Good Company: You’re Not Alone When You Publish with Outskirts Press

Whether you’ve published multiple books or are researching the possibilities, you have probably noticed just how many decisions there are to weigh in the creation of a successful book. Even with a complete draft manuscript in the bag, there’s still the cover design, editing, book formats and marketing to consider.

Since few people are experts on all—or even any one—of those aspects of self-publishing, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the unknowns and the pressure of making the right decision in the face of them.

Just know that when you publish with Outskirts Press, you’re never alone. We have teams of professionals with niche expertise to help you navigate every step in the process.

  • Ghostwriter. Should you need help crossing the finish line or heavily editing your rough draft, we can put you in touch with one of our trusted ghostwriting partners for one-on-assistance.
  • Production. Our production artists and tech gurus will ensure your book is properly formatted to your preferences and to the specifications of each selling platform. Once your book is perfect, our team will get it onto each platform so you can start selling.
  • Cover Designer. You can select a template-based book cover and tailor it to your needs. However, if you need or desire a level of customization that can’t be provided in a template, our talented cover designers will create an eye-catching cover that will give you a distinctive edge.
  • Editor. Our editors eat, breathe and sleep the written word. Their eagle eyes will catch errors and inconsistencies that are invisible to mere mortals.
  • Marketing Assistant. The modern marketing environment is complex, with virtual bookstores taking the selling process from the old-fashioned, one-on-one approach to techniques that reach all corners of the globe in an instant. Our marketing pros can help you use the tech tools available to you to level the playing field in the book marketplace.
  • Publishing Consultant. Helping you coordinate it all are your Publishing Consultant and Author Representative, knowledgeable advisors who are dedicated to you and your unique project.

Not sure where to start? Connect with your team! Reach out to an Outskirts Press Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 or via the live chat option on our website. You can even schedule a meeting directly with a Publishing Consultant via the following link – Schedule a Consultation.

 

Why Do We Edit?

Editing is often described as the most painful part of the process that transforms a manuscript into a book. The immortal Stephen King implores his fellow writers, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” This might be pushing the metaphor a little too far, but it’s not terribly far beyond the mark. 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 always our best drafts.

slider-author

As self-publishing author Lori Lesko puts it, “The good news about self publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self publishing is you get to do everything yourself.” And there you have it: self-publishing authors have to kill their darlings, and they can’t hire a contract killer to do so.

Or can they?

Lest this extended metaphor evolve past the point of no return into the plot for someone’s next crime fiction thriller, here’s the lie to that last statement: It is entirely possible, feasible, and relatively easy to not do everything yourself—and as an ardent and independent self-publishing author, you can even do so while maintaining your independence and your self-respect. 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 look for others to edit our work, too, because we’re not always the most objective observers about our own wrting. 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.

guy-kawasaki-featured

And he’s not wrong.

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 (and is something you can afford to do), take your time. There are plenty of options out there—everything from independent editors who advertise their availability online to professional editors who work with and are vetted by companies like Outskirts Press. Because the market for true and deep copyediting has diversified in recent years, the costs are much lower than they used to be, and there are a lot more options in terms of choosing what kinds of feedback you want to receive. The key is to do your due diligence in terms of research, and to trust your instincts when you get in touch with potential editors. You’ll get a sense rather quickly for when an editor is just in it to pay the bills, and when an editor is a true advocate for your book!

 

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!

***

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!