Monthly Archives: August 2011

Which Distribution Channels are Right for You?

Lulu offers so many great options for getting your book out in the world, how do you know which ones are right for you?

With both print and eBook distribution, you have the option of selling on Lulu only or through one of Lulu’s retail partners. It is important to note that our partners do have certain requirements for distribution. If your book does not meet these requirements, you can still sell it on the Lulu Marketplace. Selling on Lulu is a great option if you have a specialized market that you can send right to Lulu.  Lulu-only distribution is perfect for projects like school fundraisers, church cookbooks, family genealogies, etc.  Lulu only distribution also works if you’re just starting out and getting a feel for how to market and sell your book.

Print books can also be sold through two additional channels using extendedREACH, which is a free service, or GlobalREACH at a cost of $75. ExtendedREACH gets your book on Amazon.com only, whereas GlobalREACH will get your book on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and in Ingram’s database.

ExtendedREACH is free, so if your book meets all distribution requirements  – go for it! It will get your book in an additional location for some extra visibility.

GlobalREACH may be a little extra, but it’s worth every penny. With a listing in Ingram’s database, bookstores will be able to order the book if it is requested. If you have an eBook version of your book, you can have both your print and eBook version listed on barnesandnoble.com.

Through our eBook distribution channels, you can distribute to Lulu, the iBookstore (SM), and Barnes and Noble’s NOOK.  Both of these channels are excellent places for your eBook to be seen – and read! Learn more by visiting our new eBook landing page.

How to Make a Professional Portfolio on Lulu

Whether you’re a writer, a designer, an artist, or any other professional, a knock-out portfolio using Lulu’s publishing wizard can help you stand out from the crowd and land your dream job.

To create a portfolio, first gather all your most remarkable work.  Then, compile it into one PDF or Word document and publish it through our wizard.  That’s it!

What happens if you have something worth adding to your portfolio after you publish? Simply add your new work to the original file, and revise your project.

Things to remember:

  • Include your resume in the front of your portfolio. This way, you don’t risk having two separate pieces accidentally get separated. Future employers can quickly refer to the first page to get your employment history and contact information.

 

  • Personal branding is important! Creating a portfolio with a cohesive design that represents you makes you more memorable.

 

 

  • If you don’t want your portfolio to be sold to anyone but you, set it on private access in your project page.

 

  • Keep a copy with you and extra copies on hand. You never know when you’ll meet someone who’ll want to see your work.

 

Google+ & Authors (do I really have to join this?)

I read an article on Mashable.com a few weeks back where writer Nova Spivack states “welcome to ‘Sharepocalypse,’ a new era of social network insanity.” According to Spivack, Sharepocalypse takes place when “hundreds (if not thousands) of online friends share content with us across various social networks, culminating in massive information overload.” It can seem extremely daunting trying to keep up to speed with all these social sharing sites. But as self-published authors looking to market our books, we rely on them. The problem is … as writers, we are busy people. We don’t always have the time to just start a new online profile, or a second, or a third, etc …

Chances are, you’ve heard of The Google+ project – Google’s cloud-based tool to help “make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life.” If you’re like me, you may have received an invite from a friend but your indifference has yet to give way to the societal pressures to join. In reality, you probably just want someone to tell you if it’s worth it or not. The good news is … I am here to be that somebody. Let me give you some cliff notes on Google+.

NO NEED TO RUSH
First and foremost, there is not a huge rush to join.  Unlike Domain names and Twitter handles where you have the potential for “
name squatting,” Google+ profiles consist of unique 21 character numbers that then need to be put into a URL shortner – http://www.gplus.to/.  So unless you crave being an early adopter of these types of things or have a certain affinity to a 21 digit number, there is no need to rush in to secure your spot on Google+.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
If you have time, I recommend reading the following article “
How Authors, Bloggers and Journalists can use Google Plus?”  In it, the author rightfully points out that “most of the early adopters of the site have been techies, social media marketers, and bloggers.”  If you are a tech writer, then chances are you are already on Google+.  For the rest of us, it may still be a while before many of our readers set-up a profile (if ever).

GOT GMAIL?
Currently, I think Google+ is only worth it to Authors that already have
GMail accounts and lots of readers in their contacts.  Because your Google+ profile is tied to your GMail account, the minute you log-in, you have access to your contacts in ways once only restricted to email.   The only caveat is that many of your contacts will not have Google+ accounts, so you’ll need to send them invites to join.

WRITING WORKSHOPS AND BOOK GROUPS
Google+ has two features that could be very helpful to Authors: “Circles” and “Hangouts.”  When you join Google+, you can create customized circles of your contacts.   You could easily create one for your readers and provide them with updates, savings coupons, and preview chapters of your book.  The second feature that is pretty cool is Hangouts.  Hangouts is a video conference tool similar to
WebEx or GoToMeeting® — that’s free!  You are limited to 10 participants and can’t use it with mobile devices.  With that said, you could easily use the tool for web-based writing workshops, book readings, or just a good old book group. DukeReads has been doing something similar to this for 5 years now which you may want to check out.  In short, Google+ Hangouts allows you to do cheap, but small, virtual book clubs.

CONCLUSION
I intentionally kept the above list very short.  We live in an era of information overload and you probably just skimmed over this post anyways, which is fine.  When bombarded with information, our time and attention are our most important assets.  If you need more information on Google+, check out
Chris Brogan’s list of 50 points you should know about the tool.

My summary of Google+ is as follows.  As self-published authors, we should be promoting our work using as many different free services as possible.  Google+ has some tools that can be beneficial to authors with strong followings, but you may want to wait until more people join.  For now, there is no immediate need to rush in.  Don’t feel you need to subcome to the pressures of social sharing.  Join Google+ if and when you think you need to …

 

Earn More. 90% Revenue for a Limited Time.

If this holiday season is anything like last year’s, then a lot of people can expect to find an e-reader or tablet from Santa under their trees – 17 million to be exact.  That’s a ho-ho-whole lot of new readers who’ll be itching to fill their digital shelves with new books, so why not make your eBook one of them?

Still on the fence? Well, we’re decking the halls early at Lulu this year and slashing our industry-best 80/20 revenue split on eBooks so you can reach more readers, sell more books,
and earn even more revenue this holiday than
ever before – tis the season right?

For a limited time, all creators publishing new eBook projects will receive 90 percent of the revenue from those projects through January 31st, 2012.

In an industry where most companies work off a 70/30 split or more, we take pride in being a publishing solution built entirely towards author success and freedom.  We want you to be able to share your stories and ideas with the world and, more importantly, make money while you do it.  You pick the price.  You keep the profit.  Just like it should be.

So spread some joy this holiday season by publishing an eBook.  You can sell it to all those folks who got a shiny new iPad® or Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and your tree won’t be the only green you see.

FAQs:

Q: What is a new Publication?

A: New publications are defined as a new project in your “My Lulu” account with a new ISBN.  This also applies to any conversion of an existing print title into an eBook.

Using Your Book as a Business Card

Thanks to the Internet, the world is getting smaller everyday.  People are more connected now than ever, which means there is more competition to stand out than ever.  In a CNN article titled Why Just Being Good at Your Job is Not Good Enough, journalist Mark Tutton talks about how getting lost in this ocean of noise can even have a direct impact on your career.  With so many people so readily available, proving your relevancy may seem next to hopeless.  But it’s not.

Right now, at this very second, you have at your fingertips all the tools and resources you need to do anything. Really.  We live in an age where you can just wake up one morning and decide to cut an album, make a movie, or publish a book and can unleash your remarkable ideas upon the world in an instant.  Gone are the days where you had to maneuver around the various barriers into these industries.  Now, you just have to have some motivation and know where to start. You’re reading this blog too, so you’re already looking in the right places.

Building a successful career begins with knowing your worth.  Lulu is centered around the idea that everyone is an expert in something – no matter if you’re a model train builder, a prized physicist, a world-class chef, or a dedicated couch potato.  Your unique knowledge and experiences are what make you, you, and what better way to share that knowledge and expertise than through a published book?

“Writing a book…instantly establishes your credibility to potential customers and employers” Dan Schwabel, author of Me 2.0, told Tutton.  “You can self proclaim you’re an expert in your field all day long but the book is…your calling card.”

Whether you’re going for a job interview, meeting colleagues at a conference, or working on a big partnership, imagine how much more memorable you’d be when everyone else puts their cards on the table and you sit down your book. Or think about the lasting impression you’d leave if you said:  “Oh, you can find me in the iBookstore and on Amazon.”

“If you look at two resumes and they look the same, but one person wrote a book on the topic you’re interviewing for, you’re going to show more interest in that person,” Schwabel tells Tutton.  “Whether it’s a blog, an eBook or a published book, you’ve got to have something now, and a book has the most credibility.”

To Schwabel’s point, if writing and publishing a book seems overwhelming right now, try starting a blog or anything else that gets your name and your content out there.  You’re building a brand for yourself though, so remember to treat yourself like a business and be respectful of anyone you’re reaching out to.  For more help on marketing your work once you’ve gotten it out there, check out this recent post.

 

“When Do I Get Paid?!?!” How to Check Your Creator Revenue

As an author on Lulu, you get to set your own price for your works beyond the manufacturing cost and you keep 80 percent of any revenue made.  In an industry where most companies work off a 70/30 split or more, we take pride in being a publishing solution built entirely towards author success and freedom.  We firmly believe that everyone has ideas and expertise and should be able to share their knowledge with the world and, more importantly, profit from that knowledge.  We’ve provided different payment options to make it as convenient and easy as possible to claim your author revenue.  Below you’ll find tips for how to check your revenue and start seeing some green.

Finding your revenue: You can always check your earned revenue by looking at your “Recent Revenue,” and “All-Time Revenue” tabs found in the blue side-bar in your “My Lulu” tab.  It is important to note that your “Recent Revenue” DOES NOT include Amazon or 3rd party earnings.  Under your “All-Time Revenue” you’ll see a “Total Zero Creator Revenue” tab which shows your own purchases of your content, number of downloads from customers and Lulu support staff.  When you or Lulu purchases your own content, it is at-cost so no revenue is generated or recorded.

(Not) Getting Your Book on a Retail Shelf

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes in any marketing endeavor is not defining a clear goal. It’s easy to get caught up in a clever idea while losing sight of what you wish to accomplish. As authors, we are all trying to market our books. The way in which you promote your work will depend greatly on what you’re trying to achieve. I have read a number of blog posts by self-published authors describing ways to get one’s book on retail shelves. Most of these articles, however, don’t answer that fundamental question … why? Why bother trying to get your title on a retail shelf?

There’s no doubt that walking into a bookstore and seeing your work on the shelves is a wonderful feeling and a worthwhile goal for any author. But that is a personal goal, not a marketing goal. If your marketing goal it is to have as many people as possible read your work, you may be better off first focusing your efforts elsewhere – not just on your local bookstore.

Self-published author and book designer Joel Friedlander echoes my sentiment about trying to get one’s book on retail shelves when he writes:

“My own opinion, after watching many self-publishers try to break through into this market, is that it’s rarely worth the effort unless the book has a really wide appeal and is produced from the beginning with retail sales as the ultimate goal.

Most self-publishers of nonfiction will be far better off building an online community, learning keyword research and how to market their book online, using print on demand for fulfillment.”