Tell Your Story Vividly Through Custom Book Illustrations

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Whether demonstrating instructions, providing historical reference or bringing life to a complex character, illustrations perform a vital role in literature.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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

5 Tips for Self-Publishing Efficiently

Self-publishing technology has come a long way since the early days of so-called “vanity press.” No longer does an indie author need to order and warehouse mounds of book copies in order to sell. The changing publishing landscape means not only can you sell without massive and expensive storage, but you can do so in a variety of formats … and, yes, in a much shorter publishing timeframe than in the past.

So, with spring on the horizon, Outskirts Press offers five ways to be well on the way by summer’s end.

  1. Get help crossing the finish line. Sometimes a skilled — and unbiased — ghostwriter can assess and finesse a nearly complete manuscript more quickly than the author can. A fresh set of eyes is a surefire way to expedite the final stages of writing.
  2. Knock out the final read-through. Many independent authors rely on friends and family to beta-read their manuscript before publication. However, this approach can cost valuable time as non-professional readers miss unofficial “deadlines.” It is a good investment to hire a professional copyeditor, who will be working on a firm deadline and will have a much greater eye for grammar, punctuation and flow.
  3. Never underestimate the frustration of formatting. Book formatting is much more complex than adding indentations and selecting fonts. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried to master alternate page numbering! Save hours — even days or weeks — of frustration by handing over this taxing task to a formatter who can turn the raw manuscript into a professional looking book in a fraction of the time.
  4. Don’t “blow your cover.” A book cover design is an investment that can pay off like no other. In an age when readers are spending mere seconds deciding if a book is worthy of a second look, the cover is the most powerful marketing tool an author can have.
  5. Get ready to bundle. When time is of the essence, authors can move forward more quickly by taking advantage of publishing packages that include everything they will need to complete the publishing process, instead of selecting a la carte options as they go. This approach saves time and money, and gets authors selling sooner.

For more information about how to get your manuscript moving forward this year, call Outskirts Press at 1-888-OP-BOOKS, chat with us via the online chat on our website, or make an appointment with a Publishing Consultant.

5 Reasons to Fall in Love With Self-Publishing

Times have changed, haven’t they? And self-publishing has changed the world … and the publishing industry right along with it. There are so many reasons why authors, including those who may have previously been traditionally published, are eschewing the old ways and trying something new, and February is the perfect month to try it out yourself. Once you learn more about self-publishing, you may even find that you love this option, too! Here are five reasons why publishing in the lead up to and in the immediate aftermath of Valentine’s Day might just be exactly what your year needs to kick into gear.

1. Timing

It’s a new year, yes, but it’s also not quite brand new anymore. Which is to say, the hectic holidays are past, and the doldrums of spring are opening up before you. What better time of year to knock out that project you’ve always wanted to? Finishing your book and preparing it for publication takes a lot less time than it used to with the advent of self-publishing. The period between mid-February and Memorial Day is an excellent time to finally complete your manuscript and submit your book for publication … just in time for a late spring or early summer debut!

2. Velocity

Traditional publishing is a slow process. There are the dreaded query letters, the time spent waiting to hear back from agents or editors, and the time spent agonizing revising your manuscript to meet someone else’s editorial suggestions. If your book does get picked up by a firm, it can take over a year to see your book in print … and that’s a best-case scenario! The self-publishing process is often completed within a few months, as we’ve indicated above. Not only does this mean you don’t have to wait to see your book in print, but it also opens up even more doors for writing adaptive, timely, and responsive works that touch upon issues still being actively discussed in the public sphere. You can now publish books that are current and in response to readers’ desires!

3. Rights

When a book is traditionally published, its author may have very little control over the fate of the manuscript. Editors and agents decide if a book is print worthy, while a publishing firm decides upon the book’s cover art, layout, and price point … all without consulting you, the author. Once you hand over your manuscript for a traditional publishing company to publish, you are essentially giving up all rights and control over the final product. Meanwhile, should you choose to self-publish your book, you remain in charge, and you decide when your manuscript is ready to be published. The final outcome and the final product are the product of your singular vision, not publication by committee!

4. Quality

The quality of print-on-demand (POD) books has come a long way since the inception of self-publishing more than two decades ago. In addition to higher quality printing methods and a wider variety of formatting options, many self-publishing companies now offer a variety of professional services such as copyediting and cover design to ensure that your book receives truly top-notch, red-carpet treatment. There are no barriers to a high-quality product anymore, and your book will positively shine in both digital and print formats.

5. Individuality

Traditional publishing is all about making money, and traditional publishing professionals end up choosing to publish “sure thing” bestsellers over unique, specialized works in order to cover their corporate bottom line and satisfy shareholders. To do so, they need books that appeal to the mass market, but not all authors are targeting the mass market. Self-publishing allows you to write for a niche market … and better yet, it allows you to print, distribute, and market for a niche market, as well! In the world of self-publishing, blockbuster success doesn’t have to come at the price of your book’s individuality, its unique voice and architecture. Everything special and unique which wrapped you up in writing can still be there in its final form, and what’s not to love about that?

Yes, February is the month of love, and we hope you take a moment to think what options might best suit the book that you have created as a labor of love! Not sure where to get started? Visit us online at to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to learn more about the self-publishing packages and options available at Outskirts Press.

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How to Know You Need an Editor for Your Next Book

If you’ve spent much time researching the dos and do-nots of publishing, you’ll probably have read a number of different perspectives on editors and the work that they do in helping generate a polished, ready-to-publish manuscript. In fact, you might have read several dozen perspectives, or several hundred. There are, quite simply, thousands of authors and publishing professionals with strong opinions on the matter.

So: how do you know what’s real? And how do you know if you need to hire an editor yourself?

In self-publishing, the burden of editing is on you. Which is to say: it’s up to you to edit your work, or to track down and engage with the professionals who can take care of the various editorial processes for you. Spell check and grammar tools in your word processing software can only get you so far, as their algorithms lead authors astray as often as not. They are fundamentally incapable of recognizing some typos and misused words, and they often “autocorrect” perfectly correct sentences into something mangled and unreadable. They also have no way of noting inconsistencies, plot holes, and continuity errors. Word processors are not, in point of fact, insightful humans with decades of experience and an eye for sense and detail.

The only way to ensure that your manuscript becomes flawless (or even remotely near-flawless) is to hire a professional editor. This individual will be capable of editing your manuscript and providing a fresh set of unbiased eyes to double-check your work. In addition to correcting spelling, grammar, and stylistic bungles, a good and experienced editor will lend a good dollop of professionalism to your manuscript and iron out all glaring errors. These days, it’s entirely possible to find editors with decades of experience within the self-publishing industry. Outskirts Press has a team of experienced editors that we can set you up with.

Every author benefits from using an editor. After all, we all make errors, and it’s fundamental to your future success as a self-publishing author that you be willing to face that fact and take the necessary steps to address your need for an extra pair of unbiased, expert eyes.

So, how do you get started? Easy, visit: and add professional copy editing services to your cart. Or, if you would like help identifying the right publishing options for you and your book, call us at 1-888-672-6657 to speak with a publishing consultant.

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The Road to Publication

You have a great book idea. Maybe you even have a completed manuscript. You’ve made the decision to self-publish, and you’re ready to start your journey to becoming a published author. But where do you begin? Outskirts Press offers you an easy to follow road map for self-publishing success. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Connect with your personal Publishing Consultant to answer all your questions about starting the self-publishing process and to begin your journey.
  2. Submit your manuscript to Outskirts Press
  3. Meet your author representative for one-on-one assistance
  4. Next, Outskirts Press will create your digital files and send them to you to review
  5. After you make sure your files are perfect, your book will be approved for publication
  6. While you wait for your book to print, you’ll start working on your marketing efforts. This is essential to success!
  7. Before you know it, you’re a published author! Now it’s time to get to work promoting your new book

With Outskirts Press, authors are never alone! Your publishing team will assist you every step of the way. Your team is there to help you develop and publish high-quality books by offering exceptional design, printing, publishing, distribution, and book marketing services. We take the complexity and guesswork out of publishing, and our mission is to help you publish the book of your dreams.

For more information about self-publishing with Outskirts Press, get in touch with your 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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