In Your Corner: What is so important about editing?

edit editing red pen

Whether you are a self-publishing fiction author, online social network professional, or compulsive blogger, errors in your writing can be a source of discredit, if even implicitly. For example, an industry professional recently noted an example where an author titled an article, “What is your worse fear?

As can often happen, comments exploded following it’s publication. English majors came out of the woodwork to argue usage and the article gained the author attention, but perhaps not the kind intended. Comments didn’t pertain to content, but instead focused on whether or not the author was proficient with the English language. That’s not, in general, what authors want others to take away from their work.

While publishing online has many benefits, technology often allows us instantaneous revision. Book publishing, including self-publishing, is much more permanent. It really is worthwhile to make sure your writing is bomb-proof. Below are five tips you can employ to drastically decrease the chance of mistakes finding their way into your business writing, whether it be a proposal, a website, or a newsletter.

1 – Use an editor

The most common mistakes are minor, such as misspellings or incorrect use of punctuation. Other common errors are incorrect word use (their, they’re, there; or worse, worst, borscht, etc.). A professional editor is adept at noticing and correcting these kinds of mistakes. Your book will reach many human hands; use a human editor.

2 – Get a second, even third, set of eyes

Since you are overly familiar with your own work you are much more likely to miss obvious mistakes because your mind already knows what it is supposed to say, rather than what it actually reads.  So even if you opt away from a professional editor, which most good self-publishing services provide, anyone who reviews your writing will find mistakes you invariably miss. When someone else reads your work, they have no preconceived notions about your writing. At the same time, human behavior will often motivate them to find fault. Use that to your advantage. In addition to finding mistakes, other people may offer constructive criticism to improve your writing overall. Take nothing personally.

3 – Revisit

Do you wait long enough after writing something to begin editing it? Many writers edit their work as they write it. Not only does this slow down the creative process, it increases the chance that your mind will ignore blatant errors in deference to your intentions. Once your brain thinks a paragraph is free from errors, it tends to overlook any new errors that are introduced during the rewriting process. Put your writing away for several hours, days, or weeks (depending upon your deadlines) and revisit it later. After some time away from your work, you will be more likely to read the words as they appear on the page, not as you envisioned them in your mind. The mind is error-free, the page is not.

4 – Read Backwards

Reading your material backwards makes it seem entirely different and fools your mind into ignoring the intention and only concentrating on the reality. Furthermore, your critical view of the writing at its most technical level will not be corrupted by the flowing exposition you have massaged into sparkling prose. When you read your manuscript backwards, it becomes a collection of words. Without contextual meaning, the brain has nothing to focus upon other than the words themselves. Mistakes literally jump off the page.

5 – Read Out Loud

When you read words aloud, your brain must slow down and concentrate on the material. How fast can you read: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog? Now, how fast can you read it out loud? It takes at least twice as long, and those precious milliseconds sometimes make all the difference between a typo that is missed, and one that is caught and corrected. As a popular Internet posting informed us as far back as 2003, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wtihuot any porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. But try raednig tihs out luod and see how far you get. An extra bonus for reading your material out loud is that you may discover stumbling blocks like awkward sentence structure and choppy dialogue. Strong business writing is not only dependent on error-free prose; it must be crisp and clear.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Ask the Right Questions!

questions ideas

Regardless of whether you are holding out for an old-fashioned publishing contract or taking matters into your own hands with custom self-publishing, here are 5 questions you should know the answers to when you decide to publish:

  1. What is the minimum number of books you have to purchase, and what does
    each book cost you? Many require certain quantities to be purchased at highly marked up prices. That is how they ‘get you.’
  2. Who determines your retail price? How much is it? Here’s another one to look out for. You should have that control. Publishers that don’t allow that are often in the business to make money on your book. You’ve done the work. You should see the rewards.
  3. Who determines how much money you make from each book? Another good test. Your publisher should pay 100% of the difference between the wholesale price and the production price of the book. Most publishers pay anywhere from 5%-50%.
  4. Do you receive marketing support after publication? Free services like the Marketing COACH offered by Outskirts Press is an invaluable collection of proven tactics shared to help improve your book sales.
  5. Do you retain all the rights to your book? You definitely should. Check the contract of wherever you publish.

Whatever questions you ask, the sheer willingness to ask them will make a world of difference to your self-publishing experience. Those who don’t ask questions end up trapped in contracts which leave them underserved, or worse, while those who do ask questions are on a constant quest for self-improvement and the improvement of their circumstances and sales. That questing spirit? That’s one of your greatest assets.

Never be afraid to ask the hard questions.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Nail Down New Readers with Pinterest Book Marketing Tips

Think of Pinterest as a highly sophisticated scrapbooking or bookmarking tool – one that allows you share with and borrow from other users. That element of sharing can be a powerful tool, if you use it to your advantage.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a unique opportunity to reach out to readers and to the writing community in ways you may not have thought of. Once you’ve signed up for an account, apply these techniques to make a positive impression:

  • Build your presence. Once you’ve signed up, get started by building the identity, or brand, you want to project to other Pinterest users. First and foremost, fill out that profile as completely and creatively as you can. The more information you give, the more likely it is that people will follow you and pay attention to what you pin. Then get started pinning the things that resonate with you and define you as a writer.
  • Build pin boards. Create a separate board for each of your books, and perhaps extra boards for other books in your genre that have inspired you.
  • Promote visually. Writers illustrate with words, but Pinterest represents an opportunity to attach memorable visual images to your project. Do you have a book in progress? Consider pinning photos of locations represented in your book, or even actors who resemble how your picture your characters.
  • Go behind the scenes. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate how the “magic” happens with pictures of your writing desk, photos from book signings or industry-related events you attended. Allowing readers a peek inside your world puts a human face on the writing process and helps build a virtual rapport.
  • Pin promotions. Are you offering buy-one-get-one specials or redeeming coupons for discounts? Pin ’em! Post printable coupons, or offer a promotional code with links to your website or author page where your book is available.
  • Engage. Just as you would with Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and other social media, interact thoughtfully with other users. Post comments and useful links on their pinned items, and re-pin the ones you like.
  • Get “pin-able.” PSome studies suggest that users are spending more time pinning than they are Facebooking. Feed the sharing need by making sure that distinctive red “P” appears on your own website.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: What is the Difference Between Traditional Printing vs Print on Demand?

apple versus donut choices

One of the biggest decisions for self-published authors is whether to choose traditional printing or print on demand (POD). The publishing consultants I work with are constantly asked questions about the differences and benefits of traditional printing versus print on demand. Below I have answered three of the most common questions we’re asked about POD . Hopefully, the answers will give you a better understanding of the two types of services and help you determine if print on demand is right for you.

Why should I choose POD rather than traditional printing?

Most authors who select POD want their self-publisher to handle distribution and fulfillment as well as the actual printing of the books. This allows the author to focus on what they do best – writing, and hopefully marketing, their books – instead of managing inventory, packaging orders, and shipping books to the buyer.

Why is the per book cost higher for a POD title compared to a traditionally printed title?

The more you buy (of anything, from books to business cards) from a traditional printer the lower your unit cost. Whether you print 100 copies of an item or 1000 copies, your set up costs are the same, and they are amortized over the entire print run. Typically, buyers  order more than they actually need  to achieve a lower unit price.  In POD, the cost of your book is the same for book number 1 and book 2000 because each book is printed one at a time and the set up is included in every individual copy.

So why would I accept a higher unit price?

Authors that select POD are doing it for two specific reasons. The first is they want their self-publisher to print the book and deliver it to the purchaser without them having to be personally involved. The second is cash-flow. Inventory costs money. Buying 2000 books, for example, at $3.50 per book will require an investment of $7,000.00. In a nutshell, POD authors are trading a higher per book cost for the luxury of not having 1000’s of dollars worth of inventory sitting in their home office.

POD is a great option for authors who are concerned about time management and inventory cost. After all, authors should be writing and marketing not storing, packaging, and shipping books.

I’d love to hear your questions, advice, and experiences with traditional printing and print on demand.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Who fills the void left by CreateSpace? Think about Outskirts Press

CreateSpace recently announced plans to soon eliminate positions in its editing, marketing and design divisions. While job cuts are an unsavory step for any company, this move is likely intended to streamline operations and shore up financials.

But what will this mean for self-publishing authors? CreateSpace will continue to print books and authors will still be able to upload and sell their books, but with these cuts there will no longer be the option to purchase copyediting, book formatting, book cover design, marketing or any other professional creative services for authors publishing via CreateSpace. Suddenly, CreateSpace authors will need to navigate the process alone or seek out other self-publishing service providers for help.

Here’s where a self-publishing company–like the one I work for, Outskirts Press–comes in.

Based on company-wide conversations already taking place, I’m confident that Outskirts Press will work diligently to accommodate all writers negatively affected by the service cuts at CreateSpace. We’re proud to have been named the #1 self-publisher by Top Consumer Reviews multiple years in a row and will continue the tradition of excellence for all CreateSpace authors who require more than just an upload. In addition to our printing and ebook publishing services, we provide independent authors with all the same services discontinued by CreateSpace, and then some. Our services include:

  • Professional writing and editing services: Our service to independent authors starts long before publication! Whether you need help starting or finishing the manuscript, or require just the final read-through, we can match you up with a talented professional ghostwriter or editor to help you achieve a professional book.
  • Professional book formatting: A wide selection of the most popular book formats and interior formatting options.
  • Custom cover design: Our talented book cover designers will ensure that you get a cover that sells.
  • Book marketing: A broad menu of marketing options to promote your book your way today.
  • All-inclusive packages: Comprehensive publishing packages that include everything you need to polish, format, publish and market your book successfully.
  • Affordable and flexible: With us, you can start the self-publishing journey for only $35 down!

Are you, or is an author you know, left stranded by the void left by CreateSpace’s cuts? You can find out more about how my coworkers at Outskirts Press can professionally publish your book, distribute it globally (yes, even on Amazon) and support you with affordable options at the same time by visiting our website at www.OutskirtsPress.com.

You know, it’s not every day I am compelled to write a “hard sell,” but when it comes to recent events, I feel the need to be honest: what CreateSpace has done will leave many authors feeling abandoned mid-project, or worse, unaided from start to finish. Self-publishing has (and will) continue to thrive and evolve to provide better services due to the diversification of options available to you, the self-publishing author; watching any company in our industry go through the layoff process is not, in the end, a cheerful experience. We feel for those who now find themselves looking for work, and hope that they, as well as you, find that next good thing speedily.

You can read more about the layoffs here.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Should You Self Publish a Large Print Format?

seniors large print type

It’s no secret that writing a book is hard. That is why most authors publish multiple formats of each book they write. Why only publish one format when the same words can be used to publish many different formats?

As the average lifespan increases, the overall population is aging and that makes it a perfect time for LARGE PRINT editions. A large print edition of your book is exactly that — the same words, just formatted at a larger print size (usually 14-16 point font) to make it easier to read for seniors.

Imagine opening up a whole new marketing opportunity for your self-published book. If your current book is already successful, publishing a large print edition may add another great revenue stream. And if your book isn’t performing so great, a new edition may give it the shot in the arm it needs to find a new market, and re-attract interest in the original edition, as well.

Seniors are a huge market with a voracious need for books (plus disposable income). They are their own niche market, and yet, a niche market that is general enough to seek cookbooks as well as poetry as well as general non-fiction, and fiction. If you’ve been having trouble finding a niche for your book, seniors may be the place to look (and if you haven’t had any trouble, that’s even more reason to add seniors to the list!).

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Why Network?

Imagine you are standing on the shore of a large pond. You throw a pebble into the middle of the water and watch the concentric circles ripple out away from the point of impact.

rock ripples water

Now imagine YOU are the rock. Those circles represent your networking opportunities when it comes to promoting your book. The analogy works because each circle of influence depends upon the success of the circle before it.

You are the rock. The first circle is your family. The second circle represents your friends. Then your acquaintances, and so on. In other words, you have to market your book successfully to people you know before trying to market to people you don’t know. Two easy ways to network with people you don’t know is to join an email discussion list and participate in a social media group–on Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, or elsewhere!

Ask yourself what “circle” you are on… if you have not yet mastered marketing to people in your close circle of friends and family, how will you expect perfect strangers to be interested?

There is no time like the present to contact your circle of friends and associates, even if for the first time.  If you already contacted everyone you knew back when your book was published (no matter how long ago), it’s okay to do it again. They might like seeing how far you have come as a self published author! They might even mention you to someone in their circle of friends … and that is how networking to strangers begins.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.