Outskirts Press CEO to Present Colorado Book Awards

As a long-time sponsor of the Colorado Book Awards, I frequently attend the Awards Ceremony held by the Colorado Humanities.  For the past several years it has been held in Aspen (always a fun weekend!), but this year they moved it to the Governor’s Mansion in Denver, only to quickly sell-out that venue.  Fortunately, there is a beautiful facility just a half-mile from our address at Outskirts Press in Parker, Colorado, which is where I will be along with Lifetime Achievement Award Kent Haruf’s family, and others in attendance, this coming Saturday night for the Colorado Book Awards.

Here’s the press release from The Colorado Humanities:


Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book Recognizes Kent Haruf with Lifetime Achievement Award in Parker

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO (5/17/2016) Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book will award Kent Haruf with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Colorado Book Awards celebration on Saturday, May 21, 2016 in Parker, CO. Haruf is the author of Plainsong, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Eventide, Benediction, and Our Souls at Night, among other works. The posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Haruf’s family.

The Colorado Book Awards will be presented, and winners will read briefly, at the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 80138. Parker is home to the National Writers Association and long-time Colorado Book Award sponsor Outskirts Press. Outskirts Press founder  Brent Sampson is the bestselling author of several books, including Sell Your Book on Amazon, The Book Marketing COACH and Self-Publishing Simplified.

Sponsored by Outskirts Press and First Western Trust, the Colorado Book Awards recognize outstanding contributions by Colorado authors, editors, illustrators and photographers in multiple categories.

2016 Colorado Book Award Finalists

Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon by Pete Anderson and Rick Kempa, editors (Lithic Press)

Abbey in America: A Philosopher’s Legacy in a New Century by John A. Murray, editor (University of New Mexico Press)

Stories of Music, Volume 1 by Holly E. Tripp, editor (Timbre Press)

Children’s Literature

Do Princesses Make Happy Campers? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle, illustrated by Mike Gordon (Taylor Trade Publishing)

A Chicken Followed Me Home by Robin Page  (Beach Lane Books)
Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! By Todd Tuell, illustrated by Tad Carpenter (Abrams Appleseed)

Creative Nonfiction

Grow: Stories from the Urban Food Movement by Stephen Grace (Bangtail Press)
Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave by Sean Prentiss (University of New Mexico Press)

The Spiral Notebook: The Aurora Theater Shooter and the Epidemic of Mass Violence Committed by American Youth by Stephen and Joyce Singular (Counterpoint)

General Nonfiction

Children of Katrina by Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek (University of Texas Press)

The Republic of Conscience by Gary Hart (Blue Rider Press)

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman (Simon & Schuster)

Historical Fiction

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas (St. Martin’s Press)

And the Wind Whispered by Dan Jorgensen (Bygone Era Books)

The Shepherdess of Siena by Linda Lafferty (Lake Union Publishing)


Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bears: 100 Years of the National Park Service by Heather Hansen (Mountaineers Books)

Colorado: A Historical Atlas by Thomas J. Noel (University of Oklahoma Press)

Old Blue’s Road by James Whiteside (University Press of Colorado)

Juvenile Literature

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman  (Henry Holt and Company)

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau (Scholastic Press)

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose (Candlewick Press)


Literary Fiction

How to Walk Away by Lisa Birman (Spuyten Duyvil)

Pickup at Union Station by Gary Reilly (Running Meter Press)

Three Rivers: A Novel by Tiffany Quay Tyson (Thomas Dunne Books).



The Reckoning Stones by Laura Di Silverio (Midnight Ink)

Murder on the Horizon by M.L. Rowland (Berkeley Prime Crime)

Lake of Fire by Mark Stevens (Midnight Ink)


Colorado’s Yampa River by John Fielder and Patrick Tierney (John Fielder Publishing)

Love Songs of Middle Time by C.H. Rockey (CH Rockey and David Hall)

Sage Spirit: The American West at a Crossroads by Dave Showalter  (Braided River)


(gentlessness) by Dan Beachy-Quick  (Tupelo Press)

The Octopus Game by Nicky Beer (Carnegie Mellon University Press)

All Pilgrim by Stephanie Ford (Four Way Books)

Bad Fame by Martin McGovern (Able Muse Press)


Clockwork Lives by Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart (ECW Press)

Lord Byron’s Prophecy by Sean Eads (Lethe Press)

Short Story Collection

Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories by Edward Hamlin (University of Iowa Press)
The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories by Manuel Ramos (Arte Publico Press)


The Virus by Janelle Diller (WorldTrek Publishing)

Dark Waters by Chris Goff (Crooked Lane Books)

The Comfort of Black by Carter Wilson (Oceanview Publishing)

Young Adult

Audacity by Melanie Crowder (Philomel Books)

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster)

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

For more information, please visit coloradohumanities.org or call 303.894.7951, x19.

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


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!


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…


… or a smartphone:


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.

Outskirts Press author scores two Amazon best sellers in the same week

What do you get when you combine beauty, brains, and talent with over 60,000 Instagram followers? If you are Fast & Furious actress and best selling poet Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol, you get two Amazon best-sellers in the same week, as just announced in the December 1 issue of our Outskirts Press self-publishing newsletter.


Elusive Loves; Amores Esquivos is the actress/poet/author’s highly-anticipated follow-up to her Outskirts Press debut Letters, To the Men I Have Loved, which was published in June 2014 and quickly shot to best seller status on both Outskirts Press and Amazon. It has been one of our top 10 best-sellers 16 times out of the last 17 months!

So when it came time to publish her follow-up, Mirtha Michelle leveraged her highly influential social media presence months in advance to build up buzz and anticipation for Elusive Loves; Amores Esquivos.  The results were no less impressive, as Elusive Loves hit #1 in her category on Amazon even BEFORE the Nov 15 launch date she had told her 63,000 Instagram followers.

That tends to happen when you count celebrities like Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian among your friends, and invite Hollywood A-listers like Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez to your book-launching parties.


But perhaps the biggest reason for her success is her “platform” and the tenacious way in which she builds upon it, supports it, and embraces it.  It also doesn’t hurt that both of her books are honest, inspiring, and intimate studies of love and relationships, which brings us back to the beauty, brains, and talent I mentioned earlier.

Keep it up, Mirtha Michelle! We’re with you.

As a side note, I know we’re in the middle of an on-going blog series about our migration to Responsive Website Design, and we’ll get back to that with the new RWD Author Webpages next time…

New Year’s Resolutions

They say the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight (publishing a book is #2).  At the beginning of November I started the “Month of Living Dangerously” (#MonOLivDa) where I would attempt to write 50,000 words to my new novel (in association with National Novel Writing Month) and lose 20 pounds (in association with not eating anything).

I successfully wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. I wasn’t successful with my 20 pound goal. I only reached 13 pounds lost in 30 days.  However, today I’m happy to report I finally crossed that 20 pound finish line (21 pounds, actually).  And with 50,000 words written, I estimate I have about 30,000 more to complete Idle Hands.  And I estimate I have about 7 more pounds to lose to get to my ideal weight.  I doubt I’ll complete both of those in January, but perhaps…

So, in other words, New Year’s Resolutions continue long after the first of the year.  And if publishing a book is among your New Year’s Resolutions, check out this month’s promotion at Outskirts Press (three times as many free author’s copies).


Knowing other writers can motivate you

I’m writing this blog posting on November 3, and then I will schedule it to post on the morning of November 4th. I often do this so that my blog postings can appear early in the day, and I’m never quite sure what my actual schedule will be each morning.

I mention that I’m a day early because this post involves my NaNoWriMo buddies, and specifically, just how many words THEY have written in only two full days of NaNoWriMo.  It’s humbling, but also inspiring.

My first “buddy” on NaNoWriMo was one of the local community administrators, which is probably a volunteer position, and is held by a long-time participant of NaNoWriMo. I can see from looking through her past history on NaNoWriMo that she joined in 2007 and in that year, she wrote over 100,000 words (twice as much as required)!  Now THAT is impressive.  Even more impressive is the fact that she has participated every year since then, and has written 50,000 words EACH AND EVERY TIME!  And she’s already up to 22,000 words in 2014, after just 2 days.  Makes my 2-day word count of 4,500 seem like nothing.  Okay, so it’s humbling, inspiring, and just a tad bit annoying, too.  I wish I were at 22,000 words already. Ahh, what a feeling that must be.

My other buddies aren’t quite as “annoying”, but still inspiring. After two days, a member from 2008 has 6,300 words; our Exec VP from Outskirts Press (who joined NaNoWriMo in 2012) has almost 10,000; and two new WriMos, both from 2014, have 2700 and 9100, respectively.  On the other side of the equation, I have a number of NaNoWriMo buddies, new this year, who haven’t registered any word counts at all yet… Hopefully they’re reading this blog, as I have invited them to, and finding the inspiration they need to upload their first word count totals and get “some skin in the game.”  As I’ve mentioned previously, falling even one day behind can start to make the “hole” insurmountable.

But the point of this posting is that knowing other writers and following other writers can offer inspiration and motivation to you as a writer, and this holds true even outside of the small (and short) NaNoWriMo universe.  If you have a favorite author who is currently still putting out work, odds are that he or she is “on the Internet” in some form or another, either on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or Tumblr.  Today’s market savvy authors know how to leverage different social media sites to grow their market, engage their audience, and build their platform as writers.  If you haven’t yet done that, today is a good time to start, and the first step is by finding a writer you admire and “following” them on one or more of their social media outlets. Perhaps they will do the same, and all of a sudden, you’ll find yourself using social media to broaden your reach as a writer.

At Outskirts Press, we have many authors who are taking great advantage of the Internet to market and sell their books, and tomorrow I’ll talk about one in particular…

On a final note, after three days, I finally earned my 5,000 Word Count Badge by passing the 5,000 word milestone.  Woo hoo!   And my daily input is very close to my personal goal of 2,000 words each day. Hopefully I can keep that up.

My Daily Stats for November 3 were:

Average Per Day 1989
Words Written Today 1459
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 5967
Words Remaining 44,033
Current Day 3
Days Remaining 28
At this rate, you’ll finish November 26
Words/Day to finish on time 1,573

NaNoWriMo on hold ’til the 20th

According to the revised “notice” on the NaNoWriMo site, and specifically their event calendar, there’s not much going on in regards to National Novel Writing Month until the 20th, when the founder of NaNoWriMo (Chris Baty) is participating in a webinar.  So I’ll check back in a week and then hopefully their site will be updated with the 2014 campaign so I can complete the “badges” involved in registering. Then, in the days that follow leading up to November 1st, I will share some fiction plotting and outlining tips that I will be using for my novel Idle Hands.  These postings will hopefully help other writers as they prepare for November 1st, when NaNoWriMo officially kicks off.

The NaNoWriMo book cover

Yesterday I mentioned I would be sharing my temporary book cover for the book I plan to write in 30 days this November during the National Novel Writing Month challenge (NaNoWriMo).  The book is called Idle Hands and the caption I’m toying with including on the cover says: “Two young millionaires. Too much time to kill. To hell with the American Dream.”   That … kinda… tells you what it’s about. And, of course, the title and cover provide hints, as well:


Gearing up for NaNoWriMo next month

crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbThe NaNoWriMo website still has the message that they will be “resetting” their website for the 2014 campaign this week, but that doesn’t mean I’m sitting idling by… I’ve been working out some character and plot details in my head (it’s keeping me from sleeping), and I’ve started to work on a cover for the book.  Some might say (quite accurately) that is putting the cart before the horse, but I’ve found that having a temporary cover helps me “visualize” the finished book being out there in the world, and that helps me write it.  Whatever, works, write?  I mean, right?   The name of my books is “Idle Hands” and other than a horror-spoof movie from the 90’s starting Seth Green, I didn’t find another creative property with that title, so unless I think of something better, that’s probably going to be the title I stick with.  I’ll have the cover mock-up this week to post.

More good news. Our Executive VP at Outskirts Press, Kelly Schuknecht, has decided to participate in NaNoWriMo with me this November. She “won” two years ago.  (“Winning” is NaNoWriMo’s way of recognizing participants who successfully write 50,000 words in 30 days).  Anyone else want to join us? Sign-up at http://nanowrimo.org