Self-Publishing News: 4.30.2018 – April Round-Up

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, wrapping up what’s new for you and yours in April 2018.

Everybody we know opts to hear the bad news first, so here goes: In 2017, ebook sales dropped for perhaps the first time ever. Writes Adam Rowe of Forbes, this may (MAY) have something to do with that nifty little move publishers made back in 2015 to raise ebook prices: “In 2015, the Big Five publishing houses raised ebook prices to around $8 a book, far higher than the $3-a-book price point independent publishers settled on,” writes Rowe. There’s a lot to unpack in this not-complete-bad-news story, and some of it is even downright good news for self-publishing authors and lovers of the indie press. Says Rowe: “Traditional publishers priced themselves out of the market, and their 10% drop in 2017 is just the latest evidence that the value a traditional publisher adds — whether editing, gatekeeping, or marketing — isn’t as highly valued by ebook buyers as a low pricetag.” Word to the wise: provide unique content, keep your book affordable, and readers will come. Amazon may have an eye on monopoly, but other indie presses and publishers aren’t out of the fight.

And now for the unremittingly good news! It’s that time of year again–time for the CIPA EVVY nominations. If you haven’t already heard of these, here’s what you need to know: each year, the Colorado Independent Publishers Association opens its digital doors for nominations of the best independently published books from the previous year. This year, submissions are accepted up until May 19. Then, on July 31, CIPA will announce the winners in each open category at their annual banquet and celebration. Those interested in entering will pay a fee, however, and the fee climbs the closer you get to the final submission deadline. Those authors who have published with Outskirts Press receive plenty of bonus exposure and benefits, and a nomination to the CIPA EVVY Awards is a requirement for eligibility for the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year, which is its own special award to be announced later in the year. For more information about the Outskirts Press service, visit them online at


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.


Tuesday Book Review: “After the Chisholm”

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:

after the chisholm george rhoades

also winner of:

The Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Literary Awards for

Poetry (1st Place) and

the Inside Scoop Live Award for the Most Innovative Book of Poetry

reader views award

After the Chisholm

by George Rhoades

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478751908


This wide-ranging collection of poems focuses on farm and cattle country after the Chisholm Trail closed, on cowboys and cowgirls, on memories of rural life and other reflections and recollections. The Chisholm Trail ceased about 1890, and the cattle drives from deep in Texas, across the plains of Oklahoma to the cow towns in Kansas, were no more. Fences, settlers, highways, towns and cities now fill what was once open country for a thousand miles.

 * courtesy of

Featured Review

George Rhoades owns a hay farm in Stephens County, but his book of poems, “Along the Chisholm Trail” (Outskirts Press, $9.95), offers a broad picture of life, past and present, on the plains of Oklahoma and West Texas.

His several careers — soldier, printer, rancher and journalist — are reflected in some of the poems, but the majority paint a picture of bygone days on the plains. In the nostalgic opening, on the hardships and joys of the cattle drives, he sets the stage in the first two of 22 verses:

The cowboys who came up the trail,

Dusty, grimy, gritty, sweatin’,

Drivin’ the long, windin’ herds,

Didn’t know they were creatin’

A myth, a legend, shapin’ a dream

For a nation and ridin’ into history;

Epics, icons, symbols, heroic images

Emerged later to build the story.

Danger on the trail is covered in “Crossing the Red,” in which animals and cowboys are lost when they pick the wrong place to ford the river. “Farm for Sale” and “Dyin’ Small Towns” tell of tough times, while “In Troubled Times” encourages folks to follow the cowboy’s way of meeting adversity.

“Maggie Belle and the Yeller Moon Saloon” shows how trail riders relax and sometimes get in trouble. There is humor, too. In “Anger,” the poet vents about the driver of a shiny new Lexus who cut him off from a parking spot. A six-line verse “At Wal-Mart” observes the comings and goings of shoppers.

And in “How Hot and Dry Was It?” a group of cowboys “settin’ around the campfire” come up with competing versions of the worst summer ever. Some of their comments might be appropriate today in Oklahoma.

Rhoades provides the reader with some easy-to-read history of his native state in an enjoyable book.

– reviewed by Kay Dyer of The Oklahomian/

Other Reviews

After the Chisholm by George Rhoades is a collection of poetry focusing on cowboys and cowgirls, and the countryside after the Chisholm trail was closed in the 1890s. Many of the poems, especially in the beginning, focus on the clash of cultures between what the land was and what the land is becoming. In the very first poem there is a line, ‘The Chisholm Trail lives now in myth and memory,’ and it sums up a lot of the conflict in these poems. For example, in the poem “Boots,” it discusses a boot factory that the town tried really hard to keep going, but it just couldn’t survive
the changing times.

I found the poems to be well-written with an appeal based on the sheer lamentation of the way things are changing. I think everyone over the age of thirty will find something relatable in this, because even if you strip away the cowboy and cowgirl aspect, it is essentially about the feeling of separation between a person and culture as times change. Some of the poems are more playful than others, like “Shovelin’ Out The Cowlot,” which points out that milk isn’t the only thing you get from a cow.

I think my favorite poem was probably “Sky,” because it contains a lot of brilliant and evocative imagery that helped bring the climate and circumstances to life. It isn’t very long, but it is very clever and enjoyable. Definitely, the one that sums up the volume, however, is “Unintended Consequences,” which talks about how every development brings with it unintended consequences, like cigarettes being considered healthy, cars and pollution, etc. Great poems. I love the imagery and the blending of old with the new. After the Chisholm by George Rhoades is an excellent volume, and I think anyone who picks it up will find something heartily relatable

– reviewed by Ryan Jordan of Readers’ Favorite Reviews

George Rhoades‘ Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems is a rather interesting collection of poems, divided into two very distinctive and extremely different parts.

Part One deals with the cowboy life, and life along the Chisholm Trail. The author’s voice here is very distinctive, and the poems encompass all facets of such life, which is definitely epic. As the author put it so well himself:

“No wonder the cowboys rode
Into the hearts and imagination
Of the world, and shaped forever
The endurin’ character of this nation.”

The range of emotions expressed in the poems in Part One is very wide, and the author deals with the subjects with a lot of dignity and respect. It would have been quite easy to depict cowboys as somewhat cartoonish, but that did not happen even in the most light-hearted of the poems in this collection. While this way of life is not familiar to me in the slightest, I greatly enjoyed reading about it.

Part Two is less homogeneous, and much more contemporary, and deals with all kinds or ruminations on life, many of which are truly thought provoking. Some are sad, some are wistful, some downright hilarious, and of all of them my favorite happened to be one of the shortest poems in this book. “At Wal-Mart” has barely thirty-something words, yet it perfectly captures so much of what one sees there. While I laughed out loud at first after reading it, I felt compelled to re-read it later, and discovered that it was actually quite serious.

George Rhoades’ Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems was quite a departure from what I usually read, but I am glad I took the time to read it. It opened my eyes to a world that was completely new to me, and also reminded me of many everyday things to cherish and remember.

– reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of (found on


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


In Your Corner: 2018 Awards Time!

Fellow authors, if you’ve spent much time browsing the various self-publishing resources available thanks to this magical thing we call the Internet, you’ll already be more than aware that awards are a big deal for self-publishing authors for a lot of reasons. In fact, a quick search of our own archives here at SPA reveals dozens of articles and hundreds of mentions over the years (our first post on the subject was in 2009, a quick blurb discussing the Reader Views annual awards). We’ve even spent some time discussing why awards are important for self-publishing authors in a way they aren’t for traditionally published authors; I particularly like Kelly’s retrospective on the those very same Reader Views annual awards from 2016.

My favorite thing about indie and self-publishing awards is that there are simply so many of them now, when once they didn’t exist at all. The diversification of awards has been a slow process, but now there are lots to choose from (I recommend choosing them all; they’re all excellent). Below I’m including a list of some of my favorites, as well as the submission dates for 2018 to ensure that your book gets in on time. Before you submit, you’ll need to double-check your copyright dates, as each of these awards has unique dating requirements, and you certainly don’t want to pay a submission fee only to discover your book was published outside of the acceptable date range!

There are more awards competitions you can enter, of course. Just make sure to budget ahead for them, as most (if not all) of these awards are only made possible by the entry fees they charge. Publisher’s Weekly has a list of additional award competitions to consider (with some overlap), and while I haven’t had a chance to verify each on Curiosity Never Killed the Writer‘s list, I like that it includes a cookbook-specific award as well as several newer awards which might prove fertile ground for new authors. The work that the Watchdog Desk of The Alliance of Independent Authors does is also impressive, and their curated list of awards may prove helpful, when taken with a grain of salt.

And lastly, if you’d love to submit your book for awards but are worried about meeting all of the necessary requirements or are worried about meeting those various deadlines, you might consider exploring options like the various awards submission packages available from indie and self-publishing companies. There are a number of them out there, and they really do take the hard work out of the process, allowing you to focus on what you love best: writing! Keep these kinds of services on the table, as the financial investment often repays itself in the time, energy, and logistics they save you. But in the meantime, take a look around that fabulous Internet … there are simply too many awards to list here, today, and we’d love to hear from you what awards you endorse or warn against!

Oh, and keep an eye on that deadline for ForeWord Reviews–it’s coming up this next Monday!

awards cup

You are not alone. ♣︎


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: “The Avant Champion”

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:

the avant champion c b samet

The Avant Champion: Rising

by C.B. Samet

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478777366



All things considered, it was a good day to die . . When Marrington Castle is overtaken by a dark and ancient evil, Abigail Cross finds herself in the precarious situation of protecting Queen Rachel the Fourth. Her journey to safety quickly transforms into a quest to save Queen and country. Charged with finding the artifacts to raise The Champion to defeat the world’s most powerful enemy, Abigail finds herself traversing the perilous continent-from the roaring waterfalls of Aithos to the scorching heat of the Optato Desert to the freezing fog of Mount Karn…. Will Abigail succeed in uniting the kingdom and summoning the Avant Champion to save them all?


 * courtesy of

Featured Review: “black starblack starblack starblack star

When her education fund runs out, student Abigail Cross temporarily works as Queen Rebekah’s servant to raise some money for her studies. One night, as she accompanies the Queen back to her quarters from a celebration party, they are attacked by terrifying creatures known as The Swallowers, and her brother Paul is killed instantly. Abigail finds herself tasked with protecting the Queen and a quest to summon the legendary Avant Champion to fight an ancient enemy. Roaming the continent to find the necessary means and items to do the summoning, Abigail learns more about the land’s dark history, and discovers love and new friends, as well as learning her family’s secret role in the kingdom.

I like the world-building of The Avant Champion: Rising by C.B. Samet. It’s not as complex and different as most fantasy writers tend to create, but it’s just as fascinating and detailed. There’s the Caballus Clans, people who bred the finest horses in the land and the holy tribe of Gunthi monks that secluded themselves in the remote canyon, and many more interesting communities. Samet used familiar aspects from both the real world and fantasy world, cleverly blending them together. I find the concept of how the evil beings came to be quite ingenious. The illustrations at the start of each chapter are eye-catching and complement the story well. The pace of the plot is moderate; fast enough to keep the plot flowing in an engaging manner, but appropriately slow enough to let readers get to know the characters, their antagonists, backstory, and the world-building. Overall, this is a solid fantasy from Samet.

–  Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite

What Other Reviewers Are Saying …

I received this arc book to review and enjoyed every minute of it. I was enthralled by the storyline and taken away by all the different creatures and places. It was amazing to read how a champion is selected and how to save their country. Abigail’s journey is a very dangerous one and there are many obstacle’s for her to overcome along the way. I loved the subtle romance that grows throughout the story. The banter between Abby and Joshua is so adorable and sexy. This story has love, loss, adventure, war and survival. Abigail goes through so much heartache, yet she stays true to herself and loyal to those she loves. She is a true warrior who is determine to win the battle over evil. I also love that there is a hint of more to come. You wont be disappointed.

– Amazon Reviewer Narcie Carrion

Great book – a friend recommended it and I read it in two days! Non-stop adventure and I loved the characters. The book also went beyond my expectations by moving beyond where I thought it would end and giving me more for my money! It ended in such a way I was happy with the result but it totally set us up for the sequel! I cant wait to see what comes up next and I will definitely check out more by this author!

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer

Book Trailer:


Self-Publishing News: 2.6.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Because I love the juxtaposition of these two articles on Amazon in relation to self-publishing, I’m going to present them both and let the readers formulate their own opinion on this corporate conglomerate. First, we’ll start with an article by Doris Booth that analyzes the ways in which Amazon “vigorously promotes its 70% royalty plan over its 35% plan to compensate authors on the sale of their e-books.”

But, 70% is DOUBLE 35% you say. Diving deeper, however, Booth unveils how the promotion of the higher royalty package is actually misleading.

“Believe it or not, the writer earns more money on the 35% plan than on the 70% plan. Why? Because the 70% plan is based on the publisher’s net income and the 35% plan is based on the gross sales price of the book. A book priced at $9.99 based on 70% of the publisher’s net income earns you $3.15. The same book based on 35% of the gross sales price yields $3.50.” – Booth

With that in mind, and also considering the fact that amazon puts a ceiling of $9.99 for the price of the ebooks using the 70% plan, while authors using the 35% plan can pick the price at which they’d like to sell their work.

More interestingly, the 70% plan grants Amazon exclusive rights to your piece, meaning you cannot sell it on ANY other platform, even if that platform was simply your own website. You grant them this exclusivity and you receive nothing up front. That’s right, “the author who signs the exclusive deal has just given away his or her entire content for free to Amazon, at least initially,” says Booth.

Further, when/if you do get paid by Amazon, it will not be based on the sale of the individual copies of your book, but rather, on the number of pages read by those who purchased it. So if your book sold for $9.99, but the reader only got 15 pages in, “your royalties will be calculated upon how many pages of your book are read, divided by the number of other books read that month.” Booth continues on with a more staggering statistic; “In hard-to-find data, Digital Book World reported not long ago that Amazon Kindle’s monthly individual author payout equaled $1.38.” One dollar and thirty-eight cents per month, you couldn’t buy a can of Coca-Cola with that.

I would definitely encourage authors to do their research, perhaps beginning with the piece above by Booth, before deciding where to self-publish their work. If choosing Amazon, carefully read the plans and what they offer you as a client, and don’t be too easily persuaded by larger numbers that are hiding larger inadequacies as far as returns go.

One lucky author is going to receive £20,000 as the Kindle Storyteller Prize winner in 2017. “The prize is open to any author who publishes their book through Kindle Direct Publishing between February 20 and May 19 this year,” says Tristan Fane Saunders, “Entries from any genre are eligible – including fiction, non-fiction and collections of short stories – so long as they are more than 5,000 words and previously unpublished.” So, if after reading the previous article and you do decide to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon, you could end up with a pretty big paycheck.

The incentive to offer a prize like this? Saunders seems to allude to dwindling Kindle sales and a general decline in ebook sale, “having shrunk 2.4% over the previous year.”

Whatever your opinion on Amazon might be, it has provided a streamlined way for authors to directly publish their work online. Be it for better or worse, being able to get your story published is often half the battle, and Amazon turned that battle into a breeze.


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.


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, 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,