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

From the Archives: “Self-publishing Ripple Effect Marketing”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: May 27th, 2010 ]

Think of self-publishing book marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. Plan the journey, prepare to work, pace yourself, and not become discouraged when you the bear jumps on your back. Your second wind is right around the corner.

Unlike blockbuster books like Harry Potter, which sell 90% of their copies in the first 90 days of release, an independently published book is often the opposite – not surprising since titles like Harry Potter make up a percent of a percent of all books published. It takes time to build awareness. Sales may start slowly, but can climb over time if you persistently market your book.

If you’ve yet to nail down a specific marketing plan, I suggest starting in your own hometown. Build a Tribe. Attract the interest and readers of people in your inner circle before you focus on your neighborhood. Then, focus on your neighborhood before concentrating on your city. Next your state and region, etc. This is known as the ripple effect.

It applies to both online and traditional marketing tactics.

ripple effect marketing

Thinking of marketing as something other than a sprint, or a laundry list of items to get through (“Poetry reading, check! Social media account created, check!”) is the wisest advice I’ve heard all year. Thinking of your marketing as you think of your other relationships–as more than just the sum of its parts, or the sequence of events–is important. Every action affects every other action, and the changes are cumulative or even, sometimes, exponential! Think, instead, of your marketing strategy as a whole, and a whole which is best contemplated as a web of interrelated components which all touch each other and all affect how the other components play out. Some pieces need to come before others in order for them both to work, and sometimes a misstep with one component will lead to a cascade of problems in the others.

Another great image to keep in mind is the ocean. Yes, the ocean operates under the same physical principles and constraints as a ripple in a swimming pool–but would we really compare their behaviors and say they’re the same thing? There’s more at work than simple scale; the ocean works on its environment in a multitude of ways, and one of its most impressive qualities is its ability to wear anything down–given time. The ocean is interminable, it is unstoppable, and it is unwearying in its work upon the seashore. Wave after wave after wave can lead to an entirely new shoreline, right?

So as we head into a new series of Wednesday blog posts on updating your marketing strategies for the summer, think about ripples and oceans. They are the same thing … except they aren’t. Steal from both. Steal the cumulative effects of the ripple (and the interrelationships of the web) and steal the repetitive unstoppability of the ocean. This is your arsenal against the soporific atmosphere of midsummer.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


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.

Self-Publishing News: 4.24.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Many people think of writing as the first step to self-publishing, however, Trevor Crane flips this assumption on its head. Crane insists that “you must begin your pre-launch plans before you’ve written one single word.” A best-selling, self-published author himself, Trevor also owns a successful book marketing business “and the publishing companies Bestseller Big Business Publishing and the children’s imprint Super Kids Book Publishing.” Trevor’s daughter could be said to be one of his clients for the latter business, a stunning young girl who published five books in just three months!

Crane’s advice for authors considering the self-publishing route is to do a little reverse engineering and think about “the steps that precede the perceived onset” of actually writing the thing. Some useful tips Trevor provides for authors who want to ‘stay ahead of the pack’ are to first off, make clear what it is you want to promote and write. “Just like you can’t start building a house without a blueprint,” he says, “you can’t write a book until you know who you are writing for and what your marketing plan will look like.” He advises that authors try and step into the mind of the readers and ask yourself who your readers are and how you will advertise to them when your book is complete.

Secondly, Trevor recommends that you get on your social media soapbox and let the world know that you’re writing a book. This serves a dual purpose: one, it keeps you accountable and two, it gets the word out and builds anticipation for your audience. “One of Trevor’s clients sold 25 business sessions at a trade show before she had typed a single sentence”–now that’s effective marketing! She even ended up with a best-seller.

The counter-intuitive last piece of advice is to focus on the story, AFTER you’ve taken pieces of advice 1 and 2. He recommends researching the genre you plan to write in and see what works best, what is most popular and successful. Once you’ve gotten a feel for what works and what doesn’t, what makes top-sellers and what flops, try and craft a formula that will make your story a success. There’s a way in which you can repurpose popular works in a certain genre “in your own fashion, in your own words and with your unique take on your subject,” he says, “Your book should be readable, flow well, and adhere to creative guidelines: vary sentence lengths and set scenes, as an example.”

In his publishing and book marketing businesses, Trevor encounters a lot of authors who don’t like their books because they didn’t take the time to plan ahead before they dove straight into the writing process. Don’t make that mistake. Plan ahead, and plan for success!


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.


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.

Saturday Book Review: “The Best Investment Is Within One’s Self”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

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The Best Investment is Within One’s Self

by Carrie Register-Haley

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478776871

Synopsis*:

My life coaching philosophy is grounded in the understanding that every individual is an innate expert in their own life realization. It is my fundamental belief that you possess the ability, expertise and knowledge to create and embody your own definition of success. Because happiness, self-defined success and peace are all at the core of your being; you just have to learn to invest time into tapping into it. Everyone that is willing to put energy into self-discovery has the capacity to obtain what you want. Since I value a holistic approach to coaching and believe the mind, spirit and body are the three pillars that ground us in our learning process. It is my responsibility as a coach to ask powerful questions to assist with identifying strategies for success, discovering self-empowering techniques, centering for self-discovery, and creating an environment for prosperity. I also believe in holding you accountable for moving towards your goals on the journey to success. So I urge you to contact me along your journey at drhaley@roi-coaching.com so together we can tap into your potential and bring forth a revelation of investment from this experience. This self-investment guide is designed to get you motivated in self-investment and potential realization. Being a Life Coach is who I am, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you. I believe that every person is perfectly imperfect and deserves the best me working to discover the best version of you.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

With her emphasis on self-empowerment being accessible to anyone and everyone, Carrie Register-Haley draws upon her years of experience and expertise as a mentor, a coach, a Human Resources Trainer, a Group Counseling Facilitator, a Victim Advocate, and a Back to School Event Coordinator to deftly write a self-help instructional guide that is impressively ‘reader friendly’ in tone, commentary, organization and presentation. Motivating, inspirational, practical, thoughtful and thought-provoking, “The Best Investment Is Within One’s Self: Self-Investment Quick Tip Guide” is a potentially life-changing read that is very highly recommended for community library and counseling center Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Best Investment Is Within One’s Self” is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

reviewed on The Self-Help Shelf of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what another reviewer is saying:

Superb! What an amazing step by step guide to investing in one’s self. The book is practical, easy to read, well thought out and written makes acheiveable points and references towards improving oneself. Dr. Registerhaley I can’t wait to see what you have in store next. Thank You for sharing your insight. Andrea L. Wingo

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer


saturday self-published book review

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

Self Publishing Advisor

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Conversations: 4/21/2017

BENEFITS OF WRITING SIGHT AND SOUND SCENES – Part III

One of the methods I use to kick-start my writing involves taking a walk through our local library and looking for Picture/Photo books. Not only do the beautiful scenic photos inspire me, but the details fill me with “What if?” questions—which, in turn, push me right back into writing. Sometimes I am captured by exquisite coffee-table-books that are strategically placed throughout the library; those oversized, thicker photo-pages with captions that identify the country, state, mountain range or desert location of the images. Other times I settle at a table in the History section or cozy into the big rocking chair in the Children’s section. Following are a few examples of these types of books and how to discover your own treasures in their midst.

home of the bluesHome of the Blues by Debby Wallace and Daniel Coston is written from the perspective
of “IF the walls could talk.” These two authors (Debby a retired RN now freelance writer and Daniel an established photographer for magazines and CD covers) have done their research and reconnected the world with sounds of the past created in a place that continues to inspire us today.

If you are writing a “period piece” set in 1900s America, you’ll benefit from reading these pages and walking into the images of “The Days of the Blues.”

For sheer scenic imagery check out the books of photographer William A. Carlson: FROM DELICATE LILY PADS TO SCULPTURED from delicate lily pads to sculptured peaks by william a carlsonPEAKS: Landscape Photography with Verse Impressions from North America, Scandinavia, and New Zealand…or his second book of photography, IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE IN BLACK AND WHITE. Carlson’s work has captured the positive attention of American Landscape Photographer, John Fielder, which led me to begin turning the pages. Earlier I mentioned the value of details and these images gave me just that—the ability to imagine myself standing in these environments and experiencing my own “sensory responses” that are mentioned in his verses.

For those of us who utilize setting almost to the point of creating the places as additional characters in our stories, this genre of Nature/Scenic photography can be most useful. When we cannot be there ourselves, we can still have the opportunity to meld with such photos and imagine the prick of pine needles dropped from majestic, towering pine forests.

FROM these two basic genre/types of published works we can be inspired to:

  • Create a historic and/or seasonal location that meets the needs of our storyline.
  • Develop a fluid time—morning, afternoon, evening, “dark of night.”
  • Set the weather patterns that effect our characters.
  • Utilize each of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

But don’t forget the sixth sense and the additional four (at least) senses that every one of your Readers will engage as they turn the pages of your book(s). They are mostly physical senses and include:

  • Pain: from physical, emotional, psychological injury.
  • Balance: the equilibrium that keeps us standing on our feet or seated comfortably in our chairs.
  • Motion: the active use of joints in our bodies that move our “parts.”
  • Temperature: the body’s sensitivity to internal and external temperatures.
  • The Intuitive or perceptive is what most call “the sixth sense.” However, many scientists today believe it is just as much a part of the human sensory system as the others.

Steeping ourselves in Sight and Sound environments, whether joining Outward Bound trail blazers or sitting comfortably at home, in a library or neighborhood park will enhance our writing skills. My writing always benefits when I take the time to build my memory bank (and files) with such images. I hope you will, too. ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

In Your Corner: Taking the Time

relaxing puppy taking it easy

Writing takes time.

… how often have we heard this line?

So why do we balk at the thought of publishing taking time?

Yes, even self-publishing. Or perhaps we ought to say: self-publishing takes time when you’re doing it right. There is such a thing as a rushed publication, and we’ve seen the results. (Not good. Not satisfactory. Not doing justice to the authors’ great ideas and skills as authors.) Sometimes, publishing can or should take a little … longer. Months, even.

Why?

Quality Control

The more rushed the publication process, the less likely you are to have a range of people looking at your work, and having “eyes on” the work is incalculably valuable to producing a polished, perfect book. I’m not just talking about editing, either, but the other fiddly bits: graphic design, interior formatting, clean margins and orphan control, or even satisfying the legal requirements and meeting publishing standards! There are simply so many balls to keep in the air during the publishing process, and not everyone has the time, energy, skills, or industry expertise to complete it quickly. Far better to take a little time, and bring in outside help to make sure you get it right!

Multiple Checks and Balances

Just as having “eyes on” your work helps with quality control of the finished product, it also keeps certain ideas and inclinations in check. In fact, the longer you take, the less likely you are to do something rash with your cover art or ‘experimental’ with your formatting–it’s just one of those things! The longer you ponder your publishing decisions, the more sound they will be, being rooted in a broader understanding of both standard practices and what’s at stake. Other eyes will catch what you’ve missed, and create a sounding board for some of your more ‘edgy’ or ‘distinctive’ choices. They’ll give you a notion of what works, and what doesn’t, and help you navigate the publishing process with as few hassles as possible. So, not only does taking your time during publishing serve as its own reward–time as its own check and balance–but it also gives you the opportunity to broaden the team of people involved in your project, and really choose the minds and services which will help bring your vision to fruition.

 

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When push comes to shove, we have to believe our books are worth the time we take with them. We have to believe in them! I think perhaps the physicist and science educator Carl Sagan put it best when he said:

carl sagan quote

If books can break the shackles of time, we shouldn’t begrudge them taking a little time in the publishing process. To get it right.

All I’m saying is: don’t rush it. Self-publishing, even slow-cooker style, is still much faster than traditional publication, which takes an average of two years from start to finish. The ‘slowing down’ which I’m talking about is more on the order of months than years! The ultimate goal is to create a finished product which is perfect in every way, or at least in all of the ways which readers and booksellers appreciate.

Your book is worth taking the time! It deserves the best possible treatment. And if the process goes more quickly than you expected, well, isn’t that a happy surprise?

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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.

From the Archives: “Mailing Lists for Self-Published Book Promotion”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: November 24th, 2008 ]

Don’t you wish there was one single place where you could buy a mailing list that was specific for your self-published book?

You’re in luck! Check out www.listsyoucanafford.com for third party mailing lists that just may be the answer to your marketing goals.

I hope these lists help you get the word out to your specific book audience and just in time for the holiday shopping season to begin!

Good luck and have fun!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

mailing list email

It has been a while since I last talked about mailing lists–approximately eight and a half years, in fact, but I’m happy to report that listsyoucanafford.com is still active. I haven’t personally used their services in a while, however, so I did a little digging around. It turns out that this particular service has about a 44% failure rate, which may seem like a lot, but is actually relatively par-for-the-course when it comes to purchasing email lists. It does, however, exceed the amount they state in their “guarantees,” so if you find that you too are experiencing higher-than-expected failure rates on your purchased email list, I highly recommend contesting your payment.

Of course, buying email lists isn’t exactly a straightforward enterprise. Spend any time on Google with the subject and you’ll come up with articles and blog posts reflecting a range of experiences–both great and terrible and everything in between–and I don’t know about you, but that kind of puts the fear of God into me when it comes to doing my due diligence and using only trustworthy services:

email lists

But the fact remains, reaching people by email is still one of the most effective (and cost-effective) marketing strategies out there. We will address ways to build your own personal email list soon in our upcoming Wednesday series (starting, not tomorrow, but next week), but revisiting this 2008 blog has served as a good reminder that the world has changed a lot, and our priorities with it. Security concerns and legal concerns, wastefulness concerns … and they’re all deeply tied to how we approach this email thing.

Stick around on Wednesdays to hear more!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


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.