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Freemium Self Publishing

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

The November 5th episode of South Park, titled “Freemium Isn’t Free”, finds the boys addicted to “freemium” mobile apps.  According to Wikipedia, “freemium” is a term coined in 2006 and is the pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge; but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality, or virtual goods.

Apple and its iTunes app store received so much heat over “free” mobile apps that, in reality, are not free, that they had to re-identify them as “freemium” apps and disclose the manner in which those apps actually made money. It makes one wonder when other businesses are going to have to disclose the same thing?

What does this have to do with self-publishing? Well, a lot, as it turns out. Many large self-publishing companies use this exact same business model, although the population at large hasn’t quite identified the similarities between mobile apps that do this, and businesses in general that do this. But if you look closely enough, you can identify all the same practices, because some of the largest self-publishing companies are actually “freemium” in nature. They tout “free” on their website, but once you’ve drank the Kool-Aid, or downloaded the app, or whatever you want to call it, writers are discovering what they probably suspected all along: Nothing is free.  And suddenly they’re paying $999 for custom covers at Company C*, or $3,199 for book video trailers at Company L* —  services that they can get for under $299 and $499, respectively, at Outskirts Press.

Some of the most popular freemium mobile games right now are Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and The Simpsons, and it might surprise you to know that the average amount of money those companies make per user exceeds the $0.99 they would make if they simply charged for the game in the first place. The way freemium mobile apps manipulate you into paying is by wasting Earth’s most precious resource: time.

Freemium self-publishers use tactics that aren’t quite so obvious, but include overcharging for additional services (like the custom covers and book videos), overcharging for author copies, and the coup-de-grace: manipulating you into actually giving away your e-book to their customers under the guise of “marketing” (but, you only “earn the right” to do this if they have an exclusive on your book, thus preventing you from making money elsewhere). Talk about adding insult to injury.

Most authors are so attracted to the “free” part that they don’t bother to investigate their long term costs; if they did, they might be surprised to know that the average amount those companies make per user exceeds the $999 they would make if they simply charged for self-publishing in the first place.

There is no such thing as “free” self-publishing.  But there is freemium self-publishing. Caveat emptor. Buyer beware.

My NaNoWriMo stats for November 16th are:

Average Per Day 1764
Words Written Today 1611
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 28237
Words Remaining 21,763
Current Day 16
Days Remaining 15
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 29
Words/Day to finish on time 1,451

*I don’t name self-publishing competitors on this blog, but it’s not terribly difficult to guess the culprits.

Get a free Amazon Kindle ebook edition of your book

November 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Judging from all the NaNoWriMo sponsors and all the “free” stuff those sponsors are giving away (ranging from 1 free book to 2 free books!), it’s clear that WriMo’s are like everyone else – they love a deal! During the days in October, when I began posting about my participation in NaNoWriMo, I mentioned the FREE CUSTOM COVER promotion we were offering at Outskirts Press if you began your self-publishing process before Halloween.  Well, that promotion may have expired, but November’s deal is just as good.  Whether or not you are participating in National Novel Writing Month, you are eligible to receive our free Amazon Extreme Package when you start publishing with our Diamond or Pearl full-color publishing packages during November. Among other goodies, the Amazon Extreme Package includes a free ebook edition of your book specifically formatted for the Amazon Kindle and distributed via Amazon.   Get all the details, and the necessary promotion code here: http://outskirtspress.com/promotion.html

My NaNoWriMoStats for November 9, 2014 are below. I passed 15,000 words to my novel, Idle Hands.

Average Per Day 1756
Words Written Today 1378
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 15808
Words Remaining 34,192
Current Day 9
Days Remaining 22
At this rate, you’ll finish November 29
Words/Day to finish on time 1,555

Celebrating 10 years of self publishing with Outskirts Press

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment

In the category of Better Late than Never : Happy New Year.

Our company profile page at Outskirts Press gets updated the first month of every year to update our total title counts and summarize how the previous calendar year’s accomplishments fit into the overall picture of our company, and the industry of self publishing in general. I’ve posted the 2013 updated profile below.  2013 was a banner year for us and our authors. We published more titles by more writers than ever before, launched our mobile site for cell phones, mailed exciting royalty checks to our authors, and welcomed our first-ever Executive Vice President (Kelly Schuknecht, who was promoted in January).  Here’s the updated profile below; and you can see the entire thing, in all its glory, on our website by clicking here.

Here’s to a great 2014…


Over ten years ago, Outskirts Press was founded as a better way for authors to write, publish, and market their books. Outskirts Press incorporated in Colorado in 2003, and through strategic partnerships, exemplary customer service, and unmatched quality, Outskirts Press quickly became the fastest-growing full-service book publishing and book marketing firm.

The years between 2004 and 2006 marked a growth rate in excess of 1,500%, an accomplishment that was recognized in July 2007 by The Denver Business Journal when Outskirts Press was honored to be the 3rd fastest-growing privately held company (in any industry) in Colorado.  By the end of 2006, Outskirts Press had nearly 1,000 books in print,  all of them available worldwide through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble online, among others. And by the end of 2007, Outskirts Press more than doubled its title totals again to more than 2,000 total titles published.

self publishing books

In 2008 The Denver Business Journal once again recognized Outskirts Press as the fastest-growing publisher, and in fact, the fastest-growing privately held small-to-medium sized company in Colorado (in any industry), boasting growth of over 500% for the years between 2005-2007.

In 2009 Outskirts Press published its 5,000th title and became the only self-publishing company to appear on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing privately held companies.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, Outskirts Press repeated its appearance on the Inc. 5000 list three more times, and became the only self-publishing company to appear on the list of top 5,000 fastest growing private businesses in America for four straight years.

2012 also marked the 10-year anniversary of the company’s founding and the publication of its 10,000 title. What took seven years to accomplish (publishing 5,000 different titles) was repeated in less than three.

Ten short years after its incorporation in 2003, 2013 was a celebratory and banner year for Outskirts Press, and heralded the maturation of an industry success story. Outskirts Press published more books in 2013 than in its first five years combined, and, in fact, more books in a single year than ever before, continuing to exceed industry averages with double-digit percentage growth of new titles and authors.

Now, more than ever, self-publishing writers are recognizing the value of high quality production, superior customer service, and the continued necessity of hard copy books to differentiate their contributions to the literary world from the masses of unfiltered, unprofessional electronic-only books.

So how does Outskirts Press remain the fastest-growing full-service publishing provider?

  • It begins with our Mission Statement: To exceed the expectations of every author we help publish.
  • It continues with our commitment to conservationism and recycling. Our most popular book sizes offer a recycled paper-stock option, featuring 30% post-consumer.
  • It grows with our authors.  Just ask Gang Chen, who earned over $100,000 in 180 days; or Sally Shields, the stay-at-home mom-turned-2-time Amazon.com bestseller; or Ronnie Lee, who has become one of the most prolific published authors of our generation with the assistance of Outskirts Press.

As we look toward the future, our commitment to produce high-quality books and offer high levels of support to our authors in all three phases of their journey (writing, publishing, marketing), only grows stronger.

For instance, to complement our authors’ hard copy printed paperback and hardback editions, we have embraced digital e-books with three a la carte digital publishing options to make electronic readers even easier to reach for our authors:

 We have embraced social media to help our authors further promote their books and enhance their careers:

  • Our author community on Facebook is the most popular and most active among all full-service self-publishing firms.
  • Our author channel on YouTube features the most book videos among all full-service, high-quality firms.
  • Our company blog keeps our authors informed on industry news, exciting promotions, and marketing tactics.
  • Our Twitter account keeps our authors up-to-date, sometimes up-to-the-minute.
  • Our Pinterest boards keep authors and readers apprised of Top 10 monthly bestsellers, our most prolific and successful writers, and genre collections/themes to celebrate holidays and special events.

By publishing our own series of books, we help authors navigate the sometimes tricky waters of book publishing. And by offering free publication in various anthologies through the year, we demonstrate how easy, fast, and fun it can be to publish with Outskirts Press.

Through it all, Outskirts Press authors have remained our main focal point. With over 10,000 published titles, Outskirts Press continues to pour development dollars and resources into further improvements to the Outskirts Press website and its growing list of writing, publishing, and marketing services/products to further support our authors’ goals and dreams.

What does success mean to you? By any measure, you will find it here with Outskirts Press and we look forward to helping you on that journey.

Many of us, and some of our family members, took a moment during a summer picnic to pose…

Are you ready to get published? Click here to visit Outskirts Press Self Publishing now.

Self Publishing 2013

January 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Every January we update our “About Us” information with milestones we reached in the previous year and an update to our “Total Titles Published” chart.  Now that 2012 has come to a close and 2013 is underway, here’s our updated information about Outskirts Press:

Over ten years ago, Outskirts Press was founded as a better way for authors to write, publish, and market their books. Outskirts Press incorporated in Colorado in 2003, and through strategic partnerships, exemplary customer service, and unmatched quality, Outskirts Press quickly became the fastest-growing full-service book publishing and book marketing firm.

The years between 2004 and 2006 marked a growth rate in excess of 1,500%, an accomplishment that was recognized in July 2007 by The Denver Business Journal when Outskirts Press was honored to be the 3rd fastest-growing privately held company (in any industry) in Colorado.  By the end of 2006, Outskirts Press already had nearly 1,000 books in print,  all of them available worldwide through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble online, among others. And by the end of 2007, Outskirts Press more than doubled its title totals again.

In 2008 The Denver Business Journal once again recognized Outskirts Press as the fastest-growing publisher, and in fact, the fastest-growing privately held small-to-medium sized company in Colorado (in any industry), boasting growth of over 500% for the years between 2005-2007.

2009 and 2010 marked more new milestones, as well. In 2009 Outskirts Press published its 5,000th title and became the only self-publishing company to appear on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing privately held companies.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, Outskirts Press repeated its appearance on the Inc. 5000 list three more times, and became the only self-publishing company to appear on the list of top 5,000 fastest growing businesses in America for four straight years.

2012 also marked the 10-year anniversary of the company’s founding and the year it passed the milestone of 10,000 published books.

So how does Outskirts Press remain the fastest-growing full-service self publishing provider?

  • It begins with our Mission Statement: To exceed the expectations of every author we help publish.
  • It continues with our commitment to conservationism and recycling. Our most popular book sizes offer a recycled paper-stock option, featuring 30% post-consumer.
  • It grows with our authors.  Just ask Gang Chen, who earned over $100,000 in 180 days; or Sally Shields, the stay-at-home mom-turned-2-time Amazon.com bestseller; or Ronnie Lee, who has become one of the most prolific published authors of our generation with the assistance of Outskirts Press.

As we look toward the future, our commitment to produce high-quality books and offer high levels of support to our authors in all three phases of their journey (writing, publishing, marketing), only grows stronger.

For instance, we have embraced digital e-books with three a la carte digital publishing options:

 We have embraced social media to help our authors further promote their books:

And, we practice what we preach, publishing our own series of books to help authors navigate the sometimes tricky waters of book publishing and offering free publication in various anthologies through the year to showcase how easy, fast, and fun it can be to publish with Outskirts Press.

Through it all, Outskirts Press authors have remained our main focal point. With over 10,000 published titles, Outskirts Press continues to pour development dollars and resources into further improvements to the Outskirts Press website and its growing list of writing, publishing, and marketing services/products to further support our authors’ goals and dreams.

What does success mean to you? By any measure, you will find it here with Outskirts Press and we look forward to helping you on that journey.

Many of us, and some of our family members, took a moment during a summer picnic to pose…

Self Publishing Videos for Outskirts Press

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Before I get back to our Guy Kawasaki series about the 10 steps of enchantment, I will continue this small break to mention the Thanksgiving Video contest we recently held at Outskirts Press. We invited all our published authors to record a video that thanked whomever they wanted to thank for being published — their spouse, teacher, colleague, etc.

Among all the videos we received, we selected three finalists based largely upon the number of “likes” each video received on our Facebook Page.  Those three finalists took part in a public poll on the Self Publishing News blog where anyone could vote on their favorite. The winner would receive a free iPad Mini. You can view all three finalists on this blog posting here.

When all was said and done, Bob Ralston, author of God, Physics and Me was named our big winner for his technically impressive and charming video submission, which you can view below:

Thank you to Bob, and to all our Outskirts Press authors.

Self-Publishing Verdict: TERRIFIC!

I have a theory that I’m testing with this post.  A recent post was titled, “Self-Publishing Verdict: UNBELIEVABLE” and it was among the highest clicked/read postings on my blog in quite a while.  So that means this posting should be just as popular, right?

Probably not, and here’s my hypothesis: The word “terrific” is rarely associated with anything but positive, good news.  “Unbelievable” on the other hand, is just as often uttered during moments of disbelief or anger as it is during moments of exhalation (as was the case with the author in my previous posting).  So, my theory is that the posting with “Unbelievable” in the subject will remain more popular than this one because we, as human beings, seem wired to be more curious about BAD news than GOOD news.  And that’s kind of … sad.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint those of us who fall into that category, but the following self-publishing verdict from David Brookover is primarily good news. I say primarily because he does have a little bump that needs smoothing — and that should make the cynics happy.  So we’re ALL getting what we want with this posting, and that, if nothing else, IS terrific.

David is a long time author at Outskirts Press, having published his first book Mortal Eclipse with us WAY back in 2004, a lifetime ago in the self-publishing world, and just having published his fifth book, Ghostworld, this month.  He wrote me this:

“Hi Brent!

I received my author’s copies of Ghostworld today, and the books look terrific!  It’s wonderful to see all those months of hard labor packaged so attractively by your team at Outskirts Press.  That’s main reason that I keep coming back to you, book after book!

I also wanted to tell you how professional and personable Bridget and Terri were throughout each phase of this publishing project.  They were a pleasure to work with, and I’d certainly want them on my side again for the publishing of my next book!  And Dana was just as thorough and pleasant, too, although she was involved for only a short while getting my private label ISBN number for Ghostworld.

Now I’m going to have to work with marketing to iron out a couple of problems, one being that B&N has the book’s publisher listed as Outskirts Press instead of Curlew Press.  The other is that Amazon doesn’t show “Search Inside the Book” for Ghostworld yet.  I’m sure they’ll be as proficient and personable as the trio I mentioned above, and we’ll get those issues resolved quickly.

Brent, you must be doing something right, because you continually attract the cream-of-the-crop to Outskirts Press.  Best of luck to you and Outskirts, and I look forward to working with you and your wonderful staff again soon!

Sincerely,

Dave Brookover”

Both “bumps in the road” he brings up should be resolved soon.

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A self-publishing author’s experience with Outskirts Press

Last week I shared an email I received from one of our authors in relation to the custom covers we designed for her.  I’d like to share another email I received, this more a more general reaction to the entire self publishing experience as a whole. All of us at Outskirts Press work hard to make sure all our authors have wonderful experiences (and we get it right 99% of the time), so it’s always gratifying to receive emails like this from one of our recently-published authors (I recevied this roughly around Easter).

“Dear Anna, Brent, and Jodee:

I really wasn’t expecting my free copies of A Guide to the Psalms of David when it arrived earlier today,  since there was no entry under shipping and I assumed “processed” under orders simply meant my entry on the website was accepted and my book was now in the queue to be printed. Unprepared, I can only relate that when I opened up the package and saw my book, I was stunned;  elated, on the one hand, because of the gorgeous cover–in which credit goes, as you know, to my wife Audrey–terrified, on the other hand, with the realization I now have to rev up to a significantly higher standard if I expect to go out into the world and inspire people with, in the words of John Adams, poetry “superior to all odes, hymns, and songs, in any language.”

But regardless of what the future brings, I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for helping me bring this creation–because it is more than just a book–into the world. And I dare say, the cover alone, is healing: the colors and the representation of David contemplating his harp. (You might recall from the Bible when King Saul had attacks of melancholy, David’s harp playing soothed him.)

All the best, and whatever holiday you are celebrating at this time of year, may it be with much Joy!!!

Sincerely,

Steve Rosner

P.S. Please thank the elf who corrected the interior cover by removing a superfluous ‘the’ in the title. Although it was discovered at the last minute and corrected on the cover itself, I opted the leave the interior as is, not wanting to delay the book any longer.”

 

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