Say Good-Bye to Self-Publishing Simplified

… and say HELLO to Publish Your Passion.

We unveiled the new Outskirts Press this Monday with a new website for new clients and new book publishing packages for everyone.

That means a new publishing guide, which covers all the new publishing services we offer as of August 1, 2016. It’s called Publish Your Passion, and it is available from our new website here.

A new publishing guide means we must say good-bye to the old publishing guide, Self-Publishing Simplified, which was 108 pages of detailed information. As I mentioned in a recent post, Outskirts Press spent a lot of time over the past ten years educating authors on what self-publishing was, and how it worked.  Our publishing guide was 108 pages for that very reason.

Now that most writers are familiar with what self-publishing is and how it works, publishing guides can be shorter.  Thank goodness! Asking anyone to read a 108-page publishing guide was asking a lot!

Our new publishing guide, Publish Your Passion, is much shorter (over half as long), and in full-color.  It covers all our hardcopy publishing packages, from our One-Click suites, to our a la carte black & white packages, to our full-color package. We titled it Publish Your Passion because we understand the passion and emotion that comes from writing a book and then entrusting the right company to publish it.   Many of us at Outskirts Press are writers ourselves, including yours truly, and we are equally passionate about helping you publish the book of your dreams.

Speaking of full-color, we actually used to have two different publishing guides: Self-Publishing Simplified, which was not only our comprehensive publishing guide but also served as an example of our black & white printing; and Adventures in Publishing, which was a fully-illustrated guide for our full-color package that also served as an example of our children’s books (and was in fully-rhyming verse).

I’m going to miss that one a lot.  It was … cute.  And it holds a special place in my heart because I wrote it and worked closely with one of our amazing artists on all the original full color illustrators (thanks to my talented artistic collaborator, Victor!).  Anyone who has written and published a children’s book with full-color illustrations knows what I’m talking about.

So, in other words, Self-Publishing Simplified and Adventures in Publishing are being terminated this week, and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. I’ve already removed them from the Kindle and Nook.  As I write this, Amazon has 5 copies of Self-Publishing Simplified in stock and 4 copies of Adventures in Publishing.  I don’t want to suggest they might be collector’s items someday, but… you never know. Haha.  So don’t buy them expecting up-to-date publishing guide information — they’re out of date, and that’s why they are being cancelled.

Our new publishing guide, Publish Your Passion, isn’t a collector’s item (at least, not yet), but it is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the proper publishing package for your book at Outskirts Press.  And in the near future, it will also be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, serving as an example of our high-quality full-color book printing.

 

 

 

 

What’s new at the New Outskirts Press?

Today, August 1st marks an exciting new chapter for Outskirts Press, with the launch of our new RWD website. Over the past year I have been blogging periodically about our transition to Responsive Web Design, which, according to Wikipedia, is  “an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).”

say-hello-RWD

But, more important than a cosmetic change are all the new enhancements and improvements that have been made to our client services and publishing services, as well.  Gone are the “old” publishing packages known as the Pearl, Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald.   Now we have all-new packages with all-new names — names that more clearly communicate their hierarchy to one another: Ultimate, Basic, Economy, and Full-Color. Over the coming days I will be discussing these new custom, a la carte publishing packages in more detail.

Our One-Click Publishing Suites remain largely unchanged, with one notable exception — the introduction of the One-Click Publishing for Non-Fiction Suite, which is  (as its name implies) the perfect bundle of professional services for all non-fiction books.

In recognition of this exciting new One-Click package, Outskirts Press is offering an introductory price savings of $500 for this first week of August only. The details for all our monthly promotional features can be found on the rotating image header on the front page of our site (which is also a new feature in itself).

When you’ve been in the self-publishing business as long as we have, a lot of things change — including website conventions (hence the RWD site) and client needs. When I founded Outskirts Press in 2002, one of our primary jobs was explaining what we did. Back then, the notion that we could take anyone’s manuscript and publish it and get it up onto Amazon seemed like magic to a lot of people.  So our “old” website and marketing out-reach did a lot of explaining of that concept.

Nowadays, nearly everyone is aware of their opportunities to self-publish a book.  They no longer need us to explain what self-publishing is, but rather, they need us to demonstrate why self-publishing with Outskirts Press is a better value for them than self-publishing elsewhere. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy thing to demonstrate in many ways, not the least of which is simply showing potential clients our hundreds and hundreds of testimonials.

In any event, this change to our basic approach affects not only the overall design of the new website, but the publishing services we now provide to our clients, as well.

In our 14 years of experience, we have learned first-hand that informed authors lead to successful books.  So our new publishing packages all include Book Publishing Tip Sheets, which are a collection of various articles, lists, and whitepapers filled with best practices about everything from better book titles to taking the perfect author photograph.

When Outskirts Press makes publishing a book so easy, it becomes easy for authors to forget an equally-important part of the self-publishing journey: book marketing.  Our famous and exclusive Marketing COACH is in the process of being improved as we speak (improving 2+ years of information is a daunting task).  And to complement the COACH emails, our new publishing packages all include The Book Marketing RoadMap, an informative series of articles and whitepapers focused on providing complimentary marketing advice to our valued clients after their book has been published.

This blog posting of what’s new is already becoming longer than I planned (because so much is new), so let me just quickly rattle off some additional new features:

  • additional proofing rounds
  • additional image insertions
  • new cover themes (plus new covers designed specifically for children’s books)
  • new author webpages with social media integration

The list of what’s new and improved goes on and on. So, what’s new at the New Outskirts Press?  A whole lot, as it turns out, and I’ll get into the details of all these new improvements in the coming days and weeks.

 

The “O” is for Outstanding

We’re in the middle of discussing the *NEW* Outskirts Press rebranding and relaunch. The rebranding process is already underway, as we’ve been discussing over the past several weeks on this blog. And the relaunch of the NEW Outskirts Press website is scheduled for August 1. With the relaunch comes all new publishing packages, branding, and messaging.

New “stuff” often means new graphics. In the previous post I discussed the impending retirement of our horizontal Outskirts Press logo (we’ll be using the “stacked” version exclusively). Today I will discuss the introduction of the new “O” mark, which will play subtle and not-so-subtle roles in much of the rebranding effort.

icon-plain

Our new suite of publishing service icons will prominently feature this “O” when the new publishing packages are introduced on August 1 on the new website (more on our new packages in the near future).  This “O” will also play a small role in the graphic design of some of our advertising efforts, both online and offline, as we roll out new advertising and marketing campaigns.

You can see the “O” being implemented already, as the new .ico image for our current website at http://outskirtspress.com:

icoblog

If your own website doesn’t yet have an .ico image, it’s easy enough to add one. Simply create a high-resolution graphic (1200 or 2400 dpi) in .jpg or .png format, and then use an .ico converter on the web (easy enough to find with a Google search) to convert the image into .ico format. Then upload that .ico file to your website’s root directory.  It’s a small thing. But in the world of self-publishing, small things often make all the difference. Which is why Top Consumer Reviews ranks Outskirts Press #1.

 

EVVY Award Finalists

This coming Saturday The Colorado Book Awards are taking place in picturesque Parker, Colorado, on the outskirts of Denver.   See the details in my previous post.

Speaking of awards, The Colorado Independent Publishers Association has selected their finalists for the upcoming EVVY Awards this summer.  As usual, Outskirts Press led the pack among all participating publishers with 50 finalists. See all the Outskirts Press finalists in this blog posting on the Self Publishing News blog.  Congratulations to all our talented awards finalists!

Becoming an EVVY Finalist is one of the steps toward securing the Outskirts Press BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR Award.  In a post I wrote a number of years ago, I detailed how the Outskirts Press EVVY Nominees are determined.  I also wrote about how the EVVY Awards are judged.

You can read all my posts relevant to the EVVY Awards by following hashtag #EVVY.

But first thing’s first: Honoring the Colorado Book Award finalists this Saturday night at the Pace Center.  Good luck!

 

Winning National Novel Writing Month and Saving $200

I did it! I wrote over 50,000 words in under 30 days for National Novel Writing Month. When I validated my word count, I was lucky enough to witness this video from the NaNoWriMo crew:

 

Along with the following words of recognition:

You, brave authorial knight, have officially slayed 50K during NaNoWriMo 2014. Now, claim your dragon’s cave worth of treasure!

And the following certificate:

certificate

 

And a picture of a t-shirt (which I have to buy if I want one, and I would… but, I’m sorry to say, it’s just not very appealing):

shirt

And some winner’s “web badges”.

badges

In addition, some “winners-only” codes for offers from the NaNoWriMo sponsors will be available to me soon, which I discussed in an earlier post.  A better offer comes by way of a non-NaNoWriMo sponsor (they told us they were ‘full’ when we offered to give them money), where you can get a FREE Amazon Extreme Marketing Package when you start publishing your book with Outskirts Press.  This marketing package includes a free Amazon Kindle edition of your book once it is published, submission of your book to Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” program, an Amazon cover enhancement for your Amazon listing, and a free copy of my bestselling and award-winning book Sell Your Book on Amazon.  And all our publishing packages always include between 3 – 10 free copies of your book (which is better than 2, right?). All the details of this offer, including the necessary promotion code, can be found here: http://outskirtspress.com/promotion.html.  Hey, look at that: you don’t even have to get to the “Winners” page on NaNoWriMo to get this offer!

Or…. if you prefer saving money instead of receiving free stuff, today also happens to be Black Friday (what great timing!), so if you order your Diamond or Pearl full-color publishing package today only, you can save an instant 20% (that’s an average savings of over $200) on the cost of your all-inclusive, full-service book publishing. Simply enter the promotion code: 20DSCT2014 into your shopping cart at check-out.

I’m sure I’ll be seeing the rest of my mentorees and writing buddies on the NaNoWriMo site crossing the finish line soon.  Way to go, fellow WriMo’s!

 My NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday, November 27:

Average Per Day 1857
Words Written Today 1613
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 50,158  WINNER
Words Remaining 0
Current Day 27
Days Remaining 4
At this rate, you’ll finish 27-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 0

 

What is the best self publishing company?

With so much competition in self-publishing nowadays, how are writers supposed to determine the “best self publishing company” for their books? This is a particularly important question during National Novel Writing Month when 500,000 participants are going to have to choose a publisher for their book come December 1st.

It comes down to statistical analysis of multiple sources and reviews. This beats relying upon any single source (whether it be positive or negative) since it’s important to realize that single sources may lack knowledge, integrity, or applicability. Now that the Internet is replacing newspapers, we are bombarded with more information than ever before, but unfortunately, most of the Internet lacks one component that made newspapers and journalism valuable — the vetting process. You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet; you must do your own homework, and that involves researching numerous sources and then combining that data into a value system you can actually use.

And that brings me to a posting I originally wrote in 2010 to help authors with the process of statistically analyzing 3rd-party sources when making a self-publishing decision. I introduced 4 such sources to help writers compare the “best self publishing companies” in a logical, mathematical way.  By combining these various “reviews” together to arrive upon a “sum total” you are better equipped to see an accurate “average score” of the best self publishing companies for your book.

Here is a link to that December 20, 2010 posting, titled “Compare Self Publishing Companies“.

In the meantime, here are my NaNoWriMo stats for November 20:

Average Per Day 1841
Words Written Today 1582
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 36824
Words Remaining 13,176
Current Day 20
Days Remaining 11
At this rate, you’ll finish 28-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 1,198

Best selling self published author

A week ago I mentioned one of our best-selling authors at Outskirts Press, Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmo, and her success with using social media.  The Self-Publishing News blog recently interviewed her, and here are some helpful excerpts from that interview for those of us participating in NaNoWriMo (and for all writers, come to think of it):

OP: What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of becoming a published author?

MMCM: The most rewarding part is and will always be the ability Letters has to touch people. It’s crazy because I didn’t think people really read books anymore. But for me, having these girls go and buy my book, and spend their twenty dollars or so on Letters–it’s amazing, that someone believes in things still. People say my book has helped them heal, and that it has touched them, and that they have read and reread the book five or six times. It’s not a long book, but still! That’s the best feeling. A lot of girls and guys have hit me up, saying I inspired them to write again. It’s so great, because I’ve had people inspire me throughout my life, so it’s kind of like I’m paying it forward. I love showing people that things are possible. When I first saw Jennifer Lopez in a movie, you know, I was like–wow, a Latin girl on screen! I was being represented. It was so powerful. If I can be an inspiration to someone to write, to publish a book, that’s beautiful.

OP: What advice would you offer new authors?

MMCM: Go with your gut. Don’t write for what you think people want–write your heart. People receive honesty well, unless they’re your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Just be honest in your writing, and then publish it. Don’t go to the coffee shop where people are writing scripts and things like that when you’re trying to write something heartfelt; the city noise and the distractions will prevent you. Take that time for yourself. Imagine you’re meditating with your computer, with words. Really listen to your soul, so you can express what it wants to say.

OP: What does the average day look like for you, as a writer?

MMCM: I make time to write, and obviously I also write whenever I feel something specific move me. I’m constantly thinking of new material, so I’m constantly on my phone. Some people might think I’m texting, but I’m actually writing. Discipline is super important. With acting as well, you want to go to class–you want to make sure you stay on top of your game by auditioning. It’s an entire job just to get the audition, and another job to book it, and then another job afterwards. The same discipline I follow as an actor I bring to my writing. I wake up early every day and try to write something, whether it’s one paragraph or a chapter. Each morning at a given time, I’m writing.

You can read the whole interview at Self Publishing News.

Mirtha Michelle Castron Mármol’s book, Letters, To The Men I Have Loved, has been one of Outskirts Press‘s Top 10 Bestselling Books every month since it was published in June.  Mirtha Michelle Castron Mármol is known for her roles in the “Fast & Furious” franchise and the upcoming film, “AWOL-72,” and she keeps her fans and readers up to date on her activities through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Check out her hashtag, #MMCM, to learn more about her work.

I hate to change so abruptly from such an inspiring post to such a depressing statistic, but I didn’t get ANY words written to my book yesterday, so my NaNoWriMo stats for November 12 look like this:

Average Per Day 1628
Words Written Today 0
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 19545
Words Remaining 30,455
Current Day 12
Days Remaining 19
At this rate, you’ll finish December 1
Words/Day to finish on time 1,603

For the second time this month, the Stats are tracking me to finish AFTER the deadline.  I’d better pick it up!