Taking Charge in the New Year

New Year's Resolutions 2020

Around this time last year, I was busy making resolutions for the new year–2019, the year we’re now bringing to a close–and in some cases I have actually managed to make good on those resolutions.  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 craft a little manifesto for us all.


In 2020 …

We hereby claim the mountain of content and the island of method for us, the (few, the mighty) self-publishing authors of the world.  We assert our right to write what we please in whatever manner we please and within whatever time frame we deem fit.  We 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.

We 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.  We 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 we 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.

We 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.

We 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.  We 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.

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

We are not shy about recognizing our strengths, and we are not afraid of our weaknesses.  We hereby claim the valley of well-earned pride and the city of well-learned failures as our province.  We are proud to work with self-publishing authors, and proud to be a part of a wider community of independent creators as well as the readers who open their hearts and minds to the books we place in their hands.

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

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.

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part VI – The Christmas Week Edition)

christmas new year's holiday time

I know what you’re thinking–it’s only five days to New Year’s Day–what could you possibly do this late in the year to take advantage of the holidays before the year (and holiday spirit) runs out?

First of all:

keep calm holidays

That’s right–this doesn’t have to be anything that will ratchet up your stress levels! And first and foremost, if you’re reading this and you’re a naturally busy person around the holidays, it’s okay to not add any last-minute marketing tricks to our to-do list. Our recommendations today are for those of you who are looking for something to do with all of your spare time over the next few days. To that end, if you have …

Five Days of Free Time

Our recommendation? Start the clock on a New Year’s giveaway or discount! If you truly have five days to work something new in, a giveaway will give you the largest impact for the time available to you. Hop on to your book’s Amazon listing, Goodreads, or wherever else you want to host the giveaway or discount, and set up the functional part of your special offering today. Also: announce it across all of your social media platforms! This is important to do immediately. Then, every day until the end of your discount or giveaway, make sure to hop online and remind your followers of what’s going on. Once the functional part of the giveaway or discount has been set up, you have a lot of flexibility on timing, frequency, and content of your social media posts–but make them count! Make sure to craft a couple of beautiful images and to use your book’s cover art to boost the visual impact of your promotion.

Five Hours of Free Time

If you only have five hours to spend on marketing this holiday week, you could either go the route of throwing together a super quick special like the one above, skipping over a lot of the social media check-ins, or you could focus your energies and produce one really high-quality marketing item, like a holiday-specific press release or email newsletter or promotional image. We’ve written in detail about press releases and similar marketing strategies before, and if you’re having trouble deciding upon what to spend your five hours of limited time and energy on, we recommend opting to play up your strengths and choose a strategy you’re comfortable with. When you have a bit more time to spend, you can innovate and expand your repertoire–but for now, you want to do something quick and efficient!

Just remember–the point of every holiday marketing strategy is to put your book out there (again or for the first time) in front of its ideal readers and to take advantage of the various holiday-specific vocabularies (visual or written) to do so. Readers are all about authenticity, and around the holidays they’ll want to know that your words come from the heart as well as from a pragmatic point of origin.

Five Minutes of Free Time

Look, it’s okay! Not all of us can expect to carve out much time around the holidays for marketing. For those of you who maybe have time to check your email or post a quick update to Facebook, that’s still enough time to make a difference. Whether it’s mentioning your book in the same breath as your turkey roast or your family’s trivia game night on New Year’s Eve, a quick tweet on Twitter of blog post or Facebook update will still be well-received by your readers. Keeping them in the loop on what’s important to you is useful in and of itself!

Whether you only have minutes or you have a whole long luxurious week of free time ahead of you, there’s almost always room for a little marketing. And if not? Well, there’s always the new year! And we’ll be back in 2019 with many more tips and tricks for how you can improve your marketing reach as a self-published author.

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

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.

 

Happy Holidays from Self Publishing Advisor!

happy holidays

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is somewhat light when it comes to news regarding publishing and self-publishing, in no small part because the two holidays which bookmark this particular week are among the most widely celebrated the world over. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a big-news week for us here at Self Publishing Advisor!

This holiday week, we wanted to thank you for helping to make our year and our blog such a success. With 2,175 unique posts in our backlist and over 158,500 unique views by you, our visitors, our blog is one of the most successful–and long-running–of all self-publishing blogs out there. We couldn’t have gotten here without you and your support, dear reader, and that makes this holiday season particularly bright as we look forward to a brand-new year full of unique updates on and insights into our wonderful industry.

thank you holiday christmas


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

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The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part V)

My gratitude list - file cabinet label

It’s a fashionable thing to limit our conversations about gratitude to the time around Thanksgiving, when all the stationary and gift displays and card racks at Hallmark all feature gratitude as their main theme. But I’m here today to advocate for extending that period of gratitude to include the Christmas and New Year’s holidays—because while Thanksgiving is lovely and wonderful and should definitely have its own marketing space, there are things we are grateful for closer to the end of the year that have their own nature, their own set of qualities, that makes them both poignant … and a potential platform for further holiday marketing, as I’ll get into here today.

I would also note that one can be an entrepreneur—a self-starter, a self-published book author—and carry the burden of marketing lightly, and carry it without being obnoxious, or dissembling, or insincere, even in the midst of a world crowded with half-baked promotions and kitschy products designed to capitalize on people’s sentimental holiday nostalgia.

Yes, you can be both a person who needs to market your book around the holidays, and utterly sincere about the messaging you send out into the universe around the holidays.

This holiday season, a friend of mine who happens to be an author (among other things) set about thanking those authors who were foundational to his development and evolution as a wordsmith on social media. Once a day, he has been tweeting about and to the authors who helped make him who he is. He hadn’t intended this to be anything other than a fun little project unconnected to anything else going on in his life, but it ended up putting him on the radar of a number of fantastic, high-profile authors who subsequently re-tweeted his tweets. In doing so, they broadcast his gratitude far and wide, raising his profile in the literary community and exposing numerous new readers to his name and brand.

I propose that we all do something similar. Having seen what has happened in my friend’s case, I can without reservation state that doing so will not only put your name in front of new potential readers, but it’s also a fun and worthwhile exercise to do on a personal level. It’s the gift that gives back, as expressing gratitude so often builds both giver and receiver up.

It’s the simplest thing to put together a quick social media campaign. If you decide to move forward with something similar, keep in mind a couple of our top tips here on the blog for successful posts:

  1. Rinse & Repeat: Repetition, and routine, are the keys to growing your social media presence. Make sure to time your tweets and Facebook posts (and you can use a third-party scheduling app, like Hootsuite or Twitter & Facebook’s extant scheduling options to do so) for high-traffic times of day, and to tweet or post to Facebook regularly.
  2. Attach Images. Analytics clearly and definitively prove that attaching images (that you have the rights to, of course) to your tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts boost the visual impact and increase the “clicks” those posts receive. Snap a quick picture with your camera or grab a picture from online to accompany every post, and watch those clicks roll in.
  3. Tag People. Both Twitter and Facebook (as well as Instagram and other social media platforms) allow creators to “tag” or “@” or “mention” or otherwise direct their posts to specific individuals. Doing so creates notifications which will make people aware that you are talking about them, which boosts the likelihood that they will respond or re-post your material, thus raising awareness about it.
  4. Authenticity Matters. Social media is the best lie detector in existence. Twitter and Facebook users are highly attuned at present to inauthentic material (and will only continue to grow moreso as the conversation around “Fake News” becomes more advanced and nuanced) and are unafraid to call people out on it. The way to ensure that you put social media to work for you rather than against you is to treat your followers like you would your coworkers and your friends all at once. You have to be honest, and authentic, and you have to be able to stand behind every post you make in the years to come. (The Internet forgets nothing.)

Think of all the authors and creators who have influenced your journey. Who would you like to thank this holiday season? What are their footprints in your life? Whether you choose to mount a quick social media campaign around your gratitude list this holiday season or not, thinking of how far you’ve come and the people who have helped you along the way is just one more way to enjoy a bright and beautiful Christmas.

christmas gifts

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

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.

 

Self-Published Book Review: “Christmas Secrets”

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:

christmas secrets by uncle pappy

Christmas Secrets

by George R. Kuper AKA Uncle Pappy

ISBN: 9781478799108

Synopsis*:

Secrets of Christmas Revealed! This edition of Christmas Secrets is a first in a series of Christmas books. This book allows adults and children alike to enjoy discovering the secrets of the holiday season together. Many of the children’s questions about Santa Claus and the Christmas season are answered. The stories are interactive with prompts and questions to encourage children to think, analyze and become involved in the adventure

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Adorable Throughout – Great for Interaction with Kids

–  Verified reviewed on Amazon

Other Reviews

Interactive Christmas Story Focused on Entertaining Discussion

– reviewed by Al on Amazon

Wonderful Christmas Story

– reviewed by Greg on Amazon

 

Book Trailer

 


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

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The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part IV)

We all know how wonderful it is to have holiday traditions, those things we do year after year and never tire of because they bring us nostalgia for our youth or for holidays in general. However, in book marketing, tradition in the holiday season might mean stagnation. So this year, when you’ve finished your traditions of decorating your Christmas trees, drinking egg nog, wearing tacky sweaters, caroling and hanging your stockings by the chimney with care, let us help you brainstorm some new ways to market your book.

christmas holiday fire book

The trees have shed their colorful fall foliage, the air has grown crisp, the kids are back in school, and you know what that means? The year’s final holidays are just right around the corner. This is a time of year to celebrate, not only because it means the return of pumpkin spice lattes and apple crisp, but because it is a time of year devoted to giving thanks, sharing delicious food and thoughtful gifts, and it is a time to gather with and spend time with those we love and cherish.

You can further celebrate this time of year as an author by innovating your marketing strategies, as there are certain advantages to marketing this time of year that aren’t available to you on just any summer day.

With an increased amount of shoppers trying to fill stockings and fill out the base of their Christmas trees, it is imperative that you’ve nailed down who exactly your audience is. Is your book a children’s book? Make sure your book is made available in local toy stores and maybe put some flyers up in local day care centers, libraries, and schools. Also, think of how great your book could be as a stocking stuffer for family members; being generous with your book this time of year could lead to more readers not only within your family, but whoever your family ends up sharing it with as well.

This is also a great time of year for holiday giveaways online. Vamp up your blog with relevant tags, and host your giveaways there! Post on pages relevant to your story–this could be anything from a Facebook page of the state your book takes place in, a Facebook group of readers that your book might appeal to, or maybe even to a Facebook event in your area that fits the theme of your book.

Remember that Christmas stockings are often full of Amazon gift cards; do you have an ebook to offer all these new potential buyers? Going digital means that there were literally be MILLIONS of people who will have access to your book, who never would’ve come across it otherwise. If you already have an ebook version, ask your readers for a priceless holiday gift: a good review online.

christmas stack of books coffee holidays

The Christmas holidays is an especially important time to be thinking about helping to preserve your family’s history and legacy by self-publishing a book.  That’s because Christmas, perhaps more than any other holiday, is rich with oral storytelling traditions, baking traditions, and narrative traditions of all kinds.  You can both collect new material for your book and enjoy the rich conversations that will inevitably collect around the news that you’ve got a book in the works.  And sometimes, at Christmas as at other times of year when our relationships with the past are the hinge upon which our lives turn, we can all do with a little reminder:

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

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.

 

Happy Thanksgiving! … & Your Weekly Self-Published Book Review: “Aurora of the Northern Lights”

thanksgiving

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:

aurora of the northern lights holly hardin

mom's c

gelett burgess children's book award gold

Aurora of the Northern Lights

by Holly Hardin

ISBN: 9781432724399

Synopsis*:

Come along as author Holly Hardin conjures a mystical world of adventure, sprites, and magical charms. After losing her parents, little Aurora sets off on her own. Because she’s different, Aurora finds it difficult to find anyone who will listen to her story, even at Christmas time. As her story continues, Aurora receives special gifts to keep her safe and important clues to find her new home.

Follow the journey as Aurora encounters a host of creatures along the way–including one very famous bearded man. What follows in this beautifully illustrated and delightfully written book is a heartwarming story of a home lost and found–and a Christmas lesson for us all.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Reviewed by Grace (age 5) and Ella (age 4) Gleichner and Mom

“Aurora of the Northern Lights” is the story of a young girl named Aurora.  Aurora’s parents meet in the cold lands of the Northern Fey.

Grace: “It’s cold and snowy here, do you think this is where the Northern Fey live Mom?”

Ella: “Maybe they live in the North Cold (what Ella calls the North Pole).”

Aurora’s father, William, becomes sick in the cold so her mother, Mistletoe, agrees to move to a farm where the weather wasn’t so cold.

Ella: “We moved but it’s still cold here, just like in Manitowoc.”

Mistletoe and William are thrilled with the birth of their daughter Aurora, and for seven years everything is wonderful.  But, then all three of them get sick and Aurora’s parents don’t survive.

Grace: “That is so sad.  That’s why we get shots, so we don’t get sick, right Mom?  Are her Mom and Dad in Heaven now?”

Aurora feels lost, and when she wanders into town the people of the town shun her.  She doesn’t know what to do when suddenly a witch gives her a charm to protect her from harm, and tells her that this is not her true home, she needs to head to the forest.

Ella: “What a pretty necklace!”

She does head to the forest, where she does meet some Fey.  But, these are not her people and they too tell her to move on.  But, their queen provides her with a nice wool cloak and oak staff for her journey.

Grace: “At least she’ll be nice and warm.”

After traveling through the bitter cold, Aurora is about to give up when she comes upon a castle.  When she knocks, the door is opened by Santa Claus.

Grace: “Look Mom, Santa!  I can’t wait until he comes!”

Ella: “Don’t forget to put a cotton ball on my calendar so I know how many more days.”

Santa invites Aurora in where she is welcomed by all, but she then sees a woman who looks like her.  This woman is so happy to see her, because she is her Grandmother.

Overall I thought that “Aurora of the Northern Lights” by Holly Hardin was a well-written book; the only issue I had was that little Aurora was only seven when her parents died, and she was on her own and shunned by adults.  But, it does show children that life isn’t always easy, and even if you are different you can always find people who will love you no matter what.

– reviewed by Reviewed by Grace, Ella, and Mom on Reader View Kids

Other Reviews

“Named for the Northern Lights, Aurora faces a woeful plight. To many lands, she must roam, searching for her true home.”

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a delightful story, beautifully illustrated and told entirely in verse.

Aurora is the child of a beautiful and pale young Northern lady named Mistletoe and handsome William, a visitor from the South. William finds the Northern climate difficult, so they make their home in the temperate South.

When Aurora is orphaned, she is unable to stay in her old home. As she searches for her new home, those that she meets along the way are quick to chase her off. To some extent the story is one of intolerance. But fortunately, with perseverance and luck, Aurora finds a place where she is welcomed and loved.

I found the book a fun and engaging read. I imagine that the pictures and verse will go over very well with children. I highly recommend Aurora of the Northern Lights.

– reviewed by Gabi317 on Starting Fresh NYC

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a beautiful and touching story that is destined to become a Christmas favorite amongst young and old alike.

Mistletoe is an elfin living in the North, who falls in love with William, a human. When it becomes obvious that William is not built to live in such frigid conditions, Mistletoe leaves home to live with William a little further South, in a little town.

After a few years, they welcome a darling baby girl, whom they name Aurora, after the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) under which they were married. When tragedy strikes, Aurora is left to fend for herself. She doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, and commences upon a journey to find a place she belongs.

Throughout her adventures, she meets several people who shun her from their communities, yet bestow upon her gifts to help her along her way.

After trekking through ice and snow for days on end, Aurora finally comes full circle, finding the place she truly belongs.

The story is written completely in verse that flows on paper, as well as when read aloud. You cannot help but be filled with a variety of emotions as the story ebbs and flows through the happiness and the heartache.

Illustrations by Donald Vanderbeek add to the beauty and poetry of Holly Hardin’s words. They are beautiful and elicit as much emotion as the story itself.

Children will be held captive by the words and the pictures when this book is read aloud to them. It inspires visions of families cuddled together on the couch, wrapped up in blankets on a cold December night, sipping hot chocolate, as they share the story. It could even inspire young authors and artists to create their own story.

I received a copy of this book when I was a reviewer for BookPleasures.

– reviewed by Andrea Coventry on Amazon

 


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

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