In Your Corner: Who fills the void left by CreateSpace? Think about Outskirts Press

CreateSpace recently announced plans to soon eliminate positions in its editing, marketing and design divisions. While job cuts are an unsavory step for any company, this move is likely intended to streamline operations and shore up financials.

But what will this mean for self-publishing authors? CreateSpace will continue to print books and authors will still be able to upload and sell their books, but with these cuts there will no longer be the option to purchase copyediting, book formatting, book cover design, marketing or any other professional creative services for authors publishing via CreateSpace. Suddenly, CreateSpace authors will need to navigate the process alone or seek out other self-publishing service providers for help.

Here’s where a self-publishing company–like the one I work for, Outskirts Press–comes in.

Based on company-wide conversations already taking place, I’m confident that Outskirts Press will work diligently to accommodate all writers negatively affected by the service cuts at CreateSpace. We’re proud to have been named the #1 self-publisher by Top Consumer Reviews multiple years in a row and will continue the tradition of excellence for all CreateSpace authors who require more than just an upload. In addition to our printing and ebook publishing services, we provide independent authors with all the same services discontinued by CreateSpace, and then some. Our services include:

  • Professional writing and editing services: Our service to independent authors starts long before publication! Whether you need help starting or finishing the manuscript, or require just the final read-through, we can match you up with a talented professional ghostwriter or editor to help you achieve a professional book.
  • Professional book formatting: A wide selection of the most popular book formats and interior formatting options.
  • Custom cover design: Our talented book cover designers will ensure that you get a cover that sells.
  • Book marketing: A broad menu of marketing options to promote your book your way today.
  • All-inclusive packages: Comprehensive publishing packages that include everything you need to polish, format, publish and market your book successfully.
  • Affordable and flexible: With us, you can start the self-publishing journey for only $35 down!

Are you, or is an author you know, left stranded by the void left by CreateSpace’s cuts? You can find out more about how my coworkers at Outskirts Press can professionally publish your book, distribute it globally (yes, even on Amazon) and support you with affordable options at the same time by visiting our website at www.OutskirtsPress.com.

You know, it’s not every day I am compelled to write a “hard sell,” but when it comes to recent events, I feel the need to be honest: what CreateSpace has done will leave many authors feeling abandoned mid-project, or worse, unaided from start to finish. Self-publishing has (and will) continue to thrive and evolve to provide better services due to the diversification of options available to you, the self-publishing author; watching any company in our industry go through the layoff process is not, in the end, a cheerful experience. We feel for those who now find themselves looking for work, and hope that they, as well as you, find that next good thing speedily.

You can read more about the layoffs here.

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.

In Your Corner: Should You Self Publish a Large Print Format?

seniors large print type

It’s no secret that writing a book is hard. That is why most authors publish multiple formats of each book they write. Why only publish one format when the same words can be used to publish many different formats?

As the average lifespan increases, the overall population is aging and that makes it a perfect time for LARGE PRINT editions. A large print edition of your book is exactly that — the same words, just formatted at a larger print size (usually 14-16 point font) to make it easier to read for seniors.

Imagine opening up a whole new marketing opportunity for your self-published book. If your current book is already successful, publishing a large print edition may add another great revenue stream. And if your book isn’t performing so great, a new edition may give it the shot in the arm it needs to find a new market, and re-attract interest in the original edition, as well.

Seniors are a huge market with a voracious need for books (plus disposable income). They are their own niche market, and yet, a niche market that is general enough to seek cookbooks as well as poetry as well as general non-fiction, and fiction. If you’ve been having trouble finding a niche for your book, seniors may be the place to look (and if you haven’t had any trouble, that’s even more reason to add seniors to the list!).

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.

In Your Corner: Why Network?

Imagine you are standing on the shore of a large pond. You throw a pebble into the middle of the water and watch the concentric circles ripple out away from the point of impact.

rock ripples water

Now imagine YOU are the rock. Those circles represent your networking opportunities when it comes to promoting your book. The analogy works because each circle of influence depends upon the success of the circle before it.

You are the rock. The first circle is your family. The second circle represents your friends. Then your acquaintances, and so on. In other words, you have to market your book successfully to people you know before trying to market to people you don’t know. Two easy ways to network with people you don’t know is to join an email discussion list and participate in a social media group–on Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, or elsewhere!

Ask yourself what “circle” you are on… if you have not yet mastered marketing to people in your close circle of friends and family, how will you expect perfect strangers to be interested?

There is no time like the present to contact your circle of friends and associates, even if for the first time.  If you already contacted everyone you knew back when your book was published (no matter how long ago), it’s okay to do it again. They might like seeing how far you have come as a self published author! They might even mention you to someone in their circle of friends … and that is how networking to strangers begins.

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.

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. ♣︎


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.

In Your Corner: 8 Tips for Self-Publishing Your Book in 2018

The second-most common New Year’s resolution is to publish a book, and that’s a lot less fraught than the most common, which is to lose weight. Now, with the advent of Web 2.0 and digital print-on-demand technology, at least accomplishing one of your top New Year’s resolutions is almost … easy! Here’s how you can do it.

1 : Identify your goals
Is your goal to make a lot of money or to find a lot of readers? Perhaps your goal is more modest – to have a book that you can share with family and friends, or to have a book that shares a certain belief or experience. By identifying your goals early, you can increase your chances of choosing the right publishing path to meet them.

2 : Identify your weaknesses
Publishing a book is different from writing one; it is a business rather than an art. Unless you have the technical and financial know-how (or the patience, time, and money to absorb the learning curve) you will be better off having a company publish your book for you rather than trying to do it yourself.

3 : Investigate your publishing options
There are three main roads to publication:

  • Traditional publication, where a publishing company accepts your book and purchases the rights to it in exchange for an advance on book royalties. You will still be required to market your own book.
  • Independent self-publishing, where you keep the rights to your book and undergo the arduous task of starting a publishing company on your own in order to print, distribute, and market it.
  • Full-service self-publishing with a print-on-demand company, where you keep the rights to your book and pay experts to perform the publishing tasks for you, although you are still required to market it yourself.

4 : Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing

The main advantage to traditional publication is that they pay you for your book up-front. However, that is also their disadvantage; since traditional publishers take a financial risk on each book they publish, they often only accept books by celebrities or from authors who have already published previous books successfully.

5 : Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of independently self-publishing
The advantage of independently self-publishing your book is that you retain your rights and all the control to your book. The disadvantage is that it is time-consuming and very risky to self-publish a book by yourself, due to the up-front financial investment. Distributors rarely work with one-time authors, so once you have books printed, you may find it challenging to move them from your garage and into the hands of readers.

6 : Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of full service self-publishing via POD.
The majority of new authors self-publish their books through a print-on-demand publishing company.  Like independent self-publishing, full service self-publishing authors keep their rights.  Another advantage is that the financial investment is much lower (usually less than $1,000).  The disadvantage is that POD books share the same marketing hurdles as independently self-published books – getting into the hands of readers is a challenge, although most full-service companies typically include wholesale distribution and online listings with major e-retailers to assist the author in getting started.

7 : Just do it
Your manuscript will not publish itself, so the last tip is the most important. You have to be motivated to reach for your dreams. To publish your book traditionally, buy the latest edition of The Writer’s Market for contact information of nearly every mainstream publisher. To independently self-publish your book by yourself, buy the latest edition of The Self-Publishing Manual for the financial models and technical specifications you will need to adhere to. To publish through a full-service print-on-demand book publishing company, read Self Publishing Simplified. (All three books can be purchased via Amazon.com.)

8 : Revisit #1 — check in on your goals!
There is literally no more important point for any of us writers to internalize than the injunction to simply take the plunge. There’s no one point and no one step to follow in order to become the successful, published author that you want to be.  There’s nothing easy about the process of publication, whether you choose to pursue the traditional route, self-publish, or work with a full-service print on demand (POD) publishing company like Outskirts Press.  But the only step that you can’t ultimately do without is the step where you actually choose to push your foot into the soil and get started.

I guess what I mean to say is: “Just do it” may seem like a deceptively simple thing to say, but it’s actually both the difficult and the most vital for authors to buy into.  Whatever it takes for you to get yourself there, to take the plunge, I just want to encourage you: You can do it.  You have the strength, and the resourcefulness, and the capacity for excellence.  If you’re feeling paralyzed by fear or a lack of information, take things one step at a time go back to #1. It’s not failure to have to start over! And it’s definitely useful to recenter yourself and your project every now and then. What’s the next thing you need? Is it a recommendation from a friend? Is it time? Is it the energy to face something new and complicated? Baby steps. You’ll get there, I promise. And I for one can’t wait to see what you bring into the world in 2018!

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.

In Your Corner: Liminal Spaces

This is my last post before Christmas, and indeed, this is my last post of 2017! Before I get on with my post, then, it’s time to wish you all a …

Happy Holidays Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Well, for me at least it is. I know that for many of you and many among my wider circle of acquaintances, 2017 has been a difficult year to navigate. There has been political upheaval, of course, and there have been so very many tragedies–the shootings in Las Vegas and elsewhere, drought, fires, floods, illnesses, and many more troubles of both a personal and a natural (and a national) nature.*

I sincerely hope that there have been good things that have come to you in 2017 as well as those hardships. The holidays are a time for celebration and rejoicing, but for so many people, they’re actually the hardest time of hear–a regular reminder that they do not have what others do: security, comfort, a loving family, and so forth. (HuffPost recently featured an article on this phenomenon.) Some of you may know what I’m talking about, though of course I’m hoping that the majority of you remain blissfully unaware!

As we move into 2018, I want all of you to know that here in the self-publishing community, you have a home. You have people who care about you and your creative endeavors, your health and security. We’re here to support you in this liminal space between old year and new, old projects and new projects, old dreams and new dreams.

What is a liminal space? In her Psychology Today article, Carrie Barron writes that it comes from the Latin for threshold, when something about your life has changed and you find yourself adrift, looking for that next thing to come along and help straighten you out. But liminal spaces can be rich territory for creativity, she goes on to say. They can, in fact, provide space for learning more about yourself–who you are and what you need out of life–as well and provide a mental break from the daily grind. And after a rough year? Barron writes that sometimes a “really simple interpretation can be much more helpful to a patient than a profound, deep one, if it is the right timing and offered with empathy.” And in that spirit, I’d love to repeat what her friend once told her:

You were really battered. Time heals.

And I would add: There’s more to come. The great thing about liminal spaces is that they are moved through. They’re places and times of transition, and you will transition through this one, if you’re having a rough holiday season. And as always … we’ll be here for you both in the difficult, creativity-sapping times, and in the glorious, high-flying times. We’re here for you in the holidays … and in the seasons that come after.

You are not alone. ♣︎

 

* If you’re still looking for tangible ways to help, the death toll in Puerto Rico was recently officially recounted and declared to be more than 1000, and much of the island is still without power. Charity Navigator has a list of highly-rated relief organizations you can support over the holiday season. They are a great resource no matter which cause touches you; you can search for many of this year’s disasters and see a full list of rated aid organizations.


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.

In Your Corner: A Soulful Christmas

happy holidays

This is the time of the year when there’s snow on the roads in my part of the world, the days are short and dark by five in the evening, and everyone’s going a bit stir crazy.  Tensions are at a fever pitch, but so too is that special brand of optimistic cheerfulness which washes over and around the people I care about.  Some people may not celebrate the religious aspect of the Christmas holidays, but you can’t help but love some of the perks they bring with them: hot cocoa and cider to drink, quilts and kittens and friendships to keep us warm, generosity to celebrate in giving and receiving.

It seems almost callow, perhaps, to talk about marketing in the midst of all this good-feeling.  What does the commercial machine have to do with empathy and generosity?

Here’s the thing: What’s good for you as an author and what’s good for your relationships is also good for business.  

I’m not just talking about the “family-friendly” or “family-owned” propaganda issued by big businesses like Starbucks or Chipotle or REI; I’m talking about your relationships on a personal level, and starting from the ground up.  The real revolution in how we do business has to start with actual human connection rather than the cold and soulless opportunism that we’ve been taught is the marker of successful companies and their high-level officials.

So this Christmas, I’m not going to encourage you to break out a couple of new strategies for self-promotion success for several reasons–including the fact that we’ve already done so in past Christmases: here, here, and here––but rather to refocus on what you consider the most valuable and worthwhile aspects of your relationships.  I guarantee you this: if you put your friendships and your loved ones first, the rest will fall into place.  Friends want to hear about what each other do and love and are working on, and when your relationships are in tune you’ll know instinctively when it’s a good and natural and 100% organic moment to do so.

Who you are as a writer fits within a broader framework of who you are in connection to the other people in your life.  Authenticity isn’t just nice; it’s imperative.  It just makes sense that what’s good for your relationships would be good for spreading the word about your book, and the ingredients for a joyful and happy holiday season would also be the perfect recipe for a productive time for you as a self-publishing author!

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.