Editing Tips for Busy Writers

When readers are browsing for a new book, they’re going to be drawn to a great book cover and a catchy title. They’ll read the blurb on the back cover, but before actually taking the plunge and hitting the BUY button, most readers will skim the first few pages of a book that interests them… And if these pages are riddled with errors, the consumer is off to the next title.

In order to be taken seriously, self-published books must be professionally edited.

Often authors are so anxious to get their books in print that they skip this crucial step. Others feel their book is fine because their mother or their next-door neighbor checked it over… But take a look at Amazon reviews, and you’ll find that the biggest turnoff to a reader is a poorly edited book filled with silly mistakes and serious flaws — problems that an editor would never let slip through the cracks. If the reader is preoccupied with incorrect punctuation, word choice, and grammar, they won’t be able to focus on what your book is trying to say.

Most importantly, no matter how thrilling your thriller or educational your how-to, if your book is unedited (or edited by your former first-grade teacher), you will very likely be perceived as an amateur.

Many authors feel confident in their own editing abilities and believe their book is fine without a fresh pair of eyes to review it. They might run a spellcheck, check for typos, and call it good. But a professional editor does so much more than check for spelling.

What can an editor do for you?

A good editor keeps the rules of the English language in mind but also preserves the writer’s unique voice. Each writer is different, and sometimes their style overrides mandates handed down by the grammar police. A good editor will recognize and nurture individual style.

Copyeditors focus on a book line by line, looking for spelling and grammatical problems, consistency, clarity, word choice, sentence structure, verb tense, dialogue, and other issues of style. They also look at the big picture and flag general problem areas in plot, character, point of view, and overall flow.

Did your main character’s name change halfway through your book? An editor will catch it. They’ll also catch embarrassing errors like anachronisms (a smartphone in 1932?) or plot problems (how can your heroine be in two places at one time?). Does the book switch back and forth from past to present tense? Is it filled with long, confusing sentences and page-long paragraphs? An editor will fix these problems.

It’s difficult to edit your own work, as just about any author will tell you. Whether you’re a bestselling author or a brand-new writer with your first book, an objective professional review/edit of your work is a crucial step. And the readers you’re hoping to attract will be more willing to hit that BUY button if they’re not distracted by poor presentation and awkward sentence structure!

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Outskirts Press offers high-quality copyediting services for manuscripts of all lengths and types. This May, we will edit the first 15,000 words of your manuscript for free when you purchase the Ultimate Black & White or Full-Color publishing package.  Yep! That means most full-color children’s books will receive free editing of the entire manuscript all month long! Just enter promo code coverkdedi in your shopping cart during checkout.

Outskirts Press Presents Michele Towery, author of Let Me Count the Ways God Loves You

Author Michele Towery, M.A., MFCT is taking her latest book, Let Me Count the Ways God Loves You on tour – a Virtual Book Tour, that is, with Outskirts Press! Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box, and nowadays you can market a self-published book in a variety of affordable and impactful ways. Virtual book tours, for example, are a great way to connect with readers from all corners of the globe, all from the comfort of your own home. Join Michele Towery, and Let Me Count the Ways God Loves You as they appear in features and interviews (such as the one below) in the weeks and months ahead!


Luckily for us, Michele Towery was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of Let Me Count the Ways God Loves You.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Let Me Count the Ways God Loves You. What is it about?

Michele: God’s love according to things God has made and things children love.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Michele: A boy in my class was very depressed because his father was in jail and his mother was a drug addict. Also, he called himself a “bad boy.” I wanted to lift his spirits and also show him that he was a “good boy.” This was the inspiration for the book. Children need to be told that they are not alone in the world but are created and loved by God – wherever they are.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Michele: I got my book published by Outskirts Press. The Cover art was done by Wendy Leach.

OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

Michele: The types of readers that will be interested in my book are those who have low self-esteem, are angry at God, or whose parents would like a calming bedtime story for their child.

OP: What is special about your book?  

Michele: The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is calming, and it raises self-esteem. It shows how great God’s love is for the child.

OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

Michele: The illustrations and the story are different than other Christian books.

OP: Have you published any other books?

Michele: I have also published, Grandma, I Want To Be the Boss.

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Michele: Yes, I plan to publish more books.

OP: How can someone learn more about your book or purchase it?

Michele: You can buy my book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Family Supplies in Camarillo, CA, or http://www.christian.com.

OP: Thanks for your time, Michele! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michele Towery lets the child discover how immensely he or she is loved by God. By reading about the sun, moon, rainbows, and more the child can help “count the ways” God’s love is given.

For more information or to contact the author, visit https://www.outskirtspress.com/letmecountthewaysgodlovesyou

This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.

Are you an author looking for help to market your self-published book?

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Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


The Uninformed Voter

by Robert Levine

(4.5 Stars – 24 Customer Reviews)

Price: $21.95

Robert Levine’s “The Uninformed Voter.” Can Uninformed Voters be charged with Democracy’s decline? If voters do not have the real knowledge about the candidates, then the cycle of dysfunctional and inefficient government continues. The evidence is shocking and shows incompetent and corrupt politicians consistently elected to office. This is more than just a history lesson. The author also evaluates recommendations by political scientists and philosophers about how to improve democracy. Citizens should realize that their vote is their voice of We the People. Kirkus Review

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Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

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Have You Published a Children’s Book? Here’s How to Market It.

Children’s books may just be the purest distillation of self-publishing perfection: they’re beautiful, they have universal appeal to readers of all ages, and they pack an emotional punch which leaves readers hungry for more. But if you’ve recently self-published a children’s book, you already know that marketing your book successfully can still pose some unique challenges, regardless of these qualities. It’s time to put your creative gifts back to work, and to take advantage of your book’s unique place in the self-publishing marketplace. But how? Here are three simple suggestions to get you started.

ONE: Think of your book as an event, not an object.

Children’s books are best enjoyed collectively, aren’t they? Whether we’re talking about a grandparent reading aloud to a pack of children on the couch; or a librarian holding forth to a cluster of kids during Story Hour; or an educator teaching sight words to a roomful of young, eager minds, children’s books are events, not just physical objects that one can hold in the hand. When it comes to marketing, spend some time early on brainstorming all of the various contexts in which you see your book being enjoyed … and then start planning how you can make those events happen. And don’t just think analog … digital context matters, too! Think of all those book reviews on YouTube and TikTok; and look at all those readers on Goodreads who might love discovering your book with their children or grandchildren.

Nowadays, holding a book-reading event may not be enough to motivate parents to open their pocketbooks; they want to be convinced that there is more to your book than what can be experienced in a single reading. Many children’s are easy to pick up once and never again. So when you think about hosting an event, think about how to ensure it’s an engaging one that inspires children to enjoy it over and over again. Find ways to make clear connections to ancillary materials like related activities, website material, and educator-friendly resources. The point is to demonstrate that your book is worth coming back to, time and time again.

TWO: Schools are key, and schools are hard.

If you haven’t already developed educational supplements around your children’s book, that is a good place to start. For instance, collect activities and further readings, media, and so forth that relates to your children’s book. Package it as an educational unit. That way, when you arrange to visit a classroom or run a workshop for local teachers, you have already made it easy for them to meet state and federal core requirements.

Yes, schools are a difficult nut to crack, but if you really want your children’s book to move, you need to access them. Since teachers typically rely on resources that have been approved by, or perhaps even provided by, large traditional publishing houses and their marketing teams, gaining credibility is of utmost importance.  Level the playing field by winning a few awards, such as garnering recognition from the Mom’s Choice Awards, for example.  The opportunity schools offer makes the effort worthwhile.

THREE: Make hay while the sun shines … and the sun shines around the world!

Some of the most underutilized opportunities for children’s book authors are book fairs, and there are so many wonderful ones around the world to choose from! These days, it’s easy to take part, too, as self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press offer Global Book Tour packages designed to get your book in front of and into the hands of educational administrators, librarians, retailers, parents, and readers in an efficient and effective way.

If you are looking to market your children’s book, there’s never been a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com and check out our Marketing Solutions menu. And to see our staff picks of amazing children’s books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

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Prepare for a Summer of Book Sales with FREE Shipping In May!

There are many reasons to be excited about summer this year. With COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise and hospitalizations on the decline, businesses are reopening and we are starting to gather again with family and friends.

Many authors are making plans to start marketing their book(s) again with in-person events such as book fairs, book signings, and tours. It is important to make sure you are ready when these marketing opportunities arise by having plenty of copies of your book on hand. Not only are author copies a great marketing tool but people love the convenience of buying directly from you instead of having to go to a store or order online. For more ideas on how to effectively use author copies to market your book, check out the free flipbook in your Book Marketing COACH Dashboard titled Ten Local Ways to Use Your Author Copies.

To help you prepare for the summer book marketing season, we are currently offering FREE SHIPPING within the continental United States on orders of 50 or more copies of your book. And when you combine free shipping with high-volume bulk discounts to receive up to an additional 50% off your printing costs, you can save even more!

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to save! Order your author copies before the FREE SHIPPING offer expires on May 31st! No promotion code is necessary.

Celebrate Children’s Book Week With These Tips for Writing Your Own!

If you are one of the many writers around the world finding themselves at home with more time to write, you may be one of the many children’s book authors who are thinking about writing a new book for kids in celebration of Children’s Book Week (May 3-19).

Writing a book for children never grows old because there are SO many possibilities!  And nowadays, children’s books are more popular than ever, with more lucky parents spending more time at home with their children.

Let’s look at six things to keep in mind when writing and publishing children’s books:

  1. Mind your length. As any preschool teacher or children’s librarian can confirm, reading with children is most enjoyable for both parties when the book in question contains just enough text to carry the story along without exhausting a child’s attention.
  2. Pick a timely subject. Picture books are more likely to be picked up by parents, teachers, and librarians on the prowl if they tackle subjects which these adults want to prepare their children to face. Take advantage!  Talk about a perfect time to write about the “boogy monster” or “having cooties!”
  3. Don’t dumb it down. You heard right—baby talk doesn’t carry as compelling of a story as a book which treats its younger audiences with a rich vocabulary and age-appropriate but sophisticated sentence structure.  Kids who are learning to read are much more accepting of new information than when they become kids who are reading to learn.
  4. Voice morals carefully, and cleverly. Few will argue against picture books as prime tools for teaching sound decision-making skills, but most of these success stories find clever, quiet ways to do so without alienating readers by being too “preachy.”  Use subtle metaphors for larger issues (ahem, like boogy monsters and cooties, for example).
  5. Think about those end materials! Many of today’s best picture books include a few pages at the end which include notes for adults on how to make best use of the book in teaching a skill or an idea to young readers. Hint: this is especially useful to parents grappling with becoming educators as a result of stay-home directives.
  6. Humor them! Children have a keen sense of humor, and often embrace farce and comedy with both zeal and a squeal. While the story itself can’t always be humorous, more often than not, the illustrations can be.

At Outskirts Press, we are here to support you during every stage of the publishing process, whether you’re using our One-Click Publishing suite to publish your next children’s book, or if you need custom-drawn full-color illustrations. We offer a comprehensive list of services which we hope you’ll take advantage of as you work to translate your vision to the page! Your kids, grand kids (and even their friends and family) will thank you!

Get 3 Top Upgrades when you start Publishing

Promo Code: coverkdedi

What are the two most important elements to a high-quality, successful self-published book? Many readers would say professional copyediting and a professional custom cover. Both services help in securing stronger book sales and better book reviews. These are integral to every self-published author trying to get their book “out there.”

Your book cover’s importance cannot be stated enough. A custom cover allows a designer to create a completely unique cover that captures the essence of your book. Undoubtedly, this makes your book more appealing to readers (which equals more book sales). Your designer will create two covers for you, so you can choose and modify the one you like best.

Copyediting is a necessity, as any book with obvious spelling errors will be overlooked and your book sales may suffer as a result. With a full copyedit, your professional editor will conduct a thorough basic edit over your entire manuscript’s punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

When you start publishing today with the promotion code, we will edit the first 15,000 words of your manuscript for free to help you determine if a full edit of your manuscript is a worthwhile investment.  And since people DO judge books by their covers, you will also receive a free professional custom cover design (a $499 value).  By starting right now, we will also publish and distribute an Amazon Kindle eBook Edition of your book for free (a $299 value). That’s over $1000 of additional value to make your book the best it can be! Just enter promo code coverkdedi in your shopping cart during checkout.

For more information and help choosing the best self-publishing service, contact your Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant today. There are three easy ways to connect:

“Outskirts made the publishing process super easy for me and my Author Representative knew what she was doing and was very helpful!” — Katie Patterson, author of Ride.

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Now available on Amazon.com!


Just a Piece of Me

by Diana McIntyre

(5 Stars – 5 Customer Reviews)

Price: $24.95

Diana McIntyre’s “Just a Piece of Me” is a memoir of laughs, entertainment, and survival as experienced by the Spears clan. These short stories are a glimpse of life during the 1950’s and 1960’s in a small, rural, farming town in Florida. With 9 children in a two-bedroom house, daily life is full of surprises and amazement!

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Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

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Self-Publishing Author Rick Taylor Discusses Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son

Author Rick Taylor is taking his latest book, Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son on tour – a Virtual Book Tour, that is, with Outskirts Press! Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box, and nowadays you can market a self-published book in a variety of affordable and impactful ways. Virtual book tours, for example, are a great way to connect with readers from all corners of the globe, all from the comfort of your own home. Join Rick Taylor and Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son as they appear in features and interviews (such as the one below) in the weeks and months ahead!


Luckily for us, Rick Taylor was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Ballad of the Blacksmith’s Son. What is it about?

Rick Taylor: It is about Viking/Slav/Finn teens coming of age as fledging Russia faces Turk invasion. They crash head long into girls, Christianity, Russian winter, and unnatural wolf pack trying to prevent them from reaching their king.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Rick Taylor: It is based on an idea I had while training soldiers and teaching high school. It matured from a short story to a book.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Rick Taylor: I got impatient with the agent/publisher-hunting rituals, especially after Covid-19 hit. I self-published through Outskirts Press.

OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

Rick Taylor: It has a touch of historical fiction and a dose of Christianity, but primarily it is an adventure. I am finding both teens and adults enjoy it and want to see the sequel.

OP: What is special about your book?  

Rick Taylor: Everyone knows that the Vikings went West, but few are writing about what they did in the East. It has Viking heritage expressing itself in Russia. It reflects ideas from several Christian and secular authors. It draws off what I learned about teens during my 14 years as a teacher.

OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

Rick Taylor: This is a coming-of-age adventure first, with faith as part of the challenge. Though some will classify this as a “Christian” book, there are no pat “faith” answers. Heroes fail, people die, questions remain unanswered. God’s plan may not save the day the way they want. I am trying to fill a gap between secular adventure books like the Cornwall Saxon Series and the ethereal imagery of a Ted Dekker story.

OP: Have you published any other books?

Rick Taylor: I have not.

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Rick Taylor: Yes, the sequel is halfway done. (Lament of the Blacksmith’s Son) There is also a short story anthology in the works.

OP: Thanks for your time, Rick Taylor! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rick Taylor is a retired soldier and high school teacher. He has written for regional and national magazines and penned a column for the local newspaper. He and his wife, Patricia, live near the Puget Sound, where they cruise and race their sailboat.

For more information or to contact the author, visit https://www.outskirtspress.com/balladoftheblacksmithsson

This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.

Are you an author looking for help to market your self-published book?

Learn More

Outskirts Press Authors Are Honored in the Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Literary Awards

Book awards give readers an important clue about the quality of a self-published book, and this year’s award season says a lot about Outskirts Press and its authors. We’re thrilled to have eight of our authors recognized in the 2020/2021 Reader Views Reader’s Choice Literary Awards. Your success speaks to the many reasons we’ve been rated the No. 1 self-publishing company by Top Consumer Reviews for four years running!

The Reader Views Literary Awards recognize writers who are published by small presses, university presses, independent book publishers, and self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press.

Following are Outskirts Press’ winners for the 2020/2021 Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Awards, listed below in no particular order. Information about each of these books (and their self-published authors) is available at the Outskirts Press Bookstore, where they are available for purchase.

1. Horror Bronze Award: The Iceman: A Novel of Otzi by Jeanne Blanchet
Publisher: Outskirts Press (October 14, 2020)
2. Societal Issues Gold Award: The Ailing Nation by Nate Link, MD
Publisher: Outskirts Press (September 26, 2020)
3. Humor Silver Award: SCABS: Sudden Crazy Ass Bitch Syndrome by Isabella Ornot
Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 10, 2019)
4. Self-Help Silver Award, Humanities Bronze Award: Navigating Life’s Journey: Common Sense in Uncommon Times by Richard V. Battle
Publisher: Outskirts Press (October 27, 2020)
5. Young readers 8-12 Silver Award: A Little Noble by Janet R. Macreery
Publisher: Outskirts Press (July 11, 2020)
6. Historical Fiction Bronze Award: We Were Once Warriors: A Story of Courage, War, Love, and Commitment during the American Revolution by Jack Darrell Crowder
Publisher: Outskirts Press (September 9, 2020)
7. Fiction Silver Award: The Senator’s Suitcase by Mitch Engel

Publisher: Outskirts Press (February 29, 2020)
8. Education Silver Award and Self-Help Bronze Award: Leadership is Doing by Pamela J. Newman
Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 13, 2020)