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.

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Self-Publishing News: 11.20.2017 – These Cookbooks are Prime for Thanksgiving!

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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!

Look, it’s the week of Thanksgiving, so we’re going to spend a little time loving on a few of our favorite cookbooks this week as we ready our mixing bowls and our stomachs for what’s ahead: a week full of food, fun, and family–not to mention a whole lot of patriotism! Yes, it’s true, there’s no more timely and suitable cookbook to add to your collection this week than Uma Aggarwal’s America’s Favorite Recipes, the first volume of which was published by Outskirts Press! Aggarwal, an experienced cook and author of several other cookbooks, sets out to prove a point in this particular volume: that American cuisine is, in fact, that “melting pot” it has often been described to be, and that it combines the best of all worlds and elements from the various cultures who have been brought to our shores. Here is a beautifully designed and elegantly presented set of traditional as well as innovative recipes gathered by Aggarwal from throughout the country and throughout the history of America–from Colonial times to modern ethnic fusion cuisines–and a whole lot of great ideas to try as you dive into your Thanksgiving preparations!

Some chefs are just a national treasure, don’t you think? We happen to think so, and we happen to also think that Chef Jesse Jones counts among that exalted crowd of creative, masterful, and also accessible chefs who don’t just inspire us to do better in the kitchen–they also provide concrete steps of how to get from point A (the raw ingredients) to point C (the plated dish). Here, in POW! My Life in 40 Feasts, Chef Jones provides his readers with a brand-new set of tried and true recipes from his own private collection, all of them beautifully printed in this gorgeous cookbook. But there’s more here than just recipes, as wonderful and worthy as they are by themselves! This is not just a cookbook, it’s a memoir too, and it follows Chef Jones’ story from troubled times in New Jersey and North Carolina, throughout his training in the great kitchens of France, to his eventual return and success as a restaurant owner and five-star chef! This book provides plenty to get new and cautious cooks started, as well as lots to challenge the experienced chef. Dip into his French and Southern-influenced cuisine with this great set of fantastic feasts!

If it were easy, we’d all be doing it, right? And while we can’t all be Angela Mulloy, we can learn from her life story in this fascinating book, which combines memoir and recipes in an altogether new and fresh way! Mulloy’s life took an unexpected turn when she moved from a successful career in publishing to purchasing and renovating an Eighteenth-Century plantation, where she opened a restaurant and inn and launched herself down a wholly different path to what might be called … a renaissance of Southern cooking, hospitality, and tradition! With more than 25 years of experience in running the inn and restaurant to wide acclaim, Mulloy now brings us this fantastic book, chronicling her life and journey from childhood through the various kitchens and homes which sharpened her creative culinary instincts. Her life hasn’t exactly been easy–there’s tragedy and loss sprinkled in among the everyday hardships which make up an ordinary life–she has risen above it all with her sparkling wit and her tasty recipes, sure to please a crowd this holiday season. We can’t recommend her book enough!


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.

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Self-Publishing News: 9.18.2017 – New Releases!

september

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!

Are you looking to kick off the school year with some current and relevant material on supporting diversity in the American education system? We are! Of course, we may be biased by the fact that we have personal connections to a number of students and educators who might benefit from Joseph T. Mayhew and Robert J. Hudak’s combined experience and expertise–but it would be the rare American who didn’t have some sort of tie to these issues. (The Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon thing works for a reason!) Suffice it to say, this is one of our top picks both for new releases and back-to-school reads. Disadvantaged children deserve a better future than the one they’re given, and special education–rightly and compassionately and thoughtfully administered–may help them find that future.

Not everyone’s looking for a five-alarm snot bomb of a book on the eve of Fall … but some people are, and here’s a fantastic new example of the form! This is the memoir of Peter Gordon, who was pulled out of his idyllic life (he’d been recently remarried, developed a thriving career, and lived in a beautiful mountain resort) by a case of leukemia. The only solution? A bone marrow transplant, an invasive and dangerous procedure under his specific conditions. The book copy calls this a “real-world healthcare saga for our times, offering insightful lessons for cancer patients, caregivers, and medical professionals,” and it’s not exaggerating the broad appeal of this fantastic book! Just make sure to bring tissues.

Some of us may not have run across a Gothic novel (NOT to be confused with ‘graphic novel’) since grade school, when we had to read The Castle of Otranto and Northanger Abbey and–oh? That was just us? Not you? Never mind. Still, Gothic novels aren’t what you would consider run-of-the-mill mainstream fiction in 2017. Enter Dwight Brooks and Salvage Optic, stage left. Here’s a novel to delight and confound your expectations, what with its embrasure of archaic diction (a la the Royal Society, circa 1674) and its ferocious, beautifully-plotted character arcs. Did we mention there are pirates? Our bad. There are LOTS of pirates. And that’s fantastic, really. This is a book packed with swash, buckle, and literary Easter eggs which will keep the discerning reader busy in front of a crackling fire this Fall. Really, you couldn’t ask for a stranger–or more appealing–hybrid of a book!

No list of new releases is complete without a seriously awesome picture book! Bertyl, by Sandra Dobozi, fits the bill perfectly. This sweetly rhyming book follows the adventures (not to be confused with the piratey adventures of Salvage Optic) of a turtle looking to nail down answers to some of life’s tough questions: Who am I? What am I here for? Why am I not like other turtles? (Seriously, we can relate.) Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and its picture book counterpart, We’re All Wonders) will appreciate Dobozi’s take on what it feels like to be “different,” and to want to know one’s place in the world. This is the uplifting, positive, inspiring kid’s book we all need to read in the doldrums of 2017.


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.

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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: 9.12.2016

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

“When I self-published my book, admittedly, it was the last resort,” writes Eva Lesko Natiello in her September 8th article for The Huffington Post‘s Entertainment section. Natiello, who self-published her book The Memory Box after a series of rejections from traditional publishers, goes on to describe the dejection and intense discouragement that followed. “Quickly,” she writes, “the consolation prize felt very much like a booby prize.” This discouragement was only amplified by the positive responses she received.  Says Natiello, “I’m probably the only author on the planet that cringes when a reader says, ‘I read your book in one night! I couldn’t put it down!’ Knowing the myriad all-nighters I pulled writing and editing it. And all the sleepless nights that are ahead of me to finish the next book.”

Natiello’s experience is hardly unique, however. Many authors turn to self-publishing as a last resort after rejection, and there’s a tendency to think that this somehow automatically equates to failure–that self-publishing is the hallmark of failed writers, even as sales soar and readers respond the way that Natiello’s do. But there’s a silver lining to the struggle, she reminds us: “It was unglamorous and worth every minute. I didn’t know it back then, but self-publishing is just a different way to do the thing I always wanted: to entertain readers. You can’t do that unless you produce something for them to read.”  And Natiello has.  To read her full story and catch up on the success of her book, you can access the full HuffPost piece here.

Some self-publishing companies are, shall we say, unique. And Erika Bester’s Fire Quill Publishing, the first fully female-owned publisher, is one of several experienced self-publishing authors who has taken steps towards activating the potential of other authors by launching a startup that defies the world of traditional publishing according to Neo Koza in this September 9th article for Eyewitness News.  Bester saw a need–“Our publishing companies focus more on non-fiction and memoirs, they are not very supportive of fantasy genres and non-adult science fiction”–and decided to set about satisfying that need.  But it’s not easy going, as Koza reports: when small publishers like Fire Quill do occasionally get their books into stores, they are often tucked away out of sight. “It’s always somewhere in the corner where nobody sees it,” says Bester.  But her struggle is an important one, as Koza records, since the field of traditional publishing leaves little room for diverse voices like Simamkele Dial’s, whose book was published through Fire Quill earlier this year. As many self-publishing authors have discovered, self-publishing is more than just a home to discouraged authors seeking shelter after rejection by the institution; the platform provides a wholly new launchpad for diversity in thought and representation. (And content.)  But enough of the summary; check out Koza’s coverage of Bester’s work at the link.

Award opportunities for self-publishing authors can be few and far between, but there are opportunities out there as this September 9th press release for Outskirts Press reveals. The full-service self-publishing company will by the time you read this have both sponsored and sent representatives to the first-ever Colorado Book Festival, held at the Denver Public Library.  “As a Colorado-based company that assists authors worldwide,” says the release, “Outskirts Press is thrilled to provide resources to aspiring authors attending this free event.”  The event is drawing some attention not just because of its novelty but because of the names attached; Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, attended the event as well as Outskirts Press’s founder and President, Brent Sampson, who took part in a panel discussion while the company’s CEO, Jeanine Sampson, met writers one-on-one in order to field questions about both the company and the process of self-publishing.  The event, which drew more than 75 local authors (!!), ran the gamut from crime to sports, poetry to photography, and fiction to history as authors mingled and shared their experiences with other attendees.  With book signings, giveaways, and children’s story times scheduled throughout the event, this first-ever Colorado Book Festival holds a lot of promise in terms of giving authors an idea of what they might come to expect in the future for their industry: Hope, optimism, and a great deal of public attention.  For the full press release, follow the link!


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 Bird That Didn’t Want To Be A Bird”

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 Penny Minding Mom:

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The Bird That Didn’t Want To Be A Bird

by Anne Toole

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 978-1478756378

Synopsis:

Little bird wanted something else to be, Instead of a bird in a tree. He knew what he had to do, so off he flew, to search for another kind of animal he would rather be. Read the story and you shall see, which animal he chose to be. Read the story and you shall see.

Critique:

Have you ever wished to be someone else? In today’s world of social media it seems that everyone is putting their “best self” forward.  It’s all to easy to become jealous and wish to be someone else…even if it’s just for a little while!  We have to step back and remember that we are exactly who we need to be!

“The Bird That Didn’t Want To Be A Bird” by Anne Toole, is the story of a little bird who doesn’t want to be a bird.  He dreams of being something else…anything but a bird.  Little bird goes off on a journey to find out exactly what kind of animal he would rather be.  Which animal will he choose?

“The Bird That Didn’t Want To Be A Bird” has an important message for us all about self acceptance.  It’s all to easy to believe that being someone else would make us happier.  As little bird explores the world about him, he soon learns that all those things he once thought so wonderful about everyone else just weren’t the things that would make him happy.  Just like little bird, we need to look closely about the things we “think” we need to be happy. What makes someone else happy, just might not be the thing that is perfect for us.

The illustrations are adorable, full of bright colours.  The text is easily read.  The book is written in rhyme but I did find that some of the “rhymes” just didn’t work when I read the story aloud to the kids.

The kids and I started a conversation about the things we love and the things that we don’t like so much about ourselves. We talked about what to do about those things that we really dislike ourselves.  Are they things we can change?  How do we work towards changing while still loving ourselves for who we are?  We discovered that some of the things we think are our faults are those very things that someone else loves about us.

“The Bird That Didn’t Want To Be A Bird” is a great story for children of all ages about loving ourselves. For more information on this book check out Outskirts Press.

reviewed on Penny Minding Mom ]

Here’s what other reviewers are saying:

Children all dream of what they want to be when they grow up. Some want to be firefighters, others imagine being sports stars or actors. Playing make-believe is a great way to try out different roles, and so are looking at characters in stories and TV shows or movies. This particular story shows a little bird who has decided that he doesn’t want to be a bird, even though his mother tells him that a bird is what he is meant to be. So he explores the area and checks out the other creatures, trying to find one that he would enjoy spending the rest of his life in their place.

As older readers will guess, there is no other life that would suit the little bird better than the one he already has. Human beings have a lot more choices open to them than animals, obviously, but trying to be something you’re not is still something we have to deal with. Developing a sense of identity and being comfortable “in the skin you’re in” is a life skill we all need. The story is told in rhyme and supported with brightly colored illustrations. Some of the wording may seem a bit awkward to adult readers, but the target audience of beginning readers will probably not notice.

Author Anne Toole was a first grade teacher and ESOL instructor before she began writing children’s books. She understands the issues that children deal with on a daily basis – making friends, what makes them special, fitting in, etc. This is the type of story that parents, teachers, and guidance counselors can read with a child (or a group), and then discuss the moral of the story.

– Amazon Reviewer Suzanne R. Costner

A rhyming book about being happy with who you are. A young bird tells his mother he does not want to be a bird. So he ventures out into the world to explore being a different animal. What he finds out is that every animal has positive qualities he likes but they also have qualities that do not suit him well. In the end he decides that being a bird is what is best for him. The book is easy to read and filled with dolch sight words for emergent readers.

– Amazon reviewer Yvonne Mullen


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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In Your Corner : Putting the Pieces Together

Figuring out how to navigate the world of book marketing can be a hazardous task, with many unmarked dangers–and shortcuts to safe passage–awaiting the self-publishing author. Over the last three weeks, I have introduced some of those campaign components which I happen to think are vital and important:

The problem, of course, is that while all of these probably sound like good ideas, they also require a lot of work.  And by “a lot of work,” I mean they require both time and a fairly discrete set of skills––each.  That is, the skills and even equipment required to craft that polished press release may have very little natural overlap with the skills and equipment required to craft an impactful video trailer.

“Well, what about Google?” you ask, and fairly.  “What about YouTube?  Can’t I look up some tutorials and put something together myself?”

Yes, yes you can!  And there are some really fantastic free guides out there.  I always recommend looking to the “making-related” articles in peer-reviewed periodicals like Publisher’s Weekly and WIRED throughout the year, even when you’re not working on a specific project, to see what sorts of new ideas and tools are being put out there.  And the quality of instruction on YouTube videos has improved greatly!  I’m not going to lie: the Internet is my go-to place when I need to learn how to do something for the first time, whether it’s to refine my (practically nonexistent) origami skills or how to snake my toilet.  (Don’t ask.)

But some of the “barriers to entry,” as we like to call them, are still up–even with the Internet and YouTube and Google in play.  I successfully snaked my toilet … after an hour of “practicing.”  (Read: “flailing wildly.”)  I know I didn’t have an hour to burn that day, but the toilet needed to be done.  And snaking is a relatively simple task compared to some of the many involved in, say, acquiring the rights to an audio file you want to play behind your book trailer video.  Or tracking down email addresses for booksellers, reviewers, and other industry influencers to create an email distribution list.  Templates and virtual instructions can sometimes fail us at crucial moments–or inflate the time required to accomplish what needs accomplishing beyond what we can spare.

If only there was somewhere we could turn that provided professional insight and assistance with our marketing campaigns!  Okay, okay, I know it’s a little on the nose, but I really do recommend paying for at least one consultation with a PR Publicist when you’re looking to put out a press release, a graphic designer or videographer when you’re crafting your book trailer video, and someone on the inside–with real experience–when it comes to tracking down credible book reviewers.

There are, as always, several ways you can go about this–you can contact these people individually, or you can opt to pay for a bundle of services that put all of these professionals under one roof (digitally speaking, at least).  Do your research, shop around for the best deals, and weigh your priorities against your marketing budget.  (Yes, you need one of those!)  Do what needs to be done to get you back to what you really love–writing–and cuts down on the time you spend fumbling around with that toilet snake.

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT 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.