The New & Improved Outskirts Press Newsletter

Last week when I blogged about our Best Book of the Year process, I mentioned that some pictures from the August 20th EVVY Awards would be posted on my blog soon.  The pictures I referred to were those taken by the CIPA photographers (I smiled for so many pictures as I accepted our authors’ awards that my jaw was literally beginning to hurt), and I figured they would be made available any day. I spoke too soon.

So rather than wait for their pictures to be posted, we used some of our own photographs that we took that night to complement our September 1st Newsletter article about the Best Book of the Year Awards.  It was a fitting debut, since this is also the edition that is unveiling our new & improved newsletter, with a better format and better content. You can see the new newsletter here.

“New & Improved” is a phrase we’re throwing around a lot lately, as we improve our branding, our messaging, our packages, our website, our communications, and now our newsletter.  But I feel in every instance of “new” those elements of our company have also been significantly “improved.”

  • Our branding is improved by being more on point with clearly defined colors, fonts, and language.
  • Our messaging is improved by being more helpful and author-orientated instead of “sales-y.”
  • Our packages are improved by including more elements our clients over the past decade have asked for.
  • Our website is improved by being responsive to all devices, being less cluttered and more cutting-edge.
  • Our communications (namely email) are improved by being more focused, more helpful, less sales-y, and responsive.
  • And our newsletters are improved by bringing all those previously listed improvements together.

The first newsletter is a good example of this, where you can clearly see the results of the brand and messaging overhaul. You can also see how we are providing free tips (in this case, an article about creating the perfect book title), and sharing more details about the amazing people behind the scenes at Outskirts Press, beginning with our Director of Operations, Wendy.

Noteworthy perhaps, is what the online newsletter doesn’t include.  The emailed version includes other articles and advice that are only available by subscribing to it or publishing with us (we send out two different versions — one for potential authors and one for published authors; and of course, the content is different, because a published author requires different information than a soon-to-be-published author). The online version, on the other hand, includes only portions of each emailed newsletter for the general public.


And now that we’ve officially announced the upcoming Best Book of the Year awards, it’s time to choose our 3 finalists! They’ll be revealed next week on our blog. Stay tuned!


10 Best Practices For Your Responsive Author Webpage

Now that every Outskirts Press author (past, present, and future) receives a free responsive Author Webpage for every book you publish with us, it’s time to share some “best practices” for making that webpage all it can be.


A responsive author webpage is more than just a “pretty face” on mobile devices and desktop computers.  It can also be a powerful sales and marketing tool; and you will increase your chances of getting the most out of your author webpage if you follow these 10 best practices:

  1. Be Loud, Be Proud!

Many Outskirts Press authors publish their books with our Private Label Imprint option. This means, we work our magic behind the scenes, and our publishing name is not on their book anywhere.  Well, that’s all well and good, until it came time to use our “old” author webpages, which still featured our logo and our publishing name.

The NEW & IMPROVED responsive author webpages recognize our Private label authors.  If you published under an independent publishing name, YOUR publishing name will be on YOUR responsive author webpage.  Now you can proudly aim your customers to your author webpage with your publishing imprint on it!

  1. Add an Excerpt!

The “menu bar” along the top of your new responsive author webpage makes navigating to the individual sections a snap, and did you know the menu bar is dynamic? That means, if you don’t have content in a particular section, that menu selection won’t appear on the menu bar.  This occurs most frequently with the “Excerpt” and “Media” sections, since those sections are optional.

But just because they are optional doesn’t mean you should ignore them.  If you don’t have an excerpt on your author webpage, add one by accessing the “Sales Tools” of your Publishing Center.  Around 250 words work best. Just cut-n-paste them into your “Excerpt” field.

  1. Format Your Excerpt!

Here’s an important tip for cutting and pasting your excerpt:   Since your author webpage accepts HTML (to allow for colored fonts, image-insertions, etc.), you MUST identify paragraph breaks in your excerpt.  There are TWO different ways to do this:

  1. Surround the contents of each paragraph with the <p></p> paragraph tags, by putting a <p> in front of the beginning of every paragraph and the </p> at the end of every paragraph. This will ensure that paragraphs don’t run together.
  2. Or, alternatively, you can add two line break codes <br><br> which is the same as “hitting the return key twice.”

By adding these simple codes to your excerpt you can make sure your words look just as good on your webpage as they do in your book.

  1. Format Your Synopsis and Biography!

See those formatting suggestions above, about adding line breaks or paragraph breaks to your excerpt?  They work for your synopsis and biography boxes, too.  Read your summary/details, your excerpt, and your author biography on multiple devices and make sure you’re happy with how everything looks. (Don’t forget to spell check your work!) If you want to add some line breaks or paragraph breaks, follow those rules above to make your webpage look as good as possible.

Suggesting HTML code is a double-edged sword.  It can help make your webpage look great. It can also “break” your webpage if you’re not careful.  So keep that in mind, as we list some other “codes” you might be interested in:

<strong>This makes words bold!</strong>
<em>This puts words in italics!</em>
<font color=”ff0000″>This makes words red!</font> (although WordPress doesn’t let me make them red).
<strong><em><font color=”ff0000″>Yes, you can stack them!</font></em></strong>

  1. Add Some Audio!

The other “optional” menu item is for the “Media” section, specifically book video trailers or audio excerpts.  The audio excerpt is included with many of our packages, so if you have recorded your audio excerpt, it is available from your author webpage already.  Check to make sure it is working correctly by visiting your author webpage from multiple devices (your phone, your tablet, your computer).  Sometimes you might discover that your audio plays fine from a desktop, but doesn’t play at all from an iPhone, for example.  Isn’t technology wonderful? If that’s the case, just let us know and we’ll fix it for you.

If you had the Audio Excerpt option but never took advantage of it, now’s the time. You’ll find the instructions in your Author Toolkit.  Just find that option, click the “more” link and instructions for how to record your Audio Excerpt will open up for you.  Read an excerpt from your book, or make a general comment about why you wrote your book.  Buyers love hearing from authors, literally!

If your package didn’t include the Audio Excerpt option, you can always add it from the Marketing Options screen of your Publishing Center.

  1. Add Some Video!

The other multi-media component of the Media section is your book video trailer.  This is a very popular marketing option that we offer, so chances are, your book video trailer may already be in your webpage’s Media section.  If you didn’t order a book video trailer with your publishing package, you can add one now from the Marketing Options tab of your Publishing Center.  In addition to being added to your author webpage, we will add it to our YouTube channel and other video distribution services. You will also receive the file for your additional marketing efforts.

But here’s a little known fact — if you have a book video that you did NOT order through Outskirts Press, you can still add it to your Author Webpage.   Just contact Chris at with the embedded code (or the YouTube URL), and we will be happy to add your independent book video to your author webpage for you.

  1. Work the Discount!

The hardcopy books (paperback and/or hardback) available for sale from your Author Webpage always have a 10% discount, to encourage your webpage visitors to buy your book.   Don’t worry – you still receive your full royalty!  But knowing about this discount may give you confidence to send customers to your author webpage instead of to Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website (where your customers may or may not receive a discount at all).

Speaking of formats, make sure you’re selling your Digital Download edition at the proper price. If you have the Digital Download edition (and many of our authors do), and if you did not set a specific price yourself, our webpage will default to a price of $5.00.  But the best practice is to match the price of your Kindle or Nook ebook editions (you added those formats, right?)   You can modify your Digital Download price from same screen of your Publishing Center where you manage your author webpage.

  1. Like Your Book!

Your author webpage features a Facebook “Like” button under your book cover.  Make sure you like your own book! When you do, you’ll have a chance to write a post on your Facebook feed.  We recommend asking your Facebook friends to “like” your book, too. After all, your Facebook Friends & Family are the most likely people to click on your Author Webpage link and “like” your book, but they may only do it if you ask them to.

9.Get Social!

Speaking of Facebook, you HAVE a Facebook account right?  If you don’t, go to Facebook right now and start one.  Every author must have a Facebook account. It doesn’t hurt to have a Linked-In account, either.  Those are the two “must-haves” for every author.  If you’re more experienced with social media (and have a bit more time on your hands), you may also have  a Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and/or Pinterest account.  That’s great! And guess what?  Your new responsive Author Webpage can link to ALL those social media accounts directly from your “About the Author” section — but ONLY if you tell your webpage how.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the “Edit My Profile” in the upper right-hand corner of your Publishing Center. Or, alternatively, you may have a “My Account” link.
  2. In either case, clicking that link will open up your Profile Page, where you can Edit Your Profile, provide Social Media Details, and set your Royalty Payment Details, among other things.
  3. You want to focus on the Social Media Details section, which looks like this:edit-profile
  4. Enter in the URL for each of your social media profiles. The easiest way to do that is to go to each of your active social media platforms and go to your “home” or “main” page of your account, and then cut-n-paste the URL from the Internet Browser and place it into the appropriate field of this form. Don’t forget to save your changes.
  5. Then, when you re-visit your Author Webpage, your About the Author section will automatically add links to each of the social media accounts you added. Click on each one to make sure you entered the proper link. If it doesn’t go to the right place, make adjustments accordingly.
  1. Market All Your Books!

If you’ve published multiple books with Outskirts Press (and many of you have), then your Author Webpage automatically features an “Also by” section in which all of your other book covers appear, each of them clickable to their own responsive webpage.  It’s a proven fact that readers of one of your books are more inclined to be readers of your others books, so be sure to publish multiple books to automatically add this cool section to all of your Outskirts Press author webpages. All you have to do is click this button…

… and, well… write the next book, of course.  Here’s to your great success!

Responsive Webpages For Everyone!

One of the important factors of the New & Improved Outskirts Press has been our transition to responsive website design for our new clients. RWD websites look great no matter what device is being used, ranging from desktop computers to mobile phones, and every tablet in between.  Mobile usage overtook desktop usage in 2016 so this was the perfect year to make this switch.

Along with our all new-publishing packages comes all new inclusions, including Publishing Tips Sheets on the front-end and the Book Marketing RoadMap on the back-end. And every new author receives a responsive author webpage with social media integration.

That’s great for them! But what about our thousands and thousands of already-published authors?  Well, as of today, every published Outskirts Press author now has a responsive author webpage to showcase and sell their book just as beautifully on a mobile phone as on a desktop monitor. And those in the production and pre-production pipelines will have a responsive webpage waiting for them upon publication.


The aesthetic nature of the new responsive webpages is one thing. But, these pages are more than just a pretty face.  Here are other amazing facts about the responsive author webpages available exclusively through Outskirts Press:

  • Outskirts Press authors have the choice of publishing under our imprint of “Outskirts Press, Inc” or  under their own publishing imprint name using our “Private Label ISBN” option, which registers an exclusive ISBN under their own publishing name.  A new feature of the Responsive Author Webpage is that Private Label authors have THEIR publishing name displayed at the top, rather than “Outskirts Press, Inc.”
  • A new menu bar has been added to the Responsive Author Webpages, which allows easy navigation to each section of the page: Book Details, Author Information, Book Excerpt, and Multi-Media. If an author has chosen to leave a section blank (didn’t add any multi-media, for instance), then that menu option is omitted automatically.
  • The pertinent sales information remains and contains the title, sub-title, author name, publication date, page count, and genre.
  • Every available edition of the author’s book is now available to purchase in whatever format (and from whatever source) the buyer prefers.  Paperback and hardback editions can be purchased directly from Outskirts Press for a 10% discount (authors still get their full royalty).
  • PDF Digital Download e-files are still available for instant download if the author added that option to the publishing process.
  • A new feature offers a direct link to the iTunes edition if the author purchased the Standard iPad e-book edition.  Still present from previous versions of the author webpage are links to the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which also brings shoppers’ attention to the possible availability of Kindle and/or Nook e-book editions of the book.
  • The book’s front cover is displayed along with a Facebook “Like” button. A new feature is the addition of the Pinterest “Pin it” button, so your visitors can easily “pin” your book cover to their Pinterest Boards.
  • The “Book Details” section remains, and is still modifiable within the author’s Publishing Center.  You can still use different font colors or hotlink to images with a rudimentary understanding of HTML. With this update, authors can no longer change their old author webpage layout or site colors.
  • The “Book Excerpt” section remains, and is still modifiable within the author’s Publishing Center. You can still use different font colors or hotlink to images with a rudimentary understanding of HTML.  A new feature is the clean omission of this section if an author has chosen not to include an excerpt.
  • The “About the Author” section includes the author’s biography (which is modifiable within the Publishing Center), plus the the author’s photo (if they provided it).
  • An exciting new feature of the Responsive Author Webpage is the “social media” connection in the “About the Author” section, whereby an author can add up to six direct links to his or her Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Linked-In, or Instagram accounts.  Just add the URL details in your Author Profile  for the “social media connection” functionality to be added to your Responsive Author Webpage automatically.
  • The slick new “Also by” section showcases the front covers of every book you’ve ever published with Outskirts Press (or your own publishing imprint), no matter what package. Click on the cover and you’re taken to that book’s Author Webpage (which is also in Responsive Web Design).  If you’ve published multiple books with Outskirts Press, as so many authors have, it’s like suddenly receiving a free multi-page, career website.
  • The “Multi-Media” section includes  Audio Excerpts recorded by the author and/or Book Video Trailers. A new feature to the Upgraded Author Webpage: The Audio files should now play perfectly on all devices, including iPhones.  This section is omitted if the author does not have an audio excerpt or a book video.
  • The Outskirts Press “footer” provides easy contact information to Outskirts Press (to resolve any potential ordering or technical issues for your readers), plus easy access to the full gamut of our Social Media Author Communities.
  • If the optional Private Label ISBN was used to publish the book, all the Outskirts Press “branding” is removed from the author’s new responsible webpage.

Now that every Outskirts Press author has a cool responsive author webpage, there are 10 best practices to keep in mind for getting the most out of your author webpage. And that is the topic of an upcoming post. Stay tuned!



Social Media Branding

All this week I’m discussing the New & Improved Outskirts Press, which began on August 1 with the unveiling of our new RWD website for new authors (see below), new packages for everyone, and new inclusions with all new services (like more free galley revision rounds, more free image insertions, Publishing Tip Sheets, the Book Marketing RoadMap, and a responsive Author Webpage for every new author).


I’ll discuss all the new packages and new inclusions, beginning with the One-Click for Non-Fiction Suite tomorrow, but in the meantime, this new branding effort extends past our own website at and incorporates all our social media channels and platforms, all of which are available @outskirtspress on their respective sites, with the exception of the Outskirts Press blog, which is at  And, the exception of Google+, which for some reason insists on making their naming convention different from everyone else by adding a + sign.


In case the message isn’t clear, we passionately believe your book matters, and we’ll make it your way at Outskirts Press.

We still have Pinterest and Instagram to go. But as they say… Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Stay tuned!


The “O” is for Outstanding, Part 2

We’re in the middle of the blog series about the “upgrade” or “relaunch” or “face lift” that Outskirts Press is receiving throughout the summer, most notably on August 1, when a whole new website for new clients debuts.  My June 23 posting introduced a screen shot “mock-up” of the new RWD-enhanced website for the first time.  I followed up with some of the branding improvements, and then in my previous post, discussed the “O is for Outstanding” element that will start to play a subtle and not-so-subtle role in our *New* Outskirts Press.


A perfect example of this is the new graphic appearing on all our social media channels today, July 1, announcing our most spectacular discount of the year — an instant 20% savings on our industry-leading ultimate Diamond package or our full-color Pearl package. It’s only good through July 5th.

Just enter promotion code SAVE20 in your shopping cart at check-out. Since the new Outskirts Press on August 1 introduces new packages and new prices, this is absolutely your last chance to get the best deal we will ever offer on two of the best publishing services in the business.


The “O” is for Outstanding

We’re in the middle of discussing the *NEW* Outskirts Press rebranding and relaunch. The rebranding process is already underway, as we’ve been discussing over the past several weeks on this blog. And the relaunch of the NEW Outskirts Press website is scheduled for August 1. With the relaunch comes all new publishing packages, branding, and messaging.

New “stuff” often means new graphics. In the previous post I discussed the impending retirement of our horizontal Outskirts Press logo (we’ll be using the “stacked” version exclusively). Today I will discuss the introduction of the new “O” mark, which will play subtle and not-so-subtle roles in much of the rebranding effort.


Our new suite of publishing service icons will prominently feature this “O” when the new publishing packages are introduced on August 1 on the new website (more on our new packages in the near future).  This “O” will also play a small role in the graphic design of some of our advertising efforts, both online and offline, as we roll out new advertising and marketing campaigns.

You can see the “O” being implemented already, as the new .ico image for our current website at


If your own website doesn’t yet have an .ico image, it’s easy enough to add one. Simply create a high-resolution graphic (1200 or 2400 dpi) in .jpg or .png format, and then use an .ico converter on the web (easy enough to find with a Google search) to convert the image into .ico format. Then upload that .ico file to your website’s root directory.  It’s a small thing. But in the world of self-publishing, small things often make all the difference. Which is why Top Consumer Reviews ranks Outskirts Press #1.