Time for a Spring Reset? Here’s How.

While spring often signifies new beginnings in literature and poetry (a rebirth, if you will), it’s often difficult to translate those slow and sudden changes which signify spring in the natural world into internal transformation, especially transformation of our work as writers. Here at Outskirts Press, we believe the charm and warmth of spring should not only put a pep in your step in your day-to-day life, but it should also be a time to pep up your writing and marketing efforts! Here are ten tips to get you started on resetting your writing during this season of rebirth:

  1. Let spring be a new beginning for you. Make a list of things you’d like to begin with a fresh start. Do you need to begin editing, creating a marketing plan, blogging, etc? Now’s the time to stop waiting for life to begin and just go ahead and get started.
  2. Use some springtime writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing and to help you “reset” after winter. Write about how the sunshine affects your mood and creativity, write about spring as a symbol of birth/life, write about your sensuous experience wandering around in the natural world in springtime, and so forth.
  3. Host an outdoor reading event in your community. Pick a nice sunny afternoon to encourage members of your community to get outside and share their love of the spoken and written word. This is a great way to network, to connect with other writers in your area and to have some fun in the sun. You might even make it a potluck and really break out the spring spirit!
  4. Start being more active on social media. Take pictures of the beauty around you, toss in a quote from a work of yours or from your recent read and share with your audience! Blog, post about new developments in your publishing process, connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  5. Spruce up your website. Who knows more about you than … well, you? And when has there ever been a better moment to give your digital image a refresh? Write up a fresh author bio that includes your recent accomplishments, publications, life developments, and so forth. Your latest hiking adventure counts, as does your recent reading list. Your readers want to get to know you, and your website is the best possible avenue for that!
  6. Join some forums, and join Goodreads! These are both terrific venues for marketing your book and they will help you connect more intimately with your audience. Goodreads, especially, offers some unique marketing opportunities.
  7. Host a drawing contest for the cover of your next book! The winner gets a free copy of your book and gets featured on your website and social media pages. What better way to drive traffic to your refreshed and revamped website than by seizing on the friendly competitive atmosphere of those recently freed from their winter doldrums?
  8. Add a “Store” page to your website. This is a great way to increase sales and to have your readers buy directly from you rather than some third party website. Monetization takes a small amount of effort, but a built-in shop or cross-linking to your Outskirts Press sales pages can do wonders for boosting access.
  9. Do some spring cleaning of your writing space and bookshelves. Decluttering your physical space is just as important as decluttering your emotional and digital spaces! Don’t forget to do the normal spring-cleaning to go along with your writing-specific spring-cleaning … after all, an uncluttered house is an uncluttered mind, and an uncluttered mind is able to focus on those details which really make a work come to life.
  10. Take advantage of this nice weather! Try writing outside, even if it’s just brainstorming. A little vitamin D and time in nature can go a long way. There’s science to prove this, but what more proof do you need than that rush of good feeling which comes from bringing your body back into the light and into balance with a world full of life?

Sometimes, all it takes is a quick reset for you to get your feet back beneath you and to push your manuscript from the “incomplete” stack to a polished work ready to send off to publish. Not sure what else you need to get started publishing your own book? 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.

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


Clamdigger

by Richard Collins

(5 Stars – 2 Customer Reviews)

Price: $23.95

Richard Collins’s “Clamdigger” is the memoir of Richard Collins growing up during some of the most world-changing times–the 1960s–and attended Kent State University when it made international headlines. Collins had plans for his future that were ripped away from him just like a clam that has its shell ripped off and is eaten. He had life on the half shell while still trying to make a positive difference. Feel life’s joy, hardship, rewards, and destruction. Perfect for young adults interested in making our world better in this brave new world.

 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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Editing Tips for Busy Writers

When readers are browsing for a new book, they’re going to be drawn to a great book cover and a catchy title. They’ll read the blurb on the back cover, but before actually taking the plunge and hitting the BUY button, most readers will skim the first few pages of a book that interests them… And if these pages are riddled with errors, the consumer is off to the next title.

In order to be taken seriously, self-published books must be professionally edited.

Often authors are so anxious to get their books in print that they skip this crucial step. Others feel their book is fine because their mother or their next-door neighbor checked it over… But take a look at Amazon reviews, and you’ll find that the biggest turnoff to a reader is a poorly edited book filled with silly mistakes and serious flaws — problems that an editor would never let slip through the cracks. If the reader is preoccupied with incorrect punctuation, word choice, and grammar, they won’t be able to focus on what your book is trying to say.

Most importantly, no matter how thrilling your thriller or educational your how-to, if your book is unedited (or edited by your former first-grade teacher), you will very likely be perceived as an amateur.

Many authors feel confident in their own editing abilities and believe their book is fine without a fresh pair of eyes to review it. They might run a spellcheck, check for typos, and call it good. But a professional editor does so much more than check for spelling.

What can an editor do for you?

A good editor keeps the rules of the English language in mind but also preserves the writer’s unique voice. Each writer is different, and sometimes their style overrides mandates handed down by the grammar police. A good editor will recognize and nurture individual style.

Copyeditors focus on a book line by line, looking for spelling and grammatical problems, consistency, clarity, word choice, sentence structure, verb tense, dialogue, and other issues of style. They also look at the big picture and flag general problem areas in plot, character, point of view, and overall flow.

Did your main character’s name change halfway through your book? An editor will catch it. They’ll also catch embarrassing errors like anachronisms (a smartphone in 1932?) or plot problems (how can your heroine be in two places at one time?). Does the book switch back and forth from past to present tense? Is it filled with long, confusing sentences and page-long paragraphs? An editor will fix these problems.

It’s difficult to edit your own work, as just about any author will tell you. Whether you’re a bestselling author or a brand-new writer with your first book, an objective professional review/edit of your work is a crucial step. And the readers you’re hoping to attract will be more willing to hit that BUY button if they’re not distracted by poor presentation and awkward sentence structure!

***

Outskirts Press offers high-quality copyediting services for manuscripts of all lengths and types. This May, we will edit the first 15,000 words of your manuscript for free when you purchase the Ultimate Black & White or Full-Color publishing package.  Yep! That means most full-color children’s books will receive free editing of the entire manuscript all month long! Just enter promo code coverkdedi in your shopping cart during checkout.

Have You Published a Children’s Book? Here’s How to Market It.

Children’s books may just be the purest distillation of self-publishing perfection: they’re beautiful, they have universal appeal to readers of all ages, and they pack an emotional punch which leaves readers hungry for more. But if you’ve recently self-published a children’s book, you already know that marketing your book successfully can still pose some unique challenges, regardless of these qualities. It’s time to put your creative gifts back to work, and to take advantage of your book’s unique place in the self-publishing marketplace. But how? Here are three simple suggestions to get you started.

ONE: Think of your book as an event, not an object.

Children’s books are best enjoyed collectively, aren’t they? Whether we’re talking about a grandparent reading aloud to a pack of children on the couch; or a librarian holding forth to a cluster of kids during Story Hour; or an educator teaching sight words to a roomful of young, eager minds, children’s books are events, not just physical objects that one can hold in the hand. When it comes to marketing, spend some time early on brainstorming all of the various contexts in which you see your book being enjoyed … and then start planning how you can make those events happen. And don’t just think analog … digital context matters, too! Think of all those book reviews on YouTube and TikTok; and look at all those readers on Goodreads who might love discovering your book with their children or grandchildren.

Nowadays, holding a book-reading event may not be enough to motivate parents to open their pocketbooks; they want to be convinced that there is more to your book than what can be experienced in a single reading. Many children’s are easy to pick up once and never again. So when you think about hosting an event, think about how to ensure it’s an engaging one that inspires children to enjoy it over and over again. Find ways to make clear connections to ancillary materials like related activities, website material, and educator-friendly resources. The point is to demonstrate that your book is worth coming back to, time and time again.

TWO: Schools are key, and schools are hard.

If you haven’t already developed educational supplements around your children’s book, that is a good place to start. For instance, collect activities and further readings, media, and so forth that relates to your children’s book. Package it as an educational unit. That way, when you arrange to visit a classroom or run a workshop for local teachers, you have already made it easy for them to meet state and federal core requirements.

Yes, schools are a difficult nut to crack, but if you really want your children’s book to move, you need to access them. Since teachers typically rely on resources that have been approved by, or perhaps even provided by, large traditional publishing houses and their marketing teams, gaining credibility is of utmost importance.  Level the playing field by winning a few awards, such as garnering recognition from the Mom’s Choice Awards, for example.  The opportunity schools offer makes the effort worthwhile.

THREE: Make hay while the sun shines … and the sun shines around the world!

Some of the most underutilized opportunities for children’s book authors are book fairs, and there are so many wonderful ones around the world to choose from! These days, it’s easy to take part, too, as self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press offer Global Book Tour packages designed to get your book in front of and into the hands of educational administrators, librarians, retailers, parents, and readers in an efficient and effective way.

If you are looking to market your children’s book, there’s never been a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com and check out our Marketing Solutions menu. And to see our staff picks of amazing children’s books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

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Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


The Portal: The Cort Chronicles Book 1

by David D. Bernstein

(4.5 Stars – 4 Customer Reviews)

Price: $17.95

David D. Bernstein’s award winning “The Portal: The Cort Chronicles Book 1.”  Eleven-year-old Andy falls into a time portal and is transported to a ghostly version of his hometown – 101 years in the future. Twisted metal, rotten wood, and garbage litter the seemingly empty streets, and Andy will soon discover that the city is controlled by CORT robots … and that this reality is Earth’s possible future. Andy’s brother is miraculously guided through the portal and joins Andy.  But, how can two young boys alter the present by saving the future? CIPA EVVY AWARD MERIT AWARD -JUVENILE FICTION.

 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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eBook Publication & Distribution Included with Select Publishing Packages!

Now is the time to get published in print and eBook with nearly $950 in free eBook publishing options from Outskirts Press!

For a limited time, when you purchase the Ultimate Black & White or Full-Color publishing package, you will receive FREE publication and distribution of your eBook editions through the Apple iBooks Store, the Amazon Kindle, the Kindle Unlimited, and the Barnes & Noble NOOK bookstore. That means you can make your eBook accessible to a world of readers perusing Amazon, Apple Books, iTunes and Barnes & Noble bookstores — for FREE!

Enter promo code ebooksfree at checkout to take advantage of this MASSIVE offer as well as enjoying high quality print publishing with the #1-rated self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews.

For more information and help choosing the best self-publishing services, contact your Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant today. There are three easy ways to connect:

“The thing I enjoyed the most with Outskirts Press was the amazing creative flexibility they were able to accommodate. They were patient with me as I worked through the publishing process.” — Gary Graham, author of Parallels That Cross

 

Save 10% on “Amazon Launch” Today!

Today the Amazon Launch Bundle is an additional 10% off the already discounted bundled price. Here’s what you get and why you should take advantage of this great deal:

  • We’ll add your Amazon Author Profile directly to Amazon, which includes your entire bibliography of published books, all your book videos and/or video teasers and even a direct RSS feed to your author blog (if you have one); plus your author photo (if you supplied one) and your biography. More information about you, the author, could mean more book sales!
  • We’ll submit your book to Amazon’s “Look Inside,” which entices readers to electronically flip through a small section of your book for a closer glance. It’s like flipping through the pages at a bookstore, but done online. More information about your book could mean more book sales for you!
  • We’ll add search-engine-optimized content to your book sales page on Amazon to get your book the attention it deserves from Amazon’s search engine. Better optimized sales copy means higher placement in Amazon’s search results, which can lead to more book sales!

The Amazon Launch Bundle is one of our most popular marketing bundles and today you can save an additional 10% off the $349 bundled price. Just enter promo code launchamaz at checkout today.

 

Everything About Book Royalties

When authors decide on the best self-publishing company for their masterpiece, one critical area is sometimes overlooked: author royalties. It can be a confusing topic because many publishers use different definitions to define what “royalties” means and different formulas to determine how author royalties are calculated.

In the simplest terms of definition, “royalties” means the amount of money that is paid to the author for books that are sold.

How are Author Royalties Calculated? The formula used to calculate the author royalties often varies from publisher to publisher and that can make comparing Publishers X, Y, and Z challenging.

For instance, some publishers will pay a percentage directly off the Sales Retail Price of the book, regardless of how much the book costs to produce, or how much the trade discount is. In these instances, it is not uncommon for the percentage to be fairly low (in the 5%-10% range).

This formula sometimes works to the author’s detriment, however, since book printing and trade discounting play such an enormous role in the book’s overall profit and the author has no say in what the Suggested Retail Price is. Without any say in the matter, authors are often left at the publisher’s mercy.

On the other end of the spectrum are publishers that pay a percentage of the book’s profit, which is the amount left over after the printing costs and trade discounts have already been accounted for. In these instances, you will more often see percentages in the 50%-100% range.

Yes, there are some self-publishing companies, such as Outskirts Press, that pay the author 100% of the net profit of the book when it is sold through wholesale channels, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

That royalty formula looks like this:

Suggested Retail Price – Trade Discount – Printing Cost = Book Profit

What is the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of a Book? It’s just what it sounds like – the cover price as suggested by either the publisher or the author. While nearly all traditional publishers and almost all self-publishers set the SRP for the author there are a select few self-publishing companies that allow the author to set their own Suggested Retail Price. Outskirts Press is one of them; the only requirement is that the price being set by the author is above the sum of the trade discount and the printing cost. In other words, the Suggested Retail Price cannot be below what it costs to produce and sell the book. Makes sense, right?

Of course, the reason this is called the suggested retail price and not the final sales price is because retailers have the discretion to decrease the price (in the form of a sale) or increase the price (to improve their bottom line) if they choose to. But doing so has no affect on the amount the author ultimately receives, which is always set on the SRP.

What is the Trade Discount? This is the percentage of the book’s SRP that the retailer, wholesaler (if any), and distributor take to “handle” a book. It’s how they make money in the book industry. Every book that is for sale with a retailer has given a cut of its retail price to all the parties involved in the form of a trade discount.

What is the Printing Cost? In simplest terms, the “printing cost” is the per-unit cost of producing one book. The reason there is such a discrepancy between offset printing and print-on-demand, one-at-a-time printing is due to “economies of scale”. While that topic is beyond the scope of this article, we have a whole blog posting about the role economies of scale play with your printing costs, and you can read all about that here.

The benefits to choosing Outskirts Press don’t end with 100% author royalties, as important as that is. You also retain 100% of your book’s rights, and receive unlimited wholesale and retail availability thru channels including Amazon & Ingram. Our flexibility and adaptability to your needs, coupled with our phenomenal services and staff, is just one of many reasons Outskirts Press is the only A+ rated and #1 rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively.

You can schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our consultants at https://outskirtspress.com/consultation.html or you can select your package to start publishing right now at https://outskirtspress.com/self-publishing.html.

Get started today. People are waiting for your bestseller!

Self-Publishing Questions Asked & Answered — Available for Free!

From the award-winning and bestselling* author of Sell Your Book on Amazon comes Brent Sampson’s latest non-fiction guide to the world of independent publishing and marketing: Self-Publishing Questions Asked & Answered.

And it’s currently available in paperback, Kindle eBook, and audiobook formats from Amazon, or in this FREE Publishing Kit from Outskirts Press.

Do You Want to be a Published Author?

About the Book

Self-Publishing Questions Asked & Answered identifies the most common questions concerning self publication today and answers them clearly and concisely. What is the difference between “independent” self-publishing, “free” self-publishing, and “full-service” self-publishing? What should I title my book? How do I price my book? What is an ISBN and why is it important? How do I get book reviews on Amazon? These are just a small sample of the top 25 questions Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist and self-publishing expert Brent Sampson has been asked over the years and now answers thoroughly and completely in this book.

About the Author

Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson is the award-winning and bestselling author of Sell Your Book on Amazon and The Book Marketing COACH. As the founder, president and chief marketing officer of Outskirts Press, Brent has helped writers from around the world experience the joy and satisfaction of bringing their high-quality, professional, and award-winning books into the marketplace. Learn more at OutskirtsPress.com.

About the Free Publishing Kit

Your complimentary Publishing Kit from Outskirts Press contains:

  • Self-Publishing Questions Asked & Answered
  • Publish Your Passion
  • 7 Tips to Self-Publish Like a Pro
  • Book shepherd one-sheet: Meet Your Publishing Consultant
  • Author success white paper: 7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title
  • Author guide: Author Photo & Biography Guide
  • Author tip sheet: The Top 7 Marketing Elements to Include in Your Book
  • Author guide: Which Book Format Should I Choose?
  • Author white paper: How to Price Your Book
  • Publishing white paper: Diving into Self-Publishing

About Outskirts Press

Since 2002, Outskirts Press has helped thousands of authors just like you develop, publish, and market thousands of high-quality, award-winning books featuring…

  • exceptional cover design
  • professional interior formatting
  • high-quality printing
  • award-winning publishing
  • worldwide distribution
  • and extensive book marketing services

Outskirts Press is the only A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively, because we deliver outstanding customer service, affordable pricing, and industry-leading royalties.

* #29 overall Amazon bestseller, 2007. Royal Palms Literary Awards, Best Book of the Year 2007

 

3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Plan in 2021

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? Perhaps it’s time to consult with one of our Book Marketing Specialists? Right now, Outskirts Press is offering an instant 10% savings off the regular price of $349 when you claim 5 hours of 1-on-1 marketing assistance with a book marketing specialist. Enter promo code savetenbms at check out to receive 10% off instantly.