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!


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. ♣︎


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.

Conversations: 1/1/2016



What Now? That’s the question before me and maybe it’s the question you’re asking yourself as 2016 slips into existence. After several years (nine-plus to be a little more exact), I published my first major book in 2015 and ever since people have been asking me WHEN the next book is coming out. REALLY? My labor with that one book has exhausted me!  And yet—there are several scenarios that are brewing in my innards.  So WHAT NOW?  Well, because I have at least three (3) BIG IDEAS, I’ve decided to flesh out each one just enough so that I can reach a point-of-no-return on ONE of them and complete it before year’s end.  Here are the steps I’ve begun…

new ideas new year

1st Week in January…

Monday…Select your clearest book concept.

  • Write one sentence that defines the heart of this story—the theme—the BIG IDEA that will grab Readers. Rewrite this sentence as many times as needed to satisfy Then place it in the file folder for this book concept and relax.


  • Write 3-5 sentences about the main character and the main supporting What is their ancestral heritage? Family makeup/dynamic? Faith background and current belief? Physical appearance—hair color, eye color, clothing style, etc. BE SPECIFIC and brief. If you have a specific film actor in mind to “play” these characters, google them and add their photo to that description. Then, again, place these in the file folder…and relax.


  • Write one paragraph that describes THE main setting. Keep this paragraph short using very specific imagery. Use the thesaurus! PAINT the setting you want a film-maker to design with color, texture and tone. If there is more than one geographic locale, write this paragraph about the main locale. Then add one sentence about other locales. Google photos of these locations will be helpful. Add to page(s), place in the folder…and relax.


  • Create the conflict chart. I like to use the peaks-and-valleys graph although recently I’ve used the circle-within-a-circle illustration starting with the 1st conflict at the center of the circle, then adding “rings” for each new conflict point. If you’ve read newspaper reports about these types of conflict (home invasions, natural disasters, wars, murders, etc.) research examples and add the site address and/or photo of the encounter. Keep this day’s efforts focused ONLY on the elements of conflict. Then, again, place this information in your folder…and relax.


  • The above diagram doubles as my PLOT graph—with the addition of one written paragraph that offers me ideas about how my main character (and supporters) will act/react to these conflict events—AND—suggests THE END—or at least how I think it will end.


2nd Week in January…REPEAT above elements for the 2nd Book Idea.

3rd Week in January…REPEAT above elements for the 3rd Book Idea.

4th Week in January…REPEAT above elements for the 4th Book Idea.


By February 1st excitement will be flowing in your veins! It may be difficult to select ONE project to complete—however—you must. Author Rick Warren is quoted saying, “When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life.” This is especially true for the characters we bring to life in THEIR life stories. Happy New Year, my writing friends. May the days and months before you lead to PUBLISHED SUCCESS!  ⚓︎


RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.