2019: Time for a Fresh Start on Marketing

Oh, no, it’s time to review that dreaded list of New Year’s resolutions!  It’s not uncommon for these lists to be either too long or too ambitious for their makers to actually accomplish within twelve months, but that doesn’t seem to stop any of us from feeling the compulsive tug toward writing them–or from feeling miserable when we find ourselves running into a brick wall of complications.

writing goals

For those of us who are authors, many of us will end up making at least one of our resolutions that of writing and publishing a book in 2019.  But how might an author go from creating the goal of writing a book to actually getting it on paper and, finally, to publishing it?  If you’ve resolved upon a similar goal, here area couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Join a writer’s group.  

While there are certainly plenty of online options available to you, through internet forums and listservs and Facebook groups and the like, the best kind of feedback a writer can receive is the kind that is delivered in face-to-face conversation with people who have held your manuscript in their hands and feel some sort of personal stake in delivering detailed high-quality responses to the questions that you pose.  This is why, above all other things, I recommend you look to join a writer’s group in 2019.

But where to look?  I recommend stealing a page of or Lorena Knapp’s playbook over at the Write Life blog.  She recommends researching a variety of options before committing to any one writer’s group; you might start with local writing centers and then move on to conferences, bulletin boards, writing associations, your personal network, online networking sites like Meetup.com, and then as a last resort turn to social media and so on.  In my personal experience, conferences can be overwhelming (a case study in over-stimulation), bulletin boards are rarely up-to-date, and online networking sites lead to as many “misses” as “hits.”  I found out about my local writing association after attending an event at my local library, which often plays host to local authors–many of whom are self-published.  You can’t go wrong by asking a librarian!

  • Join a book club.

The library also happens to be a great place to begin your hunt for a local book club, since most libraries directly or indirectly sponsor these sorts of events, and can point you to the right people or resources to set up your own book club if there isn’t one already geared toward your interests.  You can also check online at the Reader’s Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting readers with each other, to see if there are otherwise off-the-grid book clubs meeting in your area.

But why should a writer join a book club?  The answer isn’t as simple or the dots as easy to connect as with writing circles and writer’s groups, where writing is the common theme.  But as Evan Maloney wrote for The Guardian back in 2010, reading and reading well is actually the most fundamental of skills for a writer to practice:

As well as a large vocabulary, novels give writers a sense of how it is done. They offer templates that can be borrowed and adapted; they teach a writer how to create narrative structures and characters, how to develop tension, write dialogue, and maintain a consistent tone and pitch. Novels also trigger memories from a reader’s personal experience, and these give writers ideas for their own stories.

Best of all, writes Maloney, “whenever writing gets too painful, when each word and idea seems to be dragged from the mind like the limb of an aborted camel, reading offers a writer a lovely escape into a fantasy world where stories are revealed with simple ease and order on the page.”  Sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

  • Work with a ghostwriter, or if that’s not quite your speed, with an editor.

With a book club feeding you inspiration and a writer’s group providing you support and feedback as you write, the next best step is to find your voice.  If you’re struggling to find the time or cultivate the skills you think necessary to capturing your story, it may be time to look for a ghostwriter–someone who can sit down with you, hash out all of the relevant details, and then serve as architect and project manager for your book–all rolled into one.  We often associate ghostwriters with the traditional publishing model, since most of the ghostwritten books we see hit shelves are celebrity autobiographies–but you can be a self-publishing author and develop a healthy rapport with a ghostwriter, too!  Hybrid self-publishing companies like mine–Outskirts Press–often offer ghostwriting and editorial services as several of many tools to put in your toolbox.  The differences between ghostwriting and editing is significant–the former will take on a large part of the “generative” process, while the latter will help shape or reshape material you have already created–but the general impulse is the same: these services exist to help you get stuff done.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good edit!

  • Cultivate new and sustainable writing habits.

Here’s where things get a bit hazy.  Every author has individual writing habits developed over years of hard work and necessity, so what a “good writing day” looks like to you will most likely differ from everyone else you meet.  We can look to our heroes for inspiration, sure, but ultimately I find comparison a toxic, toxic beast.  The best way to succeed at adopting new and useful writing habits is to do so slowly and sustainably–by making incremental changes and sticking with them over the long term.

There’s a reason NaNoWriMo proves so difficult for authors to just “pick up” and do: it’s such an intense process that it requires writers to make enormous changes to their daily schedules just to fit it in.  A much better course might be to adopt more manageable alterations–boosting the time you spend writing every morning by five minutes a day for a week, perhaps, or by restricting your self-editing to only five minutes a day–and to evaluate their efficacy regularly, discarding the useless ones and keeping the useful ones.  As my grandmother used to say, “trim the fat!”  Keep the things that help you, and shed the weight of those which don’t.

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: More on Podcasts (Part II)

Last week, I started a new series on the merits of podcasting. This week, I’d like to dive in a little deeper….

professional microphone

Podcasts are wonderful. I don’t know how much you know about them, but I spend a fair bit of every day listening to these wonderful recordings which are streamed via a number of apps and websites–SoundCloud, Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and more–and saved to my phone by default. They cover an endless variety of subjects, but the ones I mostly listen to have to do with science, technology, film and television, books and book reviews, and gardening. There are knitting podcasts, social justice podcasts, music podcasts, and cute animals doing cute things podcasts.

Having even tried my hand in the past at podcasting myself, I can say with confidence that with a little time and effort, this is something almost anyone with a computer and a built-in microphone can do. Audacity remains the best and most widely-available software in which to record, edit, and otherwise “mix” your audio tracks, but a component of the whole process which has evolved somewhat in recent years is the importance of social networking to a podcast’s success. Just look at how well the Nerdette podcast has done in engaging fans on Twitter, Goodreads, and elsewhere! Science Friday has a great and constantly updated website!

I highly recommend spending a little time exploring the notion, at least. Done well and thoroughly socially networked, podcasts can have enormous reach. And they are also a lot of fun! You don’t have to limit yourself to talking about your book, although that’s certainly an option; you might as well discuss any interesting thing you love.

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: 9/23/2016


A book-lovers miracle took place back in 1939. The Pocket Book publishing company began printing book for $0.25 cents. Traditional publishers did everything they could to stop it. They were going to lose money if this crazy idea caught on. Well, it did! Suddenly people in the U.S. began reading all the time! The first books were reprints of best sellers and classics such as The Lost Horizon by James Hilton (sold 2,514,747) and Topper by Thorne Smith (1,546,000). Can you imagine not having affordable access to those—or our own recently published books?  This revolution in marketing was a blessing to the world much like the production of eBooks today.


Now the question for us is, “How can we do ALL that we need to do get our books noticed and purchased?” Often our budgets are small to begin with and the marketing column is the smallest. Several years ago, one of the self-publishing companies I’ve worked with came up with the idea of providing Gift Cards for authors no matter what stage of writing or publishing they were in. This was before the Facebook “GoFundMe” pages began to appear, however the concept is basically the same. Family, friends, author-communities and neighbors can help financially support an Author—basically donating funds to give the author more options for such things as: completing their book with editorial assistance, hiring a professional cover Designer, or working with an experienced Graphic Designer to prepare a video-trailer to market the book online. This is such a great way for a lot of people to share in the publishing adventure right at the beginning of our own writing journey.

The first place I recommend for investing Gift Card funds is with a Marketing Expert who specializes in promoting book and the genre of books you are writing. Even before your book is ready for release, this person will become your new best friend. I cannot express how valuable their expertise is in today book-world. Much like the innovative thinker who began the Pocket Book company, your personal marketing assistant will be the person who thinks WAY outside the box giving you priceless strategies for getting and keeping your book in view of Readers everywhere. First they will listen to you and collect all the information about your book that you can give them. Then they will develop a plan of action—tasks for you or them—to do today, tomorrow and next year. Arranging book signings at local venues from bookstores to book-friendly coffee houses is high on their lists. They will also help you create a brand and/or platform as well as an “online presence” through all the social media sites possible. Yes, indeed, these folks are amazing people whose gift to us is moving us forward beyond our own expectations.

Also right up top of my helpers list is the PRESS RELEASE writer. An author’s relationship with this person may be short. However, an exceptionally written Press Release is a top priority. One thing to ask when selecting the person you’ll work with is HOW WIDE is their distribution. The publishing of your book is not only a remarkable event in your life it is also an Event that needs to be noticed in the publishing world. Working with a professional and creative Press Release writer will help your launch your book and grab the attention of reviewers in newspapers and online—everywhere. ⚓︎


ABOUT 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.

6 Radio Interview Tips for Self-Publishing Authors

Radio interviews are a great way for self publishing authors to promote themselves and their books, but many people are nervous about doing radio interviews. With these great tips, you are sure to have a successful and fun experience.

1. Keep it fun!

Most radio listeners enjoy some humor and natural conversation. The easiest way to nail your interview is to not over think it. Just go with the flow and don’t take yourself too seriously. Listeners can tell if you are having fun, so don’t forget to smile and be enthusiastic. Even though you are on the radio, listeners can still sense your expressions.

2. Keep it natural!

Interviews that are over-rehearsed and presentation-like are boring and awkward. While you can practice a little bit ahead of time, don’t read from notes or memorize your talking points. Just act as if you were talking to a friend.

3. Don’t worry about silence.

Many people worry about moments of awkward silence. It is the radio host’s responsiblity to fill those gaps and keep the interview moving, so don’t worry. The pressure isn’t on you.

4. Be ready to go live.

If you are doing a phone interview, know that many hosts start the interview shortly after the call begins. Some hosts will give you a few minutes to listen and get comfortable, but be prepared to go live immediately.

5. Keep it short.

Keep your answers to 30 seconds or less. This allows for more questions and some commercial breaks, and it keeps the listeners from getting bored.

6. Be respectful.

You may get some callers who aren’t very pleasant. They may challenge or insult you, but you must stay professional. While it is okay to defend yourself or the topic when the caller is wrong, be sure to do so gracefully. The listeners will respect you if you remain respectful.

I’d love to know, do you plan on doing radio interviews?


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Use Any Holiday – Not Just THE Holidays – to Promote Your Book

Santa might be the ultimate celebrity pitchman, but you don’t have to hold out till Christmas to take advantage of holiday promotional opportunities for your book. If you strike when the iron is hot (or heat a different iron entirely) you can create demand for your book any time of the year – and that is most wonderful!

The key to tapping into holiday sales opportunities is knowing your audience. If you can identify who your buyer is likely to be, you can make an educated guess about when they’re most likely to respond to the opportunity to buy.

While Christmas does indeed tend to be a hot time for book sales, it’s certainly not the only peak sales opportunity and not every type of book or book consumer will peak during this season. For instance, readers who buy a lot of diet and motivational books for themselves throughout the year may prefer a juicier indulgence than the usual self-help fare at Christmas. If your book is a saucy bodice-ripper, go for it! (In fact, you can push that romance novel again come Valentine’s Day.) However, if your specialty is, say, finance, self-improvement or inspirational, consider a New Year’s campaign to help readers get started on those resolutions.

Everywhere you look and for every type of book, there’s an ideal time to on which to focus marketing efforts. (Think at least a couple of months ahead for major holidays.) Here are just a few examples of holidays and books that may sell well at those times:

  • Halloween – horror, crime, mystery, thriller
  • Thanksgiving – cooking/food, crafts
  • Spring – gardening, romance, sports, home improvement, nature, travel
  • Mother’s Day – biographies, romance, fiction
  • Father’s Day – sports, humor, home improvement, auto
  • Summer – sports, fiction, romance, travel
  • Secular Holidays (Labor Day, Memorial Day) – patriotic, historical (fiction and nonfiction), ethnic heritage, political
  • Festivals – cooking/food, crafts, music, ethnic

In addition to the obvious possibilities, there are scads of anniversaries and national days or months recognizing just about everything: Black History Month, D-Day, National Doughnut Day, Administrative Professionals Day, St. Patrick’s Day, National Chili Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Month … and Elephant Appreciation Day, for Pete’s sake! If you’ve authored a biography on President Ronald Reagan, you can market your tome on Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day and the lesser known National Jelly Bean Day, in honor of The Gipper’s affinity for the sugary treat. Find one that aligns naturally with your area of interest and promote, promote, promote!

Elise works as the Manager of Author Support of Outskirts Press.  She also contributes to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com.Elise and a group of talented book marketing experts assist self-publishing authors and professionals who are interested in getting the best possible exposure for their book.