Strike That! (In)Famous Literary Typos and How to Avoid Making the List

There is no question: Editing is important not just for small-scale boo-boos like grammatical gaffs and questionable spelling but also for large-scale issues such as continuity irregularities and factual errors. Even little goofs can add up to a seriously bad impression, poor reader enjoyment and snarky reviews that can hurt sales.

No matter how sharp-eyed an author fancies himself/herself, flubs happen. After many hours, weeks, months (even years) of writing — not to mention the multiple rounds of revisions that inevitably follow — our brains play tricks on us. We know what we meant to type, so our minds perform a mental “autocorrect” … and the error stands unnoticed. Sometimes that same typo gets by our Aunt Sally or Grandpa Jones, who fastidiously read every word and fixed lots of errors.

But as these famous and lauded literary giants prove, even the greats have not-so-great moments. You won’t believe what typos made it into some of your favorite works:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Yes, Mark Twain let this goof get by him when referring to a saw: “I took the bag to where it used to stand, and ripped a hole in the bottom of it with the was.”
  • An American Tragedy. Theodore Dreiser didn’t have spell check to fall back on when he wrote this classic. The “tragedy” in this case is a small but amusing typo in this sentence: “… harmoniously abandoning themselves to the rhythm of the music — like two small chips being tossed about on a rough but friendly sea.”
  • Twilight. With a writing timeline of just a few months and a rushed production schedule, the first edition of Stephenie Meyer’s fantasy bestseller went to press brimming with errors. Most consist of mixing up “though” with “through” and “whose” with “who’s.” Thankfully, young readers were either very forgiving or oblivious.
  • Webster’s New International Dictionary. Bet you didn’t expect such a fastidious publication to make the list, huh? In Webster’s first edition (1934), abbreviations and words were intermingled; for example, the abbreviation “lb” (for “pound”) could be found right after the word “lazy.” This system changed with the second edition, with abbreviations being gathered into a separate section at the back of the dictionary. A card was prepared bearing the notation “D or d, cont/ density” to indicate D and d as abbreviations for the word “density” and was supposed to go into the “abbreviations” pile. Somehow, the card ended up in the “words” pile and an editor removed the spaces. So, the “D or d” notation ended up being set as the single word “dord.” The non-word remained in the dictionary for five years until it was finally caught and removed.

As you can see, thorough editing is not optional — not for anyone. With all the competition in today’s literary market, readers have the luxury of being unforgiving about unattractive cover designs, jumbled formatting, typos and other errors that lower their perception of a book’s value. Don’t give them even a single reason to skip over you.

Since we can’t objectively edit our own work, it costs more than time to get the job done. For most authors, the wisest decision is to hire a professional editor who can view the manuscript with fresh eyes, objectivity and an encyclopedic knowledge of spelling, grammar and syntax.

The good news is that an experienced book editor doesn’t have to break the bank. Because the market for copy editing has diversified in recent years and the level of service can be tailored to an author’s needs, the costs are much lower than they used to be. Take your time, get referrals and find an editor whose expertise and personality work best for you and your project.

Do you have questions about professional copy editing? Contact an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant to find out how this option works or to make a low down payment. There are three convenient ways to connect:


Introducing New Premium Full-Color Books in Landscape Formats

You asked for it, and we’ve answered!

Outskirts Press now offers premium full-color books in landscape formats. These gorgeous 11×8.5 paperback or casebound hardbacks are available with either glossy or matte cover finishes and are perfect for children’s books, juvenile books, cookbooks, coffee table books, and more.

“We have always been the best choice for premium full-color publishing in a wide range of portrait formats,” Outskirts Press President Brent Sampson stated. “Now we are pleased to add four new landscape options to that impressive array of formats.”

  • 11” x 8.5” premium full-color perfect bound paperback in landscape format with glossy laminated cover
  • 11” x 8.5” premium full-color perfect bound paperback in landscape format with matte cover
  • 11” x 8.5” premium full-color casebound hardback in landscape format with glossy laminated cover
  • 11” x 8.5” premium full-color casebound hardback in landscape format with matte cover

If you want to publish a landscape orientation of your current book(s), as either an additional publication or a revision, contact us and we’ll help you get started.

If you want to publish a new premium book in this exciting new format, visit our full-color packages on our website. The new color landscape formats are available for the a la carte full-color package and for all the color One-Click Publishing Suites.

For more information, visit us online at, call 1-888-OPBOOKS, or chat with us live via on our website.

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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Self-Publishing Creative Services

Whether you’re a new author, a seasoned pro or just thinking about self-publishing, there’s always a lot to consider along your publishing journey.

Many authors find themselves overwhelmed with all the “little finishing touches” that add up to a huge workload just to get their book in tip-top shape for publication: creating a beautiful cover; crafting cover copy that’s both SEO-friendly and compelling to prospective buyers; polishing the manuscript until it’s flawless; formatting for a beautiful paperback and hardcover book, as well as for a fully functional ebook … You’ll need to be a Jack/Jill-of-all-trades with a lot of time on your hands to cover all that creative territory!

Understandably – and wisely, we might add – many authors hire professional creatives with specialized skills to take these tasks off their hands. Here are five smart ways to get the most out of these creatives services and save money in the process.

  1. Look for money-saving bundles. No one wants to get nickeled and dimed when they self-publish. Our publishing packages are assembled to help you get everything you need to publish and market your book at a discounted package price. From comprehensive One-Click Suites tailored to specific book genres to publishing packages such as the Ultimate and Full-Color, bundles save you time and money, and spare you the stress of cherry-picking services.
  2. Think outside the bundle. There’s no need to accept an all-or-nothing approach. Not only does Outskirts Press package the essentials into convenient publishing suites, but we have scores of optional custom creative services you can select or add to your publishing package, including Custom Cover Design, Custom Illustrations, Professional Copy Editing and Enhanced Interior Formatting. In fact, we offer more creative options than any other self-publishing company.
  3. Personalize, customize, revitalize. Never feel you must purchase more than what you need. Although Outskirts Press publishing packages are exceptionally well crafted, you’re always free to build your own menu of services to get something that’s fully customized to your needs. It costs nothing to chat with an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 or via our live online chat option; a consultant can help you choose the perfect products.
  4. Rely on specialized expertise. Once you’ve chosen your package and/or creative options, know that you can relax and hand off the heavy lifting to graphic designers, professional formatters, marketing copywriters, seasoned copy editors and other talented creative service providers with experience in the publishing industry.
  5. Never be afraid to ask for help. It’s our desire to always tell you “yes.” We realize every author’s work is unique and every situation is different — so if anything is ever “close but not quite,” let us know and we’ll make it perfect for you. Outskirts Press will always work with you one-on-one to ensure you have the services you need and that those services are delivered to you in a manner that works best for you.

At Outskirts Press, we want to help bring your unique vision to life. Your book is a one-of-a-kind work, so we’ve designed a full range of products from which you can pick and choose to get service that’s as unique as your book! Learn more about which ones are right for you by speaking with an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 or via the live online chat option on our website.

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Once Upon a Cover: The Power of Eye-Catching Copy

There once was a time when you might venture forth to browse the shelves at your local bookstore or library, run your fingers along a hundred or so spines, and snatch up the book that most grabbed your attention. These days, the process has a digital equivalent, and many of us readers lose hours upon hours of our lives scrolling through listings on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s online stores before settling on the books which pull us in. But in one thing, we haven’t evolved. Despite mostly eschewing cliches, one continues to haunt us: “don’t judge a book by its cover!”

These words haunt us because of their impossibility. We do judge books by their covers, and in an era of rapid digital evolution, we’re still drawn to books with interesting cover art over those with basic or template designs. And while e-book formats sometimes require less emphasis on physical appearance (interior formatting is simpler and a full cover design is not always necessary), they still need distinctive, eye-popping cover artwork. And since the reader will be viewing the cover on a screen–often the size of a business card–it is very important that the design is appealing and captures the essence of the book.

If your front cover is your book’s first impression, your back cover synopsis is a very valuable second; you’re targeting your reader, pulling them in, and convincing them that this is a book worth investing in. One typo or missing element could make the difference between your sales being “okay” and “wow!”

And, it’s important to realize that this back cover content isn’t solely for the actual back cover — it is also the sales copy (otherwise called “the annotation”) for the detailed sales page on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Most book buyers thoroughly read the sales copy of the books they are considering, so this is not a detail you can ignore.

But should you write your own sales copy? Writing something that educates or entertains is different from writing something that sells. As a professional author, it’s important to know when to ask for help.

The skilled team behind our “Cover Text Refinement Option” knows what it takes to transform a browser into a buyer! With this optional production option, you’re telling your readers that your book is worth their time and money because you’ve made it the best it can possibly be–both inside and out. Meanwhile, the Outskirts Press copywriters will do what it takes to hook your readers by professionally summarizing your manuscript, creating eye-catching headlines, and writing a compelling author biography.

You’ve spent so much time and energy creating your masterpiece–don’t let your hard work go unnoticed! An amazing back cover and sales annotation can make the difference between someone scrolling past your book…and someone buying it.

Have questions? For more information about self-publishing with Outskirts Press, get in touch with a 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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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


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 to chat via our live chat option.

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Premium Book Design Services Bundled to Save 20%!


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, where you can engage in a live chat with our expert staff.

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