October Writing Challenge #5 NaNoWriMo

Over the past month I’ve challenged you to complete a weekly Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges were designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

Now that October is almost over, I have an even bigger and more exciting challenge for you — NaNoWriMo. If you’ve followed my blog posts in the past, you know I not only encourage authors to try NaNoWriMo, but I have also done the challenge myself.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers to pen a whopping 50,000 words in the month of November. Hundreds of thousands of writers participate in the challenge each year.

NaNoWriMo is great for new writers looking for a creative jumpstart or experienced writers looking for a new challenge. It begins November 1st and ends on November 30th.

To sign up or learn more about NaNoWriMo, visit www.nanowrimo.org. The website helps you track your progress, gives you access to pep talks and inspirational stories, and provides a place to meet other writers.

Also, if you missed any of the October challenges, be sure to go back and check out them out: Spiritual Poetry Challenge, 15 Minute Challenge, Short Story Challenge, and Children’s Halloween Story Challenge. (You never know, they might inspire your NaNoWriMo project.)

I’d love to know, are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #4

October is here! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I am sharing a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

So far, we’ve done the Spiritual Poetry Challenge, 15 Minute Challenge, and Short Story Challenge. (If you missed any of these, click the links to check them out.)

This week is the children’s Halloween story challenge. Think of a child in your life and write out a story you might tell him or her as a bed time story for Halloween.  It doesn’t have to be scary (you want them to go to sleep after all), but it can be about monsters or ghosts or anything else related to Halloween.

After writing the story, you may decide you like the finished manuscript and want to self-publish the story. Remember, the pictures are very important in children’s books. If you happen to be an artist, this is a great opportunity to illustrate your own book. If not, many self-publishing companies offer a variety of illustration services to suit your needs.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

What Self-Publishing Children’s Authors Need to Know About Hiring an Illustrator

 

For children’s authors, a great illustrator is essential to self-publishing a wonderful book. In children’s stories, the pictures are not only enjoyable to look at, they also help tell the story. Because an illustrator is so important to the success of your book, you need to make sure you hire a talented, trustworthy artist.

Thanks to the internet, it is easy to find an illustrator. If you simply google the term “children’s book illustrators”, you will probably get plenty of results for qualified artists. However, self-publishing authors need to be cautious when hiring third-party illustrators. Here is what you need to know.

  • Some third-party illustrators require you to share a portion of your royalties. This creates ongoing cost instead of a one-time fee for their services.
  • You need to know what the trim size of your book is prior to the illustrator beginning work.
  • The illustrator needs to know specifications about bleed and gutters for the
    self-publisher being used.
  • You should arrange for the illustrator to provide high-resolution image files, not just
    hardcopies.
  • Be sure to get a written contract.

If this sounds like a headache, there is an easier way. Instead of hiring a third-party illustrator, you could hire an illustrator through your self-publishing company. To learn more about hiring an illustrator your self-publishing company, contact a representative at your publishing company.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps, publishing consultants and marketing professionals; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams and on assisting authors with marketing and promoting their book once published. 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, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Weekly Self Published Book Review: The Hummingbird Garden

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 by Midwest Book Review:

the hummingbird garden

The Hummingbird Garden

Evelyn Schwarz

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432798154

“The Hummingbird Garden” by Evelyn Schwarz is about a girl named Alexis who just moved into a new house with her family. While Alexis was lying down, a little flash of color went by over her and flew into her neighbors’ yard. Alexis walked over to the fence and peeked through a hole. Her neighbors’ backyard is filled with many flowers, and there also some little red glass balls hanging from trees, but the most amazing thing she saw were small, colorful birds zipping by, hovering everywhere, and sometimes flying backwards! Alexis found this sight wonderful and went to tell her Mom and Dad. The next day, they would go to their neighbors’ house and ask about the garden and about the tiny little birds and learn more about them.
This book is a short, little book about a little girl and her neighbors’ hummingbird garden. It’s a cute, little, short story, but I say it’s better for a younger age group, like second grade to fourth grade, but it depends what you like to read or what you are allowed to read. The illustrations are really cute, especially the hummingbirds. You will really love “The Hummingbird Garden” by Evelyn Schwarz if you love hummingbirds like me.

Self Publishing Week in Review: 4/30/13

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 Tuesday to find out the hottest news in self publishing this week.

Self-Publishing Is For Control Freaks

As you know, I love self publishing success stories. This article is about a self publishing author who hit number one on the DBW Ebook Best-Seller list in 2013. She reveals that she decided to self publish because she is a “control freak.” Self publishing is great for authors who want to be in charge of the entire publishing process.

Top Children’s Books by Self-Published Authors for April

If you are self publishing a children’s book, it is important to understand the market. One of the best ways to do this is by reading and learning about top-selling children’s books by self published authors.

Colleen Hoover is a self-published star

Here is yet another self publishing success story. Read and be inspired.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.