Edit to Get Ahead!

Editing is often the most painful part of the alchemic process that transforms a manuscript into a book. But we don’t edit because it’s hard — self-punishment without purpose is not the name of our game. We edit because our first drafts are not our best drafts.

We may edit ourselves because we sense the inevitability of our own mistakes — one or two slips of the fingers on the keyboard as we toil away — but we must look for others to edit our work, too, because we’re not always the most objective observers about our own work. We look for a third-party editor because, when you or I have spent six months or a year staring at the pixels on our computer screens, it becomes difficult to pick out the plot hole on page 60 or the typing error on page 115.

Editors aren’t a luxury we indulge in; they’re a necessity. Guy Kawasaki, a self-publishing author and entrepreneur of Stanford and U.C. Davis extraction, writes that all successful self-publishing authors “learn that the key to a great book is editing — grinding, buffing, and polishing — not writing.” He’s not just referring to a book’s inherent strengths and weaknesses — its objective existence as a great book or a not-great book — but about perception and reception. As a business founder and entrepreneur, Kawasaki recognizes the value in being taken seriously, and the business and social capital an author can and must create by doing so in order to move books off of virtual or physical store shelves and into people’s hands. Editing, he postulates, is the way to make this happen.

Perception, we’re often told, is reality. And while there might be some exceptions, it’s a general rule that readers are turned off by poor cover design, poor formatting, and poor editing. These factors and others collectively create the reader’s perception of a book’s professionalism, polish, and ultimately its value. Thus, a poorly edited book is likely to lose readers, while a well-edited book is likely to draw more potential readers by virtue of its good reputation.

The long and the short of it is:

  • Editing is important, both in terms of fixing small-scale issues and resolving large-scale difficulties, to selling books
  • We cannot objectively edit our own work, and those in our immediate social circle often don’t have the experience or expertise to step in and fill the void
  • Therefore, paying for professional editing services may be necessary, and it doesn’t have to break the bank or encroach on your independence

As you set off to determine whether or not hiring a professional editor is something you need to do, take your time. There are plenty of options out there, and because the market for true and deep copyediting has diversified in recent years, the costs are much lower than they used to be. The key is to do your due diligence in terms of research, and to trust your instincts when you get in touch with your potential editor.

Questions about Professional Copyediting or any of our self-publishing services? Contact an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant. There are three convenient ways to connect:

  1. Call us at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
  2. Live-chat with us via our website
  3. Go online to schedule an appointment
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Necessity & Invention: 5 Reasons to Get That Custom Book Cover Design

bookstore

Appearances matter, and so do first impressions! They matter in day-to-day life, they matter in terms of putting together a marketing strategy and, most importantly for us, they matter when book lovers run their hands along the bookstore shelves–or their thumbs along the page listings assembled by their favorite e-book distributor. A colorful, eye-catching book cover is the key to prompting that oh-so-vital moment of hesitation, when a potential reader’s attention is caught and transformed into movement towards the checkout counter or button.

No matter what a book contains in respect to content, a well-crafted custom cover always plays an integral role in the successful sale of a book. There are, however, five specific benefits to opting for custom over a basic template:

  1. Credibility: A professionally designed cover serves as a hint that the same care that was put into crafting the cover was also taken in the crafting of the book’s content. Your book’s cover speaks for your professionalism as an author and the quality of your work–not to mention your dedication to pleasing your readers.
  2. Visibility: Just writing your book isn’t enough; you have to sell it, too. But if no one picks up or views your book, it won’t matter how much time or effort you’ve put into the writing process–a cover which prompts even the slightest pause will increase the odds that a reader will investigate further, and ultimately make a purchase.
  3. Information: Readers like to know what they’re getting when they buy a book, and your book’s cover gives clues as to its content and tone. If your book cover resonates with readers by hinting at its content accurately, they’re more likely to buy.
  4. Targeting: An arrow is all well and good, but if it doesn’t hit the target it’s no use to anyone. It’s not enough to have a pretty cover; your cover must reach the right people. A professional book cover designer is trained to craft artwork that appeals specifically to the people your content is meant to entertain or inform, whether they’re war veterans who enjoy biopics or women in their 40s who enjoy spiritual devotionals.
  5. Marketability: The sum total of the first four points, above, add up to a package which is infinitely more marketable than any one point alone might do. And in a competitive market like the one you’re bound to enter, that boost to your marketability isn’t something you can afford to pass by.

Of course, the outcomes of book sales are about as easy to predict as working out Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which is to say: the evidence adds up, but there’s no such thing as a guarantee that any one cover will immediately lead to a spike in book sales, while another will leave a book moldering in the forgotten far-reaches of the internet. However! Your attractive, custom cover will increase your odds of reaching the right readers–and more of them.

Are you ready to self-publish your book with a beautiful, professional cover?  Call us at 1-888-675-6657 to talk to a Publishing Consultant or visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat via our live chat option.

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Premium Book Design Services Bundled to Save 20%!

premium

The word “premium” is one you might have seen recently–in reference to everything from airline membership to chocolate to gasoline.  Why is this word important? It’s all in the connotations. “Premium” is a shorthand way of saying that a certain product or service exceeds common expectations and needs, and provides something special above and beyond the base or foundational requirements of the moment. And usually, the word comes with a price tag.

But what if you didn’t have to pay extra to receive extra? And what if we were talking about self-publishing and acquiring a custom cover, interior formatting, and cover text refinement for your upcoming book? For most self-publishing authors just starting out down the path to publication, even the basic services can seem impossibly expensive, which is why Outskirts Press is launching a brand-new Premium Design Bundle for a steeply discounted rate! Invest in this bundle, available as of December 1st, and you will receive all of the services included in our Custom Cover, Interior Formatting with Author Input as well as our Cover Text Refinement offerings!

By bundling these services together–worth a total of $747 when purchased separately a la carte–for only $599, you receive a full 20% discount automatically! That’s a lot of “extra,” making our new bundle the perfect definition of “premium for a fair price.” We truly are committed to providing you with all of the tools you need to have an exceptional publishing experience, and to produce an exceptional book, and we want to pass on every possible savings and resource to you. That is, ultimately, what our Premium Design Bundle exists to do!

Are you interested in learning more about our new Premium Design Bundle? We’d love to answer any questions you have, and you can reach us by phone at 1-888-652-6657 or online at www.OutskirtsPress.com, where you can engage in a live chat with our expert staff.

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Don’t Let That Blank Page Scare You!

There is nothing more frustrating to an author than a cursor blinking on a blank page. You sit and wait for inspiration, drink too much coffee, and yet that cursor winks…mocking and teasing you.

This horrifying experience can only be matched by getting midway through a manuscript, the first pages a masterpiece, only to get stuck and wonder where to go from there.

Every writer has been there; these moments define the term “self-doubt” and, if the block is really bad, a possible forehead on the desk and a wail of “what am I doing?”

Since we’ve all experienced this, we know that there are really only a couple of options when these moments happen: you either have to walk away from a manuscript that’s keeping you up at night or seek help.

And that’s where Outskirts Press comes in.

Because our main goal is to get you to the publishing finish line (hopefully without a forehead dent on your desk), we have established a team of skilled, professional writers to help you over that inspirational hump with a one hour Writing Consultation. We not only want you to be able to hold your hard work in your hands in the form of a published book, we want you to be excited and proud of what you’ve accomplished.

After all, isn’t that why we’re all here?

For $99 per one-hour block, our time is yours. You can work through things like:

  • Troubleshoot plot, characters, technique, or execution of your ideas
  • Work through writer’s block
  • Take inventory of usable book materials
  • Organize book ideas into a usable outline
  • Get ideas on how to proceed with a book
  • Gather ideas on how to finish
  • Negotiate tricky passages
  • Ask for general writing advice
  • Get help moving to the next step in writing

Once your consultation is complete, your consultant will provide you with a summary of what you’ve discussed so that you can reference it as you successfully move forward with your manuscript.

As many authors know, it’s not the overall concept of a book that’s hard — the challenges lie in the details. So let us help you work through them and possibly expedite the writing process for you so that that moment when you’re holding that book in your hands comes quicker than you imagined.

After all…you’ve waited long enough to make your dreams come true.

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, having an objective professional review work that is so close to your heart 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, regardless of whether you plan on publishing your book with us or somewhere else. Click the button below to get started and to connect with your personal copyeditor today!

Resolutions for 2016 That Every Published Author Should Make

We’re halfway through the month… Are you still on track with your New Year’s Resolutions? Don’t let the momentum of your resolve slow down! Here are some goals specifically tailored to the self-published author:

  1. Make yourself accessible. If you don’t already provide readers, media contacts, and others several ways to contact you, get cracking on it. The easier you can be reached by important movers and shakers, the better your chances of moving forward as a successful author.
  2. Go digital. Take your title to the e-book market and resolve to get a piece of that profitable pie. E-books make up about 20% of the book buying market!
  3. Make a video. A Book Video Trailer belongs on every author’s list of resolutions. It’s an instant and visually stunning way to let readers and booksellers know what your book is all about and why they should buy it.
  4. Research. Resolve to spend this year researching your genre, honing your craft, learning about the publishing industry, and familiarizing yourself with book trends and marketing tips.
  5. Keep a journal. If you’re serious about writing, keeping a journal can help you create new ideas, expand on other ideas, or simply inspire you to keep going. (A notepad by the bed is also a good idea for those middle-of-the-night flashes of brilliance!)
  6. Sign away. Resolve to set up book signings at your local bookstores. Independent stores are your best bet, but reach out to specific locations of the big chains as well. Even if your title is not on their shelves, they may let you sign and discuss your book to draw in customers.
  7. Keep it fresh. Plan to update and refresh your Amazon listing periodically throughout the year. This keeps search engines interested as they scan your new content, and it could get you bumped up in the search engine listings.
  8. Go Hollywood. Want to take your book marketing to a new level in 2016? Outskirts Press has relationships with Hollywood insiders that can help you get your book to the silver screen.
  9. Go on tour. You can personally visit book fairs around your region — or even around the world. Or you can consider sending your book on a Virtual Book Tour. With this option, you and/or your book can make “appearances” on blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — while you stay in the comfort of your own home!
  10. Be a mentor. Most writers have benefitted from the wisdom and advice of other writers. As a published author, why not help a newbie out as they negotiate the writing and publishing process?
  11. Retool. When sales stagnate, play around with pricing, marketing strategy, even the book itself if necessary. Sometimes a little tweak like a discount or a re-release with bonus material can make a world of difference.
  12. Get reviewed. Submit your book to book review sites. Resolve to submit once or twice a month, or whatever schedule you can manage.
  13. Polish your proofreading. This year, resolve to make your writing as expert as possible. If you’re having trouble, consider hiring a professional editor to clean up the typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors in your writing.
  14. Promote yourself. You’re taking all the right marketing steps for your book, but don’t forget to market yourself. Resolve to position yourself frequently as an author — it’s part of your identity!
  15. Join a writer’s group. If you’re serious about becoming a successful author, it’s crucial to continually work on your craft. A writer’s group not only provides support; you can get tips and feedback and like-minded writers who can help promote your work.
  16. Book it. Set up a schedule for contacting local and regional bookstores about carrying your book. Be sure to stock up on author copies so you’ll always have one on hand to provide to interested book sellers.
  17. Take some time for YOU. A healthy, well-rested writer is a more successful writer!

Let Outskirts Press help you with your marketing this year! A Personal Marketing Assistant can help you with a plan or opportunities if you need some assistance.

GET A MARKETING CALENDAR

Successful book promotion requires an organized plan. Let the Outskirts Press annual Marketing Calendar draw your attention to some of the most important deadlines and most helpful marketing options/services in the industry.

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TOP 10 DIAMOND BOOKS FROM OUTSKIRTS PRESS AUTHORS

Resolutions for 2016 That Every Aspiring Author Should Make

self publishing newsletter

We’re halfway through the month… Are you still on track with your New Year’s Resolutions? Don’t let the momentum of your resolve slow down! Here are some goals specifically tailored to writers who want to become published authors:

  1. Remember why you became a writer. Sure, there will be times when you don’t feel like writing or you’re frustrated with what you’ve written. Remind yourself why you feel passionate about writing and resolve to reach your writing goals in 2016.
  2. Use tools. There are tons of apps that can help you make and keep your writing resolutions. We like WriteOMeter, which lets you set up goals, timelines, and writing prompts.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Whether you’re stalled out halfway through your book or still in the planning stages, let people know you plan to finish your book this year. They’ll help hold you accountable when your own motivation is flagging.
  4. Polish your proofreading. This year, resolve to work on the basics and make your writing as expert as possible. If you’re having trouble, we can help! Check out our services here and hire a professional editor to clean up the typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors in your writing.
  5. Promote yourself. You may not be a published author YET…but it’s never too early to define yourself as a writer. Resolve to position yourself frequently as an aspiring author — it’s part of your identity!
  6. Join a writer’s group. If you’re serious about becoming a successful author, it’s crucial to continually work on your craft. A writer’s group not only provides support; you can get tips and feedback from like-minded writers who can help promote your work.
  7. Business cards. Get a jump on marketing your book and have professional business cards printed. Use them to self-promote as you progress through your writing.
  8. Make yourself accessible. Make sure there are plenty of ways for people to reach out to you —  phone, snail mail, email, social media, etc. This will prove vital, even long before your book is finished.
  9. Find your platform. If you don’t already have a writer “identity” on social media, get going on that. This should be separate from your regular social media pages. It’s a great space for you to poll potential readers, gauge interest in your project, and create a buzz, even before it’s published.
  10. Research your market. Resolve to learn all you can about your chosen genre. Now, while you’re still developing your project, is the perfect time to find out what’s big and what’s burgeoning on the book market so your work will be timely when it’s finally done.
  11. Go NaNo. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a writing challenge that takes place throughout the month of November each year. The contest challenges writers to produce 50,000 words in 30 days, and many a novel has come to fruition because of NaNoWriMo. Sign-ups start in October, so resolve to get on board this year.
  12. Enter contests. Short story contests, essay contests, poetry contests —  they all validate us as writers. Resolve to enter a competition several times a year to keep you writing and maybe even win some money!
  13. Be open to advice. If you’re unsure of your path, Outskirts Press has a staff of experienced book gurus who can advise you on how to proceed. Even if you’re not done writing, an assistant may be able to offer you advice or services that you didn’t know were available to you —  assistance that could get your book to market much sooner and with much greater success.
  14. Go “ghost” hunting. If you’ve come to the conclusion that a book is too big of a project for you, resolve to get help. A ghostwriter can write everything from small edits to entire passages and chapters to a full book from scratch.
  15. Back up often. Don’t lose valuable data that could set you back. Resolve to back up important files to a cloud service or external hard drive so you’ll never lose data —  and you’ll sleep better at night.
  16. Be a mentor. Most writers have benefitted from the wisdom and advice of other writers. Why not help share what you’ve learned about the writing and/or publishing process with someone else?
  17. Take some time for YOU. A healthy, well-rested writer is a more successful writer!

The New Year is the perfect time to either start that writing project or finish it — and get it published! Not sure where to start? Let Outskirts Press help!

RECEIVE OUR AUTHOR PLATFORM SET-UP, FOR FREE ($499 value) WHEN YOU START PUBLISHING TODAY!

This month you can get the effective Author Platform Set-up Through Social Media service FREE when you start publishing today. Start right now and choose to publish with our industry-leading Diamond publishing service or our full-color Pearl publishing service.
Outskirts Press can launch your book into the social media landscape with the following services included in the package:

  • Establish author accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress
  • Set up social media profiles on each platform
  • Identify and establish relevant connections with users on each social media platform
  • Assist you in building their unique online presence

Start today with the promotion code FreeSocial2016 when you choose to publish with our industry-leading Diamond publishing service or our full-color Pearl publishing service to receive the FREE Author Platform Set-up Through Social Media option.

In addition to receiving a FREE Author Platform Set-Up, you’ll also receive the following with your Diamond package:

  1. Standard Press Release. $99 value included free when you order your Diamond publishing service today.
  2. Audio Excerpt. $99 value included free with your Diamond order today and a great way to share your voice with your readers, literally!
  3. E-Book Edition (pdf). $99 value included free with your Diamond publishing service.
  4. Cover Image. $99 value included free and a great way to enhance your cover.
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All in all, you’re looking at almost $1,000 of free stuff in January!

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & SUCCESS STORY

“I find that working with the publishing staff is a pleasure. Dana and her staff are all highly competent and thorough in the performance of their duties. I hope to work with them again in the near future.”

James C. Maddox grew up in Florida, where he still lives today. He retired after 27 years at a high-tech plant for the Department of Energy. At almost the same time, Jim completed another 27-year career with the Florida National Guard. He began as a private and worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Jim’s love of the outdoors and wildlife knowledge is expressed in his other books, Lake Pan and The Dream.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Lake Pan, Jim and the gang are called upon to help when a rancher down in south Florida reports a problem: Something is eating the rancher’s herd of prizewinning experimental Brahma cattle. As the new director of the South Regional Fish and Game office, Anna Mae Jones knows that the rancher’s problem has landed squarely in her lap as he claims the marauding animal, whatever it is, is coming from her jurisdiction-the Everglades National Park. Anna sends one of her top park rangers to investigate the rancher’s losses, but he returns with disturbing news. The mysterious animal is big and unidentifiable, at least to Sgt. Wayne Shucks, who asks his new boss for help. Anna immediately thinks of the group of fishermen who helped further her career earlier at a lake called Pan. The men are ex-service members of the United States Armed Forces, and with their military skills and vast knowledge of the region’s fish, animals, and swamplands, Jim and his gang are perfectly suited for this assignment. If only Anna can drag them away from their bass fishing on Lake Pan.

– James C. Maddox, author of Bowfin