What’s new (and great!) about the One-Click Non-Fiction Suite

publishing-small“Have you ever wondered how you’re going to do it all? You’ve looked down your list of things to do: formatting, cover art, copyright registration and editing…not to mention all of the marketing and Ingram distribution once your book has been published – and had that moment of panic. Don’t worry! You can relax! We’ve got you covered with our One-Click Publishing Suites, which include everything you need to make your non-fiction, fiction, children’s book, or spiritual book a success.

Today you can save $500 with this special introductory offer on our new One-Click for Non-Fiction package. One click is all it takes to connect with a team of professionals who will assist you every step of the way. One click is all it takes to get a professional custom cover, professional copy editing, and an enhanced interior. One click is all it takes to sell a high-quality paperback on Barnes & Noble and Amazon and a high-quality e-Book on the Kindle. But don’t wait! This offer is good this week only! Right now, you’re only one click away from achieving your dream of becoming a successfully-published author. Promotion Code: Save500Aug16″

Such is the promotional copy that greets new authors when they explore our new One-Click for Non-Fiction publishing suite this week, and its $500 Introductory Offer. I believe the first paragraph touches upon a common feeling among all authors — an overwhelming sense of … what to call it? … Concern? Anxiety? The jitters?  Publishing your first book can seem overwhelming for new authors, and that is why they seek out services likes those offered by Outskirts Press.  In our 14 years of industry experience, we have identified a few things that can help make good books great, and professional writers extraordinary.  Two of the most necessary components of a fantastic book are professional editing and professional custom cover design.  ALL our One-Click Suites include both.

We call them “Suites” because they are a bundle of quality pre-production, production, and marketing services designed exclusively for a particular type of book.  At the present time we have launched our New & Improved Outskirts Press with 4 One-Click Suites: Non-Fiction, Fiction, Spiritual Books, and Children’s Books.

For the thousands of authors who have published with one of our a la carte, custom publishing packages (and those have all changed, too — more on that at a later date), the One-Click difference is nothing short of extraordinary.   Let me briefly walk you through the publishing process of both, starting with the custom, a la carte package first:

  1. Order an a la carte custom publishing package (let’s say, the Ultimate).
  2. Select your format(s)
  3. Select your trim size(s)
  4. Select your interior formatting option
  5. Select your interior production options
  6. Select your cover option
  7. Enter your summary, author biography, sales annotation, cover copy
  8. Set your price plan
  9. Set your retail price
  10. Select your marketing options
  11. You’re done. Sit back and relax while we go to work.

All that customization is great, and some of our authors THRIVE on the degree of flexibility and choice we give them.  But making decisions can slow the process down and allow for some important ingredients to be opted-out-of (like editing, or custom cover design, or marketing services).

In comparison, here is the publishing process for the One-Click Non-Fiction Suite:

  1. Order a One-Click Suite (let’s say, the Non-Fiction)
  2. You’re done. Sit back and relax while we go to work.

No long lists of trim sizes to fret over. No price plans and trade discounts to worry about. No cover themes, interchangeable image libraries, or concern about selecting the correct production & marketing options.  That’s because the One-Click Non-Fiction package already includes everything a professional non-fiction writer needs to publish the non-fiction book of his or her dreams (and significantly increase the chances for its success, and its success in book contests).

What’s it include? And why is it important?  This is a long list, but if you’re thinking of making an investment into your non-fiction book, it’s one worth reading.

  • A 6×9 paperback.  All our One-Click Non-Fiction authors have ultimate control over the trim size of their book, but the default size for this publishing suite is 6×9 so the majority of our clients don’t need to worry about nuances like choosing between 30 different size/format combinations (some of which have “whiter” paper or “thinner” paper. Yikes!  We just make it EASY for them.  Can they add a hardback edition? Of course.
  • Professional copy editing. All of our One-Click Suites include a professional-grade edit by a professional, human editor. Automatic grammar checks and spellchecks are great, and should always be a first step for any manuscript submission, but there is simply no substitute for a pair of highly-trained eyes. More than 80% of our non-fiction books are 75,000 words or less, so that is the word count that is included for free.  If a non-fiction book is longer than 75,000 words, the author simply pays the difference (at a per-word price that is less than just about all our competitors).
  • Professional custom cover design. All of our One-Click Suites include an original, custom-designed cover by a professional cover designer, all of whom have a decade or more of cover-design experience.  Our One-Click clients can describe their vision for their cover, or leave it up to the designer’s best artistic interpretation of the manuscript. In either case, the designer will present TWO different concepts for the author to choose from.   Sometimes, BOTH the concepts are so good that the author has a hard time selecting.  Talk about an embarrassment of riches (which, in fact, describes this whole package).  Fortunately, we have a solution for that “problem” too. It’s just a little bit of market research we make available for all our authors, and you can see an example of how it works on our Outskirts Press blog here.

Before I continue, I will say that copy editing and custom cover design are so important, they are mandatory components of our Best Book of the Year Awards, and our EVVY Nominees.  Since we KNOW all our One-Click suites include both professional editing and professional custom cover design, all One-Click packages are automatically eligible for both contests.  Speaking of which, our 16 EVVY Award Finalists were just announced, and you can see them here. Winning an EVVY Award is a prerequisite to winning our Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award (and its $1,500 Grand Prize).

  • Enhanced book formatting. Don’t get me wrong; our standard interior book formatting still runs circles around most publishers — but for that extra “wow factor” the Enhanced Upgrade can sometimes make the difference between a successful book and an award-winning successful book. This upgrade is included with the One-Click Non-Fiction suite, once again making things easy for the client to get the best book possible.
  • Expedited service. When you publish as many books a year as we do (roughly 1,600 annually), and apply so much time and attention to each one, a math major could identify a potential problem with that business model.  It’s true.  We love our books, and we are passionate about making them the best they can be.  That takes time.  So all our One-Click clients “jump to the front of the line” so to speak.
  • ISBN & Barcode. It almost goes without saying at this point in the self-publishing community, but of course all our packages, including the One-Click Suites, include an ISBN and a barcode, both mandatory ingredients for an actual book (and ingredients that many DIY e-books from DIY places still don’t bother with).  That’s like making a hamburger without the … hamburger.  It doesn’t even count as a book.  But, the One-Click Non-Fiction package goes one step further by offering the client the free option of publishing under his/her own private ISBN (instead of ours).  Some clients care about this sort of thing; others don’t.  The One-Click Non-Fiction suite accommodates both, and it is included.
  • Official copyright registration, Library of Congress filing (including LOC #), and Books-in-Print registration.   Nothing exciting here. Just some basic administrative elements required by “real” published books. We handle all these administrative details for our One-Click Non-Fiction authors as a standard practice so they don’t have to worry about it.
  • Book publishing tip sheets. One of the increased values introduced by all our new services as of August 1 are a collection of articles, best practices, and whitepapers all designed to help authors publish the best book possible.  What makes a great author photo? What makes a great book title? What are some common do’s and don’ts for proper manuscript submission?  The free book publishing tip sheets answer all these questions for all our authors, and they’re all free and included.
  • The Book Marketing RoadMap. On the other end of the production cycle from the publishing tip sheets comes the marketing road maps. These guides and blueprints for successfully, efficiently, and effectively marketing a book are included for all our new authors as of August 1 with our new packages.  What are the best book contests to enter? How do you successfully navigate the social media waters? What are the best 15 marketing tactics to pursue, and why? These are just some of the compelling questions answered by the Book Marketing RoadMap for all our clients.
  • The Marketing COACH(tm). Yes, that is actually trademarked, if you can believe it, because only Outskirts Press offers Creative, Consistent, Assistance, Coaching, and Help to all our authors for years after publication.  COACH is a clever acronym, yes, but it’s also a clever program (pun intended).  Our software automatically delivers all our first-time published authors a veritable treasure trove of marketing advice, suggestions, marketing options, promotions, discounts, and tips via an “email drip” system for days, weeks, months, and years after publication.  No other self-publishing service provider offers anything like it, and the proof is in the pudding.  — Which is another way to say Ingram Wholesalers and its POD distribution representatives have personally called me on several occasions to remark on how impressive our wholesale book sales numbers are compared with our competitors.  They literally ask what we’re doing differently.  “It’s because we are passionate about helping our authors market and sell their books after they are published,” always sounds like a better answer than: “The Marketing COACH.”  Actually, both statements are true.
  • Custom Press Release and Public Relations Campaign. You can’t publish a top-notch, professional non-fiction book without telling the world about it, can you?  Well, you can, but you shouldn’t.  And the One-Click Non-Fiction package ensures that the world knows, with press release campaigns, PR publicist campaigns, hot leads follow-up, electronic clipping services, and global news wire notifications.
  • Amazon “stuff.”  We all know Amazon is the world’s largest retailer (yep, they overtook Wal-Mart), and they’ve been the world’s largest bookseller for even longer.  When I mentioned that the “Marketing COACH” was what we do differently, I could also mention all the attention we focus on Amazon. I wrote a little book titled Sell Your Book on Amazon, so I know a thing or two about it, and I make sure our marketing support personnel, as well as our authors, know how to “work Amazon”. We make sure our One-Click Non-Fiction books are redesigned for the Kindle e-book reading devices and submitted for distribution on Amazon’s Kindle platform. We make sure their hard copy book is in Amazon’s “Look Inside” program because of the benefits that creates for the Amazon search algorithm. We make sure their annotation and summary and sales page are top-notch. You know, all that stuff every self-publishing author should do for every book they publish. We do it for our One-Click authors.
  • Oh, and we also include their books in the Google Books Preview.
  • And we also submit 10 hard copy books and 10 pitch packets to 10 book reviewers to solicit book reviews, blurbs, and testimonials.
  • And we also create an original, awesome 60-90 second book video trailer and then share that video on Facebook and upload it to our YouTube channel and provide it to the author for further distribution.
  • And we also give the author a responsive, social media-integrated Author Webpage (like the one you saw for my book, if you happened to click that cover up there).  Their book video trailer appears in the Media Section, along with an audio excerpt the author can choose to record, if he/she so wishes (it’s included, but entirely optional).

Whew.  As if that wasn’t long enough, as a reward for reading this much, here are some “hidden benefits” that come with the One-Click Non-Fiction package. We don’t really promote these, per se, but I know how the website is programmed, so it’s also true that:

  • All One-Click Non-Fiction books appear in the “Browse” section of our online bookstore. We only showcase great-looking books here, and all One-Click books look great!
  • We subsidize shipping costs with One-Click clients. Shipping fees can add up for authors, especially if they are ordering a lot of author’s copies to pursue marketing efforts.  We want to encourage all our One-Click clients to participate in those  important marketing steps, so we share some of the shipping burden with them. For example, the approximate shipping cost for fifty 200-page books within the continental United States for an Economy client might cost about $35 or so (70 cents each).  That same shipment might cost about $25 or so for the One-Click client (50 cents each).  Saving 20 cents for each book shipped might not sound like much until you order 1500 and save $300.
  • Another perk for ALL our authors, including the One-Click clients, is that we do not charge sales tax on author’s copies they order themselves. Most of our largest competitors do. That’s another 4-8% you’re saving on every book order.
  • We have some other perks for One-Click clients being added to our post-publication departments, but they’re still in development (since we just relaunched everything 2 days ago!), so it’s too early to reveal details. But I will in the future.

There you have it.  The One-Click Non-Fiction Suite from Outskirts Press. Publish your passion.

 

 

 

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

Under 20,000 words to go on the novel

If you’ll look at my NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday (posted below), you’ll see that I’ve crossed over 30,000 words written, which leaves less than 20,000 words to go.  So does that mean I only have to write 20,000 more words to finish my book? Well, no. It means I only have 20,000 more words to write in order to “win” National Novel Writing Month (they consider it “winning” if you write 50,000 words in 30 days). Whether or not you actually FINISH your book is not of much consequence to them.

But that seems like a pretty arbitrary goal, doesn’t it?  Writing 50,000 words in 30 days?  So, yes, while I’m on track to write 50,000 words in 30 days (in 28 days, actually), I’m afraid I’m not on track to actually finish the book.  You see, I just got to the point in the plot where Fenderson takes Brad on a road trip to Las Vegas on their way to the port to get on the cruise ship.  If you’ll remember the posting that introduced the original outline for Idle Hands, you’ll see that Las Vegas wasn’t even mentioned, and you’ll see that by November 17th, Fen was supposed to have already killed Jacob.  And, here I am, on day 18 and they haven’t even gotten to the cruise ship yet.

That’s okay, rarely are today’s modern works of fiction only 50,000 words. Idle Hands was always going to be longer.

But the point of this is to realize, for all of us WriMo’s out there, that writing (and finishing) a novel is the real goal, no matter how long it takes. They just put a 50,000 word number on it, and an arbitrary starting and ending date, to put us all on the same page (pun intended).

So if your book is less than 50,000 words and you finish it before the end of the month, start writing a new one. And if your book is going to be longer than 50,000 words, and therefore not finished by November 30, keep on writing, even if you “won” NaNoWriMo.

You don’t publish 50,000 words.  You publish books.

My NaNoWriMo stats for November 17:

Average Per Day 1792
Words Written Today 2236
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 30,473
Words Remaining 19,527
Current Day 17
Days Remaining 14
At this rate, you’ll finish November 28
Words/Day to finish on time 1,395

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!

 

The power of motivation

For the past 12 days I have been actively participating in National Novel Writing Month (along with some 500,000 of my fellow writers). NaNoWriMo, as it is known, challenges people to write 50,000 words to a novel in 30 days.  I’d guess the majority of people who start the process may not successfully cross the 50k finish line, and that’s okay. At least they tried.  But, impressively, many people make the attempt year after year. They keep on plugging along.  As I quoted Ray Bradbury in yesterday’s post, “You fail only if you stop writing.”  That’s not only true for National Novel Writing Month, but it is true EVERY month.  In fact, it’s a good lesson for life in general:  You only fail if you stop writing trying.

What I noticed as I was looking at other WriMo participants’ stats is that those writers who won usually stopped right around 50,000 words. They crossed the finish line, yes, and then promptly stopped writing their books.  Their word counts rarely extended much beyond the 50,000 word requirement.

There are exceptions, of course. One WriMo wrote over 105,000 words in 30 days, but in general, the WriMos I researched who “won” did so by just squeaking past the finish line.

I’m probably going to “squeak” past the finish line, too.  Once I reach 50,000 words, I’ll probably stop.

But should I?  

Should any of the WriMo’s stop at 50,000 words? Should we stop writing on November 30th?  Perhaps National Writing Month is only about cranking out 50,000 words in 30 days; but writing is about something more than that —  it is about establishing a writing routine that is driven by a self-imposed goal (50,000 words) and a self-imposed deadline (November 30).  These goals and milestones may not SEEM self-imposed in November, since NaNoWriMo is “throwing” this worldwide writing party, but the truth is, it IS self-imposed.  There’s no one FORCING you to write 50,000 words in 30 days during NaNoWriMo.  Those of us who are doing it, are doing it for ourselves. To see if we can.

What’s stopping us from doing the same thing in December? And in January? And February?

After all, that’s what a writer would do.  As Richard Bach once said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”  Let’s all keep writing, even after NaNoWriMo 2014 comes to a close…

 

Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for November 11, 2014:

Average Per Day 1776
Words Written Today 2007
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 19545
Words Remaining 30,455
Current Day 11
Days Remaining 20
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 29
Words/Day to finish on time 1,523

 

Words of inspiration

Outskirts Press has over 12,000 followers/fans on its Facebook page at http://facebook.com/outskirtspress — and some of our most popular posts have been inspiring quotes that we’ve shared to our writing community.  As we begin the second full business week of NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d share a few quotes that seem particularly appropriate for those of us attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach

“If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” ~ Dan Poynter

“Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.” ~ Mike Rich

“Fiction does not spring into the world fully grown, like Athena. It is the process of writing and rewriting that makes a fiction original, if not profound.” ~ John Gardner

“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” ~ John Rogers

“You fail only if you stop writing.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Keep on writing, fellow WriMo’s!

My NaNoWriMo stats for November 10, 2014:

Average Per Day 1753
Words Written Today 1730
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 17538
Words Remaining 32,462
Current Day 10
Days Remaining 21
At this rate, you’ll finish 26-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 1,546