Articles by AJ

Fifty Shades of Grey on the Today Show

Success in publishing happens everyday, but what about for small to medium publishers?  Even they are empowered to expand their brands and imprints with the new tools and innovations self-publishing brings.  Why just this morning Fifty Shades of Grey was featured on the Today Show. Check out the full segment below:


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From the Vault: More Social Networking Sites for Authors

There are number of other websites and tools besides Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+ that are ideal for establishing relationships online. Many of these sites allow writers to find a highly targeted segment of Internet users to share ideas and get feedback. The sites can also be used to reach people who might be interested in purchasing your books, photobooks and other Lulu.com content.

Plurk is a great site to find people with similar interests. The service is similar to Twitter, but enables conversations to be followed much more easily.

Tumblr is another micro-blogging site to share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.

Pinterest is a digital bulletin board that you can post likes and interests to for seamless sharing with others.  This is a great place to recommend titles you like yourself, and casually mention your work.

StumbleUpon is a perfect site to find sites that match your exact interests. You can surf sites on any topic and easily add your own favorites and your own Lulu content easily. It is not uncommon for StumbleUpon to generate thousands of views of a single web page.

These are just a few of the many sites and tools available to promote your Lulu.com projects. Feel free to add any other ones you like to use, or links to your pages, in the comments section.

Better Education Through Self-Publishing

Lulu Education

 

Apple obviously thinks that teachers could benefit from more self-publishing tools – and they’re right. Educators like Dr. Tony Kemerly, professor of biomechanics at High Point University and Lulu author, often find themselves spending countless hours every semester stapling worksheets together for students – a common problem for the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s recorded 1.7 million post-secondary teachers in the country.

More and more though, better choices are becoming available that give these teachers and professors greater control over the learning experiences they share with their students. The tools now exist to empower educators to publish their own content for free and ensure their students are receiving the most up-to-date classroom materials at an affordable price they set.  Teachers can publish a print book or eBook, offer supplementary materials, or make free revisions at anytime.  They’re then able to sell their works through retailers like the iBookstore(SM), Amazon.com, and the NOOK(TM) Bookstore – not just through student bookstores.  It is by removing the limitations that we’re better able to move knowledge from one generation to the next, so we can all benefit from these works.

Dr. Marianne Bradford, professor for the College of Management at North Carolina State University puts it best:

“Bookstore prices can be so high, and the textbooks used for my classes were so outdated,” says Dr. Bradford.  “I needed content geared towards my students.  Big publishers were interested, but did not seem to understand the market or the content.  The flexibility and control over my work I found when self-publishing let me create materials that suited my personality and style.”

Dr. Bradford’s book, Modern ERP:  Select, Implement & Use Today’s Advanced Business Systems, has gone on to rank in the top 100 of Lulu’s 1.1 million titles and is currently being translated for Korean audiences.  “I feel confident about my decision to go with Lulu and plan on a long working relationship,” Bradford adds.

For more information on academic publishing opportunities, visit Lulu’s education portal at www.lulu.com/education. And sound off in the comments below on clever ways you’ve used self-publishing to teach others.

 

Using Facebook Timeline to Better Market Your Books

Whether you’re ready to click the “Like” button or you’re secretly wishing for a new “Hate” button to be added over the new Facebook changes, the popular social networking site is getting ready to update…again. On February 2nd, everyone’s profiles will be switched to the new Facebook Timeline layout – like it or not.  It’s ok though, with change comes opportunity and in your case, oh faithful Lulu author, you’ll have new tools to play around with to help market your works.  This post will help you set up your Timeline and give you some ideas on how to best use it to reach your audience.

What is Facebook Timeline?

Facebook Timeline is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Timeline is the story of your life…in a new way to express who you are.”  Your posts (literally all of them) are divided in two and appear on a timeline in chronological order below your profile picture and basic information.  The super cool feature about your Timeline and the most obvious change is the new cover option, which lets you save an image as a banner at the very top of your page. This is your place to shine Lulu author.  I’ve already seen some really fun and innovative uses for this space.  Just check out these cool personal Timelines and these company Timelines for some inspiration.

From Mashable - Note the use of a QR code as the profile pic. You can do this to link to your book's product page on Lulu.

 

As you can see in the links and images above, the more creative you get with your new cover image, the more likely a potential reader might stop and consider reading your works.  Consider placing illustrations from your books in this space if you’re a children’s book author, or perhaps even a passage from your work if you’re a novelist.  Make it fun and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  This is a great chance to brand yourself and your work in an interesting and unique way.  To start setting up your Timeline, check out this handy slideshow from our friends at Mashable for step-by-step instructions.

Lifespan of a Post:

Right now, Facebook posts have an average lifespan of about three hours according to research recently done by Bitly. This is likely to decrease with Timeline, but you can ensure the right people are seeing your posts by trying different times throughout the day to pinpoint your highest traffic hours. It’s a good idea to set up your own personal Facebook page for your works too so you can have access to all of Facebook’s great insight tools, which show you which of your posts trend most and to what demographics. The more virality (the amount it will be shared) your posts have increase the likeliness that your fans will like it or share it, which will extend your posts’ lifespan.

Post more and post often:

Given the ever-decreasing life-span above, what you have to say has more potential to be lost in the sea of other frequent posters in your fans’ news feeds.  I still wouldn’t post things back to back, but once every hour to two hours certainly couldn’t hurt. The vast majority of readers are constantly plugged in now, and are always interested in discovering fresh, easy to digest content. But make sure that content is of quality and value or fans will flag you for spam.

Life Events:

You’ll notice you now have a new option next to your status updates on Facebook Timeline called “Life Event.” This is a great new feature specifically for authors because you can include your books, publications, and blog-type posts here and instantly share it with your readers.  You can include cover-photos along with your posts to really help them stand out – like so:

So there you go, you should be well-equipped to brave the new Facebook Timeline and be a cut-above the rest for marketing your titles through this channel.  Sound off on what you think about the new Facebook in the comments below and feel free to offer your own tips for how you’ve used it too.

 

eBook Education: Know Your Formats

Self-publish an eBook

Hey there remarkable author. Want your titles to reach even more readers?  Today’s lesson: Know your eBook formats.

PDF, LIT, BBEB, EPUB.  There are literally dozens of different file formats able to be assigned to the end of your would-be eBook.  All the buzz these days seems to be mostly about EPUBs, and for good reason.  EPUBs are currently the most universally accepted file format for e-reader devices.  Want to sell on the iPad?  EPUB!  Want to sell on the NOOK? EPUB!   You can turn a Word doc into an EPUB using Lulu’s EPUB Converter in minutes, but don’t just stop there.  While most e-reader devices accept EPUBs, some eBook tech mainly accept proprietary file formats so keeping up on tech trends can go a long way in getting your content out to the most customers.

Lulu author Stephen Stark puts it best:  “eBooks are not the future of publishing.  They are the present.”  And right he is.  Any author today would do well to study up on all the different eBook formats and offer their titles in as many mediums as possible.  EPUBs might be the bees knees right now, but that doesn’t mean another format won’t come along.  These days, you never know how your next big fan might discover your works, so making your content as accessible as possible is the name of the game.  The less your limit your titles to just one format or medium, the easier you make it on your readers to purchase and can avoid losing sales just because you didn’t offer your book the way they wanted.

For more info on how to create an eBook of your own, check out our handy youtube channel – updated with new how-to videos all the time such as How To Publish an eBook with the Best Table of Contents.

Happy selling Lulu author!

 

What’s the buzz on all this Apple publishing stuff?

If you’ve been paying attention to any tech news since yesterday, you probably heard about the Apple announcement of their new iBook® Author app – geared towards educators looking to publish textbooks for customized classroom solutions.  Here’s what some of the top tech-media outlets have to say about the new program:

Mashable
Hands On: Apple’s iBooks Author App

Engadget
Apple launches iBooks 2 e-Textbook platform (video)

PC Magazine
iBooks Author: You Work For Apple Now

The Telegraph
iBooks Author:  Apple doesn’t want to own your book

The Verge
iBooks Author restricts all sales to iBookstore, wraps for-pay books in DRM

Techcrunch
Apple Announces iBooks 2, A New Textbook Experience for the iPad

LA Times
Apple’s iBooks 2, iBooks Author:  Bids to own publishing’s future

TechRadar
Hands on:  iBooks Author review

So what do you guys think about Apple’s new initiative?  Sound off in the comments below.

 

Download Day Winner Announced!

In a recent blog post, we predicted that Dec. 26th would be one of the highest traffic days for new readers buying eBooks.  We crunched the numbers and are happy to report that indeed, the day after Christmas – when millions of folks were playing with their shiny new e-readers and tablets – eBook downloads doubled, then spiked again Dec. 29th. Take a look:

With that, we’re pleased to announce the winner of Download Day and $100 off their new Lulu purchase :

 

Buddy World Books
by Paul Woodward
Paul used the free sample method for generating buzz for his works and climb to the top of the bestseller list.  You can learn how to use this method for your own works by checking out our recent post on Making More Off Your eBooks by Selling Them for Free.

 

Runner-up with their Lulu Short Story Contest submission:

 

The Littlest Ninja
by Criscelle Henderson and Micah Bonnell
These two authors submitted this work back in November for the Lulu Short Story Contest.  It just goes to show you how some promotion can help spike your visibility, no matter how recently you’ve published.  Way to go you two.