Articles by Meg @ Lulu

Announcing our first “Ask Lulu’s Experts” live tweet chat!

Hey Lulus,

Next Wednesday, April 23rd, Lulu will be hosting our first live tweet chat from 1:30 – 2:30 PM EST. We will have all of our experts answering all of your questions, from “how do I distribute my book globally?” to “what is the best way to market my eBook?” and everything in between.

Interested in participating? Simply follow and tweet us using hashtag #LuluExperts between 1:30 and 2:30 PM and we’ll have one of our experts respond in real time. In the meantime, check out our newly launched eBook – Author’s Guide to success: A Complete Plan for Publishing and Selling Your Book

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Tearing down the wall! Lulu now offers new print packages to fit everyone

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When Bob Young, Lulu’s founder, tore down the barriers to bringing a book to market, he knew millions of people would benefit. Since Lulu.com made its debut more than ten years ago, people from every corner of the globe have created works for every reader in every genre.

  • Fiction writers have found and delighted new audiences.
  • Memoirists have left important legacies.
  • Educators have removed obstacles to knowledge.
  • Physicians have shared life-saving research and information.
  • Biographers have celebrated fascinating lives.
  • Entrepreneurs have launched and grown new businesses.

That’s just a fraction of the list. Here at Lulu.com, we’ve satisfied just about every possible reason a person can make a book.

And now we’re tearing down another wall: the final barrier to flexibility and control. Today, Lulu.com is offering new, lower priced print book options. You can now choose from Premium, Standard and Value to fit your every book-making need.

Premium books are hard cover with an optional dust jacket. These books can have image wrap or linen wrap covers, offering you the choice of six linen colors as well as foil stamping for the spine (three color options there, too). You can also choose white or cream paper options. Our Premium line also includes books with photo quality color or black & white interiors. These books provide the highest quality possible and options that have never been available in a print on demand offering until now.

Standard books are soft cover, available as perfect bound, coil stitched or saddle stitched. These books have bookstore quality color or black & white interiors. Many of our Standard book options are eligible for distribution, and all of them can have bulk discounts applied.

Value books are soft cover available as perfect bound only. They are available with color or black & white interiors. These books are not currently eligible for distribution or for bulk discounts. As the name suggests, the main advantage of our Value line is lower cost. The Value line books are comparable to what you’ll find if you shop around before deciding to use Lulu.com.

All of these product lines come with lower pricing, so you can increase your earning potential or pass the savings on to your readers. And not to worry: We’ve preserved the high quality you love in all of our books.

To make choosing the right print book option as easy as possible, we’ve created a free Book Builder tool to guide you through the book creation process. Go to the Book Builder, try it out, and let us know what you think! Also, from now until April 24th save 15% on your order when you publish a Standard or Premium print book with Lulu.com (use discount code: SAVE15 at checkout).

Top 3 Ways to Ensure Self-Publishing Success

Yes you canContributed by Dan Dillon, Lulu Director of Product Marketing

I recently had the pleasure to co-present a webinar with Bowker on Self-Publishing: Your Path to Success. Ralph Coviello, publisher relations manager at Bowker, shared copious insights into how the self-publishing landscape has taken shape over the past few years, as well as how it may continue to evolve. From all the great observations and advice, I’ve distilled the three most important lessons to be gleaned for your success in self-publishing.

1. Publish in multiple formats
It stands to reason that the more products you have to sell, the more money you’re able to make. Books are no exception. Authors who offer multiple formats of their books sell up to four times more than authors who offer their readers only a single format. To capitalize on this, make your titles available as a softcover, hardcover and an ebook. Readers across all age groups are reading print, so there’s no predicting what format individual book buyers may prefer. have ready whatever they may want.

2. Channel surf
Just as it stands to reason that the more products you have to offer, the more you’re likely to sell – the more places you make them available, the more you’ll be able to sell. Get your books into as many online retail channels as possible. The ones that will likely have the greatest impact on your print book sales are Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For ebooks, you’ll want to make your titles available on the Kindle, iBookstore, NOOK and Kobo, at a minimum. Happily, you can get all of your books into these channels — and many more — with Lulu.com. For free.

3. Press releases are very popular
This is a double-edged sword. Yes, press releases are a valuable tool for building awareness about your book, and you can reach the same journalists who the Big 6 publishers talk to. Yes, there is a ton of news out in the world and it takes a lot to get your story heard. The lesson here? Targeting the information in your press release is critical, and targeting the people you send it to is also key.

View the complete webinar, and let us know in the comments what’s worked for you to drive book sales. You can also page through the webinar deck on Slideshare.

Rise of the Self-Publishing Author – Infographic

Download the Infographic here.

The Great American Novel. It’s a classic concept, one that endures because of the human instinct to share our stories.  Stories are a part of history, of art, of culture and, in some cases, one can actually achieve greatness through the sharing of those stories. So, if you have a story to tell or knowledge that can benefit others, the sharing of it shouldn’t be the hard part.

But it so often is. Aspiring writers have a less than 2 percent chance of being picked up by an agent or publishing house, and those that do often see sadly little return in terms of visibility, distribution or actual income. There’s struggling for one’s art, but constantly hitting walls when it comes to making it a reality is another thing entirely.

Fortunately, technology has made it so aspiring authors don’t have to be discouraged by rejection letters and cost prohibitive distribution. Though the Great American Novel trope includes the fantasy of wowing a publisher, getting a huge advance, shooting to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, getting a movie deal and retiring in Tuscany, the fact is, to be a successful writer, you don’t have to run the gamut of submissions and rejections, expensive production and distribution costs and constant second-guessing of your ability to succeed.

The proliferation of e-readers like Kindle, Nook and Kobo has driven the massive growth of the e-book market and, for authors looking to get published, opens up a wealth of opportunity for distribution and income without the obstacles that come with traditional publishing. Self-publishing and digital distribution enables authors to make their work widely discoverable and accessible with much less upfront investment and much higher potential to make money without a publisher taking the lion’s share of royalties.

The stats speak for themselves. Check out Lulu.com’s new infographic on the Rise of the Self-Publishing Author.

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New and Improved: Lulu now offers Kindle, Kobo and More

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Alright, we’re just going to cut to the chase: Lulu authors may now distribute their Lulu eBooks to both the Kindle and Kobo eBookstores. That’s right, upload it once and sell it everywhere – and, by the way since we’re talking about awesome news, our print book distribution service is Free!

Now with Lulu, authors have a single, free and simple method for getting all of your books into as many distribution channels as possible. No more need to publish your books in multiple places. With Lulu, you can sell what you love everywhere.

To make this even better, when you choose the Kobo and Everything Else distribution option, your eBook will be made available for purchase on eBook retailer sites in the Ingram network includinhttp://www.lulu.com/blog/wp-admin/post-new.phpg Kalahari, Booktopia, Baker & Taylor, Gardners, Oyster Books, Sainsbury’s and others – not to mention a long list specialty eBook retailers from around the world.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are not yet able to offer Kindle and Kobo distribution options to authors residing in Australia.

New eBook Pricing and Manage Distribution Pages

mediumAs part of this release, we have redesigned the Manage Distribution page and the pricing step in the eBook publishing wizard. Authors may now enter a retail price and then choose the retail sites (distribution channels) on which they want to sell their books. The retail price, distribution fees, Lulu commission, and creator revenue are clearly displayed for each channel.

How do I get my previously published eBook in the Kindle and Kobo Stores?

If your eBook is already in distribution, simply click the Manage button next to the project title, add the Kindle and Kobo options, and save your changes. Since your eBook previously passed the Lulu QA Review, we will pass it directly to Ingram for distribution into their network. You eBook will, however, be subject to each retailer’s review procedure before being made available for purchase on those sites.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your eBook is already published through Kindle Direct or available for purchase on Amazon.com, you may not distribute a duplicate copy to the Kindle Bookstore. Doing so will violate both the Lulu eBook distribution terms and your Amazon agreement.

New Sell Page Design

Intensive studies and user feedback indicate that people really like the Lulu site, but the most important question of all “How much money will I make?” is not readily apparent. To help answer this most important of questions, we have redesigned the Sell page to provide an at-a-glance summary of Lulu’s distribution options, services, tools, and retail pricing examples for both print and eBooks in distribution. It’s glorious!

Other Improvements

  • eBook Title Capitalization Validation. 

One of the most common causes for our QA team rejecting an eBook is that the author did not follow proper capitalization rules for their title. This new feature alerts a creator a title does not meet these capitalization rules, so that it can be fixed on the very first step.

  • Select Between Previously Used Publisher Names.

When an author brings their own ISBN, they must also provide the publisher name that they tied to that ISBN when they bought it. This name is then sent to all of our distribution and metadata partners. To help reduce the number of almost-the-same duplicate publisher names, we have replaced the text entry field with a dropdown that allows a creator to choose a previously used publisher name or enter a brand new one. This list is account-based, and an account without any publisher names will see a blank entry field.

  • eBook Approval Email.

We now send an email to an author when our QA team approves their eBook for distribution to retailers. Previously, they were only notified if we had rejected their eBook. This keeps our authors informed on their eBook’s status, and will help prevent support cases from authors asking for a status update.

  • Edit Price on Manage Distribution Page.

When we gave the eBook Manage Distribution page the same interface as the Price step in the Wizard, we also opened up the ability for creators to edit their eBook’s price on the Manage Distro page. This allows them to manage all aspects of how their book is sold in one place.

Announcing Lulu’s new kid-focused brand, Lulu Jr.

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So, we’ve been working really hard in the new year and are very excited to announce a new venture for Lulu with the launch of Lulu Jr. This new brand encompasses children’s books, custom wall art and the award-winning book-making kits now exclusively offered by Lulu – Illustory® and My Comic Book®.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 11.35.17 AMThe other awesome news? Lulu will be showcasing Illustory, My Comic Book and independent children’s books at the 111th annual American International Toy Fair® in New York City this weekend, February 16-19, 2014. New York Times best-selling children’s author Peter H. Reynolds, who illustrated the new boxes for Illustory and My Comic Book, will be signing these Lulu Jr. book-making kits at the Lulu Jr. booth on Monday, February 17 from 2 – 3 pm ET and Tuesday, February 18 from 12 pm – 1 pm ET.

Lulu Jr. offers children an easy way to create their own wall art, showcasing a child’s artistic creations of art, words and photos by displaying them on high quality canvas. With these options, parents can cherish their child’s works and proudly share their accomplishments with friends and family.

For more information, please visit www.lulujr.com and www.lulujr.com/toyfair2014.

How Can I Sell More Books?

stacked_books_270pxOne of my favorite parts of my job is speaking with independent authors and listening to the challenges they face on their paths to success.  One of the most common questions during these discussions is how can I sell more books? As my colleagues and I began hearing it more regularly, we began asking ourselves how can we help them sell more books?

To answer this question, we asked 4,000 of Lulu’s best-selling authors to share the best practices that they’ve learned on their path to book marketing and sales success. Both the eagerness with which the authors replied to our request and what their responses revealed were eye-opening.

There are enough tips and tricks to fill 35 pages (download the whole report here), which the Lulu team has arranged into three intuitive and easy-to-digest sections: Know your Audience; Know your Book; and Know your Plan. The free guide also includes a section called Steal these Resources, wherein we give you access to valuable tools that can help you sell more books.

In the interest of helping self-published authors everywhere make the most of the holiday sales season, I want to share three of the most compelling insights and pieces of advice we gathered from Lulu authors.

1. The most important step towards effectively marketing your product – whether it’s a book or a business or a lemonade stand – is understanding your audience. Nearly 60 percent of the authors we surveyed attributed their success to their book’s subject matter being targeted to a specific audience’s needs. The key questions Lulu authors answered about their target markets are: What is my audience interested in? Where do they spend time online and in the real world? How do they already satisfy their need for content similar to mine (e.g., blogs, magazines, social communities, events, video, etc.)? What can my book offer them that’s not available anywhere else? Good and full answers to these questions form the foundation of for what’s next.

2. Know what attributes of your book will make it stand out and what marketing activities will best highlight these strengths to help drive sales. To help you understand these steps, we asked our authors what made a difference for them. Here’s how authors ranked specific items and the frequency with which they said they were important:

  • The book’s title, topic and audience (ties back to #1 above)
  • Driving awareness and sales through word-of-mouth
  • Having both print and ebook versions available
  • Producing a high quality printed book with a great cover design
  • Having customer reviews available for buyers to peruse

3. It doesn’t take as much time or money as you think. More than three-quarters of Lulu’s most successful authors dedicated 10 hours or less to the marketing of their book each week. And if you think that sounds like a lot of time, more than 60 percent of them spent five hours or less. That’s just an hour a day spent on marketing that led to the right outcome. And here’s even better news: 65 percent invested less than $500 in marketing their book, while another 7 percent spent nothing at all. Where do they invest their marketing dollars? It goes mainly to advertising, website management, promotional copies, and events. For a detailed breakout of how authors spent their advertising budgets, you’ll want to have a look at page 25 of the guide.

The full guide, “Marketing Your Book for Holiday Sales,” is available for free at success.lulu.com. I invite you to download your copy now Happy selling!

12 Tips for Marketing and Sales Success: Tip 7 – The More Books the Merrier

There is another secret to selling lots of books: writing lots of books. We asked best-selling authors how many books they had written. Here’s what they said:

Nine out of ten best-selling authors have published more than one book. More than half have published ten or more books.

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Writing lots of books in one niche has many benefits. For starters, you don’t have to relearn your audience. And if you write non-fiction, you’ll also be able to re-use a lot of the research you did for your first book.

 

 

12 Tips for Marketing and Sales Success: Tip 6 – What Matters Most?

Okay, you’ve conquered the art of developing an audience, positioning your book and targeting your readers with an effective distribution strategy. Now let’s talk about that book you want them to read — yours.

Ever looked at the bestseller lists and wondered, “What are they doing that I’m not doing?”

It’s important to know what attributes of your book will make it stand out and what marketing activities will best highlight these strengths to help drive sales. To help you understand these steps, we asked our authors what made a difference for them.

Here’s how authors ranked specific items and the frequency with which they said they were important:

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12 Tips for Marketing and Sales Success: Tip 5 – Know Your Book

Many best-selling authors pick their topic or angle specifically because they know it will be of interest to their audience. The pairing of those two strategies – targeting an audience and delivering a unique message to them – is what sells books. As one author said, “We wrote the book for a specific market giving them information we knew they needed.”

In the marketing world, this is called positioning – understanding your audience and explaining why your book is uniquely suited to their interests. You might also think of it as “finding your niche.” Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll have a clear, easily articulated understanding of what your book is about, who it’s for, and how it fits into the existing body of published books within your domain.

Here’s an analogy for you. Entrepreneurs are often challenged to come up with an elevator pitch for their business – it’s a short, interesting way to explain what value their business offers to the world in the time you’d have in the elevator with them. It has to be concise and informative while driving the person you’re speaking with to take action. For you as an author, the elevator pitch for your book may sound a lot different from that of a start-up, but it still affords you the benefit of successfully positioning your book to your audience.

To show how powerful a good elevator pitch can be, let’s play a game. Below are four elevator pitches for best-selling books, presented as though they were new books on the market.

Western meets suspense meets a Tarantino-esque hit man . A cowboy stumbles on a drug deal gone bad, takes the money, only to find that he’s being hunted by a relentless killer.

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Hearts will race for lovers of fan fiction . For the tween girl that would risk her soul for the everlasting love of the vampire version of James Dean.

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If you love puzzles, religious symbolism and a great crime mystery, you’ll hang on every action-packed moment as our hero decodes his way across Europe to uncover an ancient secret, zealously guarded by a clandestine society that will stop at nothing to protect it.

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What if dinosaurs could be cloned? For the child in all of us that still marvels at T . Rex in the natural history museum, this sci-fi adventure novel set in the modern age tells the story of an adventure theme park whose proprietors have brought dinosaurs back from extinction.

See how just a few sentences can create interest in a book for the reader? That is the power of positioning. Think you know which books these are? To see the answers, visit this link on the Lulu blog.

http://www.lulu.com/blog/2013/10/crafting-an-elevator-pitch-for-your-book

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 6.39.43 PMFind The Helix Review here: http://lulu.com/services/helix-review.