From the Archives: “Book Marketing: Magazine Reviews”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: April 2nd, 2010 ]

The following list comes compliments of ForeWord magazine in the interest of helping you secure reviews with not only their magazine, but all magazines you pursue.

1. Become familiar with the magazine
2. Read the submission guidelines for each magazine before submitting your book for review
3. Create a good cover letter
4. Include a sales sheet (ask your self-publisher or publishing rep).
5. Follow-up

The best way to familiarize yourself with a magazine you want to review your book is to read the magazine first.

You can usually find submission guidelines for magazines on the magazine’s website.

When sending your book out for review, always include your contact information so the reviewer can get in touch with you if necessary. This should be a part of your cover letter. You can also politely request that a reviewer notify you when/if they review your book (but realize that many may choose not to do this).

 

Is the day of the magazine editorial dead?

What about magazine reviews?

magazine magazines rack

No. No they’re not.

At least, so say the print magazines themselves–and yes, they have  a vested interest in trying to impress their shareholders as much as possible, but when everyone from CNN Money to the New York Post to Wired Magazine lines up to say it’s not so, ti’s time to listen to what they have to say. (It’s worth noting that these periodicals are often at odds over ethics disputes and general worldview, so for them to agree is something magical. And also, it’s far more in their interest to say they’re doing well despite industry trends than to state that everyone’s doing well. They want people to defect to be their subscribers, after all. That’s just marketing.)

And we’re here about marketing, too.

So how does knowing print’s not dead help you market your book?

First of all, it opens up untold numbers of possibilities that the average author might not think of for ad placement and reviews. Facebook, sure. A local radio station, sure. But a print magazine or journal? “I thought those were dead,” you might as well have said. But they’re not. They’re not dead. In fact, they’re thriving–so long as they reach a dedicated niche audience.

Secondly, print magazines and journals have a vested interest, too, in upholding the work of talented authors in a way that a local newspaper may not. Newspapers are looking for news, while magazines and journals are looking for talent. If you have it, and you reach out to the right ones, you might very well find yourself being scouted for additional pieces, or find yourself pushing against an open door as far as promoting your book goes.

So don’t give up on magazines. Well, maybe give up on some. Do your research, and dig around a little bit to see what your ideal reader is picking up at Barnes & Noble or their local indie bookstore or subscribing to digitally. Instead of firing scattershot into a great void and hoping to land some hits, you should spend your time and energy firing precise, surgical volleys at market niches which will both welcome you and connect you with more of those ideal readers.

Long live paper!

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.

From the Archives: “There is No Such Thing as Free Lunch”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: May 28th, 2012 ]

Have you heard the cliché “There is no such thing as a free lunch”? Everything has a cost, even if it appears to be free. This true for self publishing as well as all other areas of life.

While there are companies who say they publish your book for free, there are still costs to you. For instance, you may have to buy large amounts of merchandise after the book is printed, or you will have to spend vast amounts of time marketing your own book. In addition, a “free” publishing company could harm your reputation has an author if your book is not of professional quality.

Authors who want their books to be taken seriously need to invest in their projects. This means you’ll at least need a good copy editor and possibly an experienced graphic designer. Depending on your skills and goals, you may also require marketing services. Not all self publishing companies offer these extra services.

Authors should invest in their books by choosing a full-service self publishing company that offers a variety of production and marketing services as well as excellent customer service. This will ensure that you have access to skilled professionals who will help make your book a masterpiece.

I’d love to know, what additional services do you plan to use when self publishing your book?

– by Wendy Stetina

free lunch

While a good (almost) five years have ticked by since Wendy first wrote this post, much of what she has said remains true. Yes, you still need to watch for hidden fees tucked into your self-publishing contract. Yes, you still need to guard against paying for any package that leaves big gaps for you to cover, especially if these gaps coincide with a lack of experience or expertise on your part that you can’t hope to redress in time to sell your book effectively. And yes, many of these issues naturally resolve themselves if you take care and exercise sound judgment in choosing the finest self-publishing company you can.

And since you’ve opted to pursue self-publishing, clearly your judgement is a finely-tuned instrument to begin with!

But I think Wendy had another, greater point buried within her original post, all the way back in 2012. The point of reputation. Your reputation is, for all intents and purposes, inseparable from your personal brand. And your personal brand is what, in the end, sells books. In an age where boycotts have been proven an effective means of communities exercising influence over what works of art get funded and produced, an author’s reputation means a lot. A lot. So much, in fact, that it might as well mean everything, because once it’s even faintly tarnished, it’s rather a complete loss.

The natural end of this formula (a + b = c) is that, yes, the self-publishing company you choose is fundamental to either losing or building a stellar reputation. While self-publishing authors and companies don’t have exclusive ownership of this formula (consider the rage boiling over a certain Twitter troll’s contract with Simon & Schuster, for example, which will affect both of their reputations in the long run), the self-publisher lives and operates an awful lot closer to the line of no return.

And several self-publishing companies have mistreated their customers. This is a sad fact, and not at all indicative of the general trend (which we hope we espouse) towards respectful and honest, unilaterally positive treatment … but even one rotten apple in a bushel is enough to inspire caution, isn’t it? (Or maybe a carton instead of a bushel. I cracked open a rotten egg a week ago, and let me tell you, I have struggled to walk through the kitchen ever since. The memory sticks.)

My point is this: listen to reviews from authors who have self-published already. Spend some time sussing out the dark corners of the internet to verify the company of your choice is, in fact, generating the kind of reviews it should be. Don’t pay any attention to general naysayers who give all self-publisher’s the middle finger, but do listen to articles and posts that are company-specific, and rooted in individual experience.

There’s no margin of error when it comes to your reputation and its relationship to your decision of where to take your next self-published book. Take it somewhere where it–and you, and yes, your lunch–will be in safe hands!

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.

From the Archives: “A New Year’s Manifesto”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: December 30th, 2015 ]

Around this time last year, I was busy making resolutions for the new year–2015, the year we’ve just finished–and in some cases I have actually managed to make good on those resolutions (see the list here and here).  This year, however, I’m pushing back a little against the instinctual attraction to “list-fever,” that special kind of holiday mania that leaves us mellow and warm and happy once the list is complete (it always feels good to write up a list, doesn’t it?) but panicked and anxious as the year reaches its end and we haven’t yet accomplished all that we set out to do.  And so it is that this year, instead of compiling all of the things I want to do, I thought I’d sketch out a quick drawing of who I think we are, as self-publishing authors.

This is my self-publishing manifesto:

I hereby claim the mountain of content and the island of method for us, the (few, the mighty) self-publishing authors of the world.  I assert our right to write what we please in whatever manner we please and within whatever time frame we deem fit.  I declare nothing off-limits, nothing too “edgy” or “tame” or “niche” or “unique.”  We are the fearless in life, and we have the right, too, to write and publish as adventurously as we live.

I hereby claim the lake of responsibility and the waterfall of ethical treatment for us.  In the little skirmishes and give-and-take between the traditional and self-publishing worlds, we occupy the high moral ground, ground from which we foresee a future in which authors are treated with the respect that they have earned, simply by virtue of being authors, and in which no one–neither the authors nor the publishers, the editors, the graphic designers, nor any other professional involved in the industry–uses their influence to abuse or undervalue others and the services they offer.  I assert our support for a future in which no-one can claim a monopoly on distribution or quality of product.  I claim the right to creative freedom and creative control–as well as an ethical flow of profits to and from the right people–for us, the self-publishers.  And I also claim the collective right to not tolerate unethical behavior from the corporate publishing sector which routinely reneges on its commitments to writers, readers, and its own employees.

I hereby claim the plains of ambition and the foothills of inspiration for us.  We will write, to the best of our ability, the best books we are capable of writing.  We will create, to the best of our ability, the finest covers and illustrations and altogether visually pleasing objects of which we are capable of creating.  We will learn from our mistakes without damage to our sense of self or our ego; we will seek out expert feedback and emerge with a refreshed sense of purpose and vision for where to go next.

I also claim the right to act out of self-interest, collectively and individually, for us–the authors who have been told we don’t belong or aren’t good enough but most definitely do and are–while also upholding our commitment to generosity, compassion, and social responsibility.  I claim the right to take full advantage of the digital revolution, to look forward to and think with a futurist’s imagination about, a publishing world and a market that looks radically different from the one we work with now.

I hereby claim ownership of my own decisions.  I do not ask for permission from others to write what I write or publish what I publish; I write and publish what brings joy to me and to my readers.  I do not ask for compliments or pats on the back or for any recognition which undervalues my skills and the intelligence of my readers.  I declare my obligation to respect, value, and represent the interests of others, and to balance this obligation with my own needs as an author and human being.  I recognize the privileges of my position as a person of influence, a person with the vocabulary to reflect and shape the world around me, and seek to put that privilege to good use for good ends.

I am not shy about recognizing my strengths, and I am not afraid of my weaknesses.  I hereby claim the valley of well-earned pride and the city of well-learned failures as my province.  I am proud to be a self-published author, and proud to be a part of a wider community of self-publishing authors as well as the readers who open their hearts and minds to the books we place in their hands.

– by Kelly Schuknecht

 

manifesto writing cheerfully

I think this one stands on its own—don’t you? What else can we claim in 2017 that we weren’t able to claim in 2015 or even 2016? The self-publishing industry hasn’t necessarily broken new ground, but it has built steadily upon its previous successes, and reports keep coming in that the market share division between digital and print books has leveled out and begun to run steady. But there’s a lot of tension in the air, politically, socially, and yes, metaphorically—tensions that have the power to shape our decisions. If I were to add any one “claim” to my original list, it would be this:

I hereby claim the fearlessness, both frantic and calm, of the entrepreneur, of the start-up, of the crowdfunded, cloud-built-and-stored, groundbreakers. I opt to place myself in the way of beauty, and in the way of success, by giving it all that I’ve got and taking no prisoners, taking no breaks from being myself and from pursuing my dreams, and yet taking a jackhammer to my bad habits with a sensitivity to my good ones, and to my body, mind, and soul’s needs. I claim the ambition of the space race, the empty-all-pocketbooks audacity of a world utterly bankrupt of fear, and the joy of knowing that whatever mistakes I make, whatever failures I slide into, I rush headlong into them knowing that I gave my absolute best and without fear that it’s the end. I will live with a future-mind, knowing that today’s fears and hardships will not hold me in place forever. I claim the right to unleash myself on this world, as an author and a purveyor of stories.

How’s that for an addition? I think I might just keep up this tradition. I might even codify our existing claims—along with any additions you, dear readers, might throw our way—into a document for year-round use. What do you think?

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.

From the Archives: “Here’s to 2015, The Year You Publish a Book”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: January 5th, 2015 ]

If you are like many writers, publishing a book is probably on your 2015 to-do list. You’re probably feeling inspired, excited, maybe a little scared or overwhelmed, and you’re hoping your dream won’t become another failed resolution that gets pushed to the back burner after the thrill of the new year wears off.

Well, I’m here to help. Each week in January I will offer you tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goal of publishing a book this year, and I encourage you to continue reading my posts every week throughout the year for inspiration, advice, and news that will help you become a successful author.

So let’s get started.

The first thing you must do if you want to accomplish your goal is break it down into smaller, more manageable and measurable tasks. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed, getting side tracked, and losing inspiration.

I find it helpful to have a calendar in front of me when I complete this task to help with setting deadlines and factoring in events that may impact my writing goals.

Now ask yourself these questions:

1) How much time do I need to dedicate to writing each day, week, or month?

2) When do I want to complete my first draft?

3) How much time do I need to edit my first draft?

4) What tasks besides writing (i.e., researching, marketing, etc.) will I need to complete?

5) When do I want to start the publishing process?

6) How will I fund my project?

7) What will help me be successful?

Using your answers to these questions, write down small, measurable goals for your project and put them some place you will see them often. Be sure to periodically check your progress and adjust your goals as needed.

I’d love to know, what are your 2015 writing goals?

– by Jodee Thayer

There’s a lot we can learn from the past, both the personal past and the grand historical narrative. Like, for example, it’s not a good idea to put your hand on an open flame. The historical lessons are easy to call to mind, too: Hitler, slavery, segregation, overdoing the electric shock therapy.

But there’s a lot we can’t know about the future, right? That’s just how time works. We don’t know what’s just over the event horizon; if we could, we’d all be rich. (Among other things.)

Well yes … and no.

Yes, there’s a lot we can’t know. But there’s also a great deal we can predict about the future based on our past habits. And Jodee, in her prelude to 2015, lay out the groundwork for a highly predictable future–a future that would meet with both her highest expectations for success and, understandably, with the challenges she had the foresight to see coming a long way off. How is this possible? Well, she took a good long look at what challenges she’d faced in the past, and the good habits she’d pulled together to combat them, and then she extrapolated forward, assuming both would prove to be constants in her future, if only she could manage to meet them in full fighting mettle.

Busy-ness is a thing most of us are more than a little familiar with. But I urge you, dear readers, to take a quick look back at Jodee’s recommendations from 2015. They still hold true. First, to break each task “down into smaller, more manageable and measurable tasks.” Then to pull out a calendar and plot all of the deadlines you know you’ll need to meet, such as awards submissions deadlines, and any upcoming personal distractions you know you’ll need to plan around–weddings, vacations and traveling, holidays, surgeries, turning in grades, etc–so that they become a feature of, rather than a source of anxiety within, your upcoming year. And start sketching out answers to her seven questions, listed above. I’ll be revisiting mine next week, and I hope you will too.

success

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.

From the Archives: “12 New Year’s Resolutions for the 12 Days of Christmas (part II)”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: December 31st, 2014 ]

Well, today marks my last blog of 2014, so it’s only fitting that I finish my list of New Year’s resolutions with both a bang and a whimper—or rather, with a mixed list of strategies that require me to take initiative and steer clear of some of my past faux pas!

I resolve to …

#6: Read more.

Yes, yes, I know it’s a bit trite to say that “good writers are good readers,” but there is some truth to the matter (as there often is, with trite statements).  I have let my reading lapse a smidgen this year, for a variety of reasons, and as a direct consequence I find my ability to verbalize my own ideas is suffering.  In general, I find that a deficit in input results in a deficit of output, and for me that translates to: “No reading, no imagination.”  I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I for one resolve that this year I will reestablish my reading routines, and reintroduce my mind to the minds of others through the written word.  (Or, more written words.)  As with many things, I’ll try to remember to practice the “quality over quantity” adage.  It’s more important to have an enriching rather than a time-intensive experience!

#7: Try a new format.

There are so many formats in which we can publish these days that the list can grow overwhelming—hard cover editions, paperback editions, Kindle editions, Nook editions, e-book editions, .pdf files, audio book editions, and et cetera—and like many authors, I tend to channel most of my energy into work within my comfort zone.  This year, I resolve to try a new format for a book that I haven’t tried before.  I haven’t quite decided which of these formats I will choose and for which piece, but I promise you (and you can hold me to this!) that I won’t allow myself to get stuck in the “research” stage for so long that I neglect to actually produce a new product.  Perhaps you’d like to join me?  Let’s jump into 2015 by making it easier than ever for readers to access our work!

#8: Make more inspiration boards.

Ever heard of an inspiration board?  Essentially, it’s the practice of putting together a visual display of objects, quotes, and other things that create a focused touchstone for your writing.  For example, an author who’s writing a book set in the corn fields of Nebraska might put together an inspiration board that has some pictures of corn fields in various lighting, a couple of quotations about the hardships and rewards of farming, and maybe a song or two that really captures the desired mood or atmosphere of the piece.  In this day and age, it’s really easy to make inspiration boards.  You can actually put one together physically (see this excellent blog post by the Procrastinating Writer), or you can take advantage of tools like Pinterest (see this equally excellent blog post by Melissa Donovan over at Writing Forward).  Personally, I enjoy using my hands to put something together in the real world, but the interactivity of digital forms can be really great, too. This year, I resolve to play around more with this idea of the inspiration board.

#9: Build a community. 

I’ve already resolved to be more ambitious with my social media presence (see #6 on last week’s list!).  Much of a self-published author’s success lies in his or her relationship with readers, and in establishing a community of people who are just as invested in consuming good writing as the author is in generating it.  Over and beyond just creating more social media platforms to reach more social media users, this year, I resolve to build and broaden my community of readers by reaching them where they are at and giving them what they need.  By keeping my various blog posts about creating a social media platform in mind [here, here, and here], I will tweak my digital presence and refine my physical outreach to meet my readers’ needs, rather than just satisfy my own vision of this idea of ‘presence.’  To do so, I will first need tounderstand that community, perhaps through polls and surveys, and perhaps through a more effective use of Google Analytics.  It is my hope that understanding will lead to outreach will lead to genuine and authentic connection to my readership.

#10: Write more. 

I know we say this every year, but I really mean it!  This has been a year of major changes for me, as I’m sure it has been for many of you, my readers.  Changes in my family, my work, my health, and so on.  When you consider the fact that we’re social creatures, any change in my network comes rippling back to me, so that a new addition to an in-law’s family or a friend’s vacation plans can become a distraction—for me!  A large part of buckling down to do the thing I love is, I’ve discovered, narrowing my focus and eliminating distractions.  And the self-published author can’t afford to let writing lapse.  I can’t exactly stop change from happening, and I definitely don’t want my family to stop expanding or my friends to stop going on vacation, but I can take initiative in establishing healthy emotional boundaries that keep these changes from becoming calamities.  This year, I resolve to make writing as much of a habit as eating a healthy breakfast (another practice I need to improve upon, I’m afraid).  Whether it’s fifteen minutes or eight hours a day, I will get some words out of my head and onto the page!

#11: Celebrate success.

Because writing and self-publishing is my job, not just a hobby, I sometimes fail to celebrate the successes I’ve already achieved.  Perhaps you’re this way, too, in that it’s hard to justify taking a moment away from the stacks and stacks of to-dos in order to take pride in what has already been done.  But that’s not a rewarding way to live, as we all know well!  So, this year, I resolve to celebrate each and every success, as I check items off of my list of resolutions, or bring other goals through to execution.  You and I both love to celebrate other peoples’ successes, so taking a few minutes to practice joy over our own shouldn’t seem like such an outlandish notion.

#12: Take action. 

I find this perhaps the most important resolution of all, given my own predilection for procrastination in making good on resolutions in years past.  I hereby pledge not to let this list sit here just as a list, but rather to turn it into a tangible action plan for the coming year—not a list of obligations, mind you, that weigh on my conscience if I fail, but as a coda of potential ideas to launch me into 2015 in the best possible shape.  Carpe diem?  After all, as a self-published author, I understand that while I have to work hard to make what I love to do a success, I want to remain in love with what I do.  And that’s always the hardest part, isn’t it?  If I fall out of love with writing and self-publishing, well … I don’t want to allow even the seed of that thought to germinate in my mind.  And so, I will think of this list as inspiration, rather than obligation—inspiration that I can make good on, by decisive action.

 

And so we begin a new year, with hope, and an eye for progress.  I am so lucky to have had you all as readers, and I look forward to another year in partnership with you!  If you have any resolutions or ideas that didn’t make my list, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments box, and watch this space on Wednesdays in 2015 as I blog my way through some of these resolutions!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

As I stated last week, originally my goal was to revisit these blog posts after just one year of labor–perhaps in early 2016–but life being what it is, and my memory too, I instead am coming to it now at the tail end of two years of work. And yes, since it was originally a two-parter, I will be revisiting it in two parts (this being the second part) … but all that is just scaffolding. It’s not why you’re here.

You’re here to find out if I succeeded or not!

  1. Did I read more? Yes, I did. Everything from nonfiction accounts of America’s history with birding to the latest Star Wars novelization. And for those of you who are interested in how I keep track of the books I read, I use Goodreads–which we’ve written about in the past here at SPA. This has actually been a great year for reading on my part, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I’ll never truly read enough, period. There are so many good books to read in the world right now–and you have helped contribute to that truth!
  2. Did I try a new format? As a reader, yes! I have made significant inroads into incorporating both standard ebooks and audio books into my repertoire, and they came in especially handy while commuting and cooking, respectively. I did not publish any new editions–or books, for that matter–in 2016, in part because my work in supporting other self-publishing authors supersedes any personal desire to publish at this point. Look for more from me on this subject in the future.
  3. Did I make more inspiration boards? Yes! Am I going to share them with you? No! Why? Because I personally feel as though mine don’t demonstrate the form at its purest. But do take a look at our primer for Pinterest–everything I’ve learned through practice was first written there, and more eloquently.
  4. Did I build a community? Yes, although as with most authors and readers this is a work in progress. I’ve been trying to take advantage of the great wisdom out there on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Twitter, specifically. My follower count is not in the thousands, but engagement remains high. I’m still trying to figure out what, exactly, I want to be my “online brand” … but in that, I feel, I am not alone.
  5. Did I write moreYes! Here at least I have some very good news. As we’ve intimated elsewhere on the blog, this year I took part in NaNoWriMo. I completed the 50,000 word challenge–and roughly the first half a draft for a new book! If any of you are wondering if NaNoWriMo is a challenge you want to participate in over the coming years, I highly recommend it as a motivational tool. More importantly for me, personally, was the decision to restructure my days around healthier writing habits. I feel so much better–and healthier, overall–knowing that I have safeguarded my ability and time to write in this way.
  6. Did I celebrate success and take action? You bet! In every area of my life as a writer, I am a different person to the one who wrote these original posts in 2014. And that’s a good thing! Even if I’m not as productive as I’d like or as focused or as prolific, I still have made great progress–and so can you, SPA readers. In fact, celebrating your success and helping you take action is what we’re all about here.

You might have noticed there were 12 New Year’s resolutions mentioned in the title of this blog post, and 12 in the original (split) post from 2014. Last week’s list of the first six resolutions can be found at the link. But what about you? How did you do on your resolutions for 2016? How about 2015? And what do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

perserverence

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.

From the Archives: “12 New Year’s Resolutions for the 12 Days of Christmas (part I)”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: December 24th, 2014 ]

I know it’s a bit early to be setting my New Year’s resolutions in stone, so I’ll consider this post something softer than stone, more easily reshaped, but still very much real and solid and tangible––perhaps something like the digital version of putty or artists’ plaster, which will slowly resolve itself into fact. 

My real reason for getting started early is twofold: I want to give myself the time to really think through the list, and I want to give you the time to put some of my resolutions to your own good use as 2015 rolls in.  And so, with no further ado:

I resolve to …

#1:  Host a new kind of marketing event. 

I must admit, I’m fairly predictable when it comes to planning marketing events––I know what I’m good at, and what I’m comfortable doing, and that pretty much boils down to short readings and Q&As at local libraries.  In 2015, I resolve to try something new, or rather, to plan and attempt to execute at least one event that isn’t a reading or a Q&A session at a local library. You’ll note I used the hazy word attempt just now.  I think it’s important to put together a plan and to make a few phone calls, but not to shackle myself to an impossible agenda.  If, for example, my (very-beginning-stages) notion to put together a bi-weekly podcast proves an enormous drain on my time and energy, then I may need to reevaluate in a few months.

#2:  Attend a new kind of marketing event. 

If I’m predictable about the kinds of events I host, then I’m even more predictable when it comes to the events I attend.  This last year, I’ve been a regular on the book-signing and book-reading circuits, but these are not the only events out there.  I need to diversify what I do so that I can become both a more well-informed reader and a more effective marketer myself!  In 2015, I resolve to attend at least one webinar, book festival, or other marketing event that is a little outside of my comfort zone.  Even if I have to travel a couple of hours to make it, or rearrange my work schedule for a few days, I intend to make this resolution a priority.

#3:  Learn some new code. 

I know a little HTML, but I’ve been out of the coding game for a spell.  It’s time to dive back in, particularly with an eye for coding––whether HTML, CSS, Java, or some other programming language––that can boost my digital footprint.  In 2015, I resolve to read at least one book on the subject, or attend a class, or otherwise broaden my understanding of at least one of these codes.

#4:  Try out a new digital device or software application. 

There are any number of apps out there which I can download to my iPad or e-reader which can help me keep track of my ongoing efforts at self-promotion––and many which can actually help me improve.  In 2015, I resolve to research, discover, and incorporate at least one new digital device, program, or app into my life, with a specific intention to boost my marketing efforts.  This resolution may actually pose a good challenge, since I have little to no idea of where to start.  There are so many possibilities!  The real trouble is narrowing the options down to just … one.

#5:  Launch a new round of SEO campaigns. 

I’ve written extensively about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before.  Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach!  In 2015, I resolve to put into effect a rigorous and updated SEO program to boost web traffic to my websites.  I’ve dabbled in a great many of the strategies out there at one time or another, but with little accountability and thoroughness.  This time around, I want to be more organized about my SEO efforts––and more regular.  It’s not enough to apply some of the techniques some of the time––I need to apply most of the techniques on a regular basis, or else it’s all just wasted effort.  Readers respect reliability!

#6:  Establish ambitious goals and healthy boundaries for my social media presence. 

Just as I’ve casually speed-dated most of the SEO stratagems out there without committing to any one plan, I’ve felt my way around all or almost all of the major social media platforms––Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and many others––without putting into effect any rigorous plan of action.  I’ll post a picture to Instagram one day and forget about it for a few weeks, then write ten tweets in quick succession, only to let my twitter handle lapse for months on end. In 2015, I’ll put together a calendar, and a schedule, to better handle my social media accounts.  I pledge to dismantle the accounts I don’t actively use or am failing to use effectively, and pour my time and energy into the outlets that do effective work for my self-promotion.  I pledge, too, to make a habit of timing my posts, so that readers know when they can expect to see something new show up on one of my websites. 

… and you’ll have to stick around until next Wednesday for the other six.  In part because I’ve reached my word limit for the week, and in part because I want my final six resolutions to be even better than my first six!

Can it really be––almost––2015?  It’s hard to believe, sometimes, that this entire industry has been born and made, and remade, and evolved into endless permutations––all within my lifetime.  All within living memory.  The printing press has been around since the 1300s, but since then the process of making and selling books has never seen such a rapid and total transformation as it has within the last twenty years, and perhaps even the last decade.  Digital publication and distribution, e-readers, self-publishing, collaborative writing forums, viral marketing—we live in an exciting time that shows no signs of slowing down.  I, for one, hope to match the broad spectrum of these changes with a few, specific, targeted evolutions of my own.  I’m going to start small, here, in the new year.  In 2015.  I hope you’ll join me!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

Originally my goal was to revisit this blog post after just one year of labor–perhaps in early 2016–but life being what it is, and my memory too, I instead am coming to it now at the tail end of two years of work. And yes, since it was originally a two-parter, I will be revisiting it in two parts … but all that is just scaffolding. It’s not why you’re here.

You’re here to find out if I succeeded or not!

  1. Did I host a new kind of marketing event? Yes, I did. But here’s the rub–I didn’t do it for me, I did it for someone else. I know that’s a bit of a cop-out, especially since we’re talking about a two-year gap between my original post and today, but the lines get really blurred when you work with so many self-publishing authors. And it was a success! In 2017 I’ll be continuing to apply what I learned at this event, which was held in a library and involved ice-cream tasting. Who knew?
  2. Did I attend a new kind of marketing event? This also is in the affirmative, and luckily, multiple times over. In two years, I have attended upwards of a dozen marketing events in total, and while many of them were simple iterations on the tried-and-true methods (book readings, book signings, etc) I also had the chance to sit in on several that were truly unique. They were all very different, but one thing they had in common was the author’s (or organizer’s) willingness to step back from tradition and completely re-envision the purpose of marketing start to finish.
  3. Did I learn some new code? This one, unfortunately, I might have well and truly failed on. I have spent some time with Arduino and MakeyMakey robotics kits in the last two years, but neither of these really ties back to marketing in a meaningful way … yet. But there are lots of Arduino projects out there–maybe I can still figure something out! That’s my goal for 2017.
  4. Did I try out a new digital device or software application? You bet your best pair of knickers I did! In fact, I tried a whole slew of new apps and softwares. On the hunt for a new digital device of my own, I was determined to put my hands on all of the new tablets and dedicated e-readers out there–from the iPad Mini to the Kindle Oasis–and the hands-on treatment proved to be incredibly useful in making an informed decision. (But I don’t want to sway you–unless it’s to try them all out for yourself, since your needs will be different from mine.) I tried Scribner to keep track of my writing, and a bunch of apps to retrain my sense of mindfulness and time-management, to keep me on-point during my limited writing time each morning.
  5. Did I launch a new round of SEO campaigns? Yes … sort of. By which I mean, I introduced a few new steps to how I’m setting up blog posts and book page listings and so forth online, to integrate some of the tips and tidbits I’ve picked up over the years. And honestly, slow but steady really does win the race. With all of the other things I’ve been trying to do, taking a few new concrete steps each month makes a big difference and is sustainable–and if it’s not sustainable, it’s not worth doing at all, in my opinion.
  6. And last but not least, did I establish ambitious goals and healthy boundaries for my social media presence? Yes … but it didn’t all turn out roses. I actually pared back my social media presence since I was over-extended and ineffective in trying to manage five or six sites at once on top of work and writing and family. So now I’m back down to the bare bones, which isn’t such a bad place to be … because it can only go up from here, right? Right! But don’t worry, I’ll be expanding again soon, in the new year.

You might have noticed there were 12 New Year’s resolutions mentioned in the title of this blog post, and 12 in the original (split) post from 2014. Never fear–I’ll be getting to the remaining six next week! But before I get there, I wanted to drop you, dear readers, a quick line to ask: how did you do on your resolutions for 2016? How about 2015? And what do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

perserverence

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.

From the Archives: “5 Reasons to Self-Publish in December”

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.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: December 4th, 2013 ]

With so much going on in December, you may be wondering if now is the right time to self-publish your book. Here are five reasons why December is a great month to start the self-publishingprocess.

Savings

Many self-publishing companies are getting in the holiday spirit by offering great deals on publishing packages and marketing options. This can save you money and provide you with services that will enhance the success of your book.

A Gift to Yourself

Publishing a book is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. The sense of accomplishment and pride is better than any box of chocolates or new sweater. Celebrate the holiday season by giving yourself the memorable gift of self-publishing.

Plenty of Time to Market

By starting the self-publishing process in December, you will have your printed book early in 2014. This gives you the rest of the year to market your book and plenty of time to accomplish your yearly marketing and sales goals.

A Jump Start on Your To-Do List

If you are reading this, “publishing a book” is probably on your 2014 to-do list. Start the year off right by checking it off the list before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

Be a Part of a Great Trend

According to Bowker, the self-publishing market is up 59% compared to last year.You can be a part of that amazing statistic and be a part of the changing publishing industry.

Happy Holidays!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

2016 is not 2013, it’s true, but some things hold true–including these five reasons to self-publish in December which I originally posted waaaaay back when. But look, it’s all well and good to pat myself on the back for being accurate three years ago. What about now? What’s new in terms of arguments in favor of self-publishing in December?

I have one big contribution, a stellar sixth reason:

Holiday Marketing Bundles

The market and industry have both come a long way in three years, and one of the things an increasing number of self-publishing companies offer is a holiday marketing bundle geared towards providing both discounts (and attendant big savings) as well as specific services geared towards boosting sales during this generosity-inducing time.

Now, Christmas might seem like the absolute worst time to lay out a big chunk of change on your book when it could be going to so many other good things. And it’s true that there are other good things well worth investing in during the winter holiday season–friends, family, needy strangers, coffee kiosks–but I would argue, gently, that this is the perfect time. After all, you’ve been working hard all year to get your book out–and typically, a well-marketed book will move the greatest bulk of its copies during the months between October and January.

I of course have a slight vested interest in holiday marketing bundles–my employer, Outskirts Press, offers a stellar example. I don’t shy away from mentioning this because I truly believe in the quality of services that Outskirts offers, and have had the pleasure of working alongside the staff who put this deal (and others) together. But no matter where you choose to pick up your bundle–while the details may differ a little–the core principle remains the same: bundling services allows for great discounts, and for very refined targeting of your consumer base.

Now, if you miss out on the holiday marketing bundle this time around, don’t panic! There’s always next year. And you won’t even have to wait a full twelve months for such an opportunity; there is always a small bump in sales around late spring and early summer as well, due to the “beach reads” trend, and this gives you plenty of time to recoup those unavoidable (and, let’s face it, sometimes inexplicable) holiday expenses!

winter christmas holiday decorations

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.