Pictures from the Colorado Book Awards

Outskirts Press has been a long-time sponsor and supporter of the Colorado Book Awards. Find out why in this short video, shot during the opening moments of the recent Awards Ceremony in Parker, Colorado (headquarters of Outskirts Press):

Just arrived at the Pace Center to present the awards…Brent-Sampson-Outskirts-Pre

Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Kent Haruf’s wife (2nd from the right), along with co-presenter Charlie Bantis and Maggie Coval.Brent-Sampson

Sell Your Book on Amazon is newly revised for 2016

In 2007 I wrote a little book titled Sell Your Book on Amazon, which immediately climbed to #29 on the overall Amazon bestseller list, and won multiple awards, including the BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR award from the Royal Palms Literary Awards.  (It also won First Place in that contest’s Educational/Informational category).

The problem with writing about a topic like Amazon is that their website changes so quickly and frequently.  So, by 2010, a revision to the book was necessary, and the second edition was published that year.

Now, the “newly revised for 2016” paperback edition of Sell Your Book on Amazon is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Say good-bye to forgotten features on Amazon like “So You’d Like to… Guides”, “Amapedia”, and “Listmania.”

Say hello to new opportunities like Amazon Giveaways, Author Central, and Kindle Unlimited (which is more of an obstacle than a benefit … unless you handle it properly — and this book tells you how!).

I hope you enjoy this new edition. Please let me know what you think by writing a review.

The Book Marketing COACH has been published

My new book has been published and is available in its unabridged paperback edition from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $14.95, or from Outskirts Press for a 10% discount ($13.46). The abridged Kindle edition is also available from Amazon for $2.99.


A book marketing primer ten years in the making.

From the award-winning author of the Amazon best seller, Sell Your Book on Amazon, comes a book marketing primer ten years in the making. As the president and CEO of Outskirts Press, publishing and marketing coach Brent Sampson has seen first-hand what leads to successful self-published books and self-publishing writers.

Companies like Outskirts Press make publishing a book easier than ever. But then what? It is the marketing, promotion, and publicity efforts that separate the runaway successes from the rest. Authors who self-publish may have a general sense of which marketing efforts to pursue, but rarely understand the specifics well enough to approach their book marketing efforts with an effective strategy. Until now.

For the very first time, The Book Marketing COACH collects the best of the free marketing advice shared with Outskirts Press authors over the past decade and makes it available to everyone, no matter where you published.


7 tactics of successfully published authors
Understanding “the long tail”

Book reviews: What, where, when, why, how?
9 steps to a getting a book review

Putting together a “Pitch Packet”
How to write a good cover letter
What is a sales sheet?
9 tips for a top-notch press release

Guaranteed book reviews
It’s time to get quoted!

5 Do’s and Don’ts for pitching radio
7 tips to land a radio interview
6 tips to interview successfully on the radio
6 national advertising opportunities
Top 4 book fairs

Finding public libraries to market your book
Locating Barnes & Noble bookstores
Updating your Barnes & Noble listing
Locating independent bookstores
Locating every bookstore

Using mailing lists for book marketing
9 steps to scheduling a book signing
Stocking your book at Powell’s
How to get stocked in independent bookstores

“Bookstores are a lousy place to sell books.”
Understanding Amazon Marketplace
Getting to know your Amazon listing
Understanding your Amazon “Best Sellers Rank”
Amazon’s review guidelines
Writing Amazon book reviews
Getting Amazon book reviews
Amazon’s top reviewers
Creating activity around Amazon reviews
How to “Share” your book on Amazon

Become a social butterfly
How to market your book on YouTube
How to make a book video trailer
Is a virtual book tour right for you?
How to submit your author webpage to search engines
Advance your online search efforts
Is your book on Google Books?
Have you heard of Goodreads?
Are you on Shelfari?
What is a webring?

List your book on book review websites
Get your message heard
Creating a podcast for your book
How to participate in author podcast interviews
How to establish your expertise as an author
How to write articles to promote your book
Promoting your book through ezines

Marketing through newspapers and magazines
How niche magazines can help you

Have you published an award-winning book?
Mom knows best

Is your book personal and uplifting?
Maximize your profits with multiple formats
Help other writers get published

What is “vertical marketing?”
The C-Suite vertical
Engineer vertical
Food service vertical
Hospitality vertical
Human resources vertical
Insurance vertical
Information technology vertical
Attorney vertical
Pharmaceutical vertical
Small business vertical


Authors can upgrade their webpages to the 21st century!

Over the past several posts I’ve discussed RWD (responsive web design), and the milestones Outskirts Press has identified as it transitions all its web properties to RWD. Today I’m pleased to announce that all our published authors can easily and quickly upgrade their current author webpages to RWD.


In my last post I detailed the 13 cool features of the new RWD upgrade. But the easiest way to see how the upgrade looks and works is to take a look at it for one of our Fandemonium books.  Be sure to check it out on a desktop, your tablet, and your smartphone, and you will see why RWD webpages are the wave of the future: it’s like having a regular webpage, a mobile site, and an “app” for your smart phone all at once!

If you’ve published with Outskirts Press, upgrading your author webpage (or webpages, if you’ve published multiple books) is as easy as clicking here.



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

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:

The power of positive thinking

coverMy November 12th blog was titled “The power of motivation” and within the body of that posting I wrote the following sentence: “Once I reach 50,000 words, I’ll probably stop.”

When I read my posting the next day (as I always do, to review it for errors after 24 hours have passed), something occurred to me for the first time when I re-read that particular sentence.  I didn’t write, “If I reach 50,000 words.”  I wrote “Once I reach 50,000 words.”  In other words, I have never questioned whether or not I would write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That has always been a forgone conclusion in my mind.  I’ve been positive I would do it from the moment I signed-up.

Some might call that cocky; others might call it naive. I prefer “positive.” But, regardless of what you call it, visualizing the future without a shred of doubt has miraculous advantages in life; you do what it takes to “get there.”

I think this is also why I went through the exercise of creating a book cover image for Idle Hands.  From the beginning, I have been picturing the end result.  First, writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Second, revising and rewriting that first draft into a coherent novel.  Third, submitting that novel to publishers, and then after they reject it (hey, it can’t all be positive), self-publishing it myself.  For me, it is easier to picture that published novel in my hands if it has a cover.  That’s going to be my reality. It just hasn’t happened… yet.  But in order to get there, first thing’s first: writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

What does your future look like?

Okay, I rebounded from that horrible 0-word day, so here are my stats for NaNoWriMo for November 13th:


Average Per Day 1660
Words Written Today 2039
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 21584
Words Remaining 28,584
Current Day 13
Days Remaining 18
At this rate, you’ll finish December 1
Words/Day to finish on time 1,579

Even with writing over 2,000 words yesterday, I’m still on track to finish after the deadline.  See what skipping a whole day of writing gets you?  I’d better not do it again… The “fun” part is that both of the “word stats” are in the 20,000’s — I’ve written 21,584 words and the number of words I have remaining is 28,584.  I’m looking forward to that “exactly middle” 25,000 word milestone, with a target completion date of November 15th. That gives me 2 days of writing to crank out 3416 words, or 1708 words each day.  No problem-o…

… baby steps…



Movies about writing and writers

A few posts ago, I discussed the amount of actual time it might take to write a book in 30 days, which is what all the WriMos started doing yesterday, presumably with a stack of candy (it WAS just after Halloween, after all).  In that posting, I suggested that if you forgo ALL personal time (or, more accurately, squeeze ALL personal time into 5 hours/day, including eating), you still have 5 hours a day to devote to writing your book if you work 8 hours a day and sleep 6 hours a day.   If you actually spent 100% of those 5 hours each day for 30 days doing nothing but writing constantly and consistently, you would only need to type 7 words a minute to write 50,000 in 30 days.

But no one writes that way.  You’ll need to take some breaks to recharge. It’s a good thing you type faster than 7 words a minute, isn’t it?  So what can you do for relaxation that doesn’t take you TOO far from the laptop (just in case inspiration strikes)?

You can watch movies about writing and writers.  There are a lot of them.  Not surprisingly, many movies are about screenwriters (hmm, I wonder why), but there are also quite a few movies (some better than others) about book writers, poets, playwrights, etc.  So, in no particular order (well, except for the first one, which seems appropriate since we’re all about to artistically “suffer” writing 50,000 words in 30 days, AND since NaNoWriMo kicked-off on Halloween at midnight), are 25 movies about writers that you can watch when your fingers need a break during National Novel Writing Month. Add them to your NetFlix queue today.

1. Misery

2. Chinese Coffee

3. House by the River

4. Prick Up Your Ears

5. The Player

6. Barton Fink

7. Midnight in Paris

8. Deconstructing Harry

9. Wonder Boys

10. Another Woman

11. The Squid and the Whale

12. Capote

13. Numb

14. Starting Out in the Evening

15. Shadows in the Sun

16. The Ghost Writer

17. Beautiful Kate

18. The World According to Garp

19. Zorba the Greek

20. Listen Up Philip

21. The Tenants

22. Stuck in Love

23. Finding Forester

24. Sideways

25. Adaptation

Okay, okay…. you didn’t think I was going to forget one more, did you?   The Shining

I’m sure there are many others, but as they say,  “All work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”  So have fun while you’re writing! Who knows? Some of the movies above may just inspire you (or at least explain why some writers are cra-azy!)

DAILY STATS UPDATE for November 1, 2014

Yesterday was fun! It was the first time I got to actually work on the book I’ve been blogging about for nearly a month, and the first time I got to put some words to paper, and then enter my word count into the NaNoWriMo site.  Contrary to my own advice, I didn’t quite reach 3000 words the first day out, but that’s okay. And, it’s even BETTER for the WriMo’s I’m mentoring because it offers up an opportunity:  I challenge you to stay AHEAD of me.  Each day I will post my previous daily stats on this blog and as long as you write MORE words than I do, you’ll be pacing yourself well (assuming, of course, that I will be pacing myself well, so the pressure is on!).

Average Per Day 2192
Words Written Today 2192
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 2192
Words Remaining 47,808
Current Day 1
Days Remaining 30
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 23
Words/Day to finish on time 1,594

I’m assuming the “Days Remaining” stat still says 30 because I updated my word count at noon, mountain time, on November 1.  That last stat is the benefit to writing MORE words than the required 1666 per day. Every time you write MORE than the required average, your NEW required daily average decreases.  Talk about a psychological boost!

Sleepless nights as a writer

Ncrest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbaNoWriMo is causing me to lose sleep already, and it’s only the beginning of October.  This is one of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to join in on the annual write-a-thon of writing 50,000 words in 30 days every November with thousands of other writers from around the world.  I have a little bit of an … addictive… personality.  That served me well when I was launching Outskirts Press in 2002 because I thought nothing of working 20 hours a day; and in the ensuing decade,12-18 hours a day helping writers successfully self-publish their books.

And now that I’ve committed to writing a book in a month, my mind is constantly abuzz with plot details, character details, even specific lines that specific characters will say at specific moments in the book.  I hope I remain this fanatical throughout November, but that seems like a long way away.

So I log-in to the NaNoWriMo site to attempt to create more of my profile, and see that I still cannot earn any more “badges” (more about that in a future post).

At least they’ve updated last week’s message to something new, which, in essence, says they’re experiencing technical difficulties.    If I remember correctly, they experience “technical difficulties” every year in October.  Perhaps that is the reason no one has gotten back to us at Outskirts Press about sponsorship.  Every year, Outskirts Press donates a percentage of our gross annual revenue to organizations. In the past these organizations have included The Children’s Hospital, the Make a Wish Foundation, the Education & Literacy Foundation, Colorado Humanities, and yes, even National Novel Writing Month. Rob in our Corporate Marketing dept. has been trying to contact them for a week or two now about giving them money this year and has received no response.  When you can’t even GIVE money to a company, you know they’re having difficulties, technical or otherwise…