Time to Pick the Winner of the “Show Us Your Love” Contest!

Authors have showered Outskirts Press with the warm-fuzzies in the manner of videos and pictures for weeks and now it’s time to pick our favorite. We simply can’t decide which of the creative submissions are best, so we’re asking for your votes. Your opinions will decide who wins a brand-new laptop computer!

The three submissions with the most “likes” on the Outskirts Facebook page from among this year’s entries are now up for a public vote to determine the winner. The poll ends February 23rd, and the winner will be announced on February 28th.

Below are the three finalists. Watch the submissions and place your vote. The author whose submission earns the most votes will win a brand-new laptop computer.

Kat Sinclair, author of Green and Dying

Cesare Andrea Frustaci, author of I Believe in Miracles

Pete Springer, author of They Call Me Mom

While there are only three finalists, you can still check out all the submissions submitted for the contest on our YouTube Playlist and/or our Instagram Page. Let’s just say we have a clever author community! With the social media exposure all entrants have received on Outskirts Press’ Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Instagram Page, and Twitter Feed, all participants come out winners.

Place your vote now and subscribe to our blog or check back on February 28th to see who wins.

Product Description – HP 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop
Size: Intel CPU+8GB RAM

Notable in every way. From its souped-up performance to its spacious display, the affordable HP Notebook 15 is set to be your go-to laptop. It combines a 7th Gen Intel Core i3 processor with 8GB of memory and a huge 1TB hard drive for excellent multitasking and multimedia capabilities. The Notebook 15 delivers great portability, too, with a weight that’s just 4.6 pounds and slim profile under an inch thin. With 8GB of memory, the Notebook 15 handles multitasking with ease while a 1TB hard drive has the space you need for storing volumes of files. A roomy 15.6-inch HD touchscreen provides a large canvas for work and play, and is excellent for kicking back with a movie. The 7th Gen Intel Core i3 delivers the most responsive performance to date with features like built-in security and 4K resolution support. DTS Studio Sound delivers deep, rich bass and crystal-clear highs, creating a pitch-perfect listening experience for music, videos, and games. A total of three USB ports (1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0) are perfect for connecting and charging peripherals, while HDMI delivers big-screen sharing and entertainment.

 

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


Common Sense Leadership

by Ronald Harper

(5 Stars – 2 Customer Reviews)

Price: $14.95

Ronald Harper’s “Common Sense Leadership.” Understanding your workforce and understanding how to create an environment that optimizes it makes sense. Use a different approach to leading by working with a psychological base. Psychology and leadership can work together to benefit you as you share it with others. This book can also show you how to manage energy, validate achievement and manage spiking attitudes.

 

 Learn More 

 

Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

 

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Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


Dear Tallulah

by Kay Rickenbaugh

(5 Stars – 10 Customer Reviews)

Price: $20.95

Kay Rickenbaugh’s “Dear Tallulah.” Who knew getting older could be so much fun? Emily is a widow of more than twenty years who has a daughter with a successful career in interior design. She has become sad and isolated in her home since she no longer drives. Then, she discovers Orchard Pines Residence and Spa, a large facility for adults no longer wanting to live alone but still able to take care of themselves. Expecting solace, she finds intrigue, murder, travel, romance, employment and wonderful new friends. Those who desire to be just like Emily when they get to be her age will thoroughly enjoy this book.

 

 Learn More 

 

Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

 

Would you like your book featured here? Buy Now

 

Roll Out the Red Carpet With 15% Off a Video for Your Book!

For many years now, the publishing world has been grappling with a singular dilemma: how to make use of the new platform and opportunities provided by the internet to build successful marketing campaigns? Always one step ahead of the curve, self-publishing authors began to look for websites like YouTube and Vimeo as possible platforms to connect with new readers and share their book trailers. And they have been wildly successful!

A book trailer is, in short, a kind of movie trailer for your book. Because videos tap into two fundamentally important human senses (both sight and hearing) at the same time, they have the power to introduce new readers to your book and inspire them to purchase it.

A good book trailer presents images related to the book’s theme and content in an engaging way and is set to music that conjures up the appropriate atmosphere. A mystery novel might be set to a brooding tapestry of minor-key notes, while a romance novel might take advantage of a light-hearted upbeat tempo to clue readers into the nature of its story. Just as moviegoers might find themselves on the edge of their seats at the theater, your potential readers will wait with bated breath for the chance to pick up a copy of your book. It’s all about creating excitement for your book’s release.

Crafting a book trailer that connects all the dots to inspire this kind of reaction is, of course, quite a challenge. Video editing demands a certain professional creative skill set, complete with a deft hand at image placement, talent with text arrangement, and a nuanced way with transitioning from one frame to the next. And the timing must be precise: the entire trailer must take place over approximately sixty seconds to communicate all that it needs to and command a viewer’s attention.

The value of a well-made book trailer is, however, unquestionable. Short movies are the most portable of marketing tools and are easily shared across all the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and elsewhere. They can be embedded into blog posts or the link distributed by email.

As a self-publishing author, you’re already strategically placed to take advantage of video–but creating a book trailer? That might be outside of your comfort zone or even fully beyond your abilities. Luckily, Outskirts Press has you covered! Our Book Video Trailer & Distribution service allows you complete creative control while also putting the power of our expert team at your service, assisting with music selection, image identification, and text integration before delivering a draft of your book video trailer to you of approval. The final product provides a slick, creative way to showcase your work and market your book effectively to a wide audience. Best of all, right now you can enjoy 15% off this service! This incredible package is normally $399 but, during the month of February, you can put your book in the spotlight for only $339.15.

Are you ready to give your book the red carpet treatment? Enter promo code Save15Video when you purchase the Book Video Trailer & Distribution service.

 

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


Sleep Walking Out of Afghanistan

by Harold Phifer

(4.5 Stars – 4 Customer Reviews)

Price: $14.95

Harold Phifer’s “Sleep Walking Out of Afghanistan.” A soldier deals with anxieties and his dysfunctional past while serving in the military in foreign countries. The possibility of death and never seeing his family and friends again mentally tortured him during the long deployments. He feels vulnerable and needs to get mental closure to move past his fears.

 Learn More 

 

Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

 

Would you like your book featured here? Buy Now

 

5 Tips for Using Social Media to Market Your Book

With the exploding popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, it’s easier than ever to connect with people all around the world. But, if you’re not sure how to get started or are unsure about how to make connections with your target audience, don’t worry! Here are 5 easy tips to help you!

1. Determine what your goals are.

  • Increase awareness? The average person spends nearly two hours on social media every day, and therefore social media is one of the best places to grab a reader’s attention.
  • Drive traffic to your book? Drive visitors to your author webpage or to your listing on Amazon.
  • Generate new leads? These are people who have indicated interest in your book in some way, shape, or form, but haven’t yet purchased it.
  • Build your royalties? You can use social media to turn your audience into paying customers.

2. How often should you post?

  • Facebook – Two or three times per day
  • Instagram – Once or twice per day
  • Instagram Stories – Eight to 16 Stories, twice per week
  • Twitter – Three to ten times per day
  • LinkedIn – Once or twice per day
  • Pinterest – Five to ten times per day

3. When should you post?

  • Twitter – 1-3pm weekdays
  • Facebook – 1-4pm weekdays
  • LinkedIn – 7-8:30am and 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Instagram – 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays
  • Pinterest – 2-4pm and 8-11pm weekdays with weekends being the best
  • Google+ – 9-11am weekdays

4. What should you post?

  • Facebook – Post videos about your book, live videos of you talking about your book or at book events, photos of you and your book, blog posts and curated content.
  • No matter what type of post you’re sharing on Facebook, the copy you add alongside your content can be key in how it performs.
  • Instagram – Post hi-res photos (your cover, your author photo, any images or illustrations within your book), behind-the-scenes photos of your book events, quotes, user-generated content (sharing other photos, such as attendees at a book signing) but give credit to the original creator (known as a re-post), and Instagram stories. Captions are limited to 2,200 characters, and after three lines of text, they become shortened with an ellipsis (those 3 dots you see on posts). You want to grab the readers’ attention with your opening line or two.
  • Twitter – Post news about your book, blog posts, photos of you and your book at events, curated content and images. The type of copy in your tweets can drive huge improvements in your results.
  • Pinterest – Images are the best thing to post on Pinterest. Post hi-res photos of your book, the cover, book events, step-by-step photo guides and infographics.
  • LinkedIn – Post professional information about your career as a writer. Since LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, the most suitable content will revolve around you as an author. Share news about your book and milestones on your LinkedIn page, particularly if the book involves career advice.

5. Automate, engage, and listen

  • Automate posting of your social media content. A tool like Buffer is great for automation. It allows you to create all the content that you want to, all at once, and then place everything into a queue to be sent out according to whatever schedule you choose.
  • Social media requires engagement. When people talk to you, talk back. Set aside time during your day to follow up with conversations that are happening on social media. These are conversations with potential customers, references, friends, and colleagues.
  • Don’t forget, the ultimate purpose is to sell copies of your book. So always be polite, helpful, and generous. Book sales will follow.

For more information on marketing your book, log into your Publishing Center for a complete list of marketing options and to access the free Book Marketing Resource Center.

 

Here Comes Ingo by Odeta Xheka

Technology has made it easier than ever to reach wider audiences no matter where they are in the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box and you can market a self-published book in creative ways, affordably and impactfully. This is where book tours come in: Tours are a great way to connect with your readers, and technology has made them easier and more cost effective than ever!

Author Odeta Xheka is taking her latest book Here Comes Ingo, on tour — a Virtual Book Tour with Outskirts Press. This will allow Odeta to take her book into the far corners of the globe, all from the comfort of her own home! Keep an eye out for Odeta’s book as she will be featured on several blogs over the weeks and months ahead!


Luckily for us, Odeta 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 Here Comes Ingo.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Here Comes Ingo. What is it about?

Odeta: Here Comes Ingo is the story of Ingo, a scarlet macaw who while nursing her eggs in the hole of a dead canopy tree drifts off to sleep and dreams of flying about into the lush evergreen forest she calls home. Ingo’s dream is a beautiful visual story that exemplifies a progression of thinking leading towards love, kindness and inclusion because the world needs more empathetic, understanding and tolerant children. At first, things may not seem to make much sense. After all, it is not every day that 4-8-year olds get to come face to face with a shark eating cupcakes with gusto or a merry band of birds & frogs piggybacking on a chubby fish or even a solitary wolf improbably wrapped in a rainbow. Yet, page after page of exquisitely crafted compositions encourage children to resist feeling discouraged or scared in front of the unexpected and the unknown. Much like Ingo, they are to rely on their own ability to embrace what at first may seem strange in order to fully enjoy the book. Equally importantly, Ingo’s flying adventures invite children to put their thinking hats on and figure out what the characters are thinking, feeling and doing thus teaching them about setting, structure flow and attention to detail. As with the best of books, at the conclusion of the story, the journey is not over. Ingo invites children to visit again, and again in order to expand on Ingo’s dream world following into the tradition of classic books such as Good Night, Gorilla, The Adventures of Polo, Tuesday, Where’s Walrus, Sea of Dreams and The Red Book.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Odeta: I believe that all books for children should offer a truthful depiction of reality all the while promoting a positive worldview. Here Comes Ingo is my honest attempt as an artist and a parent of young children to provide my young readers with a set of creative tools that can serve them in the future to push back against intolerance based on fear of the unknown. At the same time, this book is uniquely crafted to embrace children’s imagination and their innate sense of coloring, wonder and fun as they are invited to expand the story by drawing, coloring and painting on the page.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Odeta: This time around, I decided to go the self- publishing route in order to have complete artistic control over the aesthetics of what is for all purposes an art book. I am very happy with the way each paper collage stands out as a unique illustration drenched in superb colors.

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

Odeta: I believe that artistic expression is a crucial part of human development and while Here Comes Ingo is officially intended for 4-8-year olds, this picture book strives to create a sensory experience for the whole family. In conjunction with wall decals available through my art store the book illustrations create an interactive space for children to become the artist, not simply observe the art. Children, parents, grandparents, guardians and sitters alike are encouraged to incorporate Ingo and her friends into their everyday lives through play, crafting, games, writing, coloring, drawing and doodling on each picture. Ideal for kindergarten and grade school children this book may also be especially helpful to teachers who seek out opportunities for art projects, creative writing and other education avenues that grip young readers’ imagination while teaching them valuable lessons about comprehension (look at this picture- what do you think is happening?), predicting (what do you think will happen next?), inferring (what makes you think that?), reasoning (what do you think that happened?), sequencing (what happened first? next? last?)

OP: What is special about your book?

Odeta: The book has a very clear message, that of open mindedness in front of the unknown- a most timely message. At a time when old and young alike are continuously asked to think of the immigrant, the gender fluid, the poor, “the other” in terms that instill fear and confusion, Here Comes Ingo is the type of book that allocates agency to its young readers. The message is clear albeit a bit more direct and maybe a little less preachy than most books for young children. Let’s just say that as a longtime fan of Maurice Sendak and mother to a very inquisitive 8-year-old. boy and 6-year-old. girl I don’t believe in sugar coating reality. To me, this is another way of approaching children with truth, honesty and authenticity. Real life is not just colorful and happy; life also has darkness. I don’t believe we should coddle children and shelter them from life. With this book, I intend to make it safe for children to face things with their eyes open and to accept that things can be confusing and that not “getting” something at first glance is totally acceptable. They are invited to look harder, probe deeper and make sense of what is in front of them.

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

Odeta: Although Here Comes Ingo is technically a picture book for children, it can easily qualify as an art book. This book is a well-orchestrated visual story that familiarizes children with figurative collage, an ancient art technique. Each illustration is a multilayered collage on paper (made by hand) with special attention paid to the Disney-like palette and the carefully orchestrated arrangement of various animal, insects, birds, grass and trees paper cut outs in order to come up with a final composition that is as Surreal as it is imbued in suggestive possibilities. In other words, each book page collage is “a painting made with scissors” as Henri Matisse famously put it in reference to his paper compositions. Here Comes Ingo‘s artistic language is very inclusive and issues an open invitation to the readers to add to the story and take it as far as their imagination can stretch.

OP: Have you published any other books?

Odeta: Yes, years and years ago. It’s a collection of short poems. Although it was written in another land, another language and another cultural & social milieu Bosh Me Te Bardhe (Whitening Emptiness) offers clear parallels with Here Comes Ingo, my most recent book for children. It goes to show that I have always felt a sense of responsibility in tackling “heavy subjects” in order to come up with insightful and honest depictions of reality.

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Odeta: Most definitely. I am already mapping out (visual) ideas about my next book. I’m at the stage when the giddiness of infinite creative avenues has not yet been dampened by the technical and practical aspects of bringing a book to life so my imagination is going wild. No matter the final direction of this next book, just like Here Comes Ingo, it will extend children the same message of being understanding, tolerant and kind beings.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Odeta Xheka is a mother, visual storyteller and fine artist who is busy raising her children and nurturing her art practice.

For more information or to contact the author, visit https://www.outskirtspress.com/herecomesingo or Odeta Xheka Visuals.

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.

Are you an author looking for help to market your self-published book?

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