Self-Publishing on a Budget? We’re Here For That

If you’re watching your wallet as you dive into self-publishing for the first time and are feeling a little self-conscious over that fact, don’t worry! You’re definitely not alone. In fact, many authors pursuing publication today are constrained by tight finances, or balancing a variety of different concerns. That’s why, at Outskirts Press, we work hard to make sure all of our publishing packages and services are accessible to everyone, including you.

Looking for flexibility? We allow payments through PayPal and by credit card, allowing you to take advantage of the financing options these resources create. Check out PayPal’s 0% interest options with flexible terms, or inquire if the credit card companies you’re already using offer extra points when paying for a publishing service. (Many do.)

Or, if you’re looking for something even more tailored to your situation, we offer our own 0% financing payment plans! Simply get on the line with your dedicated Publishing Consultant, and together you’ll develop a monthly payment plan that balances your financial situation with your desire to publish. This option is particularly useful for first-time authors looking to break into the world of indie publishing!

And last but not least, we offer bundled services, such as our One-Click Publishing Packages, special discounts and promotions to assist you in finding and affording the absolute best in publishing and marketing services. After all, just “getting by” isn’t good enough when we’re talking about your masterpiece. Getting it “just right,” with professional editing and an eye-catching cover design, is an important part of making sure your book becomes a success!

For more information on financing options or Outskirts Press self-publishing promotions, call us at 1-888-672-6657 to speak with a Publishing Consultant. You can also visit our website at www.outskirtspress.com and chat with a Publishing Consultant via the live chat option.

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Crisp Cover Copy That Crackles & Pops

There once was a time when you might venture forth to browse the shelves at your local bookstore or library, run your fingers along a hundred or so spines, and snatch up the book that most grabbed your attention. These days, the process of book browsing has become primarily a digital affair, and many of us now spend our time scrolling through book listings online with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But in one thing, we haven’t evolved. Despite mostly eschewing cliches, one continues to haunt us: “don’t judge a book by its cover!”

These words haunt us because of their impossibility. We do judge books by their covers, and in an era of rapid digital evolution, we’re still drawn to books with interesting, professional cover design and sparkling cover content that convinces a book browser to become a book buyer.  While e-book formats sometimes require less emphasis on physical appearance they still need distinctive, eye-popping covers just like their hard copy counterparts because a viewer’s first look at a new book is often in online search results, where the cover thumbnail image is literally the size of a thumb.  The cover needs to bounce off the screen!

If your front cover is your book’s first impression, your back cover content (typically a synopsis, sales copy, and/or author biography) needs to make a lasting one. In a digital, print-on-demand, self-publishing world, it’s important to realize that this back cover content isn’t just for the physical book cover — it is also commonly used as the sales copy (otherwise called “the annotation”) for the detailed sales page on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Most book buyers thoroughly read the sales copy of the books they are considering, so this is not a detail you can ignore. Your cover copy needs to be pristine, persuasive, and perfect (not to punctuate a point).

And that leads many self-publishing authors to an inevitable question? Should you write your own sales copy?  Certainly you’re capable of it, right? After all, you wrote the book it’s for! But, writing something that educates or entertains is different from writing something that sells.  Different skill sets sometimes require different experts, and it’s okay to ask for help.

The skilled writing and editorial team involved in the Outskirts Press  Cover Text Refinement Option knows what it takes to transform a browser into a buyer! With this optional production option, you’re telling your readers that your book is worth their time and money because you’ve made it the best it can possibly be–both inside and out. Meanwhile, the Outskirts Press copywriters will craft compelling content (typically with fewer alliterative phrases than this blog positing) that hooks your readers and makes them want to know more about you and your book.

You’ve spent so much time and energy creating your masterpiece–don’t let your hard work go unnoticed! Amazing back cover copy can make the difference between someone viewing your book…and someone buying it.

For more information about self-publishing with Outskirts Press, get in touch with a Publishing Consultant. 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
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Self-Publishing Author Success Story: Maureen Scanlon

author (5)Outskirts Press takes great pride in celebrating the accomplishments of our successful authors, and today we celebrate all the media and marketing success author Maureen Scanlon has enjoyed since publishing her book, My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am last March.

Maureen Scanlon is the founder and CEO of Maureen Scanlon Life Coaching. She is an author, relationship expert, motivational speaker, positive change integrator, and spiritual coach who has successfully helped many people, from experienced professionals to young adults, make positive changes to overcome past experiences and negative thinking. When Maureen is not working to change the world, you can find her at home relaxing in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband, Dennis, and her furry babies, Jade and Brodie. She is also the mother of three adult children and grandmother to three grandchildren whom she adores.

TV appearances:

Radio, podcasts:

Magazines and Features:

About the Book:

cover (39)My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am

Most of us go through our daily routines oblivious to the beauty of life and others around us—oblivious of the impact we have on the world. So it’s only natural that we consider patterning ourselves after our pets! These beautiful furry creatures are fully connected to their highest selves while giving unconditional love to those who cherish and care for them. By taking our lead from the animals in our lives, we learn how to live our best and fullest lives as well.

My Dog Is More Enlightened Than I Am examines the ways we all struggle and experience difficulties in our journey. You will learn to understand the lessons and meaning behind each past moment you have endured thus far and how to change your mindset and focus on the change you can make. You will come to admire the ways our animals live a life of purpose and how to be more like them.

This heartfelt, enlightening guide also offers tips on relaxation, spontaneity, developing an appreciation for our differences, caretaking, and nurturing relationships. Readers will feel a renewed sense of well-being and knowledge of how to embrace the journey like the pure souls of our furry companions.

Congratulations, Maureen! You’re an inspiration.! And so is your book!

Are you ready to publish your masterpiece with the A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively?

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Resolutions Every Author Should Have for the New Year!

Structured and manageable goals are important to those of us who consider ourselves works in progress. Well, it’s that time of year when we all start thinking about those goals — in this case, New Year’s resolutions. They’re especially necessary to moving a book from an unknown publication to a chart-topper. It’s a big project!

But, whether you’re just starting to figure out marketing or already a best-selling author, there are simple things you can resolve to do in 2020 that will make you an even better at selling … or simply a better you. Here are resolutions for published authors or anyone bent on self-improvement.

  1. Set goals. “Wait, I thought a resolution was a goal!” Well, yes, it is, in a sense. Ideally, your New Year’s resolution is the culmination of your goals throughout the year. It’s important — and ultimately more productive — to make goal-setting a habit, not just a tradition we do once a year and promptly forget. So set lots of small, attainable goals rather than one insurmountable to-do you never actually do. For example, if your resolution is to sell 2,000 copies, break it down into smaller goals. Resolve to promote one giveaway in January, schedule a book-signing in February, then a book fair in March and so on for the entire year. Or, set a goal to schedule 20 book-signings next year and average 10 sales per event. Way less intimidating, right?
  2. Facilitate goals. If you’ve resolved to sell big in the new year without so much as a marketing calendar in the house, you’ve not facilitated your goals or your year’s resolution. Remove barriers to progress and instate conditions that help you achieve. Buy an entry-level PC for getting on social media to promote or gather a list of bookstores you can call to set up events. Then, resolve to reach out until you get the bookings you need to fulfill your resolution.
  3. Make marketing a priority. Once you’ve divided your marketing resolutions into smaller goals, it’s much easier to give them top priority. Knock out those little to-do’s first thing in the morning!
  4. Read, read, read. Top-notch authors are always top-notch readers. Get to know your genre not just by practicing it but by being an avid consumer of it. That way, you’ll get to know your audience and what appeals to them.
  5. Master the basics of social media. No matter what your stripe, there’s are many others with similar interests on social media. Facebook “friend” other authors and readers, and learn from them. Follow publishers. Rub elbows with book clubs. You’ll find kindred spirits in the virtual world who can enlighten you with real wisdom. Use that wisdom to refine how you communicate with potential readers.
  6. Try something new. Make 2020 the year you branch out. Start a blog. Meet new people with similar interests. These new experiences will all enrich and inform so many other aspects of your life. At the very least, you’ll be a more social and well-rounded person. Hey, you might even discover a whole new audience for your book!
  7. Just do you. Yes, you should be reading a lot, meeting people and making connections that pay off in sales. Ultimately, you’ll assimilate all these influences into a voice that is uniquely yours, and you’ll find your true audience. Don’t fight it — feed it.
  8. Consider “cheating” a little. Many of us are afraid to ask for help. It feels lazy, like we’re cutting corners. Let us put your mind at ease: It’s not cheating to ask for help reaching your marketing goals! In fact, it’s pretty smart, if you ask us. And, if you’ve tried new things, delved into social media and checked off other goals, you likely have crossed paths with new people who may be able to help you get past the hump. Reach out to friends and family to help you get the word out or purchase inexpensive marketing service options to help you reach the goals you set on the road to your resolution. (Even full-time professionals parse out their duties from time to time.)

Whatever your resolution, the important thing is to keep moving, to take whatever steps necessary to move you toward fulfilling the great things you planned for your life.

Need help moving toward your New Year’s resolution? Consider hiring a Book Marketing Specialist for 5 hours of expertise and a Custom Marketing Plan. You can log into your Publishing Center to see what book marketing options are available to you or chat with us using the live chat option on our website (www.outskirtspress.com).

 

FREE! Custom Cover, Cover Text Refinement and Kindle eBook Edition when you publish today!

Human beings are visual creatures — so make sure your book has all the ingredients to turn casual shoppers into buyers. Purchase the Ultimate Black & White or Full-Color publishing package and we’ll give you a Professionally Designed Custom Cover (a $499 value) AND Cover Text Refinement (a $199 value) absolutely FREE!

The best covers instantly pique interest with captivating images and riveting copy that communicate the character of your book. No matter who your audience is, readers should get excited the moment they see it on a shelf or online.

To get Free Custom Cover Design PLUS Cover Text Refinement that will help you sell, purchas ther Ultimate Black & White or Full-Color publishing package today and enter promo code CustomRefinement at checkout. Your free custom cover and cover text refinement services will be added to your account in 48 hours.

When you start today, we will also publish and distribute an Amazon Kindle eBook Edition (a $299 value) of your book for free.

So, are you ready to publish your masterpiece with the Better Business Bureau A+ rated and Top Consumer Reviews #1-rated self-publishing company? Connect with Outskirts Press now in whatever manner is easiest for you:

 

5 Top Tactics for Successful Book Marketing

We talk a lot about book publishing on this blog. We cover promotions, discounts, new publishing options. Sometimes marketing takes a backseat because, let’s face it, every book and every author is slightly different. It’s challenging to arrive upon hard and fast rules that will work for everyone (although 5 hours with a personal marketing assistant is pretty close, because of the personal nature of the marketing plan and 1-on-1 follow-up).

But given our nearly two decades of experience helping writers become published authors at Outskirts Press, we have been able to identify five top marketing tactics that can help authors find the success they are looking for. Here they are…

  1. Social Media – We know, we know. We mention this a lot. And you’re either already interested in social media marketing, or you aren’t.  And by interested, we mean, you find yourself engaging in social media in your free time.  If you naturally gravitate away from social media, you won’t have success marketing your book this way because, even though it is mostly free, it is also time consuming. And the only way time consuming things are profitable or “successful” is if you’re having fun doing it anyway. Fortunately, the term “social media” has become so broad nowadays that you have a pretty good chance finding something you like. You might find success on one platform but not another.  Lots of people spend lots of their free time on Facebook when they can’t imagine anything more annnoying than Twitter.  You’re usually either a Pinterest fan or a SnapChat fan. So instead of trying to cover all the social media platforms simultaneously, engage onlywith  the platform(s) that you want to be on when you’re not promoting your book.  Your fans or followers or friends will start to get to know the writer behind the book and before you know it, casually promoting your book from time to time won’t strike them as quite so gratuitous.
  2. Blogs – In some circles, blogging can fall into the more broad catch-all term of “social media” but blogging is a special kind of artform, and therefore a different opportunity, especially for writers.  Since blogging already features the medium you are promoting (the written word), blogging is a natural promotional platform for many authors.  Writers typically love to write, and most people are by defition of the “instant-gratification” variety.  Well, blogs are the perfect combination of those elements.  You can be writing at 9am and be “published” on your blog at 10am. And the more followers or subscribers you have, the more (and more immediate) the feedback is that will you receive. This, in turn, often fuels bloggers/writers to submit content to their blogs even more frequently, which, in turn, feeds the voracious appetites of their growing subscriber lists.  Talk about a virtuous circle!
  3.  Email – If you read any “cutting edge” marketing articles, or find yourself speaking with a marketing expert under 30, you might think email marketing is dead.  Statistics show, however, that nothing can be further from the truth. For one, if your potential customer doesn’t use their email account anymore, they also aren’t going to read your book. If their attention span is only capable of 140 characters at a time, what chance do you have to attract them to your 700-page book? Those aren’t your buyers, so don’t try to pursue them.  But your buyers probably WOULD be attracted to a newsletter or free ebook or whitepaper that you offer from your website or social media account in exchange for their email address.  Just remember to always include an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom, always give them valuable content, and always treat their time with respect.  Building an email subscriber list takes time and is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but once you have one comprised of loyal and appreciative recipients, you’ll rarely feel disappointed by the results of sending them some valuable (and, yes, promotional) information.
  4. Online Reviews – If you’re a writer, you’re probably also a reader. So take a moment to write a book review on Amazon after finishing reading that latest page-turner. You can sign your review with your name, and add that you’re the author of such-and-such.  Amazon gets so much traffic, often writing a valuable, thoughtful review for a very highly-ranked and popular book will lead to a noticeable uptick in the traffic to your book (just make sure your sales page turns browsers into buyers). You can also systematically (and respectfully) target the top 100 Amazon reviewers and offer to send them a free review copy. They get inundated with offers, so don’t press it or become belligerent; but if they like your query, and think they’ll like your book, they’ll almost certainly request a copy, read it and write a review for it. This is an actionable way to gather more online reviews for your book and you want as many reviews as you can get.  Think about it. If you’re thinking about taking a new book to the beach, are you going to try the one with 100 reviews, or 2?
  5. Publish Another Book – Sure, coming from the A+ Rated and #1-Rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectfully, this tactic sounds a bit self-serving (remember that valuable and promotional tactic mentioned above?), but in addition to sounding self-serving it is also true. Our authors who publish a series of books have a built-in audience for every book after the first one. And when they take advantage of other opportunities (like mentioning their previous books and reviews and blurbs in the pages of their new ones), it’s like getting free advertising to a very select, very desirable market. This is leverage. It simply does not take three times as long to market 3 books as it takes to market one.  And the more leverage you have, the faster and more successful your book marketing is going to be.

 

 

Self-Publishing, Independent Publishing, Hybrid Publishing?! Oh, My!

Nowadays there is so much activity in the non-traditional publishing space that authors sometimes become confused by all the seemingly random terms being thrown around by various companies.  And who can blame them? For one, many of the terms are so new or broad that it seems like many companies fall into more than one category.  And the non-traditional publishers are not doing themselves any favors by sometimes mudding these waters in their marketing efforts to broaden their potential client base.

In spite of some of the liberties that many of these companies take, there are some generally agreed-upon, broad stroke definitions that may help writers successfully navigate this tricky terrain of the wild-wild publishing west.

assorted books on shelf
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

“Traditional Publisher” is the most commonly-used term to define publication whereby the author submits a manuscript (typically through an agent) and if the manuscript is accepted (a big if), the publisher not only foots the entire cost of the publication but in many cases also rewards the author with some kind of an advance.  In most writing circles, this is far and away the most desired type of publication.  But did you see that big “if” up there?  That “if” is why traditional publication now trail non-traditional publication for the majority of books being published.

Here’s where things get messy, because the terms self-publishing, vanity publishing, independent publishing, ebook publishing, hybrid publishing, author-assisted publishing, and others have all been used to define an equally-established, yet rapidly growing segment of the non-traditional publishing space.  Some terms hold more malice/stigma than others, and hence we experience the non-traditional publishers’ creative methods of removing said malice/stigma by arriving upon yet another term, thus adding to the confusion.

Almost all of these non-traditional publishing companies can correctly fall within the broadest term among the bunch: self-publishing.  If you are not accepted by a traditional publisher, you are therefore publishing your book yourself, in one manner or another, and you’re either doing so with your own time and/or money, or both. In this broadest of definitions, you are therefore self-publishing your book.

But among that broad definition exist more specific definitions as companies attempt to carve out marketing- or service-oriented niches in this growing segment of the publishing business. “Vanity publishing” is a term that is falling by the wayside as “self-publishing” becomes more accepted while the traditionalists who introduced “vanity publishing” in the first place are losing interest in participating in a losing battle.

Independent publishing is now most often associated with the process whereby an author wears all, or nearly all, the hats involved in publishing the book without the assistance of a company, online platform, or publishing service.  He/she vets cover designers, vets interior designers, requests quotes from off-set printers, works with wholesalers, distributors, and retailers, markets, and handles all the financials (positive, like book sales and negative, like printer bills and taxes).  That’s a lot of work for most people, especially writers who tend to gravitate toward right-brained abilities. But for the proper author with the right tenacity and author platform, this is still a viable way to go.

Contributing to the slow demise of “independent publishing” is the rise of publishing services and online platforms, which promise to do most of the work (mentioned above) for the author while still leaving all the rights, royalties, and creative control in the hands of the author.  There are some “self publishing companies” that offer these services for a fee, much like when one pays for the services of a doctor, lawyer, accountant, hair stylist, etc.; and there are some online, computerized self publishing platforms that offer these services for free.  The right choice typically comes down to the author’s budget and the author’s own faith in their work or the quality they desire for their masterpiece. It’s rarely difficult to identify a book published by a service-oriented company compared against one published by a conglomerate’s algorithm.

Hybrid publishing is a term cropping up more and more these days and is the closest cousin, in terms of pure business model, to the now nearly defunct “vanity publishing.”  In most cases, this business model requires the author to relinquish their rights (and often the rights of their future books) while also promising to purchase a set number of books (typically in the 1000s) in exchange for “free publishing” on the hybrid publisher’s dime. Like independent publishing, this can sometimes work for authors already possessing a successful author platform and a lot of tenacity since the initial investment is usually roughly the same as with independent publishing. Since hybrid publishers often sell their own authors book quantities in the 1000s, they are more likely to use off-set printing to lower per-unit costs. While that helps keep the retail price down, it becomes channeling for the author is he/she is not confident they have the marketing prowess to sell 1000s of books.