually save money or result in greater future profits. Whether you’re giving up profitable overtime work at your day job or turning down freelance projects to work on your book, you could lose more money than you think during the writing process, even if you haven’t hired a pro. Add to that the expense of hiring a copy editor or doing time-consuming rewrites, and the writing you did for “free” can start getting expensive.

With the help of a professional ghostwriter, rewriting and copy editing time is greatly reduced, resulting in the quick release of a well-written book that captures readers’ attention.

Do you have a compelling story, but aren’t sure how to bring it to life? Let Outskirts Press show you how to use ghostwriting to get your book on the fast track!

Order Ghostwriting Service Now!

Self-Publishing Authors Can Market Themselves Using Custom Article Writing

One of the proven ways to market yourself and your book on the Internet is to write and distribute related articles that demonstarte your expertise in your subject matter.  Even if your article does not blatantly promote your book, your “About the Author” byline section does, including a link to your webpage.  This is also good for Search Engine Optimization for your webpage.

If you’re having a hard time making time to write articles to promote you and your book (you are a busy author after all), Outskirts Press can help. Count on one of our professional ghostwriters to compose your article on your behalf.   This option is for one article but the more different articles you “write” the most recognized you will become, so you can order this option multiple times if you want.

  • You choose the topic
  • We write the article
  • You review/edit and approve it
  • We distribute it for you

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

What type of article might you want?

It depends upon what type of book you have written (after all, you want it to be related). Here are some possibilities:

  • A romance novelist may select an article topic such as “Top Ten Relationship Exercises for Couples”
  • A children’s book author may suggest an article written about “How to Be a Nurturing Parent”
  • A bestselling author of a number of books might choose “5 Steps to Self Publishing Success”

You choose the topic, provide any background information you have available, and we’ll write the 700-1000 word article for you.

Then we distribute it throughout the Internet where bloggers, RSS feeds, XML feeds, article archives, forums, and other websites can “pick it up” for distribution.

Many article websites provide “RSS feeds” for webmasters, bloggers, and newsletter publishers who are looking for content on specific topics. Your article will be blasted to these channels and you may start to see your Expert Article appearing all around the Internet.

We’ll even show you how to see up an electronic “clipping service” so you will get notified by email when your Expert Article is published.

Here’s an example of where “5 Steps to Self Publishing Success” by best-selling author Gang Chen was republished, exposing Gang’s book to all the readers of this website.

Ready to get started? Let’s talk...

Outskirts Press Introduces Professional Ghostwriting Services to its Growing List of a la carte Solutions for Self Publishing Writers

For writers, speakers, entrepreneurs and other busy professionals, Outskirts Press is now the one-stop-shop for publishing the book of your dreams, even if you don’t have time to write it!  Joining the comprehensive selection of a la carte writing, publishing, and marketing services already available comes the new, convenient, affordable Ghostwriting service for authors.

September 21, 2010 – Denver, CO – Outskirts Press, the fastest growing self-publishing and book marketing company, announced an exciting new option for authors that will further expand the company’s reach and reputation as the single, true full-service support firm for writers, artists, speakers, entrepreneurs and other discriminating professionals. 

Outskirts Press now offers professional ghostwriting services for aspiring authors of all walks of life, regardless of whether they are novices or hardened professionals. For anyone who is simply too busy or has been told, “You ought to write a book about that,” the new Ghostwriting Service is the perfect solution to help them reach the monumental goal of publication. 

Part coach, part consultant, part writer and editor, a professional ghostwriter from Outskirts Press can help writers or other busy professionals refine their works as well as anonymously compose the entire manuscript if necessary.   The book is then published, either at Outskirts Press or elsewhere, under the author’s name, with or without credit to the ghostwriter– it’s up to the author.  Most “celebrity autobiographies” involve the services of a ghostwriter and now all writers can partake in this convenient and affordable solution.

Ghostwriting is just one of many new writing services available at the new Outskirts Press Version 4.0 website at http://outskirtspress.comAlso extremely popular are copyediting services, full-color illustration packages, and the recently announced Private Label ISBN option.   Outskirts Press recently reached a special agreement with R.R. Bowker, the exclusive ISBN Agency for the United States, to be their official designated agent so that Outskirts Press can request single ISBNs on behalf of and in the name of self-published authors for twenty percent less than those authors would pay R.R. Bowker directly.

“Thanks to our partnership with Bowker and our Private Label ISBN option, Outskirts Press clients who wish to publish their works under their own ISBN can now be assured that they, themselves, will be listed as the publisher of record and no longer need to worry about unauthorized third party ISBN vendors,” said Outskirts Press Director of Author Support, Kelly Schuknecht.

For a listing of all the available services for busy writers, artists, scrap-bookers, children’s authors, and other professionals, visit: http://outskirtspress.com/customer.php.

About Outskirts Press, Inc:

Outskirts Press, Inc. offers full-service writing, self-publishing, and book marketing services for discriminating professionals seeking a cost-effective, fast, and flexible way to publish and distribute high-quality books worldwide. Available globally at www.outskirtspress.com and located on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, Outskirts Press represents the future of book publishing, today.

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