Cyber Monday at Outskirts Press

Since we’re currently in the middle of a series of posts about Guy Kawasaki (the proclaimed “evangelist of Apple), it’s not too far removed to take a small intermission today to mention the “Cyber Monday” special we are offering at Outskirts Press on one of our Apple options. In this case, the option is our iPad/iPhone Premium Edition e-book option, which includes a private label ISBN and iBooks distribution.

Since Cyber Monday deals have to be huge, we’re offering a whopping 50% on this popular option for one day only (today) with the promotion code CYBERAPPLE entered in during check-out.   This is an option we offer to all others, regardless of whether they have published their book with Outskirts Press or elsewhere (or haven’t yet published their book at all and want to enter the e-book game), so it really represents a great opportunity for all authors.  If your book isn’t yet on the iPad and distributed through iBooks, this is your chance to make it happen, and enjoy an amazing discount at the same time.  All the details are on our Outskirts Press blog by clicking here.

Apple customer service

So finally we got the Apple Developer Certification done. You’d think it would be easy street from here, but no. You see, I had already created an “Outskirts Press” relationship with Apple for the purposes of distributing ebooks through the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone (more on those developments soon).  But, therefore, my iTunes Connect account wasn’t “capable” of managing applications, nor was it set-up to do so. It could only manage e-books.  There didn’t appear to be a way I could “combine” the two objectives into one account.

So I called the Apple Customer Service number and spoke with a nice person named Holly. She ultimately ended the call with “I need to consult with one of my colleagues about this. May I call you back in 15 minutes?”  Sure… and I hung up.

The next day I received a call from Nicholas at Apple Customer Service (or I guess they call it Apple Provisioning Portal Service, or something equally odd), and he first apologized for not calling back the day before. That was a nice touch.   He then began speaking softly and quickly, presumably on the topic I needed assistance with. But I interjected with a polite, “I can’t quite hear you or understand you, can you speak louder and slower?” 

He apologized and said, “I have an out-of-date boom mic.”

I playfully replied, “An out-of-date mic? At Apple?!”

Our cordial conversation continued with a long monologue on his part about the current issue we were facing with my account. About 3 minutes into it, I’m afraid I interjected again and said, “Nicholas, those words all sound like English, but I’m afraid I didn’t understand most of it.”

Long story, short — we set up two accounts. One under Outskirts Press, Inc. for our ebooks. And one under plain ol’ “Outskirts Press” for our applications (which, ironically, if you’ll remember the start of this whole fiasco, was the name of our App account I wanted anyway).

So why all the fuss just to get Apple Developer Certification? Next time I’ll show a sneak peek of our free Outskirts Press app which (hopefully) will be available soon, pending some successful testing. You have to complete all these steps I’ve just outlined in order to test your own applications, even if you only want to perform ad-hoc testing on a local iPhone or iPad device.  I may or may not get into the nitty-gritty of doing THAT in the near future; it’s a  pain in the rear-end, too, and I’ve been blogging about Apple for quite a while. It may be time to move onto other OP CEO stuff…

The Highly Ineffective Habits of Barnes & Noble

I like Barnes & Noble. In fact, as a writer myself, it probably doesn’t come as a shock to learn that I love all bookstores. But times haven’t been kind to the traditional bookstore since about 1995 or so. That is when came into existence and slowly (quickly) began changing book buying habits. Now, the physical locations of Barnes & Noble bookstores are becoming more of a liability than an advantage; and much like Blockbuster was forced to examine its business model in the wake of NetFlix, so too is Barnes & Noble starting to recognize the forward-thinking of Amazon from behind the 8-ball.   In fact, at the beginning of August, Barnes & Noble announced that it was “on the block” and looking for a buyer. Read the interesting article in Fast Company here.

Interestingly, even such news comes with a silver lining. Barnes & Noble’s digital business (its website at and its Nook) continues to grow and, along with’s growing market share, further supports the notion that distribution-on-demand with self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press is not only a viable solution but is on its way toward becoming the de facto standard for how books are distributed and sold.  And with both Nook and Kindle versions of e-books up sharply, authors are well advised to offer not only paperback/hardback editions of every book they publish, but electronic versions as well.  

To support this changing landscape, Outskirts Press recently introduced its Amazon Kindle edition on an a la carte basis to authors seeking this electronic solution regardless of where they published their hardcopy book.  And in the coming months, Nook and iPad services should follow suit.   I could take a moment here to vent about Apple and its monopolistic aggregation agreement briefly (not to mention their cencorship habits) but …. I think I’ll wait until a different post to open that can of worms.  After all, I’m still in the middle of discussing the Highly Effective Kindle edition, and will continue with that topic in more logistic detail next time…

Self Publishing on the Apple iPad

I made a mistake with my last posting. Part of the topic of my last blog involved the Apple iPad and yet the title I chose for the blog was something about killing birds. This is what is known as “missing an opportunity.”   As I have mentioned previously, blogs are wonderful for improving organic search engine optimization and one of the most important elements of a blog for SEO is the title.  

 But even though I was writing about a very popular and “trending” topic like the iPad, I mistakenly didn’t enter any of those valuable keyword opportunities into the title of my post.  Instead, I chose a title that, to a human being means one thing, but to a computer means something entirely different — and as a result, my title, “Killing two birds with one stone” won’t attract the readers I’m trying to attract. It might attract some hunters, though.

So with today’s blog posting I have created a title better suited for the SEO I’m shooting for, based upon the popularity of the iPad.  Our full-color conversion of Adventures in Publishing to ePub 1.0.5 should be done this week as should the indexing for Sell Your Book on Amazon 2nd Edition, which will allow us to also convert that for the iPad in our effort to introduce this new option for our authors. 

 I will also summarize my thoughts on the recent AWP conference I attended that took place in Denver last week, and the preliminary steps I’m taking as one of the E&Y EOY regional semi-finalists.  And if those acronyms aren’t clear enough, they’ll be revealed in the near future… It is going to be another productive week at Outskirts Press.