Kelly Schuknecht: The Highlights Reel (part 2)

Today we continue the work began in last Wednesday post as we farewell our longtime contributor Kelly Schuknecht. Kelly is moving on from Self Publishing Advisor to take on new challenges and we wanted to revisit some of her best and most popular posts here. Here are three more posts that really went down in the record books with us and our readers!

self-publishing in december

Here’s a gem for the ages! After all, it’s an evergreen subject; every author needs constant reminders of just how easy it is to miss errors in one’s own work, and of the need for extra eyes on any unpublished manuscript before it goes to press. This post, first published in 2010, really connected with its audience–and that was before Kelly updated the post with further tips and tricks in 2016. This post, and its update, has been one of our top performers of all time, and for good reason: Kelly walks readers through how to utilize an editor, how to get those extra eyes on your work, how and when to leave the manuscript as finished, and several suggestions on how to read the material by your lonesome and still achieve excellent results (clue: the words “out loud” and “backwards” are both used, but not together). This post serves as great proof that good writing will always be good writing, and therefore suggestions on how to craft good words will also remain steady.

Have you even thought about Amazon’s BXGY lately? Chances are that you haven’t, since the program was phased out soon after Kelly’s original post in 2008 (one of her earliest!). It’s worth checking in on the original post just to see how far Amazon’s sales algorithms and promotions have come; back in 2008, this post was so popular it almost broke our analytics, but these days for obvious reasons it’s a quiet corner of the blog. If there’s a moral to be learned here, it’s that the only constant in the age of the internet is change, and Amazon is no exception–and one of our missions, as self-publishing authors tasked with marketing our own books, is to adapt to those changes and try to get ahead of the curve … if we can. That’s one of the reasons we write this blog!

Last but not least (for today, that is), we bring you one of the blog’s highest-performing posts of all time. As with her post on tips and tricks for finding errors in your writing, Kelly’s suggestions in using your first chapter to boost book sales has a serious and ongoing following–because the information is still useful and valid. And yes, Kelly did an update of this post too (in 2016), and it too is a high-performer (statistically speaking). In her original, Kelly walked us through how to use Amazon, email, and even Craigslist to host the first chapter of your book and gain those “preview purchasers,” browsers who are unwilling to commit to a purchase unless they have a chance to look inside first. In her update, she touches on using social media as well as the Kindle app, two of the most popular ways to discover new material these days. We have the feeling that this blog will have a very long-term following, indeed–and we definitely recommend that you check it out (old and new) and leave us your own feedback. This is a post that ought to constantly evolve to fit the times!


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 week to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Kelly Schuknecht: The Highlights Reel

As our longtime contributor Kelly Schuknecht moves on from Self Publishing Advisor to take on new challenges–and let’s face it, perfecting the art of coffee in one of America’s most scenic mountain landscapes doesn’t sound so bad, eh?–we wanted to revisit some of her best and most popular posts here. Here are three that really went down in the record books with us and our readers!

open book formatting

Ah, yes–this was one for the record books! With 1,173 views (until today, presumably!) reached a large audience with its snazzy graphics and keen observations into consumer behavior. It was short and to the point, but that seems to be what readers have always wanted from us here. Concise, articulate expertise! And while it’s hard to believe that nothing much has changed since this post first went up in 2011, Amazon has stayed fairly regular in its setup and services. Kelly’s words still hold true!

This one wasn’t just for you, dear readers–this one was for us, too! Since many of us who work on Self-Publishing Advisor work in the industry in some capacity, we often need the information as much as you do. Learning from each other has been one of the greatest side-effects to working on the blog, and we will miss Kelly’s decades of insight! As an outgoing executive for a self-publishing company (Outskirts Press), she had seen both traditional and self-publishing industries from top to bottom, inside and out. She knew what she was talking about, and when she put together lists like this one, the top 5 customer service characteristics that denote quality in a publisher, we paid attention. And guess what? Fun story: we got better at our jobs. So yeah, 4,191 of you already appreciated Kelly’s words of wisdom and learned how to pick the right company out of a lineup of, what, hundreds now? There are a lot of self-publishing companies and a lot of choices to make. But I’m sure there are a few more of you who might be interested in what she has to say … we definitely still are, four years down the line, and we’re going to put on our “Active Listening” ears here in a moment and invite you to respond. What do you think of Kelly’s post? Any suggestions on what might be added, today, in 2017, if anything?

This little item isn’t going anywhere; it remains almost as popular today as when it first went online in 2011. With 3,486 views to date and a strong performance from its sequel, where Kelly updated her original post (see that additional little gem here), I think it’s safe to say we’re still asking this question today, in 2017. What exactly is the relationship between reader, reviewer, and author? What is the reviewer’s responsibility, and what is the author’s? Can we control how our books are received? Kelly took a bite out of this subject, and as the numbers show, you thought she might have something valuable to say. We happen to think she did, and we’re glad she had the chance to revisit and update the post before she moved on to greener pastures.

***

Don’t worry–there’s more! But that’s all the time we have for today. We’ll revisit some more of Kelly’s best and most popular posts as we move through September, awaiting the arrival of our newest contributor. See you back here in two weeks! Elizabeth will be back with her popular column, “In Your Corner,” next Wednesday in the meantime.


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 week to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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A Very Fond Farewell!

Last week, I hinted that I might have some news to share in my usual bi-weekly Wednesday blog post. Now the time has come to share that news, and I’m anxious. I’m excited. I’m a bundle of emotions!

Simply put, I’m leaving my current position with Outskirts Press and moving on to work closely with my husband, who runs a coffee business. I know, I know … what is it about authors and coffee? In all seriousness, though, I found myself facing some tough decisions–Leave or stay? Work with friends or family?–and found myself excited by the opportunities this new work will give me, as an author and publishing professional.

In short, it’s time.

I’m going to miss everyone! I am grateful to Outskirts Press for providing me years of great experience and opportunity. I’m grateful to have been invited to take part in this blog–I just checked, and my first post went up in August of 2008. Nine years! NINE. That’s amazing. You, dear readers, are amazing. I will miss writing for you, but in ending my work at Outskirts Press I find I must also focus on my private writings, which you can keep up with on my own personal blog (www.kellyschuknecht.com).

In the meantime, keep following the lovely folks here at Self-Publishing Advisor! I’m honored that I got to work with Lisa, Elizabeth, Royalene, and all the authors who came before us on the blog. They have plenty of exciting ideas for the future, and I can’t wait to see what the coming years have in store for the self-publishing industry. ♠

kelly schuknecht


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the outgoing 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

Easy Breezy Summer Publishing (Part 6)

goodbye summer

Summer’s Over … What Next?

Here’s a hard thing for me to contemplate, much less say ….

Sometimes, we have to move on.

And at the end of Summer, as we transition into a new school year and all of the challenges and possibilities which it has to offer, I think we have to consider the reality and visceral truth of this statement.

Sometimes, we have to move on.

There’s no better time to do it, really. Ending something, after all, is often a doorway into starting something new–and we all need a reminder of this every now and again, especially when or if we find ourselves stuck in ruts and looking for a way out.

Oh, don’t get me wrong–everything I’ve said throughout this series ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ) is still true. If you have the willpower and the resources–and everyone has just a little of each, for sure–then you should definitely keep plugging away at marketing your existing, already-published indie books. You should definitely work on innovating your strategies. You should definitely think forward to the holidays now while you have the chance.

But also … you should probably end a few things. If you’ve been hammering away at the same marketing strategy for a while now with no change in sales prospects, it’s time. If you’ve been chipping away piecemeal at a new manuscript and have lost the joy of working on the project, it’s time. If you have been sending queries out to editors, agents, and traditional publishers and receiving only rejections in reply ….

It’s time.

Ending things–bad habits, dependencies, wish-dreams with no likelihood of fulfillment–is agonizing. I have no illusions about that. And it can be absolutely terrifying to cut off something now without a clear plan in place for the future. But if I’ve discovered anything–and I have some personal news to share in the days to come on this–it’s that sometimes you have to end a thing before you can really, truly, and clearly think about what comes next.

So here are my last thoughts in this series, where we have considered oh-so-many ways to sharpen your marketing strategies and hone your self-promotional skills:

  • Recognizing a thing as incomplete, unproductive, or simply “not working out” and deciding to end it is not the same thing as giving up. It’s giving yourself a new way forward!
  • We all face some tough decisions in the days to come, if the news reports are correct, and we simply can’t afford to entrap ourselves in habitual behaviors if they’re not producing the kind of results we need to see.
  • Y’all, our dear readers, give me constant hope that with a bit of diligence, a lot of pluck, and a community of writers and writing professionals to surround ourselves with, we can find a way forward, together ….
  • Even if it means ending a couple of things now.

What have you been trying for a while that isn’t working out? Is it time to tweak or a time to change tracks entirely?


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 outgoing 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: 8.21.2017

HAPPY ECLIPSE DAY!!!

eclipse day 2017

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!

Looking for a way to satisfy that last craving for a beach read before school gets back in? Elizabeth Deschambeault has you covered with this newest novel, Turn Left at the Daisies, an historical drama set in 1961 America and Puerto Rico. Ann, a small-town WASP girl, finds herself caught between the desire to protect her unborn baby and the need to safely navigate the tempestuous relationship between her abusive sea captain father and the ambitious wannabe author who is her lover. But she is young, and even the sweet taste of life together with the man she loves isn’t enough to satisfy questions of character, love, tolerance, and readiness for parenthood—and heartbreak looms just over the horizon.

One might be forgiven for thinking this is a work of fiction; it is, however, a memoir of the highest order, chronicling a vivid, achingly real journey of young people caught in the cross-hairs of history, family, and widespread social change. Deschambeault, who has dabbled in quite a few things in her own lifetime and seen a great deal of change, knows exactly when to reach for the emotional throttle in this most excellent of Early Fall reads.

The month of August is the perfect time to start planning ahead—not just for the new academic year, but for life in general! With Frank Shapiro’s life planner, BE GREAT, you can prepare yourself for the all-important life journey by venturing into fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, business, fitness, nutrition, and many others—all by tapping into the minds and words of musicians like Bruce Springsteen, politicians like John F. Kennedy, and tech titans like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison—just to name a few. Shapiro traces the successes and failures of businesses as diverse as In-N-Out Burgers, Zappos, 7-Eleven, Craigslist, and others who have dipped into the waters of self-actualization and reached those buzzword crises and triumphs we call “Peaks and Valleys.” All of this to a purpose, too! Shapiro isn’t just interested in analysis … he’s interested in helping you actively shape a better and more enriching life plan, charted out thoroughly and with actionable steps. A great way to step your way into the Fall holiday season!

What a fantastic month for nonfiction! In this practical, useful guide, author Kellie Richardson empowers her readers to do one of the most difficult things we will all ever be called to do (and so very often like to avoid thinking about): planning the departures of our loved ones … and our own selves. With a graceful touch, she sets this book up to help take the sting and the time-crunch out of the picture. This is a book for those who want to take care of their survivors—those who will live on after—and make the process as easy and meaningful as possible. It may not be a subject we feel comfortable discussing, but we can all agree that we want our passings-on to be less stressful, less expensive, and less hurtful than they often can be, and Richardson has prepared a book which might be of benefit to everyone.

 

 


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.

Self-Publishing News: 8.14.2017

Hello august. Splash paint letters

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!

“Today’s generation can easily upload and publish a book for free online,” writes Vanessa Garcia in this July 15 article for the Amarillo Globe-News: “But with so many potential authors, those who choose to self-publish face the challenge of standing out from the ever-growing online crowd.” So, how does one go about doing just that? Garcia elaborates on the experiences of several key self-publishing authors in the Amarillo area, including Ryan McSwain (who is, according to the article, preparing to self-publish his second book, “Four Color Bleed,” on Amazon) and Tracy Schamburg (whose latest book, “The Common Sense Guide to Landing on Your Feet,” has recently been self-published). McSwain touts the importance of good copy editing and presentation–being “error-free”–in making a book marketable, while Schamburg agrees and recommends seeking out a support network of experienced and skilled teammates … such as an editor. Both authors and Garcia have a lot to say about the process of going indie, and the article is well worth a look. You can find it at the link!

In this article, posted to the Latin-American Herald-Tribune, readers are introduced to Argentinian self-publishing author, Susana Oro. “One of Argentina’s most prolific writers in the romance-novel genre,” Oro reputedly “touted the advantages of self-publishing platforms, saying they allow for greater creative freedom and enable authors to establish their own rhythm of production.” If you happen to be a reader of Spanish genre fiction, this is one author to watch, as Oro has already published 12 novels, and puts out an average of three to four a year–a trend which she attributes entirely to the rapidity and responsiveness of indie publishing. She has no illusions about traditional publishing, saying that unless a person was to write Fifty Shades of Grey, “the big companies are unlikely to take an author seriously and promote their work sufficiently to allow them to make a living from literature.” You can read the full article on the Latin-American Herald Tribune website.

This August 13 News & Advance article by Casey Gillis spotlights the work of Ron Sisson, author of the children’s books Lost on Big Otter River and Stalk Eyes, each of which features engaging characters and places a premium on a sense of place. Sisson, now 82, has a background in a very different kind of writing. Says Gillis, “As a draftsman and, later, engineer with General Electric, he worked in research and development in New York before transferring to Lynchburg in 1972, where he joined the bids and proposals and project management department.” The fit was a natural one, according to Sisson.  Lost on Big Otter River, his first book, “was inspired by a boating trip he took with two of his three children near Lynchburg in 1976. Geared toward kids ages 9 to 12, the creative nonfiction tale came out in 2015.” Stalk Eyes, his second book, was published more recently.

What follows is a lengthy interview between Gillis and Sisson, touching on all aspects of his experience in self-publishing these two works, and well worth your time if you too are considering going indie with your next children’s book. The News & Advance, which covers Lynchburg, Virginia as well as Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell counties, makes for a happy home for this article, which you can read here.

You can find all of these authors’ excellent books for sale online.


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

Easy Breezy Summer Publishing (Part 5)

august back to school

The corn is well and truly in tassel, and fall is just around the corner, ready to crest the horizon. The evenings grow cooler, but there’s still the tang of summer smoke in the air–all the fire of a season packed with heat and mixed feelings–and it’s time to start thinking of how to make the most of August. Yes, it may be most often called the ‘back-to-school’ season, but we all of us go back to things in Fall. Back to work, back to family routines, back to the marketing strategies we … may … have let languish during the busy summer months.

How can we flip the switch and get back to work?

Here are my recommendations:

  • You’re not the only one who may need a reminder that change is upon us. Use August as an opportunity to launch a special deal or giveaway. You can frame it as ‘back-to-school savings’ or you can use it as a promo for new or upcoming releases.
  • Think visual. Fall is perhaps the most striking of all (or at the very least, one of the most striking) seasons. Take advantage! Your book is a product, and selling a product is at least half of the time about selling an image. If you haven’t created an Instagram and Pinterest, now is the time! These two social media platforms offer a great way of humanizing your brand and showcasing your product.
  • Fall is a great time to get your networking game on! People may not be thinking about taxes just yet, but you certainly want to get your foot in the door before the holiday craze so that they remember your name and your book come tax time–and come the holidays! Connect the dots between everyone you ‘meet’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and even LinkedIn and work those contacts and relationships now, while they’re planning out their budget, calendar, and holiday schemes for the school year.
  • And on that note, it’s time to plan your own editorial and marketing calendar–or at least to sketch out the outlines! Is it your hope to write some newsletters, blog posts, or social media updates in the coming months? Do you have some new work on the horizon? Now is the time to schedule not just your writing time or your own holiday marketing plan–it’s time to lay the groundwork for an entire year of editorial works!

And these are just a few of my recommendations! As you might expect, there are plenty of chances to enrich your opportunities during the Fall. Don’t put things off–start now! A hint of pumpkin spice is wafting on the rising breeze of Autumn ….


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