2020 Self-Publishing Retrospective: A Very Unusual Year in Review

2020 is sure to go down in history as one of the most difficult years ever as the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic continues spreading around the globe, threatening the physical and mental health of Earth’s inhabitants while simultaneously causing economic hardship for billions. And although the world continues to struggle, we are witnessing the good inherent in all people as neighbors help neighbors, friends help friends and loved ones help and cherish those they love. For many writers, the early days of quarantining allowed them to find their creative energy to write and perhaps even (finally) finish that book they’ve been working on.

It’s apparent in the numbers. 2020 book sales boomed! While final numbers for 2020 aren’t available at the time of this writing, NPD Bookscan reported an overall 6.4% increase for the first three quarters over the comparable quarters in 2019, led by a whopping 36% jump in young adult nonfiction, a 29% increase in juvenile nonfiction and a 19% bump in young adult fiction.

Homeschooling certainly contributed to this increase, and savvy writers were quick to capitalize, as the self-publishing industry is on track to publish more books in 2020 than ever before. For Outskirts Press, the only A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively, 2020 saw its authors thrive and prosper even in the shadow of the novel coronavirus.

At the 26th Annual Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards Banquet, which, for the first time ever, took place “virtually” and streamed live from YouTube, Outskirts Press authors took home a total of 14 impressive 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place awards. The recorded virtual ceremony will be available on the CIPA YouTube Channel indefinitely.

Winning a CIPA EVVY Award is a prerequisite to winning the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award and claiming its $1500 Grand Prize. In 2020, the following three First Place EVVY Award winners were in contention for the Best Book of the Year:

Lance Anderson won a First Place Award in Fiction for his novel Life in the Morgue. Lance Anderson spent most of his life as an ironworker until he decided it was time for a change. He took a job at the medical examiner’s office, where he worked for six years and assisted in more than two thousand cases until he was forced to retire due to vision problems. Life in the Morgue is his debut novel, but he has also written two movie scripts that are in the process of being produced.

George Rhoades won a First Place Award for Poetry with Musings from Cowboy Country. George Rhoades is the author of Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems and After the Chisholm. He is the winner of numerous poetry awards, including the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Will Rogers Gold and Bronze Medallions, Readers View First Place Award, Indie Excellence Book Award Finalist and Western Music Assoc. Poetry Book Finalist, and other accolades. Born on a farm in Cotton County, Oklahoma, Rhoades has been a rancher, a reporter/editor for UPI and Oklahoma newspapers and a college journalism professor. He retired from UT-Arlington and moved to Duncan, Oklahoma, where he owned a hay farm.

And Gina Simone won a First Place Award in the Spiritual/Religion category with Whispers of Love, which went on to win the coveted Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award for 2020 (by securing a whopping 80% of the votes!). Gina Simone is a Spirit Medium certified through the Forever Family Foundation. At the age of 11, she began to notice and feel Spirit and energy around her. Not knowing what these gifts were, she always felt different and isolated. A traumatic pool accident with her toddler son catapulted her into finding the meaning behind life, Spirit, lessons, and karma. She left a comfortable corporate finance career to answer her calling to connect you with your loved ones and with your own innate intuition and higher consciousness. She has been a featured medium on Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP.com, has been voted Long Island Best Medium several years in a row, and is also a featured medium on the WBLI 106.1 morning show.

Congratulations, Gina! And congratulations to all our EVVY-Award winners and, in fact, to all our award-winning authors, who celebrated their accomplishments in 2020 by receiving book awards.

How would it feel to publish in 2021 with the A+ Rated and #1-Rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively? Find out more about publishing, marketing, promoting and submitting your book for publication, reviews, and awards by visiting us at OutskirtsPress.com. We would love to help you publish the book of your dreams in 2021.

 

Hit the Polls! Vote for the 2020 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Just days ago, we announced the three finalists in this year’s Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year awards. All three finalists were 1st place winners of a 2020 CIPA EVVY Award; those annual awards, sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) and the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF), were announced September 10th and recognize some of the finest works of independent authors in dozens of book categories.

The time has come to vote on which of these talented authors have built an author platform and worked up the promotional muscle to acquire Outskirts Press’ top honors through a head-to-head competition! The Best Book of the Year Grand Prize winner and $1,500 Grand Prize winnings will be awarded based on the results of a live public poll … which is where you come in!

Our three finalists couldn’t be more different, and you’ll find summaries of each book below. So, study your choices, order their books, visit their webpages and social media, watch their book trailer videos and cast your vote. Voting is easy! Simply scroll down to the poll, below, to place your vote for the book you think deserves our top honors in the 2020 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year competition!


FINALIST: Life in the Morgue by Lance Anderson

Visit the blog posting to read the synopsis, learn more about the author, watch the video, and visit the author’s webpage. Opens in a new window.


FINALIST: Musings from Cowboy Country by George Rhoades

Visit the blog posting to read the synopsis, learn more about the author, watch the video, and visit the author’s webpage. Opens in a new window.


FINALIST: Whispers of Love by Gina Simone

Visit the blog posting to read the synopsis, learn more about the author, watch the video, and visit the author’s webpage. Opens in a new window.


Cast Your Vote!

The public poll for Best Book of the Year closes at 11:59 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, September 24th.

(If a survey poll is not displayed above, please open this page in another browser to vote.)

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award? Connect with Outskirts Press now in whatever manner is easiest for you:

Your First Finalist for the 2020 Best Book of the Year Award is … Lance Anderson, Author of Life in the Morgue!

Congratulations to our three finalists for the Outskirts Press 2020 Best Book of the Year award: Life in the Morgue by Lance Anderson, Musings from Cowboy Country by George Rhoades and Whispers of Love by Gina Simone. These works are impressive and it’s going to be an interesting sprint to the finish!

All three books took home first place awards from this year’s EVVY Awards, qualifying the authors for Outskirts Press highest honor! Remember, only one book can win — so look into your choices, order their books and cast your vote. Voting will begin Monday, September 21st on Self-Publishing News and will close promptly on Thursday, September 24th at 11:59 PM Mountain Time.

So, come back on Monday, Sept. 21st, to cast your vote for the book you believe to be the best of the three.

Meet Your First Finalist

Life in the Morgue

When Greg Benson took a job as a morgue technician, he was told on his first day, “You can’t make this stuff up.” What an understatement that turned out to be…From his first autopsy (a teenage girl), deaths by accident and homicide, dumpster removals, subway electrocutions, and ghostly activity, this job was anything but normal. Just when Greg thought he had seen it all, something else would take place-and it wasn’t only the cases being brought in… Take a rare peek into the life of a morgue technician in this fascinating foray into Life in the Morgue.

About Author Lance Anderson

Lance Anderson spent most of his life as an ironworker until he decided it was time for a change. He took a job at the medical examiner’s office, where he worked for six years and assisted in more than two thousand cases until he was forced to retire due to vision problems. Life in the Morgue is his debut novel, but he has also written two movie scripts that are in the process of being produced.

Buy from Outskirts Press: https://outskirtspress.com/lifeinthemorgue
Buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1977216242

The Best Book of the Year winner will receive a Grand Prize of $1,500 as a direct result of your choice at the polls. So, come back on Monday, September 21st, to cast your vote!

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award? Connect with Outskirts Press now in whatever manner is easiest for you:

 

Life in the Morgue by Lance Anderson

Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. It takes is a little thinking outside the box and you can market a self-published book in creative, affordable and impactful ways. Consider book tours! Tours are a great way to connect with your readers and technology has made them easier and more cost effective than ever!

Author Lance Anderson is taking his latest book Life in the Morgue, on tour — a Virtual Book Tour with Outskirts Press. This will allow Lance to take his book into the far corners of the globe, all from the comfort of his own home! Keep an eye out for Lance’s book as he will be featured on several blogs over the weeks and months ahead!


Luckily for us, Lance was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of Life in the Morgue.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Life in the Morgue. What is it about?

Lance: The best way I can describe this book is it’s not what you think it is. It is not a horror or gross, it is more focused on the people that actually work in the morgue, and their quirks and about the things that they had to deal with. The office itself and how things were run, the inter office politics and even some state and local government shenanigans. There was another saying at the office “dead people don’t vote” so sometimes things could get out of hand. With that being said the people that I worked with in real life always treated the deceased with the same respect whether they were famous or well connected with lots of money or a drug overdose found in an alley. The doctors there were all top notch and knew what they were doing. Greg the main character is just a normal blue-collar guy who managed to get this job and it so much more than he expected it to be. It becomes an all-consuming life for him, he sees and experiences things he or most people never thought about in his normal regular life.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Lance: I wrote the book because no matter where I go, once people find out where I worked they all want to hear stories about what happens there, or specific cases, and some of the types of things that I had to deal with. I was at a friend’s backyard cook out a few weeks ago. A young married couple had arrived, and the husband walked right past the hosts and came and sat next to me and started talking. His wife came over and told him it was pretty rude to not say hi to the hosts first. He responded the only reason I came is because Lance was going to be here, he is going to make this an interesting day.. A woman that had recently started dating one of my other friends was sitting next to me. I had only met her on one other occasion chimed in with “what’s going to make it more interesting?” He looked at her and said, “go ahead, ask him where he used to work!” She did, so I told her, and spent most the rest of the afternoon telling morgue stories and talking about cases. It only took a few minutes when I noticed most everyone in the back yard was now standing around the table I was sitting at listening to the stories. People find the stories intriguing, funny, sad and dramatic, and are always asking for more. I had been asked by countless people to write about it over the past several years, so I think it will appeal to lots of people.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Lance: I did a lot of internet research on going to a major publisher vs. self-publishing and decided that Outskirts Press seemed to offer everything I was going to need to turn this into a book. Outskirts made it very easy to go through the whole process.

OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

Lance: The book is written as a fiction, but I think it will appeal to anyone that enjoys the inner working of what happens at a morgue or specifically the medical examiner’s office. The story has drama, humor, some office politics and action. I think the story crosses several genres and will appeal to many different types of people.

OP: What is special about your book?

Lance: Well I think it is written from a perspective that hasn’t been seen before. Greg Benson is just an ordinary guy getting through life as best he can. He suddenly finds himself dealing with things and situations that never would have entered his mind that this stuff could happen. The book is written as a fiction but, I used the basis of real situations in the storyline. Some of the situations are twisted around a bit and I did not use real names or locations. I used a Steven king quote in the beginning of the book “Fiction is just the truth wrapped in lies” and I think there is a lot of validity in that statement.

OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

Lance: I did a lot of research trying to find a book to compare it to and really did not find one that I could match it with. Most of the other books I have seen about Morgues or Medical Examiners seemed to be non-fiction case studies or were highlighting the deceased and what brought them into the morgue. This is a good story about a few years in the life of someone who was not really trained or equipped to deal with what he saw, but he managed to excel anyway. Everyday people never think about this stuff and what can and does happen on a daily basis.

OP: Have you published any other books?

Lance: I have co-written a movie script with a friend and it was shopped around and picked up by a major production company and they asked if I could write a sequel, so I did, and they loved that as well. Currently they are sitting in a holding pattern, but we are still in contact and they say they are going to produce them but won’t put a date on when.

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Lance: Well I am an active paranormal investigator as well and have plans to write about a particular ghost hunt, I was on as well as another book that covers many other investigations I have done over the years. Who knows, if Life in the Morgue does well. I have enough stories and scenarios to write a sequel to that, maybe even a third.

OP: Thanks for your time, Lance! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lance Anderson spent most of his life as an ironworker until he decided it was time for a change. He took a job at the medical examiner’s office, where he worked for six years and assisted in more than two thousand cases until he was forced to retire due to vision problems. Life in the Morgue is his debut novel, but he has also written two movie scripts that are in the process of being produced.

For more information or to contact the author, visit https://www.outskirtspress.com/lifeinthemorgue

This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.

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