13 Lucky Features in the new Author Webpage Upgrade

February 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Within the next 30 days, Outskirts Press authors will be able to upgrade their Free Author Webpages to a new, cutting-edge RWD design.   To find out what is so awesome about RWD, read this recent post here. I’ve been discussing ousite-smallr company’s migration to RWD for a number of posts, and the specific milestones that we have completed thus far, along with those left to complete.   “Author Webpages” was milestone #4, and I introduced the new look for upgraded Author Webpages here.

For this post, we are going to take a closer look at the new RWD Upgrade for Outskirts Press Author Webpages, and the 13 cool features that accompany it.  A full screen-grab of an upgraded Author Webpage is to the right, along with 13 numbered features that I will discuss in detail below.  Of course, you can get a closer look by visiting the new upgraded version of this page at http://outskirtspress.com/opcollection2

  1. Outskirts Press authors have the choice of publishing under our imprint of “Outskirts Press, Inc” or their own publishing imprint name using our “Private Label ISBN” option, which registers an exclusive ISBN under their own publishing name.  A new feature of the Upgraded Author Webpage is that Private Label authors have THEIR publishing name displayed, rather than “Outskirts Press, Inc.”
  2. A new menu bar has been added to the Upgraded Author Webpage, which allows easy navigation to each section of the page: Book Details, Author Information, Book Excerpt, and Multi-Media. If an author has chosen to leave a section blank (didn’t add any multi-media, for instance), then that menu option is omitted automatically.
  3. The pertinent sales information remains and contains the title, sub-title, author name, publication date, page count, and genre.
  4. Every available edition of the author’s book is now available to purchase in whatever format (and from whatever source) the buyer prefers.  Paperback and hardback editions can be purchased directly from Outskirts Press for a 10% discount (authors still get their full royalty). This is a new feature for Emerald authors, who can now utilize our bookstore to sell their books rather than handling the details themselves.  PDF e-files are still available for instant download if the author selected that option. A new feature offers a direct link to the iTunes edition if the author purchased the Standard iPad e-book edition.  Still present from previous versions of the author webpage are links to the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which also brings shoppers’ attention to the possible availability of Kindle and/or Nook e-book editions of the book.
  5. The book’s front cover is displayed along with a Facebook “Like” button. A new feature is the addition of the Pinterest “Pin it” button, so your visitors can easily “pin” your book cover to their Pinterest Boards.
  6. The “Book Details” section remains, and is still modifiable within the author’s Publishing Center.  You can still use different font colors or hotlink to images with a rudimentary understanding of HTML. With this update, authors can no longer change their old author webpage layout or site colors.
  7. The “Book Excerpt” section remains, and is still modifiable within the author’s Publishing Center. You can still use different font colors or hotlink to images with a rudimentary understanding of HTML.  A new feature is the clean omission of this section if an author has chosen not to include an excerpt.
  8. The “About the Author” section and author’s biography both remain, which includes the author’s photo for Diamond, Pearl, and Ruby authors (if they provided it). The author bio text is still modifiable within the author’s Publishing Center.
  9. An exciting new feature of the Upgraded Author Webpage is the “social media” connection in the “About the Author” section, whereby an author can add up to six direct links to his or her Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Linked-In, or Instagram accounts.  Just add the URL details in your Author Profile and be a Ruby, Diamond, or Pearl author for the “social media connection” functionality to be added to your Upgraded Author Webpage automatically.
  10. The “Also by” section remains for Diamond and Pearl authors, but is much more visually interesting since it showcases the front covers of every book you’ve published with Outskirts Press (or your own publishing imprint). Click on the cover and you’re taken to that book’s Author Webpage (which you can also choose to upgrade).
  11. The “Multi-Media” section remains for Audio Excerpts recorded by the author and/or for optional Book Video Trailers. A new feature to the Upgraded Author Webpage: The Audio files now play on iPhones.  This section is cleanly omitted if the author does not have an audio excerpt or a book video.
  12. The Outskirts Press “footer” provides easy contact information to Outskirts Press (to resolve any potential ordering or technical issues for your readers), plus easy access to the full gamut of our Social Media Author Communities.
  13. If the optional Private Label ISBN was used to publish the book, all the Outskirts Press “branding” is removed from the author’s webpage.

Adding Social Media to Outskirts Press Self Publishing

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

As followers of this blog know, I’ve been detailing our migration to RWD (responsive web design) at Outskirts Press for the past several posts.  In my last post on the topic, I introduced our upcoming new Author Webpages, which are designed in full RWD and feature a slew of new features when compared with the “old” author webpages.

Among those new features are the author’s ability to connect his/her author webpage with various social media channels (like Facebook, etc.). See the top-right corner of the sample image below:


In order for each author’s webpage to be able to go to each author’s Facebook feed or Twitter account, or Pinterest board, etc., the author simply needs to add that information into their author account.  Since January 1, authors have been able to EDIT their Author Profile information and supply us with the URLs to their respective social media channels so that when the Author Webpages are made available soon, those social media buttons will work perfectly.


A new “Social Media Details” section has been added to the Edit Author Profile screen. The Author Profile screen is where every Outskirts Press author can manage their Author Information (like their email address, their password, the method of receiving their royalties, and now — their social media preferences!)

The first field for “Facebook Awards Member” controls the author’s opt-in/opt-out preferences for our Facebook Achievements, which I’ve blogged about before. Basically, it allows an author to keep his or her Facebook followers apprised of publishing and marketing accomplishments and milestones automatically.  It’s not a new field, but it is in a new place on the screen because it’s more appropriate under “Social Media Details.”

The other six fields are new, and this is where Outskirts Press clients can enter their personal URLs for six different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Linked-In, and Pinterest.

If an author doesn’t have a specific “presence” on any of those specific sites, he or she simply leaves it blank and that specific social media channel is omitted from the author’s new RWD author webpage.  Of course, a preferable strategy from a marketing point of view would be to make sure you DID have a presence on each of them.

Speaking of having a social media presence, our January publishing promotion at Outskirts Press is giving away a FREE Author Platform Set-Up, which is a fast, convenient way to jump-start your social media marketing for when Outskirts Press has published your book. All the details of this amazing publishing giveaway can be found on our promotions page through January 2016.

Of course, for our already-published authors, the Author Platform Set-Up option is also a great marketing choice and is available from the Marketing Options screen in your Publishing Center.





Win a free book from Outskirts Press

We take a short break from our RWD series to announce an #AmazonGiveaway – Here’s your chance to win a free copy of Fandemonium: Volume 5.

Just click here to go to the Amazon sweepstakes page.


Categories: Amazon, Uncategorized Tags:

New Author Webpages are coming in Responsive Web Design

December 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Over the last couple of months I have been blogging about the steps Outskirts Press is taking to transition all our web properties and email communications to RWD (responsive web design), which allows for an aesthetic and functional user-experience that is seamlessly branded regardless of the type of device being used by our clients.

Those milestones were:

  1. Landings Pages
  2. Email Communication
  3. Newsletters
  4. Author Webpages
  5. Outskirts Press External
  6. Outskirts Press Internal

Previous postings have discussed milestones 1-3. That brings us to the new RWD author webpages, which are going to become available soon for our authors.

Our current author webpages have not been updated since I programmed them way back in 2002. That’s a millennium in Internet-time! To say they desperately needed an update is an understatement.

And boy, did they get one!


The new RWD author webpages look great regardless of the device being used.  It won’t matter if our authors’ customers are viewing them on a desktop (above), or a tablet…


… or a smartphone:


In addition to the “RWD-ness” of the new author webpages comes other commonplace conventions in this day and age, namely social media buttons, multiple format choices for paperbacks (hardbacks, when available) and Kindle, Nook, and iPad editions (when the author has published those versions).

As you can see from the examples above, I’ve linked my author webpage for Sell Your Book on Amazon to my Facebook account and my Twitter account, and as a result, those two links automatically appear on my author webpage in the upper right-hand corner on the desktop and tablet view, respectively. This social media functionality is reserved for our Ruby, Diamond, and Pearl authors (over 80% of our clients) and will also include availability for YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Linked-In if authors have a presence on those social media sites.

Of course, linking each author’s webpage to his/her personal social media channels requires acquiring that information from each of our authors, and that’s the process we’ll talk about next time.

Outskirts Press author scores two Amazon best sellers in the same week

December 1, 2015 Leave a comment

What do you get when you combine beauty, brains, and talent with over 60,000 Instagram followers? If you are Fast & Furious actress and best selling poet Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol, you get two Amazon best-sellers in the same week, as just announced in the December 1 issue of our Outskirts Press self-publishing newsletter.


Elusive Loves; Amores Esquivos is the actress/poet/author’s highly-anticipated follow-up to her Outskirts Press debut Letters, To the Men I Have Loved, which was published in June 2014 and quickly shot to best seller status on both Outskirts Press and Amazon. It has been one of our top 10 best-sellers 16 times out of the last 17 months!

So when it came time to publish her follow-up, Mirtha Michelle leveraged her highly influential social media presence months in advance to build up buzz and anticipation for Elusive Loves; Amores Esquivos.  The results were no less impressive, as Elusive Loves hit #1 in her category on Amazon even BEFORE the Nov 15 launch date she had told her 63,000 Instagram followers.

That tends to happen when you count celebrities like Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian among your friends, and invite Hollywood A-listers like Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez to your book-launching parties.


But perhaps the biggest reason for her success is her “platform” and the tenacious way in which she builds upon it, supports it, and embraces it.  It also doesn’t hurt that both of her books are honest, inspiring, and intimate studies of love and relationships, which brings us back to the beauty, brains, and talent I mentioned earlier.

Keep it up, Mirtha Michelle! We’re with you.

As a side note, I know we’re in the middle of an on-going blog series about our migration to Responsive Website Design, and we’ll get back to that with the new RWD Author Webpages next time…

Categories: Uncategorized

Self-Publishing Newsletters in Responsive Web Design (RWD)

November 2, 2015 Leave a comment

Over the past several weeks I’ve been discussing the milestones involved in migrating the Outskirts Press web presence and email communication to RWD (responsive web design), which I defined here.

page-2_img01-1Those milestones were:

  1. Landings Pages
  2. Email Communication
  3. Newsletters
  4. Author Webpages
  5. Outskirts Press External
  6. Outskirts Press Internal

We’ve already discussed the new RWD landing pages and the on-going process of migrating our various forms of email communication with our client-authors.  October 15 marked the first newsletter to be formatted online and distributed via email in RWD, and it was a great success. Today was the second such distribution (seeing how today is the closest business day to the first of the month).

The distribution of the newsletter is a three step process.  An email version gets sent out via email to the client-authors who have subscribed to it.  In the past, this email would contain the entirety of the newsletter content, and in HTML tables that were pretty rigid (non “liquid”) irregardless of device.  The result on a desktop monitor was fine, and even on most tablets it looked pretty good.  But if you were receiving our emailed newsletter on your smartphone (as more and more people are doing), it was challenging to read because the HTML tables forced the whole design (and therefore the fonts) to be too small for easy viewing.

So step one was to design a new RWD version of the emailed newsletter.  And, in doing so, we also truncated the sections so they were shorter (no one likes scrolling forever and ever on their phone), which encourages more click-thrus to our online website version to “read the full story.”

The second step, therefore, was creating that online website version of the newsletter, also in RWD.  And you can see that version by clicking here.  If you take your mouse and “grab” the corner of your browser window and “slide” it larger or smaller or wider or narrower, you can see how the RWD reacts dynamically to the size of your browser.

The third step is distributing the newsletter content through our various social media channels, which begins with posting it on the Outskirts Press blog, where it is picked up via RSS syndication for distribution to our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Done and done.

And that brings us to the fourth milestone in our full migration to RWD — the author webpages.  And I’ll start that (larger) subject next time.

Categories: blogging, marketing Tags: ,

Email communication in RWD

October 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Over the last few posts I have been talking about the migration steps Outskirts Press is currently involved in to transition our web presence to RWD (responsive web design). Last week I talked about the first milestone, landing pages.

Email communication is the second milestone, and this is such a large undertaking that it is on-going even as we proceed to the third milestone, newsletters, which I will discuss next time.

There are many ways we communicate with our clients via email, so transitioning our email communication to RWD is a big project.  The main way we communicate via email is also the most common — when one of our authors writes us an email and we respond (or vice versa).  Since this form of communication rarely includes graphics, and is almost universally in text-format, this type of email communication does not require a migration to RWD.  Simple emails already look fine across all forms of devices.

The next type of email communication we have with our clients are “front-end” communications. These are a combination of automatic and “human” emails that communicate with our non-published authors. While the majority of these emails do not contain graphics, either, a migration process is necessary because many of them were previously formatted in HTML to “make them look nicer.”  Well, they looked great on computer monitors and tablets, but were often too small to read on phones.  Hence the necessity to migrate them to RWD, so they look great regardless of the device our authors read them on.

Another type of email communication is our trademarked Marketing COACH, which consistently provides creative, online assistance, coaching, and help to our published authors for literally years after publication. No other publisher offers anything like it.  Most of these emails contain graphics and links (especially to our author community pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+) and therefore the migration to RWD was very important.   Needless to say, changing years and years of marketing emails is a daunting undertaking, and this is a process that is currently on-going, even as the next stages are also being worked on.  Here’s an example of a new Marketing COACH email in RWD as it appears on desktop monitors and tablets vs. smart phones.


The final type of email communication is our newsletter, which is distributed via email and also available on our website.  We distribute two newsletters a month, at the beginning and middle of each month.  Tomorrow’s newsletter will be our first newsletter in RWD, and one more milestone we’ve completed.  More about the RWD newsletter next time…

Categories: branding, marketing Tags:

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