Time For a Spring Reset!

Spring often signifies new beginnings in literature and poetry, a rebirth, if you will. All that which lay dormant in winter now slowwwly stretches its limbs, lets out a big yawn and sigh of relief and comes back out to bask in the sun. The trees are budding, the deer are grazing, we now awake to the calming sounds of birds chirping, the sun stays with us well into the evening, it’s finally warm enough for sandals and everyone seems to be in generally better spirits because of those things aforementioned.

spring stretch

The charm and warmth of spring should not only put a pep in your step in your day to day life, but it should also be a time to pep up your writing and marketing efforts!

 

  1. Let spring be a new beginning for you. Make a list of things you’d like to begin with a fresh start. Do you need to begin editing, creating a marketing plan, blogging, etc? Now’s the time to do it!
  2. Use some springtime writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing and to help you “reset” after winter. Write about how the sunshine affects your mood and creativity, write about spring as a symbol of birth/life, write about the your sensuous experience wandering around in the natural world in springtime, etc. etc.
  3. Host an outdoor reading event in your community. Pick a nice sunny afternoon to encourage members of your community to get outside and share their love of the spoken and written word. This is a great way to network, to connect with other writers in your area and to have some fun in the sun!
  4. Start being more active on social media! Take pictures of the beauty around you, toss in a quote from a work of yours or of your favorite author’s and share with your audience! Blog, post about new developments in your publishing process, connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Now that the butterflies are back, why not be a little social butterfly?
  5. Spruce up your website. Who knows more about you than…well, you? Write up a fresh author bio that includes recent accomplishments, publications, life developments and so forth.
  6. Join some forums, join Goodreads! These are both terrific venues for marketing your book and they help you connect more intimately with your audience.
  7. Host a drawing contest for the cover of your next book! The winner gets a free copy of your book and gets featured on your website and social media pages!
  8. Add a “Store” page to your website. This is a great way to increase sales and to have your readers buy directly from you rather than some third party website.
  9. Do some spring cleaning of your writing space and bookshelves. See our last few blogs for tips on how to “declutter” as a writer!
  10. Take advantage of this nice weather! Try writing outside, even if it’s just brainstorming. A little vitamin D and time in nature can go a longgg way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive 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, kellyschuknecht.com

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part I)

alchemy ingredients

In my last post, I introduced the idea that marketing—specifically marketing as regards self-published books—is a kind of alchemy. Alchemy, of course, has a lot of meanings or connotations, but we’ll be running with this definition from Merriam-Webster: “a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way.” Which then means that an alchemist is someone who is the agent of that transformation. Merriam-Webster, for the record, has some lovely historical notes on the history of the term’s evolution, including:

alchemy alchemist

You, dear author, are an alchemist. And your marketing plan can really benefit from approaching the process with that in mind. Alchemy is all about transformation, and transformation requires something to be transformed. Which begs the question (as we foreshadowed last week):

What do you have or bring to the table as an author that’s special?

The answer (which is, of course, “a lot”) shapes what comes next. All authors share the same fundamental ingredients: a manuscript (published or yet to be published), a method, and a vision. But each of those three components will be shaded by your personal approach, interests, and unique voice. And they are the base material upon which your marketing must perform its alchemy in order to introduce your book to its ideal readers.

This is where I recommend taking a leaf out of the bullet journaling page, or out of accounting’s reliance on spreadsheets. It doesn’t particularly matter what medium you use to take stock, but take stock you must, and create a baseline record of what you’re already doing. Sit down and diagram your day. What all bits and pieces of your day are related to the writing and marketing process? Do you already use social media for personal communication? How about email and newsletters and listservs? What part of your day or week do you carve out for creation, and the writing of new material? Once you’ve taken stock of several weeks in a row, you’ll start to see patterns emerge, and you’ll get a good sense of what the outliers are. (i.e. Maybe you spend one whole day browsing Netflix because you’re bored or frustrated and need escape. That’s fine … but that’s probably not a typical day. It’s an outlier and while you must make allowance for the ongoing existence of outlier days in your life, you don’t want to let them define or move your average.)

habit tracker

Many authors make the mistake of thinking that marketing is a one-size-fits all system, and that every recommendation made out there on the Internet will apply to their specific situation … and that’s just not the way of things, sometimes. Rather than starting with a list of marketing ideas and trying to apply them all at once or without alteration, start with your existing habits and see where you’re at, and what sorts of rhythms might work with your habits. You may already doing things that are the perfect platform for marketing, and you may already lead a life that makes certain marketing strategies redundant, inapplicable, or unlikely to succeed without significant cost (in time and energy as well as money). Diagram your days, make note of your habits, and then—only then—can you move on to the next question.

What is that question? Next week, we’ll get into it.

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process 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, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

 

Tuesday Book Review: “Banister – Raiders of Santa Fe: An American Frontier Adventure Novel”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

Banister - Raiders of Santa Fe Kent Courtney

cipa evvy merit

Banister – Raiders of Santa Fe:
An American Frontier Adventure Novel

by Kent Courtney

ISBN: 9781478779995

Synopsis*:

It seemed that Banister blood was destined to wander, starting with the earliest of settlers in the original colonies. This desire to see what was beyond the mountains or the sea flowed like a curse through their veins, pushing them on… In the third installment of the popular Banister Ranch Series, we discover what it was like to travel into unknown regions of the western frontier as an early settler. Spending months riding in a hot, crowded, bone-jarring covered wagon was only part of the challenge. A shaky treaty with some of the Indian tribes opened the Santa Fe trail for travelers, but nothing guaranteed their safety or insured their success as they struggled not only to survive, but to build a ranch during a violent and dangerous time in American history. Banister-Raiders of Santa Fe blends American history with the saga of a fictional family, the Banisters, revealing what it was like to face multiple, seemingly insurmountable challenges and surviving against all odds on the frontier. The series offers relevant, realistic historical fiction with real places and events woven into exciting storylines that will resonate with the modern reader.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Amazon Reviews

Wonderful book!! I am looking forward to “Banister-Outlaws of the Badlands.” I have loved this series and each book is better than the last.

– reviewed by Maria on Amazon

Best in the series so far. Well written and it held my attention throughout the whole book. We will be looking forward to his next book.

– reviewed by Sherrie on Amazon

AWESOME!!!!!

I love this book. Can’t wait to read the next in the series.

– reviewed by Linda C. on Amazon

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 10.15.2018 – New Releases!

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically new releases written by self-publishing authors and published by independent presses! Today we’ll be featuring brand-new releases in the Outskirts Press Bookstore!

If you are looking for a gritty period redemption story, this may just be the book for you. Set in a 1930s port city somewhere in the South, it features Joseph Curcio–homeless, disillusioned, recovering alcoholic–and Amanda, his former student,  who gives him shelter. Their platonic friendship gives him the stability to heal and a foundation upon which to resurrect his career in the writing of a diary–a diary he hopes to use to confront and understand his own failures, and recover his sense of self. Despite his best efforts, though, it seems as though his project is doomed to failure, and that the flaws which brought him down the first time will do so once more. Portrait in Broken Glass is written in sharp and incisive prose, with all the humor, humanity, and realism of the best fiction out there.

As a Marriage and Family Therapist with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, Lari Kathleen Quinn specialized in domestic violence treatment and prevention–and her expertise shows! Teddy O’Brien, the protagonist of Kiss the Doors, finds herself stranded and struggling to get by in South Dakota when a road trip with her fiancé ends in tragedy. Later a witness to a domestic violence incident and surrounded by hostile strangers, Teddy begins to seek help–and begins to understand more about her own past as a survivor of domestic violence. As she slowly begins to rebuild her life and emerge from her depression, things in town take a sudden unexpected turn (or two!). This book is full of heart and, like Portrait in Broken Glass, finds its feet in a voice of sincerity and insight.

As the season begins when we must close down and mulch our own gardens for the winter, Debra Hester chronicles the days leading up to her mother’s death, and seeks to paint a portrait of all of the wisdom she left behind even while showing, in unflinching prose, the challenges remaining for those left behind: fear, anger, grief, and loss. Debra sets much of the book in the family garden as she grapples with all of those things and more, seeking healing in the beautiful backyard garden which was their shared legacy. A powerful, if heartbreaking tale, My Backyard Garden doesn’t flinch away from the difficulties of loss, but it ends on a hopeful note–reflecting the healing which is ultimately to be found in shared memories and a life well lived.

Last but certainly not least, we couldn’t close out this week’s new releases without mentioning Gabriel F.W. Koch’s latest book: And Comes Day’s End. Koch’s credentials are stellar: winner of the 2004 L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award, winner of the 2016 CIPA EVVY Award for Fiction/Science Fiction and Merit Award recipient in 2018, finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award in Science Fiction and Mystery, a nominee for the 2017 CIPA EVVY awards, and the second-place winner of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, Koch knows his stuff. This book features a new and compelling voice for Koch, and centers on Michael McKaybees, a private investigator working in New York’s five boroughs. When his best friend is killed and he himself is implicated in the murder, McKaybees must fight to clear his name by investigating the city’s criminal elements as well as its most preeminent citizens–all before he himself is locked away for crimes he did not commit. Murder gets personal in this great new mystery, and it’s a definite must-read for longtime Koch fans!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

selfpubicon1

Tuesday Book Review: “A Place to Call Home”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

a place to call home g a whitmore

purple dragonfly book award

A Place to Call Home: Toby’s tale

by G. A. Whitmore

ISBN: 9781478700739

Synopsis*:

A Place to Call Home is the heartwarming and inspiring story of an abandoned white German shepherd puppy named Toby and his cross-country search for a forever home.Narrated in part by the animal characters in the book, the reader experiences Toby’s world through his eyes and those of the animals he meets on his journey.

Toby’s life begins on a farm where the carefree, happy days he has known come to an abrupt end when his breeder decides to “dispose” of him and his sister Tara because of the color of their fur. With the help of a kind farmhand, the two puppies escape unharmed.

After a tumultuous time during which Toby is shuffled from place to place, he is finally adopted, but he quickly realizes his new family has deep-seated issues that put him in danger, and what seemed like an ideal home, turns into another place he must escape from.

As Toby struggles to find a forever home where he can feel safe and secure, he experiences some painful losses, but he also makes new friends–friends who will help him to trust humans again and teach him the power of love.

Inspired by a true story, this middle grade/young adult novel can be enjoyed by dog lovers of all ages.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

As a dog rescuer myself I was happy to get my hands on “A Place to Call Home” by G.A. Whitmore. We rescued Peggy, a mixed Belgian shepherd breed from the shelter almost seven years ago and now can’t imagine life without her. Toby is white German Shepard was abandoned with his sister on the road due his white fur by the breeder, a farmer who thought no one would buy them. After the two puppies are rescued, and their new situation seemed to promise a loving home for them, Toby’s tragic adventure begins.  This heart wrenching story made me imagine my own dog’s past and wonder what type of cruel situations she had to endure before we found her. Many of us dog rescuers fall in love with them and try not to think about all the cruelty these puppies have been subjected to previously. They are so loving to us that it is hard to imagine anyone could be capable of hurting them. This book will take the reader through the worst of mankind as it recounts the abuse Toby experienced.

“A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale” by G.A. Whitmore is the first of the series which promises to be heartwarming tales of rescued dogs. Toby’s tale was inspired by the author’s own dog. Her love for him and dogs in general is evident in her writing. It is apparent through her writing that this is her first book, the flow was not quite there and it felt to me a little repetitive. I am sure that as she gains more experience she will be able to edit out unneeded wording which will help the flow a lot, from dialogue to narration and one scene to the next. Nevertheless, this is a great story and a much needed series as the amount of abused dogs in the shelters are testament to the need for loving homes.

“A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale” by G.A. Whitmore is a heartwarming story that will touch dog lovers and even people without pets. Hopefully, their hearts will open up enough to make room for a shelter dog, as they read this book.

– reviewed by Susan Violante of Reader Views

Other Reviews

I Enjoyed This Book

I saw an ad for this book in my Story Monsters Ink Magazine. I was intrigued because it won the Purple Dragonfly Book Award and the author donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book to an organization that helps protect dogs. I read it in about a week and found it to be very enjoyable. The author’s love of dogs is apparent throughout the story and the book reminds us of the horrors some of these poor animals live through. I loved her beautiful imagery and think this would be an excellent gift for dog lovers. Not sure I’d give it to someone under the age of 14 or so though. A few parts might upset younger readers. It is a story of second chances and ultimately, one of love.

– reviewed by Michelle Seelye Drucker on Amazon

A Delightful Read with a Message

This was a thoroughly delightful and enjoyable read, one that moved me to both smiles and tears. Written for young adults, it balances well the scenes in which the dogs talk to one another and other more gritty and dramatic human scenes which explained the hardships this rescue dog went through and perhaps why. Even as it engages with Toby’s joys and travels, it sends an important message about the responsibilities of dog ownership and how they look to us for much more than food, water and shelter. Loving a dog is a responsibility and it’s a great joy. The organizations that save and the people who adopt, make a tremendous difference to many small creatures who hurt. The writer skillfully and engagingly sends that powerful and beautiful message with Toby’s story.. – LB Johnson – Author of “The Book of Barkley – Life and Love Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever”.

– reviewed by L. Paul on Amazon

The story of a dog family told from the canine point of view. Unique & Excellent!

This is a wonderful, sweet and engaging book about a dog finding a forever home and his relationship with a young boy and family. It is broken up into several sections, with the story of the pups mother and grandmother on a farm and how this pup ended up being part of a family. I particularly loved how all the perspectives are from each dog’s point of view, which is something I’ve never seen before. And my favorite section was the story of the grandmother dog and her adventures on the farm – I don’t want to give anything away so I’m not going g to say anything more about it, but it was captivating and charming and really a unique story.

This would be a great book for any animal lover. The themes focus around rescues and how even a dog that is abandoned deserves a chance to be loved and love in return. The descriptions from the dogs point of views make for an interesting, unique story and I highly recommend it.

– reviewed by jld2 on Amazon


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 10.8.2018 – The Interviews!

october month

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically interviews with or articles written by self-publishing authors and experts!

Here’s a story to kick your week off right! Terence Toh of Star2.com covers the story of 17-year-old Mitsuyo Machida, who set off to teach Japanese to Burmese refugee children at a center in Kuala Lumpur. Frustrated with the lack of available resources, she decided to create her own–Nihongo No Hon Beginner (“A Book Of Japanese Language For Beginners”)–and self-publish it so that she could get the material she wanted, the illustrations she wanted, and the details which matter to someone using a textbook in the field to change lives. Mitsuyo Machida also describes in detail her self-publishing experience: “It was really difficult at times, I didn’t have a professional editor or designer. So it was challenging, but I enjoyed it,” she writes, and the quality and creative control was important to her. And her closing comments? “It’s important to start small. Small things can make big differences in other people’s lives. You don’t need to get involved in teaching or creating textbooks like I did, but what’s most important is to be aware of people out there who need your help.” The world is in very good hands, indeed.

This article comes to us courtesy of Ernie Smith at Associations Now, and describes the Alliance of Independent Authors’ (ALLi’s) new public awareness campaign, which “urg[es] members to build their own sustainable platforms with multiple revenue streams, rather than relying on Amazon or others to fuel their success.” The campaign is called Self-Publishing 3.0, and Smith writes:

Why 3.0? ALLi says the shift represents the next wave for the industry since the rise of desktop publishing and print-on-demand technology in the 1990s made it possible for writers to self-publish. The arrival of the e-reader (particularly the Kindle) created a second wave. The third wave, says the group, emphasizes independence though side businesses such as online teaching, subscription services, and direct sales via author websites.

An awareness of consumer trends is woven deep into the fabric of this campaign, and there are plenty of resources available and linked through the article for indie authors looking to participate. Check it out!

Last but certainly not least, here’s an article from Emma Wenner of Publishers’ Weekly on the poet Lang Leav, who got her start by way of self-publishing and is now an established voice among poets of the highest caliber. Before she even got to the self-publishing stage, Leav was using platforms like Tumblr to share her poetry: “I was building up my following and saving up to self-publish my first book, Love & Misadventure,” she writes, “and I was just hoping to make back what I spent. It went a lot better than expected. I was only self-published for a couple of months and I think I had sold over 10,000 copies.” Yeah, that’s not bad at all, is it? In her interview, Leav digs into her experiences (positive and negative) on social media, the role of poetry in modern life, and what it’s like to pick up the torch after poets such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs lay the groundwork for “Pop Poetry” during the Beat Generation. A fascinating read we highly recommend!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

icon logo self publishing advisor

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Introduction)

GettyImages-998993074.jpg

Now that it’s the beginning of October, we are well and truly into the holiday season. Sure, Halloween may still be almost a full month away, but the real pleasure of the last three months of the year only a very little to do with the big days themselves–Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day–and a great deal to do with anticipation, and what we choose to do with ourselves in the intervening days as we build excitement–or design costumes, or plan reunions, or negotiate for a few extra vacation days–throughout the home stretch of the year.

What are you, as a self-publishing author, going to do with that time?

For many self-publishing authors, the holidays are the most profitable time of year. These are the authors who have figured out the best way to ring in the holidays using their skills and their published works. We’ve written extensively about holiday marketing in the past, and we may hit some of the high points again this year, but we also wanted to do something new. Not quite “6 weird tricks to spook your friends this Halloween” but something which honors the magic of the holidays, and seeks to marry together your best skills and the season’s best opportunities to create … a kind of marketing alchemy.

Over the months to come, I’ll be asking the questions: What do you have or bring to the table as an author that’s special? And what do the final months of each year have or bring to the table so far as marketing goes? How we answer these questions, together, may just provide a new way forward as you seek to plan your upcoming marketing strategy for your latest or your next self-published book!

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process 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, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

 

Tuesday Book Review: “Classroom Boredom Busters”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

classroom boredom busters donna malone

cipa evvy 3rd place

Classroom Boredom Busters

by Donna Malone

ISBN: 9781478785323

Synopsis*:

Spark student curiosity and increase student participation with classroom activities that won’t add to your busy workload. In Classroom Boredom Busters, veteran educator Donna Malone shares her proven ideas for exciting kids about learning.

Teachers of all content and subject areas in grades four through twelve can encourage active learning using movement (for example, role-playing being in a press conference); word games (such as writing messages in bottles); and friendly competitions (including game shows).

Educators who have attended Malone’s professional learning workshops have received these ideas enthusiastically, and students of theirs still fondly recall, “I remember when…” because these teachers used activities from this book. With Classroom Boredom Busters, every lesson comes alive and becomes more memorable.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Reviews

Entertaining Learning: A Win-Win Combination

This is the best book available on the market for all teachers who want to make learning fun again! Students will be entertained while they learn, a win-win situation for teachers and students alike. Award-winning author Donna Malone presents 50 clever games to captivate and energize students in the classroom, especially middle school where attention spans are short. The book includes eight categories of games, five in each. One section includes learning games that get children out of their seats, up and moving, to play games such as “Wall Slap,” “Snowball Fight,” and “Vocabulary Relay.” Other games are based on everything from popular game shows to celebrity glamour. Malone has almost 30 years of teaching experience and is a popular presenter at conferences. Currently, she serves as School Improvement Specialist at an agency for the Georgia Department of Education.

– reviewed by S. Mclaughlin on Amazon

Attention Educators

Educators will find Classroom Boredom Busters refreshingly effective for today’s youth. The author delivers some uniquely fun and simple approaches to stir up the stagnant climates in many of today’s classrooms. Donna’s box of strategies are delightful as well as practical for all involved parties. As a classroom teacher, I’m looking forward to adding many of her ideas to my repertoire!

– reviewed by Laurel on Amazon

 

Book Trailer


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1