Marketing Tips

The Perfect Gift: Personalized Hardcover Editions

hardcover-books-giftwrappedCome a little closer. I have a confession to make.

I may appear to have it all together during the holidays, but as a “people pleaser” from way back, I stress over every single holiday gift purchase. Do I really know what this person likes? Will it be the right size, style, color, or design? What if they already have one? What if I under spend or worse yet, over spend?

One thing I have found, however, is that everyone loves a gift featuring people they love, a shared experience or delicious consumables, hence the seasonal popularity of custom photo books, calendars and baked goods. People also like to receive unique items and collectable things like signed hardcover editions from their favorite author – who happens to be you.

If you published a paperback book this year, with very little effort, you can create custom hardcover editions to give as gifts this holiday season.

  • If you published in US Trade (6”x9)” or US Letter (8.5”x11”) paperback format, you can simply upload your print-ready PDF file to create a hardcover edition in the same size.
  • If you published in other formats, you will need to resize your manuscript file. Take a moment to review you formatting and page layout before uploading the resized manuscript for conversion.
  • Use our cover designer to create a beautiful dust jacket design. In many cases you can use much of the same imagery from your paperback book.
  • Our selection of colored linens and foil stamping will make your book stand out from all the other books on the shelf.
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Guess what I got you! No, go ahead. Take a guess.

When your books arrive, personalize them for each recipient with a handwritten note. If you want someone to feel extra special, edit your manuscript file to include a special dedication.

Let’s face it, a personalized, collectible edition of your book is a much better gift than an ill-fitting sweater, new socks, or burnt cookies – and they are easy to wrap.

 

Author-preneurs:

With the holidays just around the corner, consider offering signed hardcover editions on your website and social media accounts. Your biggest fans will love them. By taking advantage of Lulu’s pre-holiday sales, you can save big on the stock you need for the best holiday season – ever.

More Tips for Holiday Success

Sell More Books: Easy Christmas Marketing Ideas

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

Holiday Inventory: If You Don’t Have It, You Can’t Sell It

inventory-giftsIndependently published writers are more than just authors. At trade shows and panel discussions I have often described these writers as being self-employed entrepreneurs – heading a business with only one employee – themselves. As such the author must be adept at both writing and the business of publishing. All decisions are the author’s from developing the concept to publicizing and marketing the finished product to making sure there is product to sell.

The holidays provide more opportunities than any other time of the year to get your product in front of people who are actively seeking to spend their money. Whether you are planning a social media marketing push, have scheduled book signing and speaking events, have booked space at your local winter market, or meet someone on the bus, you need to be ready to make the sell.

Inventory Preparedness Questionnaire:

  • How many events do you have planned for the holidays?
  • How many books do you anticipate selling at each event?
  • Is there enough time between events to order and restock?
  • Will you be selling signed or personalized books from your website or social media pages?
  • How many books do you need as gifts for friends and family?
  • Do you have bookmarks or postcards advertising your book to hand out in the event you sell out of books or someone wishes to purchase an eBook?
  • Do you have a high-quality pen for signing and personalizing books?

One of the benefits of print-on-demand publishing is that there is no costly inventory to maintain. However, this also means that when you or your customers place an order, the books must be printed before they ship. Regardless of the number of books ordered, printing will take from 3-5 business days. This time of year, average printing times are on the shorter side of that range; however, as Christmas approaches, printing times will push towards five days. Add shipping time to that and you can see why it is more important than ever to ensure you have the stock on hand to make the sell.

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To help ensure you have a successful holiday sales season, Lulu is running author-only discounts in November so you can save now on the inventory you need for the Christmas holiday season.

You can be among the first to know about these discounts. Simply sign up for Lulu promotional emails on your Lulu Account > Preferences page. Discounts are also listed on the Lulu home page.

We wish you great success, today and everyday.

More Holiday Readiness

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Sell More Books: Easy Christmas Marketing Ideas

Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

 

Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

christmas-is-comingOver the last several months we have discussed marketing strategies, expanding your internet presence, and promoting your books. To help you better prepare for the holidays, we have also discussed taking advantage of Lulu’s weekly discounts to not only restock your inventory for direct sales and events, but also as a means to promote your books on your website and social media outlets.

What if there was another way you could take advantage of these sales to increase your profits? A way that doesn’t require you to make a huge upfront investment on inventory, but allows you to take advantage of your author discount in addition to the Lulu discount?

“What is this magic of which you speak?”
“Drop shipping,” I respond.

 Drop shipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer.

Let’s imagine you have a storefront set up on your website. From the storefront, you can sell your book at retail price or even at a slight discount. You collect all the buyer’s information and the funds including shipping costs. You then log into your Lulu account, place the order at your author discount plus the Lulu discount. You enter the buyer’s email and shipping address and Lulu prints and ships the book. You pocket bigger profits.

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How does it work?
Let’s do the math:

Assume you are selling a 250 page, 6×9, paperback.

 

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What if Lulu is offering a 25% discount and you drop ship the book?

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You may think it’s not worth the effort to earn a few more $ € or £ per sale, but if you are taking orders for 5, 10 or 50 books, drop shipping the orders can significantly increase your profits per book – particularly if your book includes an ISBN and your revenue is subject to US tax withholding.

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Besides earning higher profits on book sales, drop shipping allows you to get paid immediately. It also allows you to collect buyer contact information for future marketing campaigns. Win, win, win.

Lulu wishes you great success this holiday season. Together, we will it make the most profitable ever.

 

Sell More Books: Christmas Marketing Ideas

xmas-tree-bookshelf-red

Know what would look good on this shelf? Your book!

Being a self-published author is a bit like being Santa, but without any elves. In some ways this is great; you get to make all the decisions and things get done the way you want them to be done. On the other hand, you have to make all the decisions and things don’t get done until you do them.

Take a deep breath and reinvigorate yourself by reflecting on what you have already accomplished. You are a published author. You are among the select few who had an idea, struggled through all the drafts and rewrites, and published a book. As a result, people around the world can now enjoy and benefit from your work. You changed lives. You made a difference.

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time for you to profit from your effort, and there’s no time to waste. Books make great gifts, everyone (including Santa) knows this, but how are you planning to sell your book this Christmas? If your plan is to simply get it into the Amazon bookstore and hope for the best, you are likely to be disappointed. It’s time to take things into your own hands.

Here are few easy ideas to help you spread the word and generate holiday sales:

  • Create an “About the Author” page on your website to act as your press kit.  Share this page on all your social media pages.
  • Write a press release about your book and send it to all local newspapers and radio stations. Include a link to your media kit with your press release.
  • Contact your public library and offer to conduct a seminar on self-publishing or lead a discussion about your author experience.
  • Contact your local bookstores and schedule a reading and book signing.
  • Team up with other writers and sponsor a booth at local Christmas festivals in your area.
  • Add a “buy-now” button to your website and advertise Lulu’s weekly discounts to encourage holiday sales. Remember, your revenues are much higher from sales made in the Lulu bookstore.
  • Offer personalized, signed copies of your book on your website and social media pages.
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Take advantage of Lulu’s weekly discounts when stocking up for holiday sales.

Business-savvy authors have learned that by taking advantage of Lulu’s weekly discounts – on top of their author discount – they can earn more revenue per book by selling to readers during events or directly from their website. This strategy requires you to dedicate time for packing and shipping orders, but it also allows you to sign and personalize books and add bonus items such as bookmarks and thank you notes to orders. These small personal touches create a connection between you and your readers, making them more likely to recommend your books to their friends.

xmas-tree-bookshelfAn added bonus to events and direct sales is that you can collect buyers’ email addresses to add to your mailing list allowing you to market directly to fans when your next book is published.

So, make a plan now to market your book locally and online, stock up*, and get ready for the best Christmas season yet.

*If you are planning to purchase more than 100 books, please contact our bulk sales desk for a custom quote.  We may be able to help you save even more on your planned purchases.

 

More Marketing Tips

Make More Money: Include Lulu Discount Codes in your Marketing Emails

Make the Most of Seasonal Sales

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books

 

PR Part III: Release the Press Release!

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For authors seeking that elusive “best-seller” status, self-promotion can be your best tool for generating internet traffic and increasing book sales.

Author signing autograph in own book at wooden table on light blurred background

With an effective press release, you’ll be giving autographs in no time!

Of all the self-promotion options available to independent authors, distributing press releases is probably the most overlooked and affordable method. This is unfortunate because it can be highly effective – especially if your press release is picked-up by a major news outlet, journal or magazine. It could even launch you to stardom.

With all of this said, you are just wasting your time if only launch a press release into the deep space of the internet and hope someone notices. It’s up to you to make sure people are aware it’s out there. So, put it to work on your author platform and start getting some of that sweet, sweet internet love.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a technical term for getting the most from what you put out on the internet. The technicalities are for the engineers to understand. For us, let’s think of it as executing a social media blitz, which sounds much more glamorous.

You may think this is complicated, but it’s easier than you think. First, post the news on your web site, then link to it from everywhere. The more back-links that point to your press release, the more value search engines assign to it. This means you show up higher on the search results page.

Don’t forget to get a little social media help from your friends.

Here’s what to do:

  • Tweet your news with a link to the announcement on your web site (and have friends and family retweet it)
  • Post your news with a link to the announcement on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ (very important for SEO), and everywhere else your audience may be found.
  • Create and post a video on YouTube, with you talking about the announcement and link back to the press release.
  • Embed the YouTube video into a blog post and link back to the announcement pages on other social networks such as Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon.

 

The combined effect of this promotion will be a four to five times increase in interest and traffic to your site  – thanks to the improved search engine rankings of your press release and author news.

Your press release is finished–get ready to ace the interviews!

 

As an independently published author, it’s up to you to get the word out about your work. If you lay the groundwork ahead of time, you will be ready for the attention. As a reminder, when your press release gets picked up by a local, state, or national publication, launch a new social media blitz announcing the announcement.

Additional information:
PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

PR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

Let’s Go Viral: Five Tactics for Boosting Your Clicks, Likes, and Shares

PR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

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You wrote a book! Yay for you! Take a moment and celebrate the accomplishment. Savor the giddy happiness of creating something from just an idea (and months and months of toil). Actually, take a few moments to really appreciate this feeling. You deserve it.

celebration

Now get back to work. First, buy a few copies to sign for family and close friends. Also, share your great news on Facebook, Twitter and all the places your friends hang out. If you are like many newly published authors you will stop here and and devote the coming weeks to hoping someone will stumble upon your book among all the books available to purchase online.

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It could happen, but to be honest, without a savvy media campaign it is unlikely. I hear you gnashing your teeth and wailing, “Nobody has money for that!” I get it, really I do, but come on, you just wrote a book.  You can surely write a one-page press release about it.

Remember those five-paragraph essays you wrote in high school and college? Writing a press release is pretty much the same thing and like those high school essays, they follow a standard format. Let’s get started.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (all caps – you can also enter a future release date here)

Press Release Title (bold font, up to 80 characters, should be catchy, not cutesy!)

Write a three sentence summary of your news angle or book pitch here. Your angle is what makes your book special. Your pitch is how you generate interest in your book.

CITY, STATE – DATE (all caps, bold font)The body of your press release starts here, on the same line as your dateline. An effective release will be written around the pitch idea you’ve perfected for your book. The first paragraph briefly answers the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.

Use the body paragraphs to expand on the five Ws and an H above. Why is your book timely or relevant. Who will care? What problem does it solve? How will people benefit by reading it?

The writing style for your press release should imitate a news story or book review you would find in the publications to which you are submitting your release. This approach makes it easier for journalists in search of content to see your news as something ready for publication through their outlets.

It is always good to incorporate quotes from the author, an authority in the field, or a reputable reviewer, throughout the body of your release. Keep in mind that quotes cannot be changed if your press release is picked up by a journalist, so choose them carefully. Include the names and credentials of the people you quote. DO NOT quote family or friends unless they are an expert in the field in which you write.

Add any remaining details such as the release date, where the book can be purchased (Lulu.com), the formats in which it is available, the retail price, etc.

About <Your Name>

Include a short author bio ( approximately 100 words). Include your qualifications to write the book – i.e. local connection, profession, life-long interest, etc. This paragraph is referred to as a boilerplate and usually remains the same from one press release to another.

For more information about <YOUR BOOK TITLE>, visit <Link to WEBSITE>. Additional author information and promotional images are available at <Link to AUTHOR PRESS KIT> or contact <PUBLICIST’S NAME> at <PHONE NUMBER>. Free review copies are provided on request.

###
(Indicates the end of the press release)

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Experts recommend a press release be about one page in length, so use your words wisely. Most importantly, your press release will be the first impression you make on a journalist, editor, or reviewer so proofread, proofread, and proofread again before you send it.

When complete, copy and paste your attention grabbing headline into the email subject line. Then copy the entire press release (including the headline) into the body of the email. Include links to your website and author press kit. Be sure to include your contact information. Do not attach files to the email or include a free electronic copy of your book unless requested by a journalist.

Up next – PR Part III: Release the Press Release! Now that you have written the best press release ever, put it to work.

Additional Information

PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

PR Part III: Release the Press Release!

Crafting an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

How to Write a Killer Author Bio

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

 

PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

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RALEIGH, NC – September 13, 2016 – Lulu, the pioneer and world leader in independent publishing, announced today that all authors should launch their new books with a well-crafted press release. “It’s your story and you should be the person telling it,” said Glenn@Lulu, Content Marketing Manager at Lulu Press.

 

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That’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard all day!

That’s a pretty standard (and frankly boring) opening for a press release: Announce something, follow it by an authoritative, quotable quote, then tell the story. It’s really like writing a one-page essay. All you need to do is write a release that answers who, what, when, where, why and how. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

You may be surprised to learn there are people out there who make hundreds of dollars per press release. That’s right, all that money for writing five paragraphs announcing something someone thinks is newsworthy. In reality, this is something you can do yourself. All you need is a bit of practice and an ear for what will attract the attention of local, national, and global news outlets.

Let’s get started.

One second to fame

Books are published everyday. Another one being published is not news. Therefore, your headline has to jump off the screen and make a reporter want to read more of your story. Since your headline is the first impression you will make, avoid clichés, puns, and gimmicky subject lines. Otherwise your headline may be the last impression you make before a journalist hits the delete key.

Sell the hook, not the book

sell-the-hook

Sell the hook first. Then sell the book.

What makes your book relevant? Does it solve a problem? How does it relate to other books in the genre? Does your book explain or fit neatly into a current news story? Does the action in your book revolve around an upcoming holiday? Are you a coroner writing a crime novel? A mother writing a conspiracy thriller? A life-long city dweller celebrating life off the grid? Your press release is the means to tell your story. The book is almost an afterthought, “If you want to know more, you can find <insert title here> on Lulu and all major online bookstores.”

 

Don’t promote, inform

An effective press release is based on facts, not opinion. Of course you, your mom and your best friend think your book is the best book ever published, but that is only an opinion. A journalist needs facts and when possible quotes. If your book solves a problem, state the problem and the solution it provides. If your characters or plot happen to coincide with something happening in the news, explain why your book will help people better understand the situation. When possible, provide quotes from experts in your field or snippets from reputable reviewers.

The best book in the world – Really?

hyperboleYou want your headline and body text to be original, snappy, and attention grabbing; however, avoid using clichés and hyperbole. Unless you have proof your book will transform lives, leave readers breathless or on their knees begging for more, don’t include these overused tropes in your press release. They show a lack of thought and imagination (see above – facts not opinions).

 

Do your research

Your best bet for getting early publicity for your book will be from local newspapers, libraries, radio programs, and independent bookstores. With that said, make sure you do your homework and address your press release email to a person (name spelled correctly).   No one wants to receive a generic email blast sent to every Sir, Madame, or Whom it May Concern in the business. Make it personal. I spell my name Glenn with two Ns – you should too!

Everybody is busy (and lazy)

busy-lazy-journalists

Content, I need good content!

All journalists are on tight deadlines, so the easier you make it for them to write the story, the more likely it is your story will get their attention. When you send your press release email, include links to your author press kit (About the Author), your book’s retail page, and book excerpts. It is not recommended you send a free copy of your book with the initial contact. Instead, explain that free electronic copies will be provided upon request.

 

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to getting the publicity your book deserves. Remember, start local, be personal, and try different angles until you have perfected your press release. Then go national.

 

Up nextPR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

Tips for composing the best book launch press release in the history of the written word in the format of a standard press release.

Additional Resources

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

Crafting an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books

How to Publish a Paperback Book on Lulu.com

 

 

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