Self Publishing Authors Speak Out

For the past several weeks I have been discussing marketing tactics an author can take to secure more marketing muscle and “exposure” for his/her book on the various channels made available by his/her publisher. I’ve been using our company Outskirts Press, and specifically our free self-publishing app, as the primary example, although many of these tactics hold true for all writers, regardless of where they published.

Specifically, our app has four categories: blog, authors, videos, Twitter.  For the past two weeks I covered the six different ways our authors can get featured on the blog category of our app. Today we’ll talk about how to get featured on the “authors” category of the app, which is updated on our app three times a week and provides an excellent spotlight for the authors who appear there.  The app shares the author’s biography,  comments about publishing with Outskirts Press, the front cover image of the book, and buttons to buy the book directly either from Amazon or the author’s Outskirts Press webpage. When a new author is featured, he/she also gets a plug on our Facebook page.

When you combine limited availability of promotional channels with the publication of around 150 books each month, one needs to establish “requirements” that each book or author needs to meet in order to be considered for promotion in the various channels.  For instance, a few postings ago I introduced a new free opportunity we’re offering for our authors called the “Awesome Cover of the Week” spotlight.  The requirement in that case, obviously, is that the book has to have an “awesome” cover.  Of course, I realize that “awesome” is a relatively subjective phrase, but in our line of work, it is relatively easy to identify covers that do and do not fall into even the subjective areas of that definition.

So, how do we identify authors to feature in the “authors” section of our blog?  It’s relatively easy, also — we feature authors who have chosen to share their positive publishing experiences with us.  I started Outskirts Press to help authors (since I am one), so I love hearing from our published authors about their joys of publication.  Authors share their comments with us all the time in a variety of ways.  And with this new app feature, we can “thank” those authors for those kind words by giving them additional exposure for their books.    Authors who share their positive experiences with us are also archived on the Self Publishing Author blog at

Next time we’ll talk about improving your chances of getting featured in the “video” section of our iPhone app — and this is actually a guaranteed method. So stay tuned.

Getting Featured on our free self-publishing app – Part 2

A couple weeks ago I started a new series on this blog with the purpose of helping our authors get featured on our free self-publishing app for the iPhone 4 (available for free download by clicking here).  While that was the specific goal of the series of postings, in more general terms, my advice (and the advice I will continue to provide this week) extends to all authors from all publishers who are interested in securing a little more “attention” from their publisher.

You see, the self-publishing industry is BIG, and there are only a handful of self-publishing firms handling the vast majority of self-published books.  Now that publishing is so easy, getting exposure for your book after publication becomes one of the major hurdles self-publishing authors face. The degree to which you have an opportunity to get ANY exposure for your book depends upon the self-publishing company you choose. Some, like Outskirts Press, offer a lot of opportunities. Others don’t offer any; they’re done with you the moment your book is published.

The blog series a couple of weeks ago discussed 6 different ways our authors can receive exposure for their books on our blog, which would also result in being featured in our iPhone app.   The “Blog” section is just one section of the app. There are three others:  Authors, Videos, and Twitter.  I will discuss those opportunities this week, beginning with the “Authors” section tomorrow.

How to get featured on the Outskirts Press app – Author Spotlights

This week’s topic covers tactics an author can pursue to get featured on the Outskirts Press app.  Yesterday I introduced the four categories in our app, since knowing the “slant” of each category helps an author target a specific category for inclusion.  Today we’re going to cover some tips and tricks to get featured in the “Blog” category, which features stories and articles from our Outskirts Press blog.

The topics and stories featured in the Outskirts Press blog vary considerably, but there are main “staples” to the blog, and those are:

Author Spotlights
Book Spotlights
Monthly Bestsellers
Virtual Book Tours
Award Winners
Book Fair Participants

The Author Spotlight focuses on prolific Outskirts Press authors who have published multiple books with us.  This is a long list, so even if you are prolific, there’s no guarantee you will be featured, but we are trying our best to feature as many loyal and prolific Outskirts Press authors as we can.   Therefore, the best way to increase your chances of being featured is to write and publish multiple books with Outskirts Press.  That’s pretty easy. For example, the most recent author we spotlighted, Lisa M. Andrade, featured four of her Outskirts Press publications.  She’s been featured on the Outskirts Press app since August 10th and is still featured.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about “Book Spotlights.”

How to get featured on our iPhone app – Part 1

Ever since announcing the availability of our iPhone application many of our authors have been asking how to get featured on it.  To answer that question, it helps to know what the app does:

1) It features stories from our Outskirts Press blog under the “Blog” category in our app.
2) It features published authors under the “Authors” category in our app.
3) It features author book videos under the “Videos” category in our app.
4) It features our Twitter feed under the “Twitter” category in our app.

An Outskirts Press author can get featured in one or more of these categories. Sometimes it is the luck of the draw, but over the course of the coming weeks I will discuss some tips and tricks to increase your chances of getting featured on our app. I will also cover ways to guarantee it. Then, in the weeks following, I will discuss methods to increase your chances of getting exposure in our newsletter and in our Outskirts Press Direct bookstore.  And even if you haven’t published with Outskirts Press, these concepts will hold value for any author of any book when it comes to book marketing.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss how to get featured in the “Blog” category of our iPhone app.

Free Self-Publishing App from Outskirts Press is Available

Free Download – Click Here

Category: Business/Productivity
Updated: June 29, 2011
Current Version: 1.77916
Compatible with: iPhone 4 iOS 4
Size: 7.8mb
Language: English
© 2011 Outskirts Press, Inc.

Announcing our free iPhone 4 app


The Outskirts Press Free Publishing App for the iPhone 4 (running iOS 4) is now available for download. It provides mobile access to live updates through the Outskirts Press publishing and social communities.

Please note: This app works for the iPhone 4 running iOS4 and the iPad, but does not work on the older, first generation iPhones (iPhone 3).

Over the past several months this blog has touched upon the process of dealing with Apple to get this application available. It was not without its hurdles.  But that’s what Outskirts Press does; we confront those challenges for authors so they don’t have to. Coming soon will be Author Apps, and I’ll talk more about that exciting new marketing option for authors as it gets closer.

In the meantime, here are some features/benefits of the new Outskirts Press Free Publishing App:

  • Stay constantly up-to-date on happenings in the self publishing, book publishing, and book marketing arenas
  • Receive exclusive discounts and promotions only available through the App
  • Constantly updated! Blog news is updated almost daily.  Newly featured authors are updated every other day. Newly featured author book videos are updated approximately 1-2 times a week.

App approval time

For a new application, from a new developer (us), our “Waiting for Review” status lasted a week, to the day, so this gives other developers a good idea of what they can expect when they submit their first application. Apple doesn’t give you any indication of how long anything takes, so you don’t know whether to set your expectations for “an hour” or “a day” or “a week” or “a month.”

Last Tuesday, when we first uploaded the app we received the “Waiting for Upload” status notification, followed shortly thereafter by the “Waiting for Review” status notification.

Then …. nothing… for days…

Then,  yesterday, the following Tuesday after we uploaded the app,  at 10am, we received the following notification:

Dear Outskirts Press,

The status for the following app has changed to In Review.

App Name: Outskirts Press Free Publishing App
App Version Number: X.xxxxx
App SKU: 01

To make changes to this app, sign in to iTunes Connect and open the Manage Your Applications module.

If you have any questions regarding your app, click Contact Us in iTunes Connect.


The iTunes Store Team

At 4:38pm on the same Tuesday, we received the next notice, which I’ll discuss tomorrow.

Waiting for app approval

With step one of the Apple app review process complete — which I discussed last time — we uploaded the app via the Manage Applications portion of our iTunes Connect Account. And in doing so, received the following email notification from Apple, a mere 16 minutes after the first notification:

Dear Outskirts Press,

The status for the following app has changed to Waiting For Review.

App Name: Outskirts Press Free Publishing App
App Version Number: X.XXXXX
App SKU: 01

To make changes to this app, sign in to iTunes Connect and open the Manage Your Applications module.

If you have any questions regarding your app, click Contact Us in iTunes Connect.


The iTunes Store Team

Apple apparently hasn’t learned an important fact about email marketing – people don’t read emails, they browse them.  The emails look nearly identical, and could easily be mistaken for duplicates. The only difference is that instead of “Waiting for Upload” the status is now “Waiting for Review.”

And that’s where we still are. We received that email on Tuesday, June 23.   And you’ll notice the app isn’t actually “Under Review” yet; it is “Waiting for Review.”  I suspect we will receive another notification when the review process has actually begun… and then we will be able to proceed with this topic.


Apple developer certification process back on track

For those of you following our process at Outskirts Press to apply for Apple developer certification, the lesson to take away so far is to make sure that your online information you supply to Apple exactly matches the information on the official documentation you will be supplying to Apple upon their request.  We omitted the “Inc.” from our name on the online form and our address had changed in the 8 years since we incorporated with the Secretary of the State.  Alone they apparently would have been reason enough for Apple to either deny the certification or at least slow it down — and together the technicality caused a 6 week delay in the launch of our Outskirts Press app.

But, I’m happy to say the process is now continuing. True to their word, they expedited our approval process once we completed the online enrollment again, this time exactly matching the information on our Articles of Incorporation.  Once they confirm your identity, you receive the following notification via email:

You can now continue the Apple Developer Program enrollment process by reviewing and agreeing to the Program License Agreement. You must click through this agreement in order to purchase or complete your enrollment in an Apple Developer Program(s).

Upon reviewing and approval the License Agreement, which is Apple-esque in its one-sidedness, you can “Purchase” the iOS Developer Program for $99 plus tax.  Then, you receive this email notification:

Thank you for joining the iOS Developer Program. You now have access to a comprehensive set of development tools and resources to assist you in developing innovative apps.

Think we’re done? Nope, not even close. Up next…