Introducing the Free Book Marketing Bookshelf for Outskirts Press Authors

In yesterday’s posting, I displayed the results of a survey we conducted on a cross-section of our published authors asking what single thing they valued most about publishing with Outskirts Press. The first and second most popular answers gave way to our new brand message and the further emphasis of our fantastic publishing experts.

survey-graphic1

For the third answer, “Book marketing advice/support to help you sell more copies” I mentioned the introduction of our exclusive Book Launch Kit, which for new authors who began publishing on August 1, 2016 or later, is mailed to every One-Click, Ultimate, and Full-Color author upon publication.

The items within the Book Launch Kit are:

  • The 7 Tactics of Successfully Published Authors
  • The Book Marketing RoadMap
  • An Official Certificate of Publication
  • The 28 Day Book Launch Calendar
  • The Book Marketing Bookshelf

Providing lots of marketing support and advice after publication has always been one of the major differentiating factors between Outskirts Press and many other publishers. Every author already receives The Marketing COACH, which provides creative online assistance, coaching, and help via email for years after publication.  Every author already received the 7 Tactics of Successfully Published Authors.

And as of yesterday, every author now also received the Book Marketing Bookshelf, a growing resource library of articles, e-books, whitepapers, resources, and guides that offers free marketing advice, promotional suggestions, and strategic steps to help our authors sell more books.

bookshelf

Published Outskirts Press authors signed-in to their Publishing Center  Dashboard need only look for this graphic and click it to open the free marketing resource library, which is currently stocked with the following helpful information:

  • Top National Contests & Awards
  • 10 Local Ways to Use Your Free Author’s Copies
  • Top 15 Steps for Marketing Your Book
  • 10 Best Practices for Your Responsive Author Webpage
  • 77 Book Marketing & Promotional Resources

More marketing information will be added to the library regularly.

The Internet has demonstrated that anyone can throw-up (pun intended) any ol’ book onto the “cloud” as a poorly conceived, designed, and edited e-book.  But that’s not doing readers, or the self-publishing industry as a whole, any favors.  Few and far between are the #1-rated publishing companies that are truly committed to helping authors publish high-quality, professional, award-winning books and then giving them this level of marketing support after publication.

In fact there’s only one.

 

 

 

What do you value most about publishing with Outskirts Press?

Leading up to our August 1 re-launch as the New & Improved Outskirts Press we conducted some market research by asking a select cross-section of our published authors what single thing they valued MOST about publishing with Outskirts Press.

Here are the top five answers:

survey-graphic1

Nearly one-third of them said they most appreciated the ability to publish their story exactly the way they wanted.  So overwhelming was this response that we made it a part of our new brand-promise: “Your book matters, let’s make it your way.”   You can see this brand message across many of our social media platforms, including Facebook, our blog, Google+, and YouTube.

In close second, our authors indicated they highly valued the publishing team that was provided to them to help them throughout the publishing process.  This has always been one of our core offerings, as you can see here, so it was nice to see it so well appreciated by our clients.

Coming up third was our book marketing advice and support.  And while nearly 20% of the respondents indicated it was the single most important component of publishing with Outskirts Press, we made a commitment to offer even more!   All new authors who begin publishing with the One-Click Suites, or the Ultimate or Full-Color after August 1st receive a Book Launch Kit, which contains:

  • The 7 Tactics of Successfully Published Authors
  • The Book Marketing RoadMap
  • An Official Certificate of Publication
  • The 28 Day Book Launch Calendar
  • The Book Marketing Bookshelf

I’ll discuss each of these Book Launch Kit components in future postings, beginning with the all-new Book Marketing Bookshelf, which, beginning today, becomes available for all our published authors inside their Publishing Center. You heard it here first, and more details are coming up next time…

 

 

Self Publishing Simplified Infographic

One of the goals of the new & improved Outskirts Press is providing our published authors with even more marketing support after their books are published.  We’ve always been very good at that (as evidenced by hundreds of testimonials to that affect here), but it’s going to get even better for our authors this year and next when the Book Marketing RoadMap and Book Marketing Bookshelf become available for all our published authors who started publishing August 1st or afterwards. More details about those exciting (and free) new marketing offerings will be forthcoming soon.

But, in the meantime, as we were consolidating the marketing support materials we have for our authors, I came across this oldie-but-a-goodie, an infographic from a number of years ago that is just as valid today as it was then:

Congratulations to our 2016 Best Book of the Year award-winner!

Every year Outskirts Press recognizes 3-5% of our best books for official EVVY Award Nomination, to submit to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association’s EVVY Awards.  From those winners, we select three finalists for our annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards.  Those three finalists then compete head-to-head-to-head in a public poll (the results of which you can see here) to recognize the writer with the best “author platform” and marketing prowess in order to earn the esteemed title of Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year.

In short, it’s not easy.  So, when an author accomplishes it twice, that is truly a remarkable achievement!

Congratulations to Andrew Ceroni, author of 2016’s Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year, Meridian!

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In this prequel to SNOW MEN, CIA agent Pete Novak is racing to Europe with orders to stop Laszlo, to kill him if that’s what it takes. Several agents have already died trying. Novak’s dedicated security escort, J.T. Brannon, former assassin unmatched in the art of killing, is leery of Novak’s assignment and warns him of its danger. As Novak unravels the alarming secrets behind the MERIDIAN program and his path converges with Laszlo’s desperate pursuit to annihilate his demons, Novak and his family are swept into the crosshairs of rogue Agency assassins. Only Brannon can save Novak’s family, and he is committed to sacrificing his own life to do so. The final confrontation and profound revelation of MERIDIAN explode into a deadly struggle over what may be the very future of mankind itself.

It is the biggest of America’s big secrets—MERIDIAN, the deepest black and most intensely protected program since the Atom Bomb. The MERIDIAN program contains the furthest leading edge of weapons technology and with origins more profoundly startling than the technology itself. Governments will stop at nothing to get it. Laszlo Csengerny, a Russian–controlled spy, a man haunted by demons from his past, has uncovered the key to destroying the program.

Makes you want to read it, doesn’t it? Andrew Ceroni is not only a master story-teller, and an excellent marketer, he also happens to be a hell of a nice guy! I’ve met him twice. Most recently, at this year’s EVVY Awards when he accepted his 1st Place EVVY Award for Meridian (in the Action/Adventure Category), and his 2nd Place EVVY Award for Meridian (in the Science Fiction Category).  And I met him at last year’s EVVY Awards when he accepted his 1st Place EVVY Award for Snow Men.  Snow Men went on to win last year’s Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year. Buy it here.

Winning the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award comes with a number of perks, including extra exposure throughout social media (such as blog postings exactly like this), the option of adding a permanent “Best Book of the Year” graphic emblem on the book itself, and of course the $1500 Grand Prize added to his author account at Outskirts Press.

Now that Outskirts Press has been updated and upgraded, the Best Book of the Year winner also receives prime “real estate” on the Outskirts Press direct bookstore, where one of the rotating “slides” promotes the book, with a direct link to buy it. This graphic will remain on the bookstore until the NEXT Best Book of the Year is determined.

I’m going to ask Andrew if he’s willing to be interviewed about his process, his books, his tactics for dominating the Best Book voting, and his plans for the future.  With any luck, he’ll say yes. Stay tuned. But in the meantime, congratulations to all our Finalists (that’s an amazing feat in its own right) and our Grand Prize Award-winning author — Andrew Ceroni, author of this year’s Meridian!

 

 

The New & Improved Outskirts Press Newsletter

Last week when I blogged about our Best Book of the Year process, I mentioned that some pictures from the August 20th EVVY Awards would be posted on my blog soon.  The pictures I referred to were those taken by the CIPA photographers (I smiled for so many pictures as I accepted our authors’ awards that my jaw was literally beginning to hurt), and I figured they would be made available any day. I spoke too soon.

So rather than wait for their pictures to be posted, we used some of our own photographs that we took that night to complement our September 1st Newsletter article about the Best Book of the Year Awards.  It was a fitting debut, since this is also the edition that is unveiling our new & improved newsletter, with a better format and better content. You can see the new newsletter here.

“New & Improved” is a phrase we’re throwing around a lot lately, as we improve our branding, our messaging, our packages, our website, our communications, and now our newsletter.  But I feel in every instance of “new” those elements of our company have also been significantly “improved.”

  • Our branding is improved by being more on point with clearly defined colors, fonts, and language.
  • Our messaging is improved by being more helpful and author-orientated instead of “sales-y.”
  • Our packages are improved by including more elements our clients over the past decade have asked for.
  • Our website is improved by being responsive to all devices, being less cluttered and more cutting-edge.
  • Our communications (namely email) are improved by being more focused, more helpful, less sales-y, and responsive.
  • And our newsletters are improved by bringing all those previously listed improvements together.

The first newsletter is a good example of this, where you can clearly see the results of the brand and messaging overhaul. You can also see how we are providing free tips (in this case, an article about creating the perfect book title), and sharing more details about the amazing people behind the scenes at Outskirts Press, beginning with our Director of Operations, Wendy.

Noteworthy perhaps, is what the online newsletter doesn’t include.  The emailed version includes other articles and advice that are only available by subscribing to it or publishing with us (we send out two different versions — one for potential authors and one for published authors; and of course, the content is different, because a published author requires different information than a soon-to-be-published author). The online version, on the other hand, includes only portions of each emailed newsletter for the general public.

newsletter0916

And now that we’ve officially announced the upcoming Best Book of the Year awards, it’s time to choose our 3 finalists! They’ll be revealed next week on our blog. Stay tuned!

 

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…