If you liked the Diamond publishing package…

… Then you’re going to LOVE our new ULTIMATE publishing package!

Last week I wrote a posting comparing our “old” Pearl package with our new & improved Full-Color package. This week I’m going to provide another comparison, this time between our “old” Diamond package and our new & improved Ultimate package.  As you can see, we made the best value in self-publishing even better!

  • More free image insertions
  • More free galley round revisions
  • Updated free cover themes
  • More free publishing tips and marketing tips
  • More free inclusions

Before I get to the comparison, let me share a few “little known facts” about some other perks of the old Diamond, all of which converted over to the new & improved ULTIMATE package.

  • Lower shipping costs. We subsidize the cost of author’s copies shipping prices for the Ultimate (and the Full-Color and One-Clicks, for that matter); it’s not much, but every little bit helps, right?
  • Higher royalties. For every book you sell, you’ll make a dollar more with the Ultimate than you will with the Basic.
  • Lower author costs. For every book you buy, you’ll pay a dollar less with the Ultimate than you will with the Basic.
  • More promotion. The vast majority of books selected to be featured on our blog, social media channels, newsletter, and “New Releases” section of our bookstore are Ultimate books (or Full-Color).

If that’s not compelling enough, through the end of August, we are offering an instant $250 savings on our new Ultimate Publishing Package.   In fact, we are repeating ALL this month’s weekly promotions, which means you can save up to $600 on the Children’s One-Click Suite, which includes 15 original, unique illustrations. Or you can save $500 on the One-Click for Non-Fiction Suite.  See all the promotion codes by clicking here.  They expire on August 31st.

Or scroll down this comparison table to see how our Ultimate publishing package has improved upon the Diamond package in just about every way.

Benefits, Options,
Inclusions
The New Ultimate
The Old Diamond
Format & Trim Choices
31
31
Standard Interior Black/White Book Formatting
Yes
Yes
Previous Book Promotion Insert Yes $99
Customizable Full-Color Cover Themes
20
22
Optional Custom Cover Design
$399
$499
Cover Printing Styles Matte or Glossy Glossy
ISBN & Price-Embedded Bar Code
Yes
Yes
Worldwide wholesale distribution through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Gardners, UK, etc.
Yes
Yes
Worldwide retail availability through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, etc.
Yes
Yes
Spring Arbor Christian Distribution for applicable books
Yes
Yes
Free Image Insertions
20
0
Free Galley Revision Rounds
3
1
Publication Press Release w/ Distribution
Yes
Yes
Audio Excerpt
Yes
Yes
Digital Download Edition
Yes
Yes
Author Webpage
Responsive
Non-Responsive
Free Author’s Copies
10
10
Marketing COACH Emails
Genre Specific
General
Tip Sheet: 5 Do’s & Don’ts for Formatting, Grammar, and Spelling Yes No
Tip Sheet: Author Photo & Biography Guide Sheet Yes No
Tip Sheet: 7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title Yes No
Tip Sheet: Best Practices for your Author Webpage Yes No
Tip Sheet: Top 15 Steps for Marketing Your Book Yes No
Tip Sheet: Navigating the Social Media Jungle Yes No
Publication Certificate Yes No
Exclusive Publication Kit including Book Launch Calendar Yes No

The Best Book of the Year process begins today

Last Saturday, the 2016 EVVY Awards took place in Denver, Colorado, and I was present (along with other Outskirts Press authors) to receive awards on behalf of our authors who were unable to attend in person.  Pictures from that evening will be posted on my blog soon.

Outskirts Press won 22 awards that night, and they are posted on our Outskirts Press blog here.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that only 21 winners are listed. That’s because Action/Adventure 1st Place Winner Meridian, by Andrew Ceroni, also won 2nd place in the Science Fiction category!  Andrew was one of the Outskirts Press authors in attendance to receive his award personally.  An interesting side-note is that Andrew’s previous book, Snow Men, was also a First-Place EVVY Award-winner last year, before going on to win last year’s Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award and its $1500 Grand Prize.

self publishing . self publishing

Which brings me to the subject of this posting:

How the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards are determined.

Winning an EVVY Award is a prerequisite to winning our own Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, now in its 6th year. From among the winners announced last Saturday night at the CIPA ceremony, Outskirts Press selects three finalists. Those finalists will be announced at the beginning of September.  And then a public poll (open to everyone) will be posted at SelfPublishingNews.com where everyone gets to cast their vote for the actual winner.

So how are the Best Book of the Year finalists determined from among the EVVY winners?  Since they’ve won an EVVY Award, a lot of the technical and artistic components have already been taken into consideration and recognized, so choosing three Best Book of the Year finalists is admittedly more subjective.

For one, we do not simply go in order of EVVY awards (First, Second, Third) for two main reasons:

1) Each category of the EVVY awards is judged separately and independently, meaning a book that receives a 3rd place in one category is not automatically “worse” than a book that receives a 1st Place in a different category; the first category could have simply had higher caliber books, overall.

2) Unlike the EVVY judges, we have more context to apply to our decision for the Best Book of the Year finalists.  We know the authors. We are more familiar with their writing career and talents and aspirations. We know if they have published previous books and, if so, how THOSE books have performed in various contests. We know how their royalties are stacking up against other Outskirts Press authors and, more importantly, against the self-publishing industry on average.   CIPA judges take none of these factors into consideration when judging individual EVVY Awards (nor should they) but we do when choosing finalists from among all the EVVY winners.  That’s because the winner of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year is not only the author of a fantastic book, but she or he is a consummate marketing and writing professional (as detailed below).

self publishing award

The first thing we do is seek the opinions of various people at Outskirts Press in regard to the EVVY Winners. “From among this list, who do YOU think should be the Finalists, and why?” We collect those answers and add those variables to our consideration.

Next, we look at the EVVY Winners in order of placement (I realize I just said the decision doesn’t simply depend upon the order of the prizes, and it doesn’t, but the order of the EVVY awards are taken into consideration), and from that order we basically ask ourselves, “Is there a reason this book should NOT be a finalist?”

Finally, we look at the authors themselves– their career, the number of books they have published (and plan on publishing in the future); their royalties, their marketing initiatives, their social media presence.  Which authors from among the EVVY winners do we believe have the marketing chops to go head-to-head-head with their fellow finalists for an exciting public poll that determines the ultimate winner of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award and its $1500 Grand Prize?

Stay tuned…

 

 

If you liked the Pearl publishing package…

… Then you’re going to LOVE our new FULL-COLOR publishing package!

One of the most gratifying and rewarding aspects of working at Outskirts Press is helping authors fulfill their dreams of being published. I am constantly amazed at how prolific our authors are. I’m a writer myself, so I know how challenging it is to write just one book, much less book after book after book.  But that is exactly what so many of our authors do — they write (and then return to Outskirts Press to publish) book after book after book.

Of course we enjoy helping new clients realize the joy and satisfaction that comes from successfully publishing a professional, high-quality book; but returning authors are the cornerstone of our business and we always want to give them as much help and support as possible.

That’s why I’ve created this little table below that compares our new Full-Color publishing package with our old, discontinued Pearl Full-Color package, side-by-side.  As you can see, we made a great full-color package even better!

  • More free image insertions
  • More free galley round revisions
  • More free cover themes specifically for children’s books
  • More publishing tips and marketing tips
  • Better, thicker, higher-quality paper for the Economy printing option

Before I get to the table, let me expand on our two printing options, the “Standard” and the “Economy” both of which are freely available with the Full-Color package.  The “Standard” printing is anything but standard. In fact, we tossed around the idea of calling it “premium” because that’s what it is.  But we also wanted to communicate that it was our default (ie, standard) quality of printing.

The “economy”, on the other hand, is not quite as good as our standard (although most general readers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference).  But do you know what IS good?  Publishing a 100 page full-color book for ALMOST the same retail price as a 100 page book in black/white.  Such a feat is nearly unheard of in the print-on-demand world, and that’s exactly the kind of pricing flexibility available to all our authors at Outskirts Press.

Let’s take a look at a specific example:

A 100 page, 6×9 black/white book can have a retail price of $9.95 with our Ultimate black/white publishing package. The author can receive $2.38 in royalties (yes, even WITH worldwide distribution and availability!)

That’s already amazing, and one of the main reasons so many authors publish with Outskirts Press and keep coming back for more.

But what about a full-color book?  A 100 page, 6×9 full-color book  with our economy printing option can have a retail price of $12.95 and the author can receive $2.55 in royalties (again, even with worldwide distribution and availability!).

Yes, a 100 page full-color book for $12.95! Those numbers beat many of our competitors’ black/white pricing.

If that’s not compelling enough, this week we are offering an instant $250 savings on our new Full-Color package.  Click here for all the details about this week’s promotion.

Or scroll down this comparison table to see how our Full-Color package has improved upon the Pearl package in just about every way.

Benefits, Options,
Inclusions
The New Full-Color
The Old Pearl
Format & Trim Choices
50
50
Standard Interior Full-Color Book Formatting
Yes
Yes
Standard or Economy Level Printing Yes on 70 pound paper Yes on 50 pound paper
Customizable Cover Themes
20
22
Customizable Cover Themes Specifically for Children’s Books
6
1
Optional Custom Cover Design
$399
$499
Cover Printing Styles Matte or Glossy Glossy
ISBN & Price-Embedded Bar Code
Yes
Yes
Free Image Insertions
20
10
Free Galley Revision Rounds
3
1
Marketing COACH Emails
Specifically for full-color books
General
Tip Sheet: 5 Do’s & Don’ts for Formatting, Grammar, and Spelling Yes No
Tip Sheet: Author Photo & Biography Guide Sheet Yes No
Tip Sheet: 7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title Yes No
Tip Sheet: Best Practices for your Author Webpage Yes No
Tip Sheet: Top 15 Steps for Marketing Your Book Yes No
Tip Sheet: Navigating the Social Media Jungle Yes No
Publication Certificate Yes No
Exclusive Publication Kit including Book Launch Calendar Yes No

10 Best Practices For Your Responsive Author Webpage

Now that every Outskirts Press author (past, present, and future) receives a free responsive Author Webpage for every book you publish with us, it’s time to share some “best practices” for making that webpage all it can be.

responsivewebpage

A responsive author webpage is more than just a “pretty face” on mobile devices and desktop computers.  It can also be a powerful sales and marketing tool; and you will increase your chances of getting the most out of your author webpage if you follow these 10 best practices:

  1. Be Loud, Be Proud!

Many Outskirts Press authors publish their books with our Private Label Imprint option. This means, we work our magic behind the scenes, and our publishing name is not on their book anywhere.  Well, that’s all well and good, until it came time to use our “old” author webpages, which still featured our logo and our publishing name.

The NEW & IMPROVED responsive author webpages recognize our Private label authors.  If you published under an independent publishing name, YOUR publishing name will be on YOUR responsive author webpage.  Now you can proudly aim your customers to your author webpage with your publishing imprint on it!

  1. Add an Excerpt!

The “menu bar” along the top of your new responsive author webpage makes navigating to the individual sections a snap, and did you know the menu bar is dynamic? That means, if you don’t have content in a particular section, that menu selection won’t appear on the menu bar.  This occurs most frequently with the “Excerpt” and “Media” sections, since those sections are optional.

But just because they are optional doesn’t mean you should ignore them.  If you don’t have an excerpt on your author webpage, add one by accessing the “Sales Tools” of your Publishing Center.  Around 250 words work best. Just cut-n-paste them into your “Excerpt” field.

  1. Format Your Excerpt!

Here’s an important tip for cutting and pasting your excerpt:   Since your author webpage accepts HTML (to allow for colored fonts, image-insertions, etc.), you MUST identify paragraph breaks in your excerpt.  There are TWO different ways to do this:

  1. Surround the contents of each paragraph with the <p></p> paragraph tags, by putting a <p> in front of the beginning of every paragraph and the </p> at the end of every paragraph. This will ensure that paragraphs don’t run together.
  2. Or, alternatively, you can add two line break codes <br><br> which is the same as “hitting the return key twice.”

By adding these simple codes to your excerpt you can make sure your words look just as good on your webpage as they do in your book.

  1. Format Your Synopsis and Biography!

See those formatting suggestions above, about adding line breaks or paragraph breaks to your excerpt?  They work for your synopsis and biography boxes, too.  Read your summary/details, your excerpt, and your author biography on multiple devices and make sure you’re happy with how everything looks. (Don’t forget to spell check your work!) If you want to add some line breaks or paragraph breaks, follow those rules above to make your webpage look as good as possible.

Suggesting HTML code is a double-edged sword.  It can help make your webpage look great. It can also “break” your webpage if you’re not careful.  So keep that in mind, as we list some other “codes” you might be interested in:

<strong>This makes words bold!</strong>
<em>This puts words in italics!</em>
<font color=”ff0000″>This makes words red!</font> (although WordPress doesn’t let me make them red).
<strong><em><font color=”ff0000″>Yes, you can stack them!</font></em></strong>

  1. Add Some Audio!

The other “optional” menu item is for the “Media” section, specifically book video trailers or audio excerpts.  The audio excerpt is included with many of our packages, so if you have recorded your audio excerpt, it is available from your author webpage already.  Check to make sure it is working correctly by visiting your author webpage from multiple devices (your phone, your tablet, your computer).  Sometimes you might discover that your audio plays fine from a desktop, but doesn’t play at all from an iPhone, for example.  Isn’t technology wonderful? If that’s the case, just let us know and we’ll fix it for you.

If you had the Audio Excerpt option but never took advantage of it, now’s the time. You’ll find the instructions in your Author Toolkit.  Just find that option, click the “more” link and instructions for how to record your Audio Excerpt will open up for you.  Read an excerpt from your book, or make a general comment about why you wrote your book.  Buyers love hearing from authors, literally!

If your package didn’t include the Audio Excerpt option, you can always add it from the Marketing Options screen of your Publishing Center.

  1. Add Some Video!

The other multi-media component of the Media section is your book video trailer.  This is a very popular marketing option that we offer, so chances are, your book video trailer may already be in your webpage’s Media section.  If you didn’t order a book video trailer with your publishing package, you can add one now from the Marketing Options tab of your Publishing Center.  In addition to being added to your author webpage, we will add it to our YouTube channel and other video distribution services. You will also receive the file for your additional marketing efforts.

But here’s a little known fact — if you have a book video that you did NOT order through Outskirts Press, you can still add it to your Author Webpage.   Just contact Chris at chrisk@outskirtspress.com with the embedded code (or the YouTube URL), and we will be happy to add your independent book video to your author webpage for you.

  1. Work the Discount!

The hardcopy books (paperback and/or hardback) available for sale from your Author Webpage always have a 10% discount, to encourage your webpage visitors to buy your book.   Don’t worry – you still receive your full royalty!  But knowing about this discount may give you confidence to send customers to your author webpage instead of to Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website (where your customers may or may not receive a discount at all).

Speaking of formats, make sure you’re selling your Digital Download edition at the proper price. If you have the Digital Download edition (and many of our authors do), and if you did not set a specific price yourself, our webpage will default to a price of $5.00.  But the best practice is to match the price of your Kindle or Nook ebook editions (you added those formats, right?)   You can modify your Digital Download price from same screen of your Publishing Center where you manage your author webpage.

  1. Like Your Book!

Your author webpage features a Facebook “Like” button under your book cover.  Make sure you like your own book! When you do, you’ll have a chance to write a post on your Facebook feed.  We recommend asking your Facebook friends to “like” your book, too. After all, your Facebook Friends & Family are the most likely people to click on your Author Webpage link and “like” your book, but they may only do it if you ask them to.

9.Get Social!

Speaking of Facebook, you HAVE a Facebook account right?  If you don’t, go to Facebook right now and start one.  Every author must have a Facebook account. It doesn’t hurt to have a Linked-In account, either.  Those are the two “must-haves” for every author.  If you’re more experienced with social media (and have a bit more time on your hands), you may also have  a Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and/or Pinterest account.  That’s great! And guess what?  Your new responsive Author Webpage can link to ALL those social media accounts directly from your “About the Author” section — but ONLY if you tell your webpage how.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the “Edit My Profile” in the upper right-hand corner of your Publishing Center. Or, alternatively, you may have a “My Account” link.
  2. In either case, clicking that link will open up your Profile Page, where you can Edit Your Profile, provide Social Media Details, and set your Royalty Payment Details, among other things.
  3. You want to focus on the Social Media Details section, which looks like this:edit-profile
  4. Enter in the URL for each of your social media profiles. The easiest way to do that is to go to each of your active social media platforms and go to your “home” or “main” page of your account, and then cut-n-paste the URL from the Internet Browser and place it into the appropriate field of this form. Don’t forget to save your changes.
  5. Then, when you re-visit your Author Webpage, your About the Author section will automatically add links to each of the social media accounts you added. Click on each one to make sure you entered the proper link. If it doesn’t go to the right place, make adjustments accordingly.
  1. Market All Your Books!

If you’ve published multiple books with Outskirts Press (and many of you have), then your Author Webpage automatically features an “Also by” section in which all of your other book covers appear, each of them clickable to their own responsive webpage.  It’s a proven fact that readers of one of your books are more inclined to be readers of your others books, so be sure to publish multiple books to automatically add this cool section to all of your Outskirts Press author webpages. All you have to do is click this button…

… and, well… write the next book, of course.  Here’s to your great success!

What’s NEW about the One-Click for Children’s Books Suite?

“Authors of professional children’s books know that creativity doesn’t stop once the words are on paper. Full-color illustrations, custom cover design, and custom interior design must all blend together to create a cohesive whole. At Outskirts Press we recognize how hard it is to coordinate all of those elements together to create a potential bestseller. We’d like to help.

This week, we are presenting an introductory offer to our children’s book authors of $600 off the regular price of our One-Click for Children’s Books package. A team of publishing professionals will help you achieve your goal of publishing both a high-quality color paperback AND a hardback edition of your book. Of course, professional editing, custom cover design, copyright registration, and 15 original, full-color illustrations (to your specifications) are all included. We know you’re passionate about your manuscript. Let us help you publish your passion the best way possible.  Promotion Code: Save600Aug16″

That’s the marketing copy that greets new authors when they click on the GET THE CODE button from the front page of our new website to learn about our $600 introductory offer on the new & improved One-Click for Children’s Books publishing suite this week..

While all of these things are true, what I feel is the most compelling facet of our One-Click for Children’s Books suite is the inclusion of 15 original, full-color illustrations.  Any author of children’s books who has attempted to add artwork to his or her manuscript can relate to the frustration that comes with this portion of children’s book publishing.  Not only do we handle this scary and anxiety-filled part of the pre-production process, but we offer 30 different artistic styles for our clients to choose from, basically guaranteeing a match for their specific vision.

We call our One-Click packages “Suites” because they are a bundle of quality pre-production, production, and marketing services designed exclusively for a particular type of book.  At the present time we have launched the New & Improved Outskirts Press with four One-Click Suites focusing on four major book genres: Non-Fiction, Fiction, Spiritual Books, and Children’s Books.

For the thousands of authors who have published with one of our a la carte, custom publishing packages, the One-Click difference is nothing short of extraordinary, and I detailed this difference a couple of postings ago, but I’ll repeat it here for the new-comers…

Here is a basic summary of the publishing process for the custom, a la carte package first:

  1. Order an a la carte custom publishing package (let’s say, the Ultimate).
  2. Select your format(s)
  3. Select your trim size(s)
  4. Select your interior formatting option
  5. Select your interior production options
  6. Select your cover option
  7. Enter your summary, author biography, sales annotation, cover copy
  8. Set your price plan
  9. Set your retail price
  10. Select your marketing options
  11. You’re done. Sit back and relax while we go to work.

All that customization is great, and some of our authors THRIVE on the degree of flexibility and choice we give them.  But making decisions can slow the process down and allow for some important ingredients to be opted-out-of (like editing, or custom cover design, or marketing services).

In comparison, here is the publishing process for the One-Click Children’s Suite:

  1. Order a One-Click Suite
  2. You’re done. Sit back and relax while we go to work.

No long lists of trim sizes to fret over. No price plans and trade discounts to worry about. No cover themes, interchangeable image libraries, or concern about selecting the correct production & marketing options.  That’s because every One-Click Children’s Book Suite already includes everything a professional children’s book author needs to publish the children’s or juvenile publication of his or her dreams (and significantly increase the chances for its success, and its success in book contests).

What’s it include? And why is it important?  This is a long list, but if you’re thinking of making an investment into your children’s book, it’s one worth reading.

  • A 5.5 x 8.5 paperback and laminated casebound hardback.  All our One-Click Children’s Suite authors have ultimate control over the trim size of their book, but the default size for this publishing suite is 5.5 x 8.5 in both paperback and hardback format, so the majority of our clients don’t need to worry about nuances like choosing between over 50 different size/format combinations (some of which have “whiter” paper or “creamier” paper, or 70# paper or 50# paper, or standard color printing or economy color printing.  It’s enough to make your head swim!   We just make it EASY, and you know you’ll get the best of all worlds.   Of all the choices, the one thing we’ll want to know for sure is whether you want a glossy cover or a matte cover.  Hint: Our matte covers are gorgeous, and can give your book a look and feel that sets it apart from the majority of self-published books hitting the marketplace.
  • Professional copy editing. All of our One-Click Suites include a professional-grade edit by a professional, human editor. Automatic grammar checks and spellchecks are great, and should always be a first step for any manuscript submission, but there is simply no substitute for a pair of highly-trained eyes. More than 85% of our children’s books are less than 15,000 words so that is the word count that is included for free.  If your children’s book is longer than 15,000 words, you simply pays the difference (at a per-word price that is less than just about all our competitors).
  • Professional custom cover design. All of our One-Click Suites include an original, custom-designed cover by a professional cover designer, all of whom have a decade or more of cover-design experience.  Our One-Click clients can describe their vision for their cover, or leave it up to the designer’s best artistic interpretation of the manuscript. In either case, the designer will present TWO different concepts for the author to choose from.   Sometimes, BOTH the concepts are so good that the author has a hard time selecting.  Talk about an embarrassment of riches (which, in fact, describes this whole package).  Fortunately, we have a solution for that “problem” too. It’s just a little bit of market research we make available for all our authors, and you can see an example of how it works on our Outskirts Press blog here.

Before I continue, I will say that copy editing and custom cover design are so important, they are mandatory components of our Best Book of the Year Awards, and our EVVY Nominees.  Since we KNOW all our One-Click suites include both professional editing and professional custom cover design, all One-Click packages are automatically eligible for both contests.  Speaking of which, the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards are this coming Saturday in Denver, Colorado. I will be on hand to accept awards for our winners if authors are not able to attend. Winning an EVVY Award is a prerequisite to winning our Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award (and its $1,500 Grand Prize).  Our 16 finalists are here.

  • 15 full-color original illustrations.  The most important component of a children’s publication, aside from the manuscript itself, are the illustrations.  And for authors who are not also artists, this can be an almost insurmountable obstacle to publishing a professional children’s book.  But not any longer.  Not only does Outskirts Press offer over 30 different artistic styles to choose from, but our writers never have to share their royalty with the illustrator.
  • Custom page-by-page book formatting. Along with this illustrations, this is really what makes the One-Click Children’s Suite so special.  Every page of a children’s book is its own little work of art — where the words and the illustrations “interact” with each other, for lack of a better word.  That can only be accomplished with a custom interior book design.
  • Expedited service. When you publish as many books a year as we do (roughly 1,600 annually), and apply so much time and attention to each one, a math major could identify a potential problem with that business model.  It’s true.  We love our books, and we are passionate about making them the best they can be.  That takes time.  So all our One-Click clients “jump to the front of the line” so to speak.
  • ISBN & Barcode. It almost goes without saying at this point in the self-publishing community, but of course all our packages, including the One-Click Suites, include an ISBN and a barcode, both mandatory ingredients for an actual book (and ingredients that many DIY e-books from DIY places still don’t bother with).  That’s like making a hamburger without the … hamburger.  It doesn’t even count as a book.  But, the One-Click for Children’s Books Suite goes one step further by offering the client the free option of publishing under his/her own private ISBN (instead of ours).  Some clients care about this sort of thing; others don’t. We accommodate your wishes in either case.
  • Official copyright registration, Library of Congress filing (including LOC #), and Books-in-Print registration.   Nothing exciting here. Just some basic administrative elements required by “real” published books. We handle all these administrative details for our One-Click Non-Fiction authors as a standard practice so they don’t have to worry about it.
  • Book publishing tip sheets. One of the increased values introduced by all our new services as of August 1 are a collection of articles, best practices, and whitepapers all designed to help authors publish the best book possible.  What makes a great author photo? What makes a great book title? What are some common do’s and don’ts for proper manuscript submission?  The free book publishing tip sheets answer all these questions for all our authors, and they’re all free and included.
  • The Book Marketing RoadMap. On the other end of the production cycle from the publishing tip sheets comes the marketing road maps. These guides and blueprints for successfully, efficiently, and effectively marketing a book are included for all our new authors as of August 1 with our new packages.  What are the best book contests to enter? How do you successfully navigate the social media waters? What are the best 15 marketing tactics to pursue, and why? These are just some of the compelling questions answered by the Book Marketing RoadMap for all our clients.
  • The Marketing COACH(tm). Yes, that is actually trademarked, if you can believe it, because only Outskirts Press offers Creative, Consistent, Assistance, Coaching, and Help to all our authors for years after publication.  COACH is a clever acronym, yes, but it’s also a clever program (pun intended).  Our software automatically delivers all our first-time published authors a veritable treasure trove of marketing advice, suggestions, marketing options, promotions, discounts, and tips via an “email drip” system for days, weeks, months, and years after publication.  No other self-publishing service provider offers anything like it, and the proof is in the pudding.  — Which is another way to say Ingram Wholesalers and its POD distribution representatives have personally called me on several occasions to remark on how impressive our wholesale book sales numbers are compared with our competitors.  They literally ask what we’re doing differently.  “It’s because we are passionate about helping our authors market and sell their books after they are published,” always sounds like a better answer than: “The Marketing COACH.”  Actually, both statements are true.
  • Custom Press Release and Public Relations Campaign. You can’t publish a top-notch, professional non-fiction book without telling the world about it, can you?  Well, you can, but you shouldn’t.  And the One-Click Non-Fiction package ensures that the world knows, with press release campaigns, PR publicist campaigns, hot leads follow-up, electronic clipping services, and global news wire notifications.
  • Additional distribution through Spring Arbor.  A high number of our children’s books are faith-based, so in the event that the content of the One-Click children’s book warrants it, we will submit it to Spring Arbor Christian Distribution for consideration.
  • Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Every year in Bologna, Italy, the premiere book fair for children’s books, children’s authors, illustrators, and publishers takes place.  This means premiere wholesale and retail representatives are on-hand looking for books to order and stock and recommend.  Every One-Click Children’s Book is represented at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, at no additional cost to the author.
  • A 60-90 second book video trailer.  Children’s books are a visual product, even more so than our other one-click books.  That means the best way to “show them off” is to feature them in a book video, so potential buyers, readers, and wholesalers can get the full impact of the amazing artwork and amazing story. Our client is given the video file for further marketing, and we’ll distribute it via social and video distribution sites like YouTube.
  • 5 hours of personal, one-on-one marketing assistance.  Our personal marketing assistants help the majority of ours authors, but the first five hours are included for our One-Click Children’s book authors, to ensure they start their marketing efforts off on the right foot.
  • And we also give the author a responsive, social media-integrated Author Webpage (like the one you saw for my book, if you happened to click that cover up there).  Their book video trailer appears in the Media Section, along with an audio excerpt the author can choose to record, if he/she so wishes (it’s included, but entirely optional).

Whew.  As if that wasn’t long enough, as a reward for reading this much, here are some “hidden benefits” that come with all our One-Click Publishing Suites. We don’t really promote these, per se, but I know how the website is programmed, so it’s also true that:

  • All One-Click books appear in the “Browse” section of our online bookstore. We only showcase great-looking books here, and all One-Click books look great!
  • We subsidize shipping costs with One-Click clients. Shipping fees can add up for authors, especially if they are ordering a lot of author’s copies to pursue marketing efforts.  We want to encourage all our One-Click clients to participate in those  important marketing steps, so we share some of the shipping burden with them. For example, the approximate shipping cost for fifty 200-page books within the continental United States for an Economy client might cost about $35 or so (70 cents each).  That same shipment might cost about $25 or so for the One-Click client (50 cents each).  Saving 20 cents for each book shipped might not sound like much until you order 1500 and save $300.
  • Another perk for ALL our authors, including the One-Click clients, is that we do not charge sales tax on author’s copies they order themselves. Most of our largest competitors do. That’s another 4-8% you’re saving on every book order.

 

 

 

 

Responsive Webpages For Everyone!

One of the important factors of the New & Improved Outskirts Press has been our transition to responsive website design for our new clients. RWD websites look great no matter what device is being used, ranging from desktop computers to mobile phones, and every tablet in between.  Mobile usage overtook desktop usage in 2016 so this was the perfect year to make this switch.

Along with our all new-publishing packages comes all new inclusions, including Publishing Tips Sheets on the front-end and the Book Marketing RoadMap on the back-end. And every new author receives a responsive author webpage with social media integration.

That’s great for them! But what about our thousands and thousands of already-published authors?  Well, as of today, every published Outskirts Press author now has a responsive author webpage to showcase and sell their book just as beautifully on a mobile phone as on a desktop monitor. And those in the production and pre-production pipelines will have a responsive webpage waiting for them upon publication.

mobile-upgrade

The aesthetic nature of the new responsive webpages is one thing. But, these pages are more than just a pretty face.  Here are other amazing facts about the responsive author webpages available exclusively through Outskirts Press:

  • Outskirts Press authors have the choice of publishing under our imprint of “Outskirts Press, Inc” or  under 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 Responsive Author Webpage is that Private Label authors have THEIR publishing name displayed at the top, rather than “Outskirts Press, Inc.”
  • A new menu bar has been added to the Responsive Author Webpages, 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.
  • The pertinent sales information remains and contains the title, sub-title, author name, publication date, page count, and genre.
  • 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).
  • PDF Digital Download e-files are still available for instant download if the author added that option to the publishing process.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The “About the Author” section includes the author’s biography (which is modifiable within the Publishing Center), plus the the author’s photo (if they provided it).
  • An exciting new feature of the Responsive 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  for the “social media connection” functionality to be added to your Responsive Author Webpage automatically.
  • The slick new “Also by” section showcases the front covers of every book you’ve ever published with Outskirts Press (or your own publishing imprint), no matter what package. Click on the cover and you’re taken to that book’s Author Webpage (which is also in Responsive Web Design).  If you’ve published multiple books with Outskirts Press, as so many authors have, it’s like suddenly receiving a free multi-page, career website.
  • The “Multi-Media” section includes  Audio Excerpts recorded by the author and/or Book Video Trailers. A new feature to the Upgraded Author Webpage: The Audio files should now play perfectly on all devices, including iPhones.  This section is omitted if the author does not have an audio excerpt or a book video.
  • 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.
  • If the optional Private Label ISBN was used to publish the book, all the Outskirts Press “branding” is removed from the author’s new responsible webpage.

Now that every Outskirts Press author has a cool responsive author webpage, there are 10 best practices to keep in mind for getting the most out of your author webpage. And that is the topic of an upcoming post. Stay tuned!

 

 

What’s New with the New Ultimate Book Publishing Package?

It’s been a full week since we unveiled the All-New Outskirts Press with its new RWD website for new clients and its new publishing packages for everyone.  Last week we offered an introductory special on our new One-Click Suite for Non-Fiction books with an instant savings of $500 off.  Saving money is all well and good, but the benefit of the One-Click Suite of services (and, really, all the book publishing services with Outskirts Press) is the amount of inclusions and value you receive. I went over all that value in a rather long posting last week, including some top-secrets benefits that almost no one knew about (shipping subsidies and sales tax savings, anyone?).

This week we are unveiling another Introductory Offer, this time on our amazing Ultimate Publishing Package.   Does it offer as much as the One-Click package? Of course not. Is it more affordable? Of course!  And that’s another benefit of working with Outskirts Press; our range of services and range of prices mean that everyone can publish a high-quality professional book, no matter their budget.  In fact, what savvy authors on a budget can do is examine all the additional inclusions and services within the One-Click package of their choice, and then start with the Ultimate package, and add-on services as you go.   That’s one of the benefits of all our a la carte, custom publishing services —  pricing flexibility (yes, that double-meaning is intended, because everyone knows that Outskirts Press is already one of the few publishers that gives the author so much control over the retail price of their book!).

Of course, listing ALL the benefits is a long list, but that’s what this posting is for — providing the level of detail and advice some authors are seeking when making a publishing investment into the manuscript they worked on for months, years, or even decades.  We know you’re passionate about your story, and we’re passionate about helping you turn it into the book of your dreams.

The Ultimate Package delivers everything you need to accomplish that goal! Here’s the list:

  • Paperback publication is included with all our packages, and Ultimate clients have the option of adding a hardback edition (with or without a dust jacket) for a little bit more. In fact, all told, Ultimate clients have the ultimate in customization options, with over 30 different trim and format options to choose from.   It’s an embarrassment of riches, actually, and … frankly, all these decisions are one reason authors elect for us to handle ALL the details with a One-Click package instead.
  • An ISBN.  This stands for International Standard Book Number and is the unique identifier for every “real” book that is published.  I stress real, and put it in quotes, because so many books nowadays (primarily ebook-0nly books) are being published without ISBNs.   Anyone “in the know” in the industry knows ISBNs are required for all publications, and especially for paperback and hardback publications.
  • A price-embedded bar code.  Look at the bar code on most of our competitor’s books and you’ll see a 9000 where the price should be. This is because they don’t include price-embedded bar codes.  Why not? Because it’s easier for them.  But Outskirts Press books make it easier for you and the merchant to marketing and sell your book, and that requires a price-embedded bar code.
  • Standard interior black/white book formatting.  One of the main advantages of choosing Outskirts Press (or, really, any full-service self-publishing company) is that your book is going to look like a book on the inside when it is published.  This might sound like a small thing — but it’s not.   Frankly, a computer cannot format a book very well – and when you start adding links or graphics or charts or anything “nice” to your book, forget about it; computer’s choke. In fact, the nicer you want your book to look, the more difficult it will be for a computer to deliver what you want.   That’s why professional authors seeking high-quality professional book publication, use services like ours.  Can some authors get away with formatting their own book themselves?  If they’re proficient in inDesign, then the answer is … maybe.   Otherwise, forget about it. So if you’re considering submitting your manuscript to a do-it-yourself place, or submitting a pre-formatted PDF file to anywhere, ask yourself if you’re proficient in InDesign. If the answer is “no” or “kinda” then do everyone a favor (especially your readers) and leave it for the professionals.
  • Customizable covers. The Ultimate package offers 20 all-new “themes” to choose from and further customize with different colored backgrounds and images from a image library  of literally hundreds of thousands to choose from.    I’ve seen some customizable covers that I can’t distinguish from a custom cover design — they’re THAT good. It really depends upon the artistic and creative abilities of the author, which are, let’s face it, probably pretty subjective.   Do you know what isn’t subjective? The excellence of our professional custom covers. And that’s why we recommend them.
  • New with the Ultimate is the inclusion of 20 optional image insertions.  Ask any professional book designer and she will tell you that properly and professionally inserting images into a book manuscript is a pain.  (Anyone can do it, but not very many people can do it well).  In reality, any page that contains an image becomes a custom-designed page, and those can throw off all the remaining pages in either direction if a substantial change is made to the text (which authors often do as late as the galley-revision stage).  But, the all-new Outskirts Press is passionate about publishing the book of our clients’ dreams, so this Ultimate package includes 20 free images if the authors have some to include. We analyzed all our books over the past 14 years and determined that 20 images was a high enough number to satisfy the needs of over 80% of our clients publishing in black/white.  The other 20% had LOTS and LOTS of images, and in those cases, yes, image insertion fees still must apply.
  • Speaking of galley-revision fees, the Ultimate package includes 3 free rounds of revisions. When we first launched Outskirts Press in 2002, we were naive and thought one round of galley revisions was sufficient.  We were wrong.  We’re all perfectionists around here, so now Ultimate clients receive 3 free rounds.
  • Worldwide distribution through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, with global on-demand availability through retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, Books-A-Million, and thousands more.  In fact, ANY bookstore with a relationship with Ingram will be able to order and sell your book.
  • Marketing services.  While the Ultimate doesn’t hold a candle to our One-Click Suites in terms of book marketing inclusions, it certainly out-shines the majority of our competitors in the self-publishing industry.  A publication announcement press release will be composed and distributed via Newswire when your book is published.  The Book Marketing RoadMap will share a variety of guidelines and best practices for marketing your book, ranging from the “Top 15 Book Marketing Steps” to “Navigating the Social Media Landscape.” And, of course, the Book Marketing COACH still provides creative assistance, coaching, and help via email for years after publication. In fact, in the coming months, the COACH is going to become more diverse and capable, by proving genre-specific suggestions and help for non-fiction, fiction, spiritual, and children’s books.  More on that improvement to our book marketing support at a later date.
  •  Responsive author webpage.  All new clients publishing on August 1, 2016 or after receive fully-responsive author webpages with social media integration. And the Ultimate clients have the included option of recording an audio excerpt which automatically appears on the author’s webpage in a “Media” section.  I wrote an entire blog post about our amazing new responsive author webpages here. 
  • And of course, you receive 10 free paperback copies of your book when it is published, with the option of saving up to 50% on your author’s copies (which are already way below wholesale).

Whew.  As if that wasn’t enough, right now, this week only, all new Ultimate Clients can save $25o instantly when they order their Ultimate Package securely online from our website. Here’s the link to the promotion code, deadline, and details.