In Your Corner: Fall Abundance (Part II)

Are you facing down the same cold snap that I am? It’s looking to be quite an early start to Winter, almost skipping straight over Fall, but I’m determined to wring every last drop of sunshine and joy out of these long afternoons.

Last time I wrote to you, dear readers, I launched this series about fall abundance and taking a moment just to breathe it all in … along with all those pine needle and pumpkin spice and fresh-baked shortbread aromas that are spiking the air right now.

fall cookies pumpkin autumn halloween

As the evenings take on a distinct bite, there’s still the tang of summer smoke in the air–all the fire of a season packed with heat and mixed feelings–and it’s time to start thinking of how to make the most of the Autumn writing and marketing season. Yes, it may be most often called the ‘back-to-school’ season, but we all of us go back to things in Fall. Back to work, back to family routines, back to the marketing strategies we … may … have let languish during the busy summer months.

How can we flip the switch and get back to work?

Here are my recommendations:

  • You’re not the only one who may need a reminder that change is upon us. Use the next month as an opportunity to launch a special deal or giveaway. You can frame it as ‘back-to-school savings’ or you can use it as a promo for new or upcoming releases.
  • Think visual. Fall is perhaps the most striking of all (or at the very least, one of the most striking) seasons. Take advantage! Your book is a product, and selling a product is at least half of the time about selling an image. If you haven’t created an Instagram and Pinterest, now is the time! These two social media platforms offer a great way of humanizing your brand and showcasing your product.
  • Fall is a great time to get your networking game on! People may not be thinking about taxes just yet (or they might be thinking about them a lot if they applied for an extension), but you certainly want to get your foot in the door before the holiday craze so that readers remember your name and your book come tax time–and come the holidays! Connect the dots between everyone you ‘meet’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and even LinkedIn and work those contacts and relationships now, while they’re planning out their budget, calendar, and holiday schemes for the school year.
  • And on that note, it’s time to plan your own editorial and marketing calendar–or at least to sketch out the outlines! Is it your hope to write some newsletters, blog posts, or social media updates in the coming months? Do you have some new work on the horizon? Now is the time to schedule not just your writing time or your own holiday marketing plan–it’s time to lay the groundwork for an entire year of editorial works!

And these are just a few of my recommendations! As you might expect, there are plenty of chances to enrich your opportunities during the Fall. Don’t put things off–start now! More than just a hint of pumpkin spice is wafting on the rising breeze of Autumn ….

fall cookies pumpkin autumn halloween

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.

In Your Corner: Fall Abundance (Part I)

Here in North America, it’s now well and truly Fall. Depending on how far north of the equator you live, your weather may or may not have turned yet––it has a bit, here, just enough that you can smell it in the rain––but the reality is incontestable.

fall book reading autumn

This being Fall, and this being a self-publishing blog, you might justifiably wonder if we’re going to talk about why you should publish your next book this season. And yes, there are plenty of good reasons to do so; book sales are at their annual highest between September and December. I recently read that indie booksellers move 50% of their books over this period, in part because of holiday sales boosts and in part because of the book awards season timetable, which makes this a fruitful time of year to release a book and generate buzz. I could also point to those holiday sales as a reason unto themselves––self-publishing authors can really benefit from having a “hook” like a significant holiday or an anniversary to hang their book release on.

But that’s not all that I want to talk about today. In the weeks to come, yes, I’ll be writing frequently to highlight the various things one might do to boost sales around each upcoming holiday. But today? Today I want to talk about the Fall abundance, and focus on the writing of a book for a moment, not just the sales.

Fall is quite literally the season of abundance. Or not, depending on how your garden did this year. It’s the time of year when we feel most reflective, looking back at the long arc of a year of hard work. If you’re like me, that means you end up with a grab-bag of mixed feelings: pride (I did that!), anxiety (what will happen next?), grief (that didn’t go well), and hope (maybe I can do better in the years to come). In a way, then, Fall is the most abundant of seasons in respect to what it makes us feel, not just what it brings forth from the earth or unearths in our lives.

Author and speaker Wayne Dyer had a lot to say about abundance, but one of my favorite things he ever said was this:

wayne dyer abundance quote

As I begin shifting gears in blog posts to come and address ways to tackle the holidays, I’d like to start with this notion of “tuning in” to abundance. There’s certainly plenty of hard work and elbow grease required to make a success of self-publishing, but an abundant experience in self-publishing comes from the same place as abundance in all other things: your heart, your life, and your relationship to the world. All the lists of tips and tricks in the world can’t substitute for the simple truth that the best way to succeed is to understand what it is you want and need out of the experience, and to celebrate your unique relationship to the publishing process––and yes, by way of publishing, the world.

Watch this space in the weeks to come for those lists and tips and tricks, but tonight? Spend a minute with your abundant feelings. Think a little bit about what you want. The harvest is due any minute, and this is the moment to catch your breath.

3d rendering of cup of coffee on wooden windowsill with leaves in front of colorful forest

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.

In Your Corner: Spring into Self-Publishing (Part III)

books planting spring gardening

The first time I wrote, I provided some thoughts on constructive ways to take advantage of the spring to reset our writing. And last time I wrote, I spent some time thinking about why spring is so important to us as writers and writing professionals—as opposed to any other season of the year. This week, I wanted to close out this trilogy of posts by reflecting a little bit on the importance of a “growth mindset” approach to your work.

We’ve discussed the growth mindset before on this blog, but for those who may not have been here for that conversation, the concept of a growth mindset (especially in contrast to a fixed mindset) is one of many tools in the personality toolkits developed and celebrated by life coaches and mindfulness experts the world over. It’s less useful to think of these as categories that a person either falls into or doesn’t fall into, and more useful to think of a growth mindset as aspirational. We want to cultivate a growth mindset, and if you have a growth mindset, you’ll automatically be congenial to the idea that our personalities are not fixed and that life is a moving target.

growth mindset fixed mindset

When you take a growth mindset and look at it in light of our ongoing conversation about springtime and crafting a “spring reset” for your writing and marketing as a self-published author, the two start talking to each other in a really rewarding way. In a fixed mindset, it would be really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your success or failure is defined by strict metrics and that you will either succeed or fail, with no shades of nuance in between. A fixed mindset is allergic to baby steps, progress over the long arc of time, and mistakes.

A growth mindset, in contrast, takes J.K. Rowling’s brilliant “The Fringe Benefits of Failure” seriously. Mistakes aren’t a marker of failure, but rather the building blocks of success. Trial and error? No thanks! Just trial and refinement, for lack of a better term. A growth mindset finds ways to transform the process of self-publishing into a constantly evolving and life-enriching learning opportunity. And this isn’t like when you scraped your knee growing up and your parents sat you down and told you not to cry because “this is a learning opportunity,” but a true recognition of the reality that every experience you have in publishing builds to a final product that is worthy of the time and effort you put into it.

Just as seedlings are fragile when they first start out and take constant care and cultivation, your book deserves the kind of gentleness you give the new plants you’ll put into the ground this spring. Not everything is going to be robust and able to withstand gale-force winds right away, but that doesn’t mean that seedling is a failure or doing anything other than what it is meant to: grow! There is no fixed end of the growth process, no point in time when the project of getting better at what you do is done. All we can do is keep going forward, finding those life-enriching steps that bring us joy and further our book publishing projects, and celebrating each and every step as we take it.

books planting spring gardening

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.

In Your Corner: Spring into Self-Publishing (Part II)

spring writing laptop

It has been some weeks since I last checked in about resetting for spring, and much has changed. Where I live, the snow has turned to rain, and every time it rains the worms show up on sidewalks and in gutters and on lawns, roaming just a bit astray from their primary work tunneling through the thawing, loosening soil. The birds are in the midst of their spring migration, and the ice is breaking up, even in the lake bays. The grass is greening under the last of the winter detritus, and even though the wind sometimes still blows cold, I am often tempted to take myself and my laptop out of doors to work in the warming sunlight.

Last time I wrote, I provided some thoughts on constructive ways to take advantage of the spring to reset our writing. This week, I want to spend some time thinking about why spring is so important to us as writers and writing professionals—as opposed to any other season of the year. Summer is lush with golden afternoons full of freedom and adventure. Fall is lovely and full of pumpkin spice lattes (as I think I’ve mentioned a hundred times each year). Winter is packed with special days of great emotional importance, and is a season of returns. But spring? Spring is special. And here’s why.

  • Symbolism.

    I’ve already mentioned that the world feels like it’s coming back to life in the spring, and it’s hard not to feel inspired by natural cycles on a symbolic level (not to mention physical—increasing sunlight levels and exposure in spring do some serious magic within the human brain). Rather than resisting this natural and symbolic rhythm, it’s worth attempting to channel it into forms that are useful to you. Feeling restless? Try out a bunch of new writing and marketing styles, and see what works well and what doesn’t. Spring is a laboratory of opportunities, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to let loose and be disorganized every now and again! Feeling energized and focused? Plan out a new schedule which makes more time for the things that you know will bring you peace and joy later in the year, when these habits are etched into your routine.

  • Publishing practicalities.

    While the rhythm of self-publishing is far more flexible than that of traditional publishing, there remain some practical reasons why spring is the best time to both a) begin the self-publication process, and b) get to work on your next project. The first reason is that spring is normally a quieter season in publishing and self-publishing both, with awards season more than half of a calendar year away and nominee announcements in advance of that. The busiest period is still a few months out, with the submission deadlines for the National Book Awards (arguably the biggest event in traditional publishing) at the end of June and the CIPA EVVY Awards (one of the most important awards in indie and self-publishing) in mid-May. Another busy period of the year starts in Fall, after submission deadlines are over and authors feel free to focus on marketing. As Anthony Wessel wrote in 2012:

The book industry has sales trend lines that have been consistent for the past forty years. Sales are relatively flat on a week-to-week basis for forty-six weeks out of the year. Slight sales increases are seen on the minor sales holidays. This means approximately the same number of books is being read in any given week compared to the previous year. […] Indie authors should expect flat sales in 2012 from May till December and nothing close to what they had at the beginning of the year. I would suggest authors spend this time period writing and putting marketing plans together to capitalize on the upcoming holiday season.

  • Personal meaning.

    What does spring mean to you? I think this is an important question to ask each year. When I was younger, it was easiest to seize upon the optimistic and joyful aspects of spring; now that I’m older, I’m conscious of spring as a connection point between cycles of loss and life—a reality which heightens the joy in some ways but also renders it bittersweet. I have a lot of feelings to navigate in spring that I didn’t before, and these feelings translate directly into what projects I move forward with and which ones I let percolate a little while longer. I think it’s wise to listen to your body as well as your intuition about things like writing, and spring brings new dimensions to both.

How will you move your writing and marketing projects forward this spring? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line in the comments section, below, or reach out to us online (we’re on Twitter at @SelfPubAdvisor)!

spring writing mug coffee tea books

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.

From the Archives: “Start Summer Right. Write Now toward Publishing”

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: June 21st, 2010 ]

Finishing a book is not as daunting as it sounds. The key is to write something everyday. Then, use the Internet for accountability. Interesting right?  Write everyday, and publish everyday—either on a bulletin board, a writing group, or on a personal “blog.”

There are a number of reasons to do this.

1) The public commitment will help motivate you. When you publicly declare that you will add content to your blog every day, or every week, you are more bound to complete your task.

2) If you choose the right forum, people may offer to help you. (Note, if you choose the wrong forum, and find people are being counter-productive, simply change venues).

3) By creating an Internet presence this early in the process, you can start to generate interest in your book when it comes out—either search engine interest, or human interest. Both are good when it comes time to promote and sell your book later on.

You may wish to search Google for some forums in which to participate. You’ll be writing and more and you may make some new friends and/or fans.

Then when you are ready to publish your book, consider all of those things we’ve discussed previously in finding the right self-publisher to meet your goals.

Have fun and keep writing.

– by Jodee Thayer

 

Summer is almost upon us, and your next book is calling.

I don’t know about you, but I love each season, and the variety of seasons, and the changing of seasons. This winter has been a long one, and even now it has a tenuous grip on the Rocky Mountain landscape in which I live; ugly snowbanks still hide where the sun doesn’t shine, and the roads are gritty with salt spread to speed the melting ice. The ground is heaving in my back yard as the moist earth thaws, then buckles. With the thermometer still dropping at night, it’s not yet safe to plant. It feels like forever since I sat outside with a cup of coffee and a book, forever since that first pumpkin spice latte last Fall.

But sure as the world turns, we are getting closer. We are officially in Spring, no matter what the thermostat setting, and Summer approaches apace. I, for once, am nowhere near ready for it. For me, Summer means far more frantic planning and balls in the air than it does relaxing days at the beach (what beach? I guess lakes have beaches, too…) or even pleasant woodland strolls, no matter how much I love them. After all, I have a family. And kids have a lot they want to get done in Summer, as do husbands, and the house inevitably falls apart a little bit and requires some maintenance, and the lawn too, and…and…and….

You know how it is. If I want to get something done in the Summer, I really have to lay the groundwork in Spring. If I want to get something done by the Summer, then I really have to start chipping away at it now.

Which means, yes, it’s time to break out the manuscript revision process and the marketing calendar, too. If you often feel at a loss, as I do, then it’s always worth investing in something like the Author Marketing Calendar, which lays out what to do each month in order to create a balanced, achievable marketing routine throughout the year. Sometimes it really is nice to take the guesswork out of the equation–although my point about being extra busy in Summer still holds.

As Jodee wrote in 2010, one of the most important steps is setting up and grooming an online presence. That’s a good first Spring-cleaning step for us as self-publishing authors. And as someone who works daily with other indie authors, too, I can’t stress the importance of laying out a pattern of behavior now, getting support and accountability from those who can help you reinforce these new habits–like getting up earlier, and writing each morning, undisturbed–and then making this new pattern rock solid and reliable before Summer and its various stresses arrive.

We’ll be writing more about how to prepare for Summer as the weeks tick by!

summer glow

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.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 11/27/2015

SEASONS Part IV

 

Thomas Edison once said, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” This clear and truthful statement applies to every writer/author no matter what season of life we are in. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you may remember me writing about Lois Beebe Hayna. This author of poetry, fiction, essay and gardening advice will soon be 102 years young—and she continues to write and publish her poetry.

royalene5

So how do we who are much younger (yes, if you’re 92, you are much younger) encourage ourselves to keep writing? How do we avoid looking at the winter season of our lives and write for all seasons? Here are a few quotes I’ve saved to encourage myself. I hope they will encourage you, too.

  • From Laura Ingalls Wilder, who published her first novel at the age of 65:
    • “The real things [of life] haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.”
      • When my characters are arguing with me (the writer), this statement brings them in line.
  • From C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia series and Screwtape Letters, who wrote until his passing at the age of 65:
    • “A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.” “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”
      • The many layers of meaning within these thoughts continue to help me create authentic characters. Plus, Lewis’ life-journey and his “collection of author-friends” is an example for all authors to consider.
  • From Alice Ann Munro, a Canadian short story author who, in 2013 at the age of 82, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature:
    • “People are curious.…They will be driven to find things out, even trivial things.” “Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind… When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.” “…if she let go of her grief even for a minute it would only hit her harder when she bumped into it again.”
      • These statements give me even deeper insights into the creation of characters and the circumstances that can be written for them—the corners to back them into.

 

After Munro received her Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy applauded her as the “master of the contemporary short story.” When asked about that statement, she gave writers further encouragement: “I would really hope that this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something that you played around with until you’d got a novel written.”

So it is that in closing this month’s series of Blogs on Seasons, I hope you’ve been inspired in your own writing life. Being a writer is part of our DNA and becoming the best writer we can be is a life-long process—a process that leads us to be published authors at a variety of steps along the way. ⚓︎

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.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 11/20/2015

SEASONS Part III

 

Whether our writing environment provides us with the blessing of looking out upon nature’s changing seasons or we have set up a laptop on the laundry basket next to the basement washer and dryer, we can always imagine the seasons of setting, plot, and the lives of each individual character.

I must confess that my writing space looks nothing like this beautiful illustration. It is often cluttered beyond my ability to deal with the stacks and I am forced to take-a-day and reorganize it, much to my husband’s delight. You see, he shares one side of the narrow desk in our 10×10 office and tries to demonstrate organization by keeping his side “neat” with everything in its place. However, until I discover a way to keep each of my on-going projects within easy reach (not in closet filing cabinet), my stacking system will remain. I’m one of “those” writers who allows my imagination free reign giving me the opportunity to jump from one project to another at any time of the day. When something I’m researching and/or critiquing triggers a thought relating to another project, I immediately place that piece (concept, website source, person-to-contact) with the appropriate stack.

royalene3

THERE ARE, however, as many writing space concepts as there are writers.  Following are a few that I’ve discovered are helpful to my author friends.

  • BABY BOTTLE READINESS. This space is nestled next to the rocking chair and the crib in the new baby’s corner of the family room. Whether the author is Mom or Dad, when it is their time for baby-watch, they have acknowledged that their creative ideas rarely pause during those specific hours. The “desk” can be an actual writing desk or a TV tray just as long as it provides space for pen, paper, laptop and/or tape recorder.
  • DINING ROOM/KITCHEN TABLE. One of my best friends wrote her plays while seated at her long, rustic-style family table. This space was actually added to the kitchen and designed with windows on three sides. Her view—throughout each season of the year—was of a mountain meadow, aspen and fir trees and the occasional white-tail deer family. She kept her developing projects in a box (emptied of paper reams) and cleared the table every day.
  • PET PARTNERS. Sometime soon, I suggest you do a Google search of Authors and their pets. It will make you smile! There are stories told about John Steinbeck and his standard poodle, Charley. Ernest Hemingway was a great fan of cats and “owned” several—or, rather, they owned And then there is my cat, Sadie, a tabby lady who has shared my writing days from her cushion these past eighteen years. The presence of these critters in our lives can bring about just the right amount of pause and reflection we writers need in order to grab hold of the next complete sentence and/or thought.
  • THE RETREAT or HAVEN. George Bernard Shaw built is own very private retreat, converting a tool shed into his writing space. It worked for him. However there are other get-away locations that might serve your needs. Again, do a Google search of “writing retreats.” You’ll find luxurious places in castle towers or tack-rooms in big red barns converted for the writer who enjoys the scent of horse and cattle for their inspiration.

royalene4

Bottom line…don’t hesitate to move about while developing your writing project. Becoming TOO settled, TOO comfortable in one chair or at one desk could stifle your imagination and lock you into one season of writing. ⚓︎

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.