Self-Publishing News: 1.8.2018 – The Interviews!

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And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically interviews with or articles written by self-publishing authors and experts!

“Heather Day Gilbert has had a busy few years,” begins this profile by Register-Herald features editor Michelle James. The author in question, Heather Day Gilbert, is what you might call dedicated, with nine books out and self-published in just four years. (Her latest is Guilt by Association.) Her path to publication begins in grade school, with writing competitions, and continued through her years in college at Bob Jones University and married life. But it wasn’t until a friend challenged her to participate in NaNoWriMo–an event and nonprofit we’re huge fans of here on Self Publishing Advisor–that Gilbert began the process of publishing her writing. Her first published novel centered on Viking Eric the Red’s ward, and the first recorded European child to be born in North America; later novels were also Viking-themed, before Gilbert moved on into writing crime fiction. Central to her own experience has been the necessity for self-publishing and self promotion; writes James, “even though not having a publisher was disappointing at first and life as a self-publisher has been busy, Gilbert says it’s turned out for the best. j’I have control over all the books,’ she says. I have three audiobooks. I pick my own narrator. It worked out the way it was supposed to.'” That said, Gilbert acknowledges the challenges set before self-publishing authors. You can read more by clicking the link to read the original article, here.

It’s the age-old question, isn’t it: How does a successful author make the magic happen? In this interview for the Rocky Mountain Outlook, Jordan Small questions Danielle Arsenault about her experiences self-publishing a zine (and later, cookbooks) while living abroad in South Korea. Says Arsenault of her zine, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose. These recipes have the power to heal the body and ignite the spirit. This is worth all the stress and uncertainty that being an entrepreneur comes with.” Inspiring, to say the least. But what about the practical details? Small also interviews Jamey Glasnovic (traditionally published) and Nancy O’Hare (self-published), both of whom discuss their separate paths to publication and their reasoning for making the choices that they did. Says O’Hare: “I self-published my book. Self-publishing gives the author complete flexibility over timing, pricing, marketing and hiring support such as editors, photography and design. I wanted to keep costs down, but deliver a high-quality product that I hoped readers would value.” We couldn’t sympathize more; O’Hare’s reasoning is more or less the guiding ethic of Self Publishing Advisor. We highly recommend you check out the rest of Small’s interviews at the link!


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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5 Steps to Creating a Culinary Cookbook

What separates good cookbooks from bad ones? Just like everyone’s individual palate, the answer to that is largely a matter of personal taste, but these five hints just may help keep your cookbook from leaving a bad taste in someone’s mouth.

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  1. Include full-color photographs
    The number one most important thing you can do for your cookbook is include high-quality, full-color photographs of the food. Rare is the self-publishing author who can afford to spring for a professional photoshoot, but with today’s cameras, some 3-point bounce lighting, and a photo editing program like Photoshop, there’s no reason to limit your 5-star tartare to a 3-star photograph.  There are simply too many cookbooks on the market to publish one without images, or in black & white.  The old adage says you can’t judge a book by its cover and while that is proven false time and time again, nobody ever said such a thing about a cookbook – where you definitely CAN judge it by its cover. And its cover better look delicious! And so should the inside!
  2. Include original, unique, and exclusive recipes
    No matter how appetizing the pictures look, there has to be a reason for someone to buy your cookbook.  Sure, the design might be amazing, and the images breathtaking, but content trumps design every time, and that is especially true for cookbooks.  Your target market already knows how to make spaghetti, pot roast, and shrimp cocktail; you have to include recipes they’ve never seen before, or at least feature startling new takes on old standards that will justify their purchase, as well as satisfy their cravings.
  3. Allow content and design to dance
    Speaking of design and content, formatting a cookbook is much like dancing the tango, with the content and the design making magical music together as they flow in unison. Cookbooks require larger print than other books because people don’t “read” cookbooks, they “use” them (typically with wet fingers or flour-caked palms).  So, if you have too many recipes to hit your target page count at 14- or 16-point font, don’t decrease the font size to 12 just to make it fit.  Remove a recipe. Or, better yet, find a way to reword those three-page recipes into two-page spreads.
  4. Include finishing flourishes
    A good meal is like a good story (or a good cookbook); it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Anybody can print a recipe for baked Alaska from the Internet but only your cookbook contains the amusing anecdote about how making it for the first time led to a food fight with your grandson, which turned into a fond memory told over Thanksgiving Dinner for years to come.  Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some saffron into your prose to excite the senses and make the recipes in your cookbook truly your own.
  5. Obsess over the details
    The details of your recipes can make or break your cookbook. This includes the ingredients, as well as the instructions, down to the units of measurements and the cooking equipment.  If your audience is comprised mostly of US residents, don’t refer to grams or liters when your cook wants to see teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups, instead.  If your recipe calls for a very specific ingredient that is not available at the local grocery store, advise your cooks where to get their hands on it – a farmer’s market, online, a quick trip to China, etc.  By the same token, be informative and detailed about the pots, pans, molds, presses, graters, utensils, etc. you’ve used to create your inspiring dishes.  The purists will appreciate the opportunity to match your expertise and it gives the lay-cook something other than their prowess to “blame” when their soufflé flops.

To make a soufflé you’ve got to break a few eggs, but nobody warned you publishing a cookbook would be such a headache. It doesn’t have to be! Check out this One-Click Cookbook package over at Outskirts Press.


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Self-Publishing News: 12.25.2017 – Merry Christmas!!

And now for the news!

Yes, yes, it’s Christmas! And we know you have some yuletide carols to sing, some gifts to open, and some people to see. We’ll keep it short, but we wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas first! Here are some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

First off, the really really good news: Outskirts Press (with whom many of our writers over the years have worked) are offering a really spectacular deal this holiday season, with $800 off the package price of any of their One-Click Publishing suites. These suites already offer really spectacular discounts by combining services in order to drop prices, so this discount means that for a couple of days over this Christmas season, you’ll be getting everything at rock-bottom price. And if you’re not ready to commit to one of their One-Click Publishing suites, they’re also offering $300 off the package price for their Ultimate and Full-Color publishing services, which are excellent as well. Check out the press release (at the link) or visit their website at www.OutskirtsPress.com for a Christmas present all your very own!

Have you been thinking about self-publishing this holiday season, maybe taking advantage of that sweet deal (above)? Shirley McMarlin of the Tribune-Review has some words of wisdom for you as you move forward. Some of them are warnings, some are encouragements, but they are all of them very wise indeed. Take a peek as she explores some of the ups and downs of both traditional and self-publishing platforms, and digs into those specifics which sell books (it’s not always what you might expect!). Nobody ever said it would be easy … but with experts like McMarlin around, it’s certainly easier to make the right decision to fit your needs.

Oh, who are we kidding? We love a good and positive story during the holiday season, and Jeff Polman’s piece for HuffPost earlier in December truly fits the bill. Herein Polman shares how, as a previously self-published author, he made his first foray into traditional publishing … and then turned right around and returned to self-publishing. Why? He’d written a book he loved, in a voice he felt at home in, and afterward discovered that agents and publishers were looking for some specifics which would require him to rewrite the entire thing to suit. Rather than do that–and sacrifice his original vision for this newest book–Polman went his own way, again, proving the (maybe not-so-) old adage that self-publishing is a refuge for those creators who want to maintain creative control over their work. Read the full article for more!

Yes! Self-publishing is about more than books! We’ve written before on how the self-publishing industry has its roots in everything from printed literature like books and comics and magazines to digital materials like ezines and so forth … but this might just be one of the first times we’ve seen games brought into the conversation. And we love it! the Xbox (and its archcompany, Microsoft) might just be opening its doors to independent games publishers and creators, who formerly were barred from seeing their games used on the platform. This would be, if it truly comes to pass, a massive move in reshaping the gaming industry, with repercussions which will be felt for years to come. Indie game designers have been making inroads into the industry for a while, but the Xbox remains one of the primary hardware components to gaming, and this decision places a thumb very heavily on the scales in favor of the diversification and democratization of game-space. Read the full article, courtesy of Matt Liebl and GameZone, here.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 12.18.2017 – These Holiday Books are Prime for Christmas!

December banner with fir branches.

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically new releases written by self-publishing authors and published by independent presses! Today we’ll be featuring brand-new wintery releases in the Outskirts Press Bookstore!

One of the most necessary of all things to have on hand at Christmas is … of course! … a children’s picture book. After all, many of us will be hosting family and friends over the winter break, and there’s no better way to entertain your youngest visitors than with a book they can’t get at home. Seriously, though, there’s no better way to one-up the holiday competition than to use the power of words, and there are no better words (and pictures!) than those of Lynn Menatian, whose previous Christmas-themed picture book for kids (Santa’s New Reindeer) has already proven a popular staple around our homes. Charlie Takes Flight, out just this last month, is her newest addition and sure to please: here is a story of inspiration, of “can-do” attitude, which is both winsome and sweet.

Maybe you’re not a kid, and you’re looking for something equally inspiring and heartwarming, but … for adults. Have we got the perfect book for you! A Baby Girl for Christmas is a powerful memoir of self-discovery, forgiveness, and relationships. At the start of this book, author Judith Patrecia Bounds is waiting for a call. An incredibly important call! She has only just discovered her birth name and knows very little about her past except her date of birth and where she was born. Fifty years on, she learns that not only has her birth mother reached out to her, but she reached out six years earlier. As you might imagine, this opens up a whole new world of questions and discoveries, and Bounds takes us all along for the ride. This is exactly what some of us need to feel the poignant meaning behind the season!

 

What Is Man’s Ultimate Goal on Earth? This is the question which Fredrick Reider sets out to answer–or if not to answer comprehensively, to frame thoughtfully. His premise?At some point, every person has the same questions about life on Earth: Why are we here? What can give more meaning to our lives? What happens after death? Message of the Prophets explores these and other questions from a spiritual and spiritually diverse perspective. Beautifully written in language both poetic and focused, this book presents conclusions drawn from science, philosophy, literature, and many different faiths and disciplines—but the reader will see that despite their diversity, many of the great thinkers agree on key points! Which this holiday season is encouraging indeed, as we face a world divided in so many ways. It’s nice to rediscover some of the ideas we hold in common. Concise, compassionate, and inspiring, Message of the Prophets is the perfect guide for your spiritual journey.

The holidays aren’t always sweet and saccharine, are they? Unbeknownst to many, incidences of emotional and psychological hardship spike over the holidays, particularly for those who feel alone or “at sea” with their own experiences. But life, reminds author T. Richard, is a treasure-trove filled with hidden gems … and we ought to treat each day as if it were one of these precious stones. There comes a time when we have to face the curve-balls this world throws our way, writes Richard. The same goes for Charlie Epstein, the protagonist of One Last Season, who is a divorced, middle-aged man whose father has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite receiving the dire news, however, both father and son slowly grasp what they have known all along—that not every pitch results in a strikeout, as love represents the hope of a second chance. This story is an endearing but sincere look at the ways in which we can discover joy in hardship–perfect for those long winter days which follow Christmas.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 11.27.2017 – Publishing Trends

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And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

This article, courtesy of Courthouse News, chronicles the surprising story of a self-published work of erotic sort-of-fanfiction which might have been destined for obscurity had it not, well, featured a number of real life people, including an actual New Englands Patriots player and an actual picture of an actual couple on their honeymoon. And obviously, having not consented to this use of their names and/or images, these individuals took the author–and the self-publishing companies which sold the book!–to court. (Barnes & Noble was also sued, but doesn’t quite rate the headline. Courthouse News contributor Matt Reynolds describes both the history of the case and its implications for self-publishing authors and companies in the future. But two points seem adequately clear already: (1) featuring real-life people in your self-published works without consent opens you up to a whole plethora of troubles, and (2) it might also make your book famous. That said, we don’t advocate for this kind of flirtation with ethics; we recommend reading Reynold’s entire article and making up your own minds.

What are they? Well, we will do our best not to spoil this entire article for you and rather recommend that you take a peek at Ben Fox Rubin’s whole article, but suffice it to say that the Kindle has had quite a history of both successes and failures, and one of Amazon’s trademarks is the ability to turn the flip the latter around, learn from it, and find a marketable way of moving beyond it.

A trick we could all learn from, eh?

Rubin’s article is interesting for more reasons than the clickbait indicated by the article’s title; here he gives an insightful tour of the device’s–and the company’s, and self-publishing’s–early days, its path to profitability, and some key indicators of what’s to come next. You might have heard that tablets and dedicated e-readers are going away, but what does the largest manufacturer of dedicated e-readers actually think about this idea? Check out Rubin’s article in full for further excellent thoughts.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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In Your Corner: Putting the “Thanks!” in Thanksgiving

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This year, as you settle down for the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s worth considering all the ways we can and ought to say “thanks” to our readers, especially during the holiday season. Giving thanks is a fantastic way to connect with people and show them you care and that they matter to you—just as you matter to us here at Self Publishing Advisor!

  1. Social Media. There are always good ways of making use of social media for establishing that personal touch and intimacy with your readers—especially in responding to comments with personalized tweets, Instagram comments, or Facebook posts—but in the week of Thanksgiving, it’s worth going all-out. Put together a small (or big) post making direct reference to those early reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads, and other websites so crucial to your book’s sales and success. It doesn’t have to be some massively big deal (although it certainly can be if you want!), just a quick: “Dear Julie K., Seth M., and Erica G., thank you so much for being willing to read and review my book on Goodreads! Your comments meant so much and had a profound impact on me.” Or something along those lines … make it your own! And if you can include photos of the readers with your book, all the better!
  2. Actually give them something! There are lots of ways to actually give your readers something tangible. You can do this by A) giving them a discount, B) distributing freebies, or C) throwing a giveaway. Some artists do this by creating graphics that their readers can use for free. Some offer special freebies when readers either sign up for a newsletter or purchase a copy of their book; simply ask them for proof of purchase and a mailing address, and you’re on your way! You don’t really need to give away expensive items but readers often appreciate something and useful. Alternatively, you can host a giveaway of your actual book on Goodreads or Amazon (we’ve written a how-to for Goodreads here). These giveaways are a great way both to say “thanks!” to your readers and raise awareness about your book’s publication.
  3. Throw a party! We’ve talked about the benefits of book readings and signings in countless (COUNTLESS) other posts on this website (we really can’t love on them enough!) … but have you ever considered throwing a Thank You! Party? Consider this: turn a book reading or signing event into a party for those who have read your book, supported you along the way, and helped you throughout the publishing process. It’s still an event which will raise awareness of and the profile of your book, but it has a much more human touch (and in our experience, people are much more likely to come!). This serves as a bit of a parallel or substitute for those customer appreciation parties that local businesses often throw for their guests, or a library’s annual volunteer breakfast and so forth. Put together some light refreshments, and maybe even turn it into a potluck with a bonus reading & signing at the end! You can generate a lot of excitement around the idea of saying “thanks!” to your readers (past, present, and future) by having this kind of party. But as always, remember to promote it! Contact your local newspapers and publish press releases in all the right places, including newsletters and on social media.

No matter how you say “thanks!”  … whether you use one of our ideas here or come up with your own … there are so many reasons to just “go for it” and make sure that your readers know you care!

And while we’re on the subject ….

thank you

Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear readers. I usually end my posts by saying “You are not alone” … but this week, I want to thank you. Because with you out there in the world, doing good things and self-publishing along the way, I always know …

I am not alone. ♣︎

happy thanksgiving


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.

Is It Time to Relaunch Your Book?

book launch

Publishing a book for the first time can be an exciting proposition. Dreams of hitting it big can fill your eyes with stars and the world with hope.  Sometimes those dreams come true immediately, but more often than not, reality has a way of stifling even the most optimistic writer.  Success rarely comes immediately, even for those “overnight successes” you hear about in the news. What the news often fails to tell you is how many months and years that “overnight success” toiled tirelessly to reach that brass ring.  Often, the only difference between success and failure is not giving up.

If the bloom has fallen from your publication in the absence of overnight success, now is the time to dust off the dust and get excited again.  Your book is still published!  You are still a published author! And things in the marketplace may have changed in your favor since you’ve put the book on the back burner.  Bring it back to the front and let’s relaunch your book with all new zest and zeal!

1. Re-announce your book
Repeat all the steps you took when you published the first time. Does it matter that your book isn’t brand “new”?  No.  It’s new to anyone who is hearing about it for the first time, so that’s more than enough reason to widen your net.

  • Notify close family and friends in person and by phone or text
  • Notify an even wider circle of friends and associates via email and social media
  • Mail promotional announcements or postcards to everyone you know

2. Use social media
Depending upon how long ago you initially published your book, things may look quite a bit different in social media, and those differences can represent an opportunity for your book that may not have existed before.  Was Facebook the behemoth it is today?  Were videos on YouTube as popular as they are today?  If you were marketing a book even as recently as two or three years ago, the landscape is completely different now.  You may find more success with a book video trailer, more success with a Facebook page, and more success with author readings or events.   The world of independent writers is still growing, which means the community is becoming more vibrant and active in all circles of life.  That activity can translate to awareness, which can translate to word-of-mouth advertising, which can translate to increased book sales.

3. Update your author platform
If your attention on your book has waned over the past several months or years, chances are your author platform is in need of some loving care, also.  Check in on all the social media profiles you set-up when you were initially published.  Is your profile picture still a good representation of you? Do any of your other graphics or images need an update?  Has it been a while since you’ve posted anything on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Linked-In accounts?  Refocusing on book marketing means refocusing on all the elements involving your writing career.  You may discover that as you get more excited about your book, so, too, will readers.

4. It’s never too late to START marketing
Perhaps your attention waned shortly after publication because reverence and riches didn’t follow publication as soon as you had hoped.  Perhaps you didn’t put as much effort into marketing as you could have when your book was first published.  That is very good news!  Why?  Because that means all the opportunities you had when your book was first released are still available to you.   People rarely pay attention to when a book was written or published.  All they care about is whether it will solve their problem, or entertain them, or help them prepare something delicious to eat, or help their children fall asleep peacefully.  No matter how “old” your book may seem to you, it’s brand new to everyone out there in the world who hasn’t heard of it yet.   Start marketing your book TODAY and help those people find your book.  


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.

In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.