The Job of a Book Cover (and How to Get One that SELLS!)

You’ve heard this many times here: They say you can’t judge a book by its cover … but book shoppers always do. Always.

Like it or not, readers have little to go on, other than first impressions, as they pare down thousands of book choices to the few they wish to explore further. That means your cover may well be the single most powerful marketing and selling tool in your arsenal.

An eye-catching professional cover design has a huge job to do. It must entice the specific readers you’re after, instantly. It must make them want to take a closer look at what’s inside. Once you’ve attracted the right audience, your cover must also impart vital information about your book at a glance: genre and content, tone or mood, and even the quality of the writing itself. If your book cover does all that, your audience is more likely to buy.

So, how do you create a book cover that meets those lofty goals? Publish with Outskirts Press now and it’s our gift to you! We’ll give you a FREE Custom Cover Design (valued at $399) for your book when you purchase the Ultimate or Full-Color Publishing package during this limited-time offer!

To enhance your book with a sales-boosting, professional custom cover, just place the publishing package of your choice in your shopping cart and enter the promo code Custom-Free at checkout. It’s the best marketing decision you could make!

Questions about this offer or which publishing package and options are right for you? Talk with a Publishing Consultant to get exactly what you need — and get the most out of it! There are three convenient ways to connect:

  1. Call us at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
  2. Live-chat with us via our website
  3. Go online to schedule an appointment

Publish an Ebook, Save a Tree — and Save 15%

With the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, it’s an appropriate time to do something kind for Mother Nature. And what better — or easier — way to keep her looking lush that than through eco-friendly electronic book publishing?

While hardcover and paperback books still reign supreme, environmentally conscious readers and self-publishing authors are helping to drive the recent rise in ebook sales. The market share for ebooks grows each year and is projected to account for approximately one-fourth of all book sales in 2018.

In addition to the highly sustainable business model of ebook publishing, there are many other reasons to add an electronic version of your book to your marketing and selling repertoire:

  • Ebooks are expected to generate about $20 billion in revenue this year.
  • Daily sales of ebooks of online retailer Amazon in the U.S. alone stood at more than 517.5 thousand units as of January 2016, with ebooks published by independent publishers accounting for the largest share of this total.
  • Approximately 94% of American public libraries offer ebooks.
  • There are no printing costs involved with publishing an ebook, so authors keep a greater share of royalties.
  • Ebooks are easy to distribute, and ebook listings increase online exposure and boost author search engine rankings.
  • Authors can easily and inexpensively send ebooks to book reviewers, news media and literary industry contacts without incurring printing costs.

And here’s one more compelling reason to publish an ebook: Add an Elite Ebook Package to your shopping cart anytime in April and Outskirts Press will take 15% OFF this money-saving bundle!

With the Elite Ebook Package from Outskirts Press, your book could quickly be available to millions more book consumers, no matter what e-reading device they use or where they live. The package includes formatting, uploading and distribution of your book in all the most popular digital formats:

  • Amazon Kindle Ebook Edition with distribution on Amazon
  • Apple iPad/iPhone Ebook Edition with distribution through iTunes and the iBooks bookstore
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK Ebook Edition with distribution through the NOOK bookstore on Barnes & Noble’s website

Once your ebook is released, readers can purchase and download your book instantly … from anywhere in the world. To save 15% on ebook publishing, just add our Elite Ebook Bundle to your cart (if you’re a current Outskirts Press author, simply login to your Publishing Center) and enter the promo code EliteSavings at checkout.

4 Fresh Ways to Market Your Spiritual or Christian Book

No matter what a book’s genre might be, an age-old question emerges: “What makes my book unique? How do I find my ideal readers?” When it comes to Christian and Spiritual books, however, whether fiction or non-fiction, the answer seems deceptively simple. After all, who reads books with a Christian focus? Very likely, people who are Christians themselves. And what about, more generally, Spiritual books? As with Christian literature, works with a spiritual bent tend to appeal to a specific slice of the population. Simple. Straightforward. Easy. Right?

The difficulty with taking this simplistic approach is that both populations (people of faith and people who are spiritual) are enormous! This offers both unique challenges and opportunities for authors looking to market their books in these categories. There are a lot of potential readers out there, and they’re just as diverse a group as any other, in age and origin and interests. Here are four ways to refocus your marketing strategy and reach your ideal readers!

ONE: Don’t be afraid to go social.

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of a well-developed social media campaign before. But did you know that most social media platforms have built-in as well as grassroots options which will give your book, specifically, the boost it needs to reach more readers? Consider Facebook, which has countless book groups you can join, from Avid Readers of Christian Fiction to Christian Fiction Writers to Christian Fiction Fans, and many, many more. Goodreads, too, offers book clubs and social groups along these lines where your book can find a home. Meanwhile, Twitter features a number of important hashtags you can use in your tweets in order to promote your book on that platform, including #InspirationalFiction and #ChristianBooks. Readers of these genres know to follow tweets which are gathered under these hashtags, and to parse them for new books they might be interested in. Instagram works the same way! Many readers, writers, and fans are already collecting Christian and Spiritual books and pinning them to their boards (see our links at the end of this piece for an example!), and this creates a uniquely sharable digital space for promotion. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the platforms which work the best for you, and generate the most traffic!

TWO: Find those niche bookstores.

At this point, you’re probably already aware of the thriving Christian book industry, and Spiritual bookstores like Namaste in New York are also doing very well for themselves. Work on getting your book placed into these bookstores! Start with your local indie bookstores, both Spiritual (they often have “metaphysical” in their name!) and Christian … and don’t forget about your local church bookstores, which are often embedded with coffee shops in large church buildings. As with any indie bookstore, the worst the manager can say is “no,” but very often they’ll be excited to feature local talent. They will be much more open to give local authors shelf space, especially if you can pair your books with a book signing or reading event. Once you have your book in one store, encourage as many readers as possible to buy it from that store … and then, use those sales numbers as justification when contacting other bookstores to join your sales team.

THREE: Break out the press release!

Get the word out in the news! Send out a news release to Christian media outlets, not just the standard universal press release indices. The websites associated with pretty much every Christian or Spiritual newspaper, TV show, and radio program have links to where you can submit a release for your book. You can also send out news releases to other media that have Christian or Spiritual sections, even if the whole institution is not dedicated to faith-based material. If you feel a bit out to sea when it comes to writing and distributing press releases, don’t worry! Outskirts Press offers a fantastic and thorough press release service which will ensure news of your book reaches exactly the right ears.

FOUR: Craft original content for your blog.

Your author website is an oft-untapped opportunity to reach readers specifically interested in Spiritual and Christian topics. Readers with an interest in these subjects are already well-trained in locating and reading original content, and amongst these readers longform blog posts are a perennial favorite. Consider crafting original blog posts, reflective or faith-based or inspirational in tone, and posting these to your personal blog and author website. Don’t replicate the content of your book, but write materials which complement the content of your book, and whet readers’ appetites for more! Make sure to use keywords and enrich your metadata so that your audience will find your blog easily when searching on search engines like Google and Bing for Christian and Spiritual topics.

Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this Spring? Log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers.

To see our staff picks of amazing Christian books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here. We keep a separate Pinterest page for additional Spiritual books, which you can find here.

Feel the Spirit Move You With These 6 Writing Tips For Your Next Christian or Spiritual Book!

Once upon a time, an American schoolgirl wrote to eminent Christian scholar C.S. Lewis. The year was 1959, and she wanted to know if he had any suggestions for her on the art of writing. He sent her a list of eight rules, including admonitions to turn off the radio and dial out the white noise of daily life, write with the ear and not the eye, write about the things which interest you, and know the meaning of every word you use. His most revealing point of advice, however, was to be clear, and to remember that readers can’t know your mind. “Don’t forget to tell them exactly what they need to know to understand you,” he wrote. And if you’re the author of a Christian or Spiritual book, this advice resonates with a special power. After all, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to misunderstanding our place in the world and in relationship to the divine.

How can you go about writing in a way that helps readers understand you? Here are six recommendations for getting started:

  1. Do your due diligence. Research, research, research. Knowing your readers, what they’re reading, and how they find their books is key to engaging your ideal readers, in Christian and Spiritual subjects more than most. Reader behavior in these groups is radically different from reader behavior in other genres, such as mainstream science fiction or romance.
  2. Know thy reader. Building upon the previous point, it’s really important to not just know your reader but be able to articulate the anticipated audience for your book. Who might actually pluck your book off of a bookstore shelf and spend money with your writing persona in order to truly understand what you have to say? The more specific you can be, the better, because this will help you refine your text before publication and market your book after publication.
  3. Polish those rough edges. Writing well and ensuring that your manuscript reads well before submitting it for publication are vital processes, as there’s nothing which will turn off readers so quickly as a poorly edited text. Don’t just depend on your own eyes, either, and expand your beta readers to include a professional who edits for a living. An expert will know exactly what works and what doesn’t, and will save you time (which is, ultimately, money).
  4. Know and love your material. If you don’t already believe that you are the best person to write this particular book, and that the world needs this book, then take some more time to spend with the material. Full immersion is often the only way to truly feel like an expert, and your book will most definitely benefit if you have the conviction that you and it are a match made in the stars, or Heaven.
  5. Write what’s next. It doesn’t take long to notice that there are a lot of books out there in the world; all it takes is a five-minute visit to your local public library or indie bookstore. There are practical as well as personal reasons to write something new rather than something which has already been written in twenty or a hundred other books: a book which dares to do what hasn’t been done will sell. Readers want the next new thing in their hands, not a threadbare trope or ten. And you, as an author, know when you’re departing from the “has-been-dones,” and it’s a rewarding feeling, isn’t it?
  6. Think big, and think ahead. You’re an author, which makes you a visionary. You’re able to imagine not just the outline for a book, but a world in which the book already exists, and you’re willing to make it happen. Some writers get hung up on the fact that one writing prompt or strategy which used to work for them doesn’t anymore, and fall into the black hole of the dreaded Writer’s Block as a result. Don’t linger on the past; think of what will work for you in the here and now, and don’t hesitate to experiment with form, style, and voice as you forge ahead in writing your manuscript. If you find yourself struggling, try something new … or try taking a moment to breathe. The most stifling of pressures are the ones we impose on ourselves!

And there you have it: six fresh ways to hone your craft as you draft your next book! Still not sure what you need to get started publishing your next Spiritual or Christian manuscript? 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.

To see our staff picks of amazing Christian books from many of our published authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here. We keep a separate Pinterest page for Spiritual books, which you can find here.

Be Prepared to Market Your Book with TRIPLE Author Copies for FREE!

Often, the biggest part of successful book marketing for a self-publishing author is simply being ready when opportunities to promote and sell arise. From having your book “elevator pitch” polished to learning to toot your own horn, this readiness will be your most powerful asset when the time comes to sell that book you’ve worked so hard to finish.

One of the best ways to prepare for selling is simply keeping your book with you as often as possible, just in case. Having paperback copies on hand puts you in an excellent position to nimbly respond to spontaneous opportunities. You’ll make positive impressions, important connections and plenty of unanticipated sales! By keeping copies of your book close-by you’ll be ready to make the most of:

  1. book-signing events
  2. radio, television and newspaper publicity outreach
  3. book award and review submissions
  4. book giveaways to promote on social media
  5. gifts to family, friends and influencers

Outskirts Press is helping self-publishing authors prepare for success in April. When you purchase the Ultimate Publishing or Full-Color Publishing package this month, we’ll triple the free author copies you receive with your package. For those purchasing the Ultimate package, that means 30 book copies instead of 10; Full-Color Publishing buyers will receive 15 copies instead of 5.

To triple your author copies, just place the Ultimate or Full-Color publishing package in your shopping cart and enter the promo code Triplecopies at checkout. It’s the easiest marketing move you could make!

Call an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS), or chat with us using the live chat option on our website for information about which publishing option is perfect for you.

Congratulations to the Outskirts Press Top 10 Bestsellers!

Each month, Outskirts Press compiles book sales data to identify bestselling works by our talented authors. During our latest survey period, these 10 remarkable books sold more than 3,000 copies and appealed to readers of every stripe. From romance to inspiration to real-world information, nearly every genre is represented is this impressive list.

Follow the links on each author’s book title to learn more about these impressive works, or visit the Outskirts Press Bookstore to browse thousands of high-quality books.

A Pocketbook of Hope by Natasha Spellman
New Set of Downs by Kyle Mooty
Libro de Vocabulario y Ejercicios: Spanish Vocabulary Workbook by Kwasie Thompson
Unwavering Perseverance: An Olympic Gold Medalist Finds Peace by Mary Wineberg
What She Feels by Chidozie E. Osuwa
Kiddie Coddles by John Vitucci and Gianna Familette
Dear Dad: Love from Afghanistan by Jerome Rabelista Caluyo
Daily We Seek You by Jane McConnell
Living Life to the Fullest with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome by Kevin Muldowney, PT Thompson
Tamina Entertains Angles by Tomeka Thompson

Outskirts Press wishes to congratulate these authors for their compelling books and for their selling successes.

These titles and many others are available from major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Books-A-Million and elsewhere – not to mention through the Outskirts Press Bookstore at a considerable discount. To learn more about our products and services, as well as upcoming and current promotions, visit us online at www.OutskirtsPress.com!

Make Your Own Luck with 17% Off Self-Publishing!

St. Patrick’s Day gives us a chance to celebrate our good luck and dust off projects that have set too long over the chilly winter months. Spring is officially on the horizon … and we’re extending the good fortune to you! Outskirts Press invites you to make your own luck leading up to St. Patty’s Day with this lucky deal: 17% off our Ultimate, Full-Color or Basic publishing packages March 14-17!

A carefully-chosen publishing package sets you free to do what you love most — write — without sacrificing something else important, like eating well, sleeping eight hours or precious time with your family. We hope that with our phenomenal offerings and equally phenomenal spring savings discount you’ll choose to publish with Outskirts Press-the company Top Consumer Reviews rated #1 Self-Publishing Company in 2016 and 2017.

Here’s how to do it:

From March 14-17, log onto our website or get in touch with us over the phone and add the Ultimate, Full-Color or Basic publishing package to your shopping cart. Then, enter the promotion code LuckyDay at checkout.

That’s it!

Keep your eye on the calendar, as this lucky offer won’t last long! If you have any questions or if you want to find out more information about the Ultimate, Full-Color or Basic packages, visit us online at www.OutskirtsPress.com. If you have any questions, you can reach a Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 ext. 706 or you can even chat live with our expert staff through our website!