Thomas Stacey’s “The Sam Browne.” Has the world’s most infamous serial killer returned? When Michigan state police investigator Doug Emery is confronted by serial killings that are eerily reminiscent of the notorious Victorian murderer, Jack the Ripper, the cold case heats up. Space traveler Sam Browne reveals that he knew Jack the Ripper. In a dramatic, unexpected thrill ride, the past and present blend together with legend and modern science.
At Outskirts Press, Inc., we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors, and we do so each week through our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight. This week we highlight self-publishing author Gabriel F.W. Koch, who has published three successful titles with Outskirts Press.
Learn more about Gabriel F.W. Koch and his published works through this week’s Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.
About the Author:
Gabriel FW Koch is the winner of the 2004 L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future award; the 2016 CIPA EVVY award for science fiction; a second-place winner of the 2016 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year; and a 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist.
Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword
Emma must disarm an evil pirate’s spells by using his own Dragon Tooth Sword
I move as a prisoner caught, for behind me comes my shadow, and before me goes my thought. The sculpture showed three people. The central figure was a young woman. Using one hand, she guided the bent form of an elderly woman, her other arm wrapped around the shoulders of a young boy. At the base, a plaque read: Between Yesterday and To-morrow, Edith Howland, and then, the poem. Emma’s hands rested on the carved bare foot of the central figure. A chill raced from the soles of her feet to the back of her scalp. Joan dropped to her knees and asked, “What’d you find?” Emma pointed to the small sign and watched as Joan read the words. Of course, Joan did not know the significance of what she read. Emma, her voice muffled by a reverence brought on by the awe of discovery, said, “This is where the sword’s buried. I can feel it.” Emma Dug frantically with her fingers. She tore at the grass and roots, lifted handfuls of wet, dark soil. “I see you’ve located my sword, young lady.” Emma felt George’s hand on her shoulder as her finger grasped the edge of the sword’s hilt. She shook him off as the air wavered, shimmering the marble sculpture. Emma heard Joan cry out, “Oh my God!” The garden faded and shifted. She felt Joan’s arm go around her waist. “Let go of the sword, Emma!” Then she could no longer draw in a breath. The alien roar again vibrated the air and was closer this time. Emma, heart pounding harder than a minute ago, leaped to her feet when she heard what could only have been the beating of wings, large wings, incredibly large wings. No, huge, she thought. Huge wings. “The dragon’s arrived,” she calmly informed Joan, although she could feel her heart in her throat. Joan released Emma, and stood directly in front of her, hands planted on her hips. “Do you know how to get us home?” “No.” Emma shook her head. What did I get us into? How do I get us home? Are we stuck here forever? And where’s here? “Sorry, Joan. I don’t know how. I wish I did. Maybe the pirate will know.” “Who? What darn pirate are you talking about?” “Dragon Sanglant. He’s the pirate.”
Product details… Paperback
Format: 6 x 9 Black & White Paperback, 200 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Feb 13, 2017)
Genre: JUVENILE FICTION / Science Fiction
Paradox Effect: Time Travel and Purified DNA Merge to Halt the Collapse of Human Existence
CIPA EVVY 2nd place science fiction winner
Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in science fiction
In 2554, the World is Coming to its End, unless an impossible mission through 600 years of time travel succeeds.
Maternal instinct knows no boundaries, including the nano-neural-net intravenously installed in Dannia Weston’s mind to repress her identity, allowing her to perform a mission 300 years before her time.
Transported to the year 1954, Dannia becomes a woman with a mid-twentieth century persona, college educated with an aptitude for mechanical invention. Due to her work during the war, she is employed by the U.S. government on a secret project. But what no one knows—including Dannia or those who sent her back to tinker with the mechanical past to reduce future pollution—is what might happen should she become emotionally involved in 1954.
The 2254 science team programmed the nano-net to prevent the possibility of pregnancy, but each person reacts to strong emotional stimuli differently, and using birth control not available in 1954 is out of the question.
When Dannia falls in love with Peter Hersh and becomes pregnant, her hormones erode a small section of the nano-chained network that stabilizes her new identity, triggering a mild memory rebirth…and threatening her mission and the fate of the world.
Beholden: A Marlowe Black Mystery Rare gold coins, a beautiful woman, and a walk with death
Marlowe Black, a WWII combat veteran, walks the streets of New York with a PI license to serve justice, a .45 automatic and his fists to enforce it, and a steely determination to solve a case…regardless of the consequences. When a stranger’s body mysteriously lands in his office after a long Fourth of July weekend, Black is determined to learn why, regardless of what New York City cops say or do. As bullets fly, he hunts the killer through a maze of government agents, missing Russian gold coins, Nazi SS fugitives, dangerous greed, and women worth fighting for and knowing intimately. But to succeed, Black must right an old mistake, make a heart-wrenching discovery, and wrestle with a decision to adhere to personal principles of honor that will force him to look beyond love and death. Beholden paints a grim picture of American city life, corruption, and death. And with a morally insecure protagonist and an irresistible love interest, this hard-boiled detective novel promises to be darkly satisfying.
At Outskirts Press, Inc., we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors, and we do so each week through our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight. This week we highlight self-publishing author Jerry Snodgrass, who has published an astounding 9 successful titles!
Learn more about Jerry through this week’s Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.
About the Author:
Jerry Snodgrass was born in Butler, Missouri, in 1938. He was raised and went to school in Indianola, Iowa. He entered the military after graduating from high school in 1957, and successfully fulfilled his dreams of serving in the military and federal service, traveling to exotic locations for over fifty years. Jerry is a Vietnam Veteran and is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. His passion for romance and suspense and the lives of the American cowboy inspired him to write, Night Shadows Over Sandy Creek. He provides exciting reading with a fiction romance novel set in Southwest Texas. Jerry lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Rosemary and their little Yorkie, Stormy.
From the steamy jungles of Vietnam, to the ancient city of Istanbul, Blake Tanner is a man you want on your side. Follow him as he travels from his home in Colorado to New York City, Atlanta, London, Istanbul, Naples, Athens, and Barcelona in search of clues and answers connected to his friend’s death.
Product details… Paperback
Format: 6 x 9 Black & White Paperback, 225 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Dec 08, 2007)
Genre: FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
Moments to Remember 1957
It’s the summer of 1956, and how teenagers lived and loved and played, when James Dean was the coolest and rock ‘n’ roll was the only music worth listening to, comes to life in Moments to Remember 1957. In a small town in the Midwest, at Indian Falls High School, we meet the greaser and the misfit, the farm boy and the girl next door, and the dreams they thought were “made in the shade.” Here’s a slice of American life – both good times and bad – that will have you digging up your old 45s, sipping on some cherry Coke floats, and wondering what happened to all the friendships that were going to last forever.
Product details… Paperback
Format: 6.14 x 9.21 Black & White Paperback, 130 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Oct 07, 2008)
Genre: FICTION / General
Lone Star Destiny
It is 1878, as young John Wesley Steel leaves home for the wild Texas Frontier. It is a deadly time in the state’s fledgling history as Indian, Mexican, and white men fight for their beliefs. Wes works as a cowboy and then begins the life of a Texas Ranger, he soon falls in love and marries. But as Steel’s family grows, so do the dangers, and now he must fight to save his dear ones and the land he loves.
Product details… Paperback
Format: 6.14 x 9.21 Black & White Paperback, 311 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Jul 31, 2009)
Genre: FICTION / Westerns
Memories – The Class of 1957 “The Fifties Was a Time of Excitement and Joy”
The story is a snapshot view of the fabulous 50s and the Indianola, Iowa graduating class of 1957. Too much happened during the final five months of the class’s senior year of high school. Also, too many years have passed to present accurate memories of activities and events. The 1950s, and especially the year 1957 was a very exciting decade and still is. It was a time of happiness, individually, and plain good old fun.
CASTLE ON THE RHINE International Suspense
Brady Lane is happy to be retired from the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID). He is enjoying life with his second wife, Julie, and his two lovely daughters. But at the age of forty-five, Brady finds he’s not quite ready to retire when his expertise is requested to help solve the murder of his close friend and former partner. Brady and Julie relocate to Germany, where they find themselves enmeshed in an international intrigue, chasing down an arms and drug smuggler whose only motivation is money. This deftly plotted thriller will have you on the edge of your seat as you discover what really goes on beneath the tranquil exterior of the Castle on the Rhine.
Format: 5 x 8 Black & White Paperback, 195 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Jun 04, 2014)
Genre: FICTION / Action & Adventure
Crystal Lake Secrets: Kurt Chapel Book 1
Kurt Chapel former CIA operative, Navy SEAL, and mercenary decides to give up his dangerous occupation after the successful rescue of a Croatian politician’s daughter. During the rescue in the countryside near Zagreb, he killed the three kidnappers that were holding her for ransom. Kurt makes the decision to hide his past and relocate to the small central Texas city of Kingston and begin a new life as a novelist. But it isn’t long before he realizes that this pleasant little town is bursting at the seams with corruption and danger. Beautiful blonde realtor Norma Price enlists his help to figure out what her seemingly mild-mannered husband, Bill, has been doing at high-end listings represented by Price Realty. The truth they uncover will catch several people in a web of blackmail and corruption, and Kurt’s CIA connections will be priceless in bringing the criminals to justice. Smart, funny, and fast-paced, this romance/thriller will keep you guessing and leave you anticipating the next book in the Kurt Chapel series.
Product details… Paperback
Format: 5 x 8 Black & White Paperback, 243 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (May 30, 2015)
Genre: FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
Every month or so, Outskirts Press takes a close look at sales numbers to see what services our self-publishing authors need at any given time. The Top 10 Book Marketing Options list gives us an excellent overview of effective, in-demand marketing and promotional approaches during the most recent survey period, and sharing it with you may give you marketing ideas you may not have thought of.
This time around, with book awards and book fairs occurring predominantly in the spring and summer, it makes sense that Outskirts Press submission services were popular with independent authors in the most recent accounting. The latest Top 10 options are listed below, in order of sales numbers.
BookExpo Book Fair: BookExpo is the largest book industry event in the United States with more than 2,000 credentialed members of the media in attendance. This marketing option provides authors with an expert to advocate on their behalf at the fair.
Publishers Weekly Co-op Advertising: This option helps authors reach more than 80,000 booksellers, publishers, public and academic librarians, wholesalers, distributors, agents and writers in addition to more than 360,000 unique monthly website visitors with a color ad in one of the most trusted and respected industry publications.
Amazon Kindle Submission Service: Makes books available on Amazon’s Kindle ebook reading device. More formats on Amazon means more exposure on Amazon, and the Kindle is heavily promoted by Amazon.
Elite Ebook Package: Get Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad and Barnes & Noble NOOK ebook editions in one discounted ebook publishing bundle.
EVVY Awards Submission (Nomination Required): Nomination to the annual EVVY Awards means much-needed publicity for self-publishing authors. Each year, Outskirts Press nominates a small percentage (typically just 2 to 5 percent) of books published to the EVVY Awards. A nomination is a prerequisite for the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. Eligibility is determined by Outskirts Press executives and members of the production teams.
Custom Tee Shirt: Authors can customize a high-quality, pre-shrunk tee (front and back) with their book cover.
Author’s Marketing Calendar: The calendar is a compilation of effective promotion tactics, important book competition dates in 2018, social media tips and other advice self-published authors need for a successful year of selling.
Amazon Search Inside the Book: Amazon itself has stated that books participating in this program are significantly more successful, on average, than books that do not participate.
American Library Association (ALA) Book Fair Submission: The ALA annual conference attracts librarians from all levels of management from across the country. It serves as a place to network and as a forum to exchange ideas on the multitude of issues affecting libraries. This marketing option provides authors with an expert to advocate on their behalf at the fair.
We would like to thank the many authors who have trusted us to assist them in marketing their way toward successful books — and we’d love to help you, too!
Welcome to Part One of a three-part summer series focusing on successfully and efficiently marketing your book on Amazon. Part one will discuss writing reviews for other products and books and explain why it is an important part of book marketing. Part two will discuss soliciting reviews for your book and how to do it properly. Part three will explain why reviews (both giving and receiving) can “tilt” Amazon search algorithm in your favor and how you can tilt it further by taking other simple steps.
Part One: Writing Reviews on Amazon
Writing reviews for other books and products is an important step for your own book marketing efforts. Now only does it allow you to put your name and book title in front of thousands of new people every day, but every review you write is linked to your customer profile (so if you haven’t taken advantage of your customer profile to market your book, do that now at: www.amazon.com/gp/pdp ).
You may be tempted to write a review of your own book. That is not a good idea since Amazon and its community frown upon such tactics. Instead, find books and products that you are familiar with and write reviews for them. If these books and products appeal to your target reader, all the better.
Here are the steps to writing an effective review:
Step 1: Find the book or product you are reviewing on Amazon and go to its sales page. Again, try to pick books or products that will appeal to your reader. After all, the whole point is for them to read your review and notice your book title.
Step 2: Scroll down the Amazon page to the section that says “Customer Reviews” and you will see a button that says “Write a customer review.” Click on that button.
Step 3: If you are not signed-in to your Amazon account, you will need to sign in to your account to write a review. If you do not have an Amazon account, you will need to create one. It is imperative for your book promotion that you have an Amazon account to write reviews and participate in the other promotional tactics we will share with you. But who doesn’t have an Amazon account in this day and age?
Side Note: In order to create an account that is “qualified” to write reviews, you need to have purchased something on Amazon. This is Amazon’s way of preventing review-fraud by ensuring that each review is written by a unique, real person. You’ve most certainly purchased something on Amazon already, but if you haven’t, here’s what you should buy: A copy of your book. You should do this anyway; a book needs at least one Amazon sale to trigger an ABR (Amazon bestseller rank), which is required for Amazon’s search algorithm to kick-in.
Step 4: Once you have an active Amazon account, you can write your review for the book or product you’ve selected (NOT your book). It should be at least 5-10 sentences long and it should end with your author name and a link to your book. That gives your review credibility, in addition to valuable exposure, because you are also a published author. And would Amazon have a function that so easily allows you to create a link to your book if they didn’t want you to use it? Of course not.
Step 5: Before you wrap up your review, don’t forget to use the “Insert Product Link” button. This allows you to add a link to YOUR book in the body of your review. In an alternate browser window, find your book and cut and paste the URL into the field that presents itself after clicking that “Insert Product Link” button. Amazon will use that internet address to find your product, and it will show up for you to confirm. Therefore, your review will end with “Your name, author of such & such” and the best news is, your book title will be clickable!
Write as many reviews for as many books and products as you can. The more reviews you write, the more instances your Profile Link is exposed for others to click on and the more links to your book are in your reviews. It is therefore in your best interest to review books that are related to your subject matter or topic (since customers browsing those reviews will be interested in your book, too).
Stay tuned for Part Two where we discuss the art of acquiring reviews for your own book…
Greg “Coach T” Thomas and David Smale’s “Race In America: A Call To Heal.” It’s not a black and white issue; it’s an issue of the heart. Racism is an issue that is older than the United States itself and it still exists today. It might be better than it was 50 years ago but it’s still very real. It’s not a skin-color issue. It’s not an economic issue. It’s not a geographic issue. Those things are not the root of the problem.
Book illustrations aren’t child’s play. Book Illustrations boost any literary work – not just children’s books – and Outskirts Press helps you get them affordably.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, it makes sense for authors in today’s visually centered world to use them to tell their compelling stories. The benefits and uses of book illustrations are many but keep these five points in mind when considering your needs:
Creative art stimulates imaginations. Particularly in young readers, colorful or fanciful art fires up the imagination in ways that the printed word cannot. With an image planted in their minds (by an illustrator and directed by the author), children can easily see the story play out in their mind’s eye. These early experiences with books serve to bridge the gap between non-reading toddlers to proficient readers. But lest one assumes book illustrations are a juvenile author’s game, here are other ways they prove valuable.
They serve as book cover art. Inarguably, the most important illustration an author will choose is the first one – the art on their book cover. While photography is perfectly acceptable for a cover, sometimes it’s not a realistic option. (Think supernatural fiction, fantasy, paleontology or other topics for which an artist’s rendering is valuable.) In an illustrator’s talented hands, the dragon on that Medieval thriller will look like it’s breathing real fire.
Illustrations give readers valuable information within the content, too. Whether demonstrating instructions, providing historical reference or bringing life to a complex character, illustrations perform a vital role in literature. This is equally true in works of fiction as it is in reference, cookbooks, children’s literature and history books. In fact, there is no situation that doesn’t benefit from visual art.
They are surprisingly affordable. Anyone who has ever hired a professional photographer knows it can be an expensive proposition. Believe it or not, photographers often spend more time setting up lights, coordinating models (when necessary), snapping a variety of shots and editing their photos than an illustrator does in their renderings. It all pays off in the superior quality and high resolution of their photos but comes at a cost. So, it is worth considering illustrations from a talented artist who can deliver very specific images for a reasonable price.
Pictures sell. While most authors aren’t necessarily thinking about marketing when they select book illustrations, they certainly can come in handy for this purpose. A press release, sales sheet or query letter accompanied by a vivid depiction of the story is eye-catching and gives buyers and media outlets additional options for publication.
Outskirts Press offers self-publishing authors many ways to acquire the illustrations they need to bring their words to life, from single images to illustration packages. To enliven your book with professional illustrations, simply add the Custom Illustrations of your choice to your cart. Outskirts Press will walk you through the rest.
Call an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS), or chat with us using the live chat option on our website for help getting the Custom Illustrations that are perfect for you.
We’ve heard (and said) it often: Writing the book is the easy part. It’s all the stuff that happens to get a book published and distributed for sale that drives a self-publishing author to distraction. If only he could wave a magic wand …
You can! Well, sort of … With options for authors in almost every genre, the completely turnkey One-Click Publishing packages include everything an author needs to polish and format a manuscript, send it to print, promote, and start selling, all instantly set in action at the moment of purchase. And today only, Outskirts Press is making $500 disappear from the package price! That’s $500 OFF any One-Click Publishing Package. Bravo!
These full-service packages come preloaded with everything necessary to make your publishing dreams come true at an exceptional value. All you need to do is click the mouse and voila — you’re on your way to becoming a published author.
Available genre-specific One-Click Packages include:
These packages feature dozens of benefits, all geared specifically to an author’s chosen book genre: professional copy editing, interior formatting, custom cover design, personal marketing assistance and one-on-one author support from publishing professionals with experience working in your genre, as well as free book copies for marketing, and more.
While our Ultimate and Full-Color packages can be enhanced with additional service purchase options for marketing and promotion, One-Click Publishing is truly all-inclusive. They are the only publishing bundles that automatically also include coveted marketing options such as Author Platform Set-up Through Social Media, Google Books Preview, Book Video Trailer, Amazon Author Profile, Amazon Listing Enhancement and much more.
By purchasing a One-Click option, you get peace of mind knowing that you are getting the publishing and marketing options that are essential for the genre you have chosen. To take advantage of this limited time offer, use promo code OneClick-500 for $500 off One-Click Publishing.
For more information about self-publishing with Outskirts Press, get in touch with your Publishing Consultant. There are three convenient ways to connect:
Richard Connelly’s “Characters, Tales and Tragedies In the Boston Fire Department” is about the author’s 42 years with the busiest fire department in the world along with the other brave and humorous firefighters protecting the City of Boston and its citizens. Captivating and funny, this book is a must-read for any firefighter or fire buff. You are sure to be both entertained and shocked as the author takes us through life in the firehouse and on the streets.
Perhaps you’re feeling a bit stuck this week, and the blank page is threatening to overwhelm you with its possibilities and its difficulties. Or perhaps you’re simply in between writing projects right now, and looking for inspiration. Whatever your reasons, you may be in need of a prompt … or three! And you’re not alone: in all of our years working alongside self-publishing authors, one of the most common questions we hear is simply: “What else can I try?” We’re here today in the hope that we can help spark your creativity, improve your writing, and perhaps even help you finish writing your next manuscript this summer!
To that end, we have come up with three writing prompts we think are particularly useful.
ONE: Invent a character.
Each story is anchored by its characters. Start with mentally picturing just one, one person or entity (depending on your taste in genre) who leaps easily into the canvas of your imagination–and describe what you see. Maybe this character has a memorable face, or peculiar taste in clothes, or an old injury. Not every detail may be important later, but you never know, so get it all down. Think of this character like a pin on a map, and that map is your guide forward into a larger work (if you want it to be). Now invent a second character. Then, consider the following questions: Who matters to these characters? What do they mean to each other? What are their dreams? What motivates them? What do they regret, or fear? How do they see themselves? What foods might they like? What kind of a home might they live in? What locations on that map might be important to them? What do they spend money on … or not? Do they adhere to a faith, or an artistic practice, or an academic discipline? Who else might have claims upon their time, or their hearts?
Not every question is going to have an answer, or an answer that will prove fruitful for further writing. But consider them all, and write down whichever answers help you understand these characters you’ve created. Now you have the first necessary ingredient of a story!
TWO: Place a scene.
Shakespeare is famous for writing scenic shorthand. Remember the beginning of Romeo and Juliet? “Two households, both alike in dignity, / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, / From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” We may not all aspire to Shakespearean style and affectations, but we can learn a lot from a master like him, and the first thing to learn is that every good story begins with a scene, and it doesn’t take much to set a powerful scene. Romeo and Juliet, for example, opens with only three full sentences made up of fourteen lines of prose, all of which takes less than a minute to read aloud.
You might think of scene-setting as some monolithic venture which requires you to picture and describe every detail before the plot can move forward, but this isn’t how scenes work at all! There’s always room for a touch of lyrical description if your setting is particularly scenic, but that’s just window-dressing. Scenes are functions of plot, and microcosms in which your characters interact. The only necessary details are the ones which matter to your characters, and you’ve already mapped out what those details might be in the previous prompt.
Give yourself three to five sentences, right now, to frame your characters’ first interaction. Where are they? What time of day is it? Is it cold, or hot? What other elements of the setting will affect how these characters interact? Don’t try to envision the whole thing, not yet, not unless you fall in love with the place and want to file away a full description for later. It doesn’t need to be fancy, as Shakespeare proves, it just needs to provide a canvas upon which your characters move.
THREE: Kill your darlings.
Okay, so maybe you don’t need to literally kill any of your darlings. The expression is an old one, and it has its source in an old piece of advice sometimes given to aspiring writers. Faulkner said it, and so did Oscar Wilde, Eudora Welty, G.K. Chesterton, Chekov, and Stephen King … and surely at least one of these people is on to something. The idea is this: if some element of your book, a character or a passage or a place, is just unkillably perfect to you, a writer, it’s probably holding you back from writing an entire book of equal quality because you’re so hung up on its perfection. But in the interest of giving you a writing prompt which you can tackle in an afternoon, we advocate for killing your darlings for a purely mercenary, functional purpose: it will provide you with plot, and stakes. No story can work without stakes, and so often we forget to develop those stakes until we’re already halfway through a book. But in an ideal world, and in an afternoon’s writing session, those stakes have to be there from the beginning. So take your characters, or take your scene, and figure out who or what is at risk. Now, pick up your pen … or sit down at your keyboard … and kill your darling. Kill your darling with flair and rich description. Kill your darling with perfunctory simplicity. And then let whoever or whatever is left deal with the aftermath, on the page, in full sentences.
Now you have your first chapter, and it only took you three short writing prompts to get there! And if you don’t like it? Well, there’s plenty of time tomorrow to start over, and to start small, with a new character.
Will you try or have you already tried one of these prompts? We’d love to hear about your successes and to cheer you on. Look us up on social media and let us know how you do! You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, or you can visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat with a Publishing Consultant as well as call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish that manuscript you’re working on and get it ready for publication!