How to Dazzle Your Readers With a Book Signing Event!

So: You’ve written a book, and now you need to sell it. How would you like to throw a dazzling book reading and signing event and read excerpts from your book to an audience hanging on your every word?

Book readings, and their close compatriots, book signings, are one of the keystones of a self-publishing author’s post-publication strategic plan. The benefits of a reading and signing event are endless, and the opportunity to meet potential readers (and buyers) in a comfortable face-to-face environment is often one of the most important parts of a successful marketing campaign. When the unstoppable force of a new book meets the immovable object of a local independent bookstore, that campaign has a rock-solid foundation!

But how exactly can you go about setting one up?

First, identify potential bookstores! Start local. While larger chain retailers occasionally organize book signings, your local independent bookstores offer far more chances and flexibility. They also have a vested interest in supporting local (and self-published) authors, as the “regionality” of their offerings can provide a significant boost to sales. You can check local newspapers to see if any bookstores are listing upcoming events on the paper’s “calendar of events,” just as you would a public bulletin board in years gone by. Libraries are also a great place to host readings and signings, but they don’t offer some of the same benefits as a bookstore … namely, they don’t usually stock books for sale.

Second, prepare your pitch! Craft a short, clear script which outlines what your book is about and why readers would be interested in meeting you or buying the book. Make sure you include some easily modifiable references to the specific store or location you’re pitching to, so that they feel right away that you’ve done your due diligence and your research, and that you really are interested in having a reading at their store … not just any store. Emphasize the timeliness and the “regionality” or local appeal of your book, as well as any other points about how your book, specifically, will resonate with the store’s customers and perhaps even boost their sales reach.

Third, make contact! Call in or stop by to ask after the store owner or communications manager (if a larger chain) and come prepared with a brief pitch and some ready-made promotional materials, your book’s ISBN, retail price, bulk discount (if applicable), and a review copy if you have one to spare. Make sure to start the process well in advance; even smaller stores often set their events calendars months in advance! The more organized you appear on your first impression, the more likely the store will be to embrace the chance to promote your book by offering a free reading!

Fourth, follow up! It is vital to follow up your pitches with stores which have not confirmed dates. Mark your own calendar a week or two after your store visit, and call! Store owners and communications managers really want to be convinced that you’re willing to do your bit to help with promotion, so keep a list ready to hand of all the ways (whether by setting up an event invitation on social media, papering the town with flyers and handouts, or footing the bill for a newspaper advertisement or radio spot) in which you plan on helping. Provide them with your website address and any additional material they might need to feel confident that you’re the best possible choice for that special date next month! In the book business, persistence really pays off, as does the personal touch … which is what readings are all about.

Follow these four steps and you’ll be well on your way to organizing a successful book reading and signing event!

Interested in learning more about book marketing opportunities and services? Log into your Publishing Center at www.outskirtspress.com and click on the Marketing Services menu.

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Every Writer Needs Help From Time to Time

Every writer can use help from a fellow professional from time to time. Whether you need help getting started, are struggling with certain aspects of your book, or are running out of a steam, getting advice from another professional writer can be just the help you need. Whether you’re a novice writer or seasoned pro, consider the Writing Consultation service from Outskirts Press to fine-tune your writing and get your book back on track.

The writing process can be very difficult, but we want to see you succeed. Writing Consultation services are designed to help writers do just that!

In a Writing Consultation with one of our professional writers, you have a one-on-one brainstorming session to address the writing issues that have slowed your progress. Our consultants are experienced writers with a thorough knowledge of grammar, composition, and other writing building blocks. You’ll also receive valuable advice and a plan of action for moving forward.

For $99 per one-hour block, you can use your Writing Consultation time to:

  • Troubleshoot plot, characters, technique, or execution of your ideas
  • Work through writer’s block
  • Take inventory of usable book materials
  • Organize book ideas into a usable outline
  • Get ideas on how to proceed with a book
  • Gather ideas on how to finish
  • Negotiate tricky passages
  • Ask for general writing advice
  • Get help moving to the next step in writing

Afterward, your writing consultant will provide a follow-up summary of your meeting, along with constructive information you can use to overcome personal writing obstacles and regain your forward momentum.

For more information, visit us online at www.OutskirtsPress.com, call 1-888-OPBOOKS, or chat with us live via our website.

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5 Ways to Market for the Holidays – and How to Get Them Started

Many sellers large and small do more business during the holiday season than during the rest of the year, and self-publishing authors are no different. But the holiday magic usually doesn’t just happen. It takes clear goals, planning, focus and commitment to reap the greatest profits during this key time of opportunity.

There are many things an Outskirts Press author can do to boost profits, but let’s focus on this peak spending season. Here are five ways to market your book for the holidays:

  1. Build flexibility into your holiday marketing approach. While Christmas is the primary money-maker for sellers of all kinds, it’s not the only game in town. Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanzaa—even New Year’s Day—are occasions when millions of people will be buying for others and themselves. Reach out to these audiences every chance you get.
  2. Offer holiday-themed specials. Hold a Christmas flash sale on Amazon or host Turkey Day giveaways on Facebook. Get creative! The idea is to encourage engagement with your readers and entice new readers.
  3. Create a social media plan. People love to mingle on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites – and they’re quickly becoming the go-to places to exchange information, too. Join the massive, online conversation by regularly “checking in” on social media as often as you can.
  4. Recycle review and media queries. Most of your existing outreach to book reviewers and contacts in print and broadcast media can be repurposed and tailed to your holiday campaign. (If you don’t already have a great query letter, write one!) Grab attention with holiday-themed buzzwords and keywords that will keep your copy relevant.
  5. Organize book-signing or book-reading events. If you want to get into those brick-and-mortar bookstores in time for the influx of holiday shoppers, start now. November and December are hot months for book-signing events, so available dates are booking up quickly. Consider focusing specifically on mall bookstores, where shoppers will be converging by the hundreds.

Of course, none of these techniques happen in a meaningful or organized way without a well-defined strategy to guide you. Outskirts Press can get you started on holiday marketing with a Custom Marketing Plan that not only helps you capitalize on seasonal spending but provides a solid all-around plan for the rest of the year.

The Marketing Consultation with Marketing Plan Development begins with a 30-minute, one-on-one phone consultation with a professional Personal Marketing Assistant to learn more about the author’s book, marketing preferences and goals. The marketing assistant will take these factors into account to craft a unique marketing approach for you that includes actionable and achievable marketing techniques, time-saving tips and techniques to boost profits during the holidays and beyond.

After the initial consultation, the Personal Marketing Assistant will send your Custom Marketing Plan to you within just 48 hours! That means if you place the option in your cart today, you could have a clearly defined marketing plan before another weekend passes. Then if you decide you want more assistance you still have the option to hire a Personal Marketing Assistant for a five-hour block of time to begin tackling those marketing steps.

Don’t let the holiday frenzy overwhelm you. Get your Marketing Consultation with Marketing Plan Development, and put in place the steps you need to take for a successful season of selling!

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5 Benefits of Book Awards (and How to Get One)

Book awards are so much more than a pat on the back for an author – they’re an underutilized marketing tool with many benefits besides the recognition. (More on that in a bit.) The 2017-2018 Reader Views Literary Awards are right around the corner, and we at Outskirts Press don’t want this valuable exposure to pass you by.

The Reader Views Literary Awards recognize writers who self-published or had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press or independent book publisher. If you copyrighted a self-published book in 2017, you are eligible to submit your book for the 2017-2018 awards and the cash prizes and kudos that come with a win. The deadline for submitting through Outskirts Press is coming soon! Let us know you’d like to enter, and we’ll take care of the details for you!

Other than full-service awards submission, what’s in it for you? Turns out, plenty! Here are five ways book awards benefit self-publishing authors like you:

  1. You score media visibility. A book award can create big media buzz – and there’s no better marketing than that. Where the media goes, readers will follow.
  2. Readers take notice. Book buyers look to award wins and reviews to help them determine the quality of a book before they make a purchasing decision. So, it stands to reason that the more recognition you get – and the more of them that come from reputable sources – the more value potential buyers will ascribe to your book.
  3. The domino effect. Awards inspire reviews. The more awards you have, the more likely you are to get noticed by other book award panels and reviewers. Prospective readers will take notice!
  4. Amazon shows support. Once a book begins to catch fire with book awards, reader engagement and reviews, Amazon will want to back that book. After all, all that activity influences purchases, and Amazon wants its sellers to succeed.
  5. The bottom line grows. More awards means more visibility, which is likely to translate into more sales. Of course, there’s no guarantee but a feather in your cap is a huge step toward turning pageviews into follow-throughs.

See? Win or no win, book competitions get your title in front of savvy literary professionals and eager readers. To submit your book to the Reader Views Literary Awards, log into your Publishing Center and select the Reader Views Literary Awards from the Marketing Solutions menu. We’ll take care of the rest.

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Top 10 Self-Publishing Book Marketing Tactics

Far from a “one-off” push, book marketing is a vital part of success for any self-publishing author: one that must be ongoing and multifaceted. That’s why Outskirts Press is constantly adding services for self-published authors like you! We want to help you reach new and larger audiences of book-buyers in an ever-changing market. That’s why we lead the publishing industry in post-publication support, products and services to a growing family of self-published authors.

Here, we discuss the latest top-selling marketing options from Outskirts Press, which run the gamut from time-tested press releases to modern ebook formats. Perhaps one or more of these is the perfect choice for you. Learn more about the services that are helping our authors achieve selling success, then let Outskirts Press help you choose techniques that are a great fit for you.

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.
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.
USA Book News Best Book Awards USA Book News Best Book Awards: Every year USA Book News honors exemplary books from independent self-publishers with the Best Book Award. Make sure your book is among the ones being considered. Recognition means widespread exposure to an avid book-buying audience! Outskirts Press
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. Outskirts Press
Personal Marketing Assistant Personal Marketing Assistant (5 hours): Do you need help developing a book marketing plan? Arranging book signings? Establishing/developing your author platform? Hire your own Personal Marketing Assistant today! Outskirts Press
Google Books Preview Program Submission Google Books Preview Program Submission: This service is an inexpensive and extremely effective way to get your book in front of millions of readers quickly and easily.
Amazon Search Inside the Book Amazon Search Inside the Book: Books that participate in this program feature a “Look Inside” icon over their Amazon cover image, which invites potential customers to electronically “flip” through a small section of the book. This increases the level of confidence a customer has in your book – most likely leading up to a higher volume of book sales. According to Amazon, books participating in this program enjoy significant sales improvement, on average, over books that do not. Outskirts Press Outskirts Press
First Chapter Preview Library Distribution First Chapter Preview Library Distribution: With First Chapter Preview Library Distribution, your book cover, synopsis, pricing information and ordering details will run for three consecutive months in a quarter page ad in First Chapter Plus, a monthly catalog where viewers/customers can download and preview the first chapter of your book.  Those who are interested in buying copies will have all the ordering details right there in the catalog for their convenience, and your benefit. Outskirts Press Outskirts Press
Elite E-Book Package Elite E-Book Package: This e-book publishing package includes formatting and distribution of an Amazon Kindle E-book Edition with distribution on Amazon, an Apple iPad/iPhone E-book Edition with distribution through iTunes and the iBooks bookstore, and a Barnes & Noble NOOK E-book Edition with distribution through the NOOK bookstore on Barnes & Noble’s website. Outskirts Press
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 news wire service on your behalf. Distributed electronically to a database of approximately 100,000 media contacts, newsrooms, industry analysts, and freelance writers who receive daily email listings of press releases which match their filter criteria.
PR Publicist PR Publicist: It’s like having your own publicist distribute your press release for you … Plus, after the release goes out, you will receive all the resulting leads for more personal follow-up.

Want to learn more about how to successfully market your book? See these and other valuable services by logging onto your author’s center and reviewing our Marketing Options.

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We’re Showing Our Gratitude with a FREE Publishing Package Upgrade and Kindle Ebook

Today is World Gratitude Day, and we can’t help thinking how grateful we are that so many self-publishing authors put their trust in us to help them achieve publishing and book-selling success!

So as our way of saying thanks, we’re giving the gift of a FREE Publishing Package Upgrade AND a FREE Amazon Kindle Ebook Edition in honor of World Gratitude Day. It’s a simple plan: Purchase the Ultimate or Basic publishing package from Outskirts Press from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, and we’ll automatically bump you up to a better package and add an Amazon Kindle Ebook Edition at no charge. For example, did you budget for the Basic Publishing package? Get started now and get the Ultimate at no extra charge and a free Kindle Ebook Edition. Or, put the Ultimate package in your cart and receive our top-of-the-line Full-Color Publishing and the Kindle Ebook Edition!

Purchase your package now and you’ll receive hundreds of dollars worth of extras that aren’t normally included in the package you purchased:

  • a Kindle Ebook version that makes you book available to millions more readers on Amazon
  • additional options for book formatting
  • more professional cover design choices
  • additional author copies
  • greater profit margins
  • other optional products and services that come with the upgraded package

There’s no better time to self-publish. To claim your free publishing package upgrade:

  • Add our Ultimate or Basic publishing package to your cart
  • Enter the promo code Flash-Upgrade at checkout
  • Within 48 hours, we’ll upgrade your publishing package and place your Amazon Kindle Ebook Edition in your Publishing Center
  • Enjoy more publishing services than you thought possible!

Ready to claim your upgrade and ebook version? Call a Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS), or chat with us using the live chat option on our website for help selecting the option that fits.

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Introducing All-New Author Copy Discounts, Just in time for your Holiday Marketing efforts

The signs of fall are popping up everywhere: cooler weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice everything. That means the holidays are just around the corner, and the stress and busy schedules that go with it will be here soon. The holidays offer great marketing opportunities for authors, and if you start planning now, you can be enjoy the benefits of holiday marketing while still enjoying the holiday season with friends and family.

Here are some marketing ideas to get you started:

  1. Get your book on the shelves at local businesses and indie bookstores. Talk to these businesses now about a holiday marketing plan. Early bird shoppers have already started, and you want your book on the shelf before the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping begins.
  2. The holidays, in particular, offer all types of opportunities for children’s book authors. Spread the word about your children’s book by posting flyers at local day care centers, libraries, and schools. Also, make sure your book is available at local toy stores.
  3. Host a holiday giveaway, and use social media to promote it. Be sure to use #hashtags on blog and social media posts that are specific to your book’s subject matter.
  4. Offer an eBook on Amazon. Amazon gift cards are one of the most popular gifts among coworkers and casual acquaintances as well as family members. If you already have an eBook version, ask your readers for a priceless holiday gift: a good review online!
  5. Remember the classics. Now is a great time to do marketing classics like book readings, book fairs, limited edition offers, and insider access.

To prepare for all your holiday marketing efforts, it is a good idea to have author copies on hand. To assist you with this, Outskirts Press is now offering all-new discount tiers:

For Black & White and Economy Color, the all-new discount tiers are:

  • 10% off orders of 100 – 499
  • 20% off orders of 500 – 999
  • 35% off orders of 1000 – 1999
  • 50% off orders of 2000+

For Premium Color, the all-new discount tiers are:

  • 10% off orders of 100 – 499
  • 20% off orders of 500 – 999
  • 35% off orders of 1000+

Don’t delay, take advantage of these great discounts and order your author copies today! Be sure to access the “Bulk Order” screen in your Publishing Center for the discounts to be applied.

Order Books Now