New Author Webpages are coming in Responsive Web Design

Over the last couple of months I have been blogging about the steps Outskirts Press is taking to transition all our web properties and email communications to RWD (responsive web design), which allows for an aesthetic and functional user-experience that is seamlessly branded regardless of the type of device being used by our clients.

Those milestones were:

  1. Landings Pages
  2. Email Communication
  3. Newsletters
  4. Author Webpages
  5. Outskirts Press External
  6. Outskirts Press Internal

Previous postings have discussed milestones 1-3. That brings us to the new RWD author webpages, which are going to become available soon for our authors.

Our current author webpages have not been updated since I programmed them way back in 2002. That’s a millennium in Internet-time! To say they desperately needed an update is an understatement.

And boy, did they get one!

new-authorpage-desk

The new RWD author webpages look great regardless of the device being used.  It won’t matter if our authors’ customers are viewing them on a desktop (above), or a tablet…

new-authorpage-tab

… or a smartphone:

new-authorpage-phone

In addition to the “RWD-ness” of the new author webpages comes other commonplace conventions in this day and age, namely social media buttons, multiple format choices for paperbacks (hardbacks, when available) and Kindle, Nook, and iPad editions (when the author has published those versions).

As you can see from the examples above, I’ve linked my author webpage for Sell Your Book on Amazon to my Facebook account and my Twitter account, and as a result, those two links automatically appear on my author webpage in the upper right-hand corner on the desktop and tablet view, respectively. This social media functionality is reserved for our Ruby, Diamond, and Pearl authors (over 80% of our clients) and will also include availability for YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Linked-In if authors have a presence on those social media sites.

Of course, linking each author’s webpage to his/her personal social media channels requires acquiring that information from each of our authors, and that’s the process we’ll talk about next time.

Congratulations to Andrew Ceroni, author of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

The votes are in, and Andrew Ceroni has walked away with the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award! Or perhaps I should say, sprinted away.  As mentioned previously, a public poll held on the Self Publishing News blog between three EVVY-winning books determines the final winner, which means, the marketing prowess of the three finalists is what ultimately crowns the winning author. Mr. Ceroni and his book, “Snow Men” accumulated 63.51% of the votes.

Andrew Ceroni accepts his 1st Place EVVY Award at the Colorado Independent Publishers Association awards ceremony.

Even before the public poll went live, but after he was notified as one of the finalists, Andrew was engaging his Facebook friends with custom-made graphics of his award-winning book and seeking votes.  The temporary closeness of the poll demonstrates how engaged all three authors were in the marketing aspect of securing this award, since at one point, all three finalists were “neck and neck” with mere percentage points separating them. But at the bell, Mr. Ceroni prevailed.

That’s not to take anything away from the two other finalists, both of whom penned impressive books, garnered 1st Place EVVY Awards, and secured an impressive number of votes themselves.  Congratulations to “Dust to Dust” author John Hudson and “Speechless” author E.J. Brown (more about her in the next post); you both have much to be proud of.  Being a “Best Book of the Year” finalists from approximately 1,500 published books is an amazing accomplishment in its own right!

And a hearty congratulations to Andrew Ceroni, author of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year, “Snow Men.”

I met Andrew at the Colorado Independent Publishers Association a number of weeks ago as he picked up his 1st Place EVVY Award for “Snow Men” and I cannot imagine a friendlier, more down-to-earth, and humble person.  Way to go, Andrew. You earned it!

EVVY Award Winning Authors From Outskirts Press

Every year, Outskirts Press nominates less than 5% of the books it publishes for submission to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards, an independent 3rd party book award contest that is both competitive and “strict” (for lack of a better word).   Each book is judged by three different judges.

Not only are books compared against all other books in their respective categories by each EVVY judge, but they’re also compared against a 100-point grading scale. A  book must secure at least 90 points to be awarded a 1st Place EVVY Award; 80 points to be awarded a 2nd Place EVVY Award, and so forth. Yes, this means that in some categories, it is conceivable that not a single book wins an award, even if there are multiple books in that category.

So, in other words, it is no small feat to win an EVVY award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. Outskirts Press won eighteen of them.

Congratulations to all our EVVY Award winning authors below:

Family & Relationships       Speechless by E.J. Brown                                 1st Place
Fiction/Science Fiction       Dust to Dust by John Hudson                            1st Place
Fiction/Action Adventure    Snow Men by Andrew Ceroni                             1st Place
(Important Note: These First Place EVVY Award winners above are the three finalists for the 2014 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards. Voting is taking place through September 6th at the Self Publishing News blog. Vote now. )

Andrew Ceroni accepts his First Place EVVY Award for his book “Snow Men” at the Colorado Independent Publishers Association ceremony.

Academic/Reference         What’s Wrong with That Door? by John Quist    3rd Place
Children’s Story Books       Big Albert the Camel by Dr. Peggy Turnage      3rd Place
Fiction/Mystery&Detective  Out of Reech by Adam J. Beardslee                 3rd Place
Poetry Dreams to               Dance in Moonlight by Peter C. Stone               3rd Place
Religion & Spirituality         The Astrology of Success by Jan Spiller            3rd Place
Family & Relationships       Growing Up Ugly by Fritzie von Jessen             3rd Place

Fritzie von Jessen accepts her Third Place EVVY Award for her book “Growing Up Ugly” at the Colorado Independent Publishers Association ceremony.

Autobiography/Memoirs      Peeling Back the Layers by Lawayne Childrey                         Merit
Family & Relationships       The Back-Up Mom by Laura K. Wagner                                    Merit
Fiction/Action Adventure     A Holiday From Time by John Mero                                          Merit
Fiction/Historical                 More Stories of the Rich and Famous by David M. Tavernier    Merit
Juvenile Fiction                  Oliver Ornament by Michael Burns                                             Merit
Juvenile Fiction                  Pinos Altosby John Koski                                                            Merit
Juvenile Fiction                  Pluto The Starfish by Bonnie M. Anderson                                 Merit
Religion & Spirituality         Keys to Armageddon by KaMuLanS                                           Merit
Self Help                            The Garden of Life by Todd Michael Putnam                             Merit

When authors cannot accept the award personally, I am honored to accept the award on their behalf, as I’m doing here for John Hudson and his First Place EVVY Award-winning book, “Dust to Dust”.

Congratulations to all our EVVY award-winning authors, and EVVY nominees!

What makes the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards so special?

Today marks the beginning of the public poll to determine the 2014 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. This is the only book award contest I am aware of that rewards both an author’s writing ability and marketing ability.

The writing ability is recognized and rewarded by the requirement that every Best Book of the Year finalist must win an EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

The marketing ability is recognized and rewarded by putting all three finalists head-to-head-to-head to see which tenacious marketer can secure the most votes in a publicly held poll.  That poll is happening right now over on the Outskirts Press Self Publishing News blog at http://selfpublishingnews.com

As I write this, it’s a three-way race, with all three finalists currently receiving between 30% and 36% of the votes.  Not only does the ultimate winner gain acclaim as the author of the best book Outskirts Press published in 2014 (from over 1500 contenders), but he or she will also receive the $1,500 Grand Prize.  No wonder all three writers are so actively involved in this public poll!

Voting is open to everyone. The poll ends at midnight (Mountain Standard Time) on Sunday, September 6th.

Does September 2015 seem like an odd month to recognize our best book from 2014, nine months late?  It is, and that’s due to ensuring every finalists’ very important, award-winning status, courtesy of the Colorado Independent Publisher Association and its independent EVVY Awards.  Those EVVY Awards were just announced last week, and the picture of me above was taken during that ceremony in Denver, Colorado. I’ll cover more of that next time.

In the meantime, congratulations to our three Best Book of the Year finalists:

You Won NaNoWriMo. (Now what?)

So, I won NaNoWriMo. I wrote over 50,000 words in less than 30 days. In fact, true to my word, I’m still writing, even though I crossed the 50,000 word “finish” line on Thanksgiving (and boy was I thankful!).  I’ve earned every Badge available on the NaNoWriMo website except for the last one, which doesn’t seem to be available to “earn” yet — and involves something having to do with revisions. Presumably, that will become available on December 1… I’ll keep you posted as I continue to write in the meantime.

won

The problem is, my novel, Idle Hands, is longer than 50,000 words. In fact, if you look at my outline below, you’ll see that I was supposed to write the major event (in the center) below, where Fen kills Jacob on the cruise ship, on November 15-18.

plot

 

But here it is, November 29th, and Fenderson has only JUST admitted to Brad that he killed Jacob, and even so, it’s not entirely clear whether or not he’s telling the truth.   So I’m just over 60% of the way done with my novel.  Will I have the fortitude to keep writing 2000 words a day until it’s done? Probably not. But will I have the fortitude to keep writing some amount of words every day until it’s done (as I suggested with Wednesday’s post)?  I certainly hope so.

At least writing my novel is going better than my OTHER 30-day goal of losing 20 pounds…

Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for November 28:

Average Per Day 1860
Words Written Today 1927
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 52,085 WINNER
Words Remaining 1,455
Current Day 28
Days Remaining 3
At this rate, you’ll finish 27-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 0

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

 

I’m THANKFUL for writing 50,000 words in one month

Happy Thanksgiving.

We’re down to the last few days of National Novel Writing Month. When I began this adventure over a month ago, I set out to earn all the “Participation” and “Writing” badges on the NaNoWriMo website, and one of the Participation Badges required adding “Buddies” to my account, so I could interact with them, and find motivation in their success.  Another Participation Badge required that I post to the forums, which I did, by offering to be a “virtual mentor” for other WriMo’s as they joined me on this writing journey.  In fact, those two badges went hand in hand because as I interacted with WriMo’s I was mentoring, I naturally added them to my Buddy list, so I could watch their progress.

Out of all my “Buddies” on the NaNoWriMo site, two of them are official “Winners” as of yesterday afternoon.  That means they have validated their official word counts with NaNoWriMo and their word count has met or exceeded 50,000 words.

I hope to join them sometime today, by “carving” out time away from the turkey to reach the 50,000 word goal and then validate my word counts.  I have less than 1,500 words to go, so my confidence is high that I’m going to become a NaNoWriMo winner on Thanksgiving day (and hence the headline to this posting — just some extra motivation for yours truly).

Some of my other buddies and mentorees still have some work to do, with word counts ranging from 27,000 – 46,000.  Join me in urging them to cross that finish line with me in the next couple of days!

Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday, November 26:

Average Per Day 1867
Words Written Today 1642
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 48,545
Words Remaining 1,455
Current Day 26
Days Remaining 5
At this rate, you’ll finish 27-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 291

An hour of writing a day

As we endure the final stretch of NaNoWriMo where half a million writers from around the globe challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I’d like to offer some words of motivation, if not inspiration.  It’s been difficult for me to find the time and the energy to write more of my novel, Idle Hands, every day of the month.  I’m happy to report that out of the whole month, I only skipped one day entirely (and it was a bear dragging myself out of the “word hole” that resulted from that lapse).  Even on days where I REALLY didn’t feel like writing, I at least kicked in 400-800 words.

And here’s what I discovered:  I was extremely disappointed in myself the whole day (and the following day) when I skipped writing entirely.  That’s 48 hours of disappointment that could have been averted with one single hour of creativity.  Talk about a positive return on your investment!  One hour of time invested for 48 hours of satisfaction.  And even if you can’t always contribute an entire hour of time,  as these monthly stats have shown, every word counts. Every word contributes to your final goal of finishing that book.  Even if you only put in 100, or 200, or 500… that’s more words than you had yesterday.  More words than you had the day before that.  Books are not infinite. They have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. If you always find a way to contribute SOME words to your book every day, there will come a day when you finish it.

And those days when you write your book, you’ll feel better about your craft, and your writing career. You’ll find that those hours of satisfaction and accomplishment are longer than the time you spent writing.   And that beats the 48 hours of feeling bad for NOT putting in a single hour.

Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday, November 25:

Average Per Day 1876
Words Written Today 2423
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 46,903
Words Remaining 3,097
Current Day 25
Days Remaining 6
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 27
Words/Day to finish on time 517

50,000 words, here I come!

It’s going to be a busy week: Work.  Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Family traditions (shopping, eating, decorating, etc).

And writing.

Lots and lots of writing to finish up 50,000 words to Idle Hands.  Even though I have through next Sunday, my personal goal is to reach 50,000 words by Friday.  I’m mainly doing this because the “confirmation” instructions sent out by NaNoWriMo have alluded to the fact that their word-count might differ from my own when I undergo the process of validating.  I’m not quite sure why it would be different, but I don’t want to be caught off guard on the night of the 30th by suddenly realizing I have 1000-2000 words more to write in order to reach the 50,000 word milestone.    Luck favors the prepared, as they say, so I plan to validate my word count with NaNoWriMo on Friday, just in case I need the weekend to make up any differential between their “official” word count and my own.

And speaking of which, here are my NaNoWriMo stats for November 24:

Average Per Day 1853
Words Written Today 2046
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 44480
Words Remaining 5,520
Current Day 24
Days Remaining 7
At this rate, you’ll finish November 27
Words/Day to finish on time 789