Summer Writing Goals

Summer is the perfect time to set and accomplish writing goals. Many people have time off work. The extra daylight makes you feel like you have more time in the day. The season is filled with inspiration. Whether you haven’t started your book or your book is already published, here are three ways you can make your writing dreams come true this summer.

1. The new project.

You’ve been dreaming of publishing a book, but you haven’t found the time or motivation. Well, now is the perfect time to start. Commit to the goal of finishing your manuscript by the end of August. Use small daily goals, such as writing for a certain amount of time, to help you achieve your dream.

2. The published book.

Perhaps you have a manuscript that is ready to be published. Now is the perfect time to start the publishing process. Your goals should include:

  • Research and choose a publisher.
  • Edit your manuscript.
  • Start thinking about cover design.

3. The successful book.

If you’ve already published your book, now is the time to focus on marketing. A great marketing plan is the key to a successful book. No one can buy your book if they don’t know it exists. Set marketing goals such as:

  • Research summer events where you can display (and sell) your book.
  • Set up and maintain social media pages.
  • Contact local news sources.

I’d love to know, what are your summer writing goals?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self Publishing is Easy, Standing Out Isn’t

While there are many perks to self-publishing — easy to do, higher royalties, no rejection letters, and more — there is also a major drawback: competition. Self-publishing has become very popular, and it seems like everyone — new authors, previously published authors, professionals, even children — is doing it. While it is great for writers to have the freedom and control that self-publishing offers, it also makes the publishing industry even more competitive.

I’ll be honest about something — the majority of self-publishing authors aren’t best selling authors who make millions of dollars. That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, but it does mean you need to understand the market, have realistic expectations, and work hard to make your book stand out. The solution is “simple”: write a great book, publish a quality book and do a great deal of marketing and promotion.

1) The Writing

Consider submitting your manuscript for a comprehensive, professional and unbiased review before having it published; actually the more reviews you have done, the better. They help you fine tune your manuscript to make it the best book possible.

2) The Publishing

As part of the publishing process, be sure to invest in professional copyediting and a custom cover.  If your book is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, it won’t be taken seriously.  If your book has a plain Jane cover, it could be overlooked.

3) The Marketing

This is the part many self-publishing authors miss.  Along with self-publishing comes self-marketing.  It’s not enough to just have distribution. The most successful self-published authors understand the importance of great marketing. Some self-publishing companies offer services to assist you with your self-marketing. Whether you choose to do it on your own, pay someone to help, or do a combination of both, this element of the process is an absolute must.

Don’t be discouraged!  There are many self-publishing authors who have had success, and you can too if you approach the process correctly.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

The Cost of Self Publishing

In trying to contemplate the “most asked” question by authors considering self publishing, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one question.  There are several questions that self publishing authors frequently ask. Since I only want to focus on one question in this blog post, I decided to address the common question, “How much will it cost me to self publish my book?” (Don’t worry, I’ll address the other common questions in future posts.)

Authors considering self publishing often want to know how much it will cost to publish their book. My first response: That’s a loaded question.  The answer varies greatly based on the goals and budget of each individual author.

While there is no one size fits all price for self publishing, there is some information that all authors considering self publishing should know before figuring out how much their self publishing project is going to cost:

1) It’s an investment.

You can’t think about the money you will spend on self publishing your book simply as an expense. Instead, think of it as an investment. By putting money into your project, you are creating a book that has a value and will earn a profit. Unless your goal isn’t to make money off the book (yes, some authors have goals other than earning a profit), you need to think like a business person and remember the cliché, “To make money, you must spend money.”

2) Think about what you are getting.

Rather than focusing just on the numbers, you need to think about what the money you are spending will get you. For instance, paying for a customized cover is getting you a unique cover design that will help draw readers to your book and will literally be the face of your project. After all, research shows that readers decide within eight seconds whether or not to purchase a book. Similarly, paying a copy editor will get you a clean, professional manuscript. If there is one service that I suggest all self publishing authors invest in, it is editing!

3) Plan to make a profit.

Many self publishing authors focus on how much is this going to cost them now, instead of thinking how this can make them money in the future. If your goal is to make a profit from your book, you need to create a solid marketing plan. Think of your book as a business. Would you start a business and then not advertise it?  Of course not!  So why would you publish a book and then not market and promote it?   So when you create your self publishing budget, you need to factor in the cost of marketing and promoting your book.

That said… 

In my years of experience in this industry, I would say the average cost range to self publish a marketable book is $2,500-$3,500.  This allows roughly $1,500 for a good publishing package with a custom cover design, plus $500-$1,000 for professional copyediting, plus $500-$1,500 for marketing services.  You will likely spend more on marketing and promoting the book down the road, but this provides a good snapshot of the upfront expenses.

Like I said, there is no one size fits all price. Some authors will spend more than others. The key is to look at your goals, needs, and plans when creating your budget, and don’t forget to consider the value of the investment you are making. Remember, you can’t make money, if you don’t spend money.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

5 Pinterest Marketing Tips for Self-Publishing Authors

When used appropriately, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be effective tools for book marketing.  The hottest social media trend right now is Pinterest! Like the other social media sites, it can help self publishing authors  facilitate communication with current and potential readers, generate sales, and increase awareness of their books.

This photo sharing site enables users to “pin” images and videos to virtual pinboards, or “Boards,” and share them with others.  Users can organize their pins based on their interests; a few popular examples are food, books, travel, and style. When other users see a pin they like, they can repin it onto one of their own Boards.  Think virtual word-of-mouth marketing!

The visual and social nature of Pinterest make it a perfect fit for book marketing.  Here are a few ways you can use the site to promote your self published book.

1.  Become active on Pinterest and begin networking with people who are pinning in your areas of interest.  People are more likely to want to support people that are active in the community versus people that are just pinning to promote a product or service. You can search on Pinterest for topics related to your interests and your book and start following Boards you find “Pinteresting.”
2.  Create your own Boards.  Keep in mind, Pinterest was created for people to share images and interests.  Your Boards need to be visually appealing, contain lots of images, and they should give potential readers some insights into your interests and why you wrote the book. If you have a poetry book, for example, you may choose to Pin graphics with quotes from your favorite poets, thus allowing you to begin connecting with other Pinners who also like poetry.
3.  Upload images related to your book.  These may include cover images, illustrations, locations that were featured in your book, and/or people that provided inspiration for your characters.
4.  Pin quotes from your book or short selections to entice people to learn more about your book, spread the word and purchase their own copy.
5.  Include links to your website, your publisher’s website or book retail sites so people know where they can purchase your book once you’ve got them “pinterested.”

Pinterest is gaining in popularity, so now is the time to get active, have fun and start promoting your self published book if you haven’t already.

 

 

How to Get Your Self Published Book Reviewed on Amazon

Book reviews are a great way to boost your sales and credibility because readers often turn to online reviews by their peers. Online book reviews are like virtual word of mouth marketing; they can significantly impact your self publishing success. People value other people’s recommendations, and Amazon is one of the most popular sources for online book reviews. Here is how to get your self published book reviewed on Amazon.

1) Identity online book reviewers.

Search online for book reviewers. Look for potential reviewers on Amazon’s Top Reviewers list, and try Googling the Amazon reviewer’s name, which will often point you toward their Facebook page or other contact information. Be sure to look for reviewers who review books similar to yours. You don’t want to spend time soliciting reviewers who won’t be interested in your book.

2) Contact reviewers.

Reach out to people who write book reviews and ask them to review your book. Be sure to send them a FREE copy. (It can be a digital version.) Do not send the book before the reviewer as responded and agreed to review your book.

3) Use your contacts.

Besides people who regularly review books for Amazon, you could ask other people to post a review. Consider asking family members, friends, colleagues, social media followers, etc.  When using this approach, be sure to encourage people to be honest in their reviews. Readers don’t want to read generic reviews by family members and friends who feel obligated to say they like your book.

4) Value honesty.

Not every review is going to be positive. Welcome criticism and use it to improve. Readers will be suspicious if every review is positive. No book is loved by everyone, and readers appreciate genuine reviews.

According to Amazon, if you spend two or three days contacting about 300 potential Amazon reviewers, you can expect to receive about 40 to 50 responses, and wind up with perhaps 35 reviews, a quite satisfactory result. So start contacting reviewers today, and watch your book sales improve!

To learn more about Amazon book reviews, click here.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.