2013 CIPA EVVY Award Winners

The 19th Annual EVVY Awards took place last Saturday night in Denver.  Our Outskirts Press blog will make the official announcement of our EVVY winners this week, but one of the benefits of reading my blog  is that sometimes you get information early.  So without further ado, here are the EVVY Award-winners from Outskirts Press:

First Place Winner

46 Days in Ukraine,  by Basil Pallis (Non-Fiction/Experiences)

Second Place Winners:

Blues in the Wind – Revisited, by Whitney J. LeBlanc (Fiction)

The Cloudy Corners of Creation, by Mark Tate (Religion/Spirituality)

 

Third Place Winners:

Family Likeness, by Wilson Awasu (Religion/Spirituality)

It’s a Family Affair, by Sharon Rhodes (Fiction)

Living Between the Line, by Eulus Dennis (Autobiography/Memoirs)

Merit Award Winners:

To Know You by Rebecca Del Reye  (Fiction)

On the Hole by Jeff Bacot, (Fiction)

EVVY Finalists:

Bahotep and the Stone of Edyn, by Ayden Eschen

Death at Willow Creek Mine, by J.D. Savid

Grateful Life, by John Fields

Obibini Blackman, by Kwasi Boadi

Shadows and Fire, by Jennifer Fales

 

One of these books will be recognized in the coming weeks as the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year for 2012.  Congratulations to them all!

Best Self Publishing Companies

Top Consumer Reviews is an independent consumer services ranking website located at TopConsumerReviews.com. Along with ranking services in the health, beauty, and family categories, it also ranks the “top self publishing companies”. Top Consumer Reviews ranks Outskirts Press #1 among the “best self publishing companies” reviewed. Each of the seven companies is given a 1-to-5 star ranking.

Outskirts Press is the only self publishing company receiving a five star ranking and their first place blue ribbon designation.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the Top Consumer Reviews website regarding Outskirts Press self publishing:

“Outskirts Press is the best self-publishing company you’ll find to publish your work. They offer a variety of exceptional value programs that start as low as $199. You can choose the services that you want and still keep 100% of the royalties from the books you sell.”

“Outskirts Press is a self publishing company built for authors. With superior services, upfront pricing, and honest business practices, they are dedicated to ensuring the success of their authors.”

“Outskirts Press allows authors to keep 100% of the royalties from the sale of their books. This incredible feature sets this program above the rest of the self-publishing services.”

“Outskirts Press is an excellent self-publishing service. They offer a range of resources tailored for the budget-minded author, and allow you the flexibility to pick and choose those features that you’re most interested in. Their focus is to provide you with the services you need while allowing you to maximize your profit without any hidden fees. Outskirts Press sets the standard by which all self publishing companies should be judged and clearly earns our highest rating.”

Thank you, Top Consumer Reviews.

 

Outskirts Press Self Publishing has an A+ Better Business Bureau Rating

In the immortal words of Sally Fields, “You love us. You really love us.”  Or… paraphrased at least.  Such is our Valentine’s Day hug to our friends over at the Better Business Bureau and their recognition of Outskirts Press as an A+ caliber business in terms of business ethics and customer service.

The grade point system the BBB uses is largely dependent upon a formula that, for simplicity’s sake, I will reduce to this equation:  The number of customers/divided by/ the number of complaints. Sure, there are other variables, such as the company’s responsiveness to officially registered complaints, and other factors, but ultimately, the larger the gap between your total number of customers and your total number of complaints, the better your score is.  Makes sense, right?

So this may sound strange for me to mention, especially in light of our A+ rating, but there is a flaw with the BBB’s system and it stems from this basic fact: it was created before the Internet, during a time when the acquisition of new customers took months instead of seconds. Since the formula being used by the BBB to determine grades uses variables that can change drastically within 24 hours, you can see how it quickly becomes out of date. This is why, if you closely watch any Internet business’ BBB ranking, it often slowly declines over time since the number of customers being calculated by the BBB stays constant (because they don’t update their records as quickly as Internet businesses acquire more customers), while the number of complaints rises statistically in accordance with the actual number of customers.

For example, until January 2013, the BBB hadn’t updated our records at Outskirts Press for years… and in that span of time, our customer base basically doubled over the numbers they were using for their formula.  It doesn’t take a mathematician to see how that could negatively affect a BBB grade, based upon their equation, if the top number of the equation stays erroneously static while the bottom number continues to dynamically climb. Or… maybe it DOES take a mathematician to understand that.  But I’m an English major, and that flaw in their system has always bothered me.

Nevertheless, thank you to the BBB for updating their records to reflect our growth over the past several years, and bringing our grade to its accurate reflection of the self publishing industry. And speaking of which, Valentine’s Day love also goes out to Top Consumer Reviews, who also has Outskirts Press as the #1 self publishing company.  More on that next time…

A Self-Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2009-2012

All this week leading into the new year I am comparing the annual Outskirts Press holiday luncheon pictures of year’s past as a sort of short-form retrospective of the folks at Outskirts Press who make thousands upon thousands of authors’ dreams come true every year.  Of course, it should be noted that these pictures never offer a comprehensive glance of ALL the talented editors, illustrators, formatters, cover designers, and other folks involved with Outskirts Press year in and year out; if it did, these photographs would feature more than 100 people each year.  With what many authors would call “round the clock” support, and with a production pipeline containing between 300-500 titles at any given time, you can imagine the difficulty inherent in even getting 20 people together during a work day all at once.  Plus, we have people who work across the country, which makes it even harder to coordinate get-togethers like this one:

We did better in 2009 with our largest gathering to date. Yes, you’ll recognize many of the same people from 2012, 2011, and 2010, including from the back row: Caroline, Ellen, Cindy, Patrick, Shirley, Donna; Middle row: Tony, Tanya, and the front row: Jeanine, Lynn, Brent, and Lora.  Other faces you see here will become more and more familiar as we keep going back in time during this week-long self-publishing retrospective…

I should also mention that 2009 was the year we published our 5,000th book.  You may remember that we published our 10,000th book in 2012. We started publishing books in 2003 (I started the company in 2002 but we didn’t publish other books or incorporate until 2003). So in other words, it took the first 7 years to publish our first 5000 books and only the past 3 years to publish our second 5000 books. That is an explosion of growth!  To say that we were (and still are) in the midst of a self-publishing revolution (and revelation) would be an understatement.

A Self-Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2010-2012

On Christmas I posted our annual holiday luncheon picture, and thus began this week-long retrospective comparing the holiday party pictures of previous years to highlight certain accomplishments and people of Outskirts Press. We compared the 2011 picture yesterday, and today we’ll look at the 2010 picture:

You’ll immediately recognize some familiar faces in this photograph, the people who were in both the 2012 and 2011 pictures: Back Row: Cindy, Lora, Donna, Patrick, Ellen, Shirley, Brent. Front Row: Jeanine, Lynn, Tony.

You will also recognize two faces represented in one, but not both, of the previous pictures, Jodee and Caroline (sans Luke).

A Self Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2011-2012

Yesterday I posted our annual Outskirts Press self-publishing holiday picture for 2012, which is an annual photograph we have taken since 2006.  Since the self-publishing industry changes so fast, sometimes it is nice to take a look back at previous years and see what accomplishments or milestones we reached during those years and what has changed.

In doing so, an interesting and reassuring fact reveals itself, and it is something our stable of successful authors value and is part of what keeps them coming back to Outskirts Press book after book: The more things change, the more they stay the same.  We are still the highest-quality full-service self-publishing service provider, still privately owned, and still family owned.

Every year we have new folks joining us for our holiday party and as we go around the table and “introduce” ourselves, we also each stated how long we have been performing services for Outskirts Press and its authors. Seven, eight, and nine years were not uncommon lengths of time for some of the people in this photograph. That experience speaks for itself, and helps explain why Outskirts Press continues to be the only self-publishing company that appears on the Inc. 5000 list year after year (four years and counting).

With every year, we reach and exceed several milestones, accomplishments that are not clear simply by comparing the 2011 Holiday Photograph with the 2012 image I posted yesterday. Accomplishments like: Publishing our 10,000 book, launching our Facebook self-publishing achievements, donating a total in excess of $20,000 to the Colorado Humanities, revealing our 2nd annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year, and much more.

What is clear by comparing these pictures is that we have experience in our corner, as you will see many of the same people year after year, a testament to their experience and joy in helping self-publishing authors reach their goals: Between 2012 and 2011 the following people joined us for both parties: Back Row: Shirley, Ellen, Patrick, Donna, Cindy, Tony, and Brent. Front Row: Jeanine, Lora, and Lynn.  The four women present in this photograph but not in 2012 (Elise, Deni, Jenny, and Lonni) are still helping authors, too, but were simply not in attendance for our holiday luncheon in 2012 for various reasons.

So who were those new faces in the 2012 picture? Rob is a new Personal Marketing Assistant. Lisa is also a new Personal Marketing Assistant. Caroline (holding Luke) has been a book designer for a number of years but was not at the 2011 Holiday luncheon. Elena is a new Publishing Consultant. Christine joined us from the Colorado Humanities, where we have been sponsor/partners for the Colorado Book Awards for a number of years. And Jodee has been in the Author Services (publishing consultant) department for a number of years but was not at the 2011 lunch. Of course, you can see both Jodee and Caroline in the summer picnic pictures I’ve posted previously…

We’ll compare the 2010 holiday picture with this 2011 photograph tomorrow…

 

Self Publishing Videos for Outskirts Press

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.

The Editing Facebook Achievement Award

Last time I focused on the Publishing Achievement Award categories in our Facebook Self-Publishing Awards & Achievements. Since editing was one of the achievements, this is a good time to discuss (or rather, show) how the Self-Publishing Achievements are incorporated into the Outskirts Press website, and also talk a little bit more about the value of professional editing for self-publishing authors.  This screen shot below from our website does both.

The circled box shows how certain options can lead to an achievement award.  Our web developers have done an amazing job of making it seamless for our authors. In fact, if an author is already signed-in to their Facebook account when they come upon a potential achievement award at Outskirts Press, our site will display their Facebook Avatar. In other words, our site performs that “handshake” with Facebook behind the scenes, making the achievement awards unobtrusive.  You also see the Achievement award icon that can be earned, and a small description of the achievement you are earning.

Also on display on the “Product Detail Page” for this option is our short editing ebook, which provides some examples of “before & after” sections in a variety of genres (fiction, non-fiction, children’s, cookbooks, poetry, etc.) Not all authors can immediately recognize the value of investing in professional editing, so this ebook helps put a clearer picture on it.

Such is the case for custom covers, too, and we’ll discuss that option, and it’s place in our Facebook Production Achievements, next time….

Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Finalists

All this week our Outskirts Press publishing blog has been featuring the three finalists for our 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award. Here are the three finalists:

Congratulations to Susan, Bolko, and Glenn.  For more details about all three of these books and their authors, visit our Outskirts Press blog.  Beginning tomorrow, June 1, our blog will open the public polls so our social community of readers and writers can vote on the finalist best deserving of the award of the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year. Good luck to them!