Helpful Hints for eBook Distribution: Revise!

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“Distribution Henry”

There are a lot of issues that can keep eBook submissions out of retail distribution channels. We regularly see a multitude of issues with capitalization, metadata, NCX files, and so forth. But the number one reason for rejection is The Dreaded Repeat Offender: A title is rejected for X. A day later it shows up with X still an issue. It’s rejected again. A day later it shows up again with X still an issue… you get the idea.

To be honest, we’re not always sure what’s happening with these submissions. Have the users tried to resolve the issue and missed the mark? Are they unsure what to do, so they’re just resubmitting and hoping the error fixes itself? It’s frustrating for everyone involved.

In hopes of reigning in the Repeat Offender, Lulu.com has a ridiculously robust Knowledge Base to walk you through virtually any problem you might have. And rejections—at least 99% of them—come with explanations of what’s wrong and links to an associated Knowledge Base article. These lined articles are a good place to start in resolving a problem, but if you’re still puzzled, contact our support team.

Many years ago, I taught creative writing. On the first day of class, I’d scrawl on the whiteboard in ginormous letters: REVISION IS NOT FAILURE. The same is true here. Revising your submission and giving it another go is the best—in fact, the only—way to get your book into distribution and in front of readers eager for your work.

Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. A hiccup in your metadata or formatting is easily fixed. You’ve written a book! That’s the hard part. Everything else is easy—and we’re always here to help.

AbThe Dead Are Risingout the Author

Distribution Henry is a member of the Lulu eBook Quality Review team.

He is also a Lulu author.

You can view his work here: It’s Going to Be Okay. I Promise.

Winning at Writing

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When I won my first writing competition I was almost 40, living in a run-down farmhouse in rural Australia and working odd jobs. I was a waitress, a mill worker and, on weekends, I guided tourists through a crocodile farm. Now, twenty years on, my writing awards have given me the freedom to give up odd jobs and focus on writing full-time.

wolf pear

The deadly garden that holds the secrets.

My stories have been published by major publishing houses (HarperCollins & Harlequin), yet in 2012 I decided to take complete control of my work and self-publish. I’ve never looked back. I chose LULU because of the amount of control I have over the entire publishing process as well as the affordability and quality of the final product.

Writing for awards and competitions has been an effective way to increase my profile in the literary world. It’s provided me with some fantastic and very legitimate marketing tools and forced me to edit and polish my work until it shines in the face of judges. If you want to win, you’ve got to get it right, and it’s the same with self-publishing – your readers are the judges and your goal is to impress them with a finely tuned product.

If you are going to enter writing awards or contests, make sure they are legitimate. Look into the publishing house or company’s previous awards and publications. Find out who is judging the award (this is an important step) and the cost to enter (some are free. but you usually have to pay a reading fee which is normally around the $5 – $25 mark). I avoid competitions where I’m required to buy books, pay a load of money, or am unsure about the reputation of the company or publishing house.

My latest short story was chosen in the top three in the international Ruth Rendell awards. The judge of this award was Lynda La Plante who I was invited to meet at the awards ceremony in London. I couldn’t make the ceremony but I can’t tell you how excited I was that Lynda loves my story and knows who I am. I’ve now been commissioned by InterAct Stroke Support (through the Ruth Rendell Trust) to write another story to be read in hospitals throughout the UK by British actors.

 


Author Bio

Dianne Gray_picDianne Gray lives on a sugar cane farm in rural Australia. When she’s not chasing snakes from the farmhouse or crocodiles from her yard, she’s writing. Dianne’s writing not only includes five cross-genre novels and a multitude of award winning short stories, she has also written articles for government websites and hosts a popular blog. She is currently updating her book of short stories and writing two novels. Why two novels at once? Dianne believes that working on two stories at the same time is the reason she never suffers from writer’s block. To read more, visit her blog: https://diannegray.wordpress.com/


Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

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Bring on the Reviews!

Thank you, Internet for connecting all of us, all the time. I can’t make any decision without consulting the web for reviews. Need new tires? Find some affordable options and compare reviews. A new computer? Same. Dinner out? More of the same.

Books are different. I’m not going to pick a handful of books and make a choice based on the reviews. Buying books is more subjective. I actually decide whether or not to consider buying based on reviews. Those little stars can be the difference between trying out a new author, or passing them over for someone I know and trust.

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In this way, getting reviews for your book may well be the most important factor in hooking new readers (a good cover and well crafted description being the other elements). The question becomes: how do I get reviews for my book?

The first thing to do would be to tap resources you have on hand, such as friends, family, coworkers, or fellow writers. These are the folks who are willing to read your book and give reviews initially. It’s a great place to get started, particularly if you have a network of authors and fellow writers who can provide honest feedback.

Remember, not all reviews are going to be glowing. But a specific criticism or suggestion can be more valuable than simple praise. This is self-publishing, so a well crafted critical review could be the impetus to revise the work, in the end landing you an even stronger book!

Once you’ve reached out to your friends, family, and fellow writers for reviews, you might consider sources like Publishers Weekly or Kirkus, who offer paid reviewing services. This is a good way to get a “professional” review, but this may not be the most important element in increasing sales and visibility.

In fact, what might matter the most, are the stars. Invesp is a site dedicated to the commerce of opinion, and they present a nice little info graphic (see below) that highlights how important it is to have stars on those reviews. The main takeaway here is that getting 4+ stars can be as important, if not more important, than having a written review from a paid service like Publisher Weekly. Another crucial point this information brings up is review quantity. Most buyers feel confident with 4 to 6 good reviews. What this means is that you don’t actually need a lot of great reviews to get your book that extra attention. Just a few reviews with 4+ stars can be all it takes to start pulling in new readers!

bookheartEither way, as a self-published author, if you hope to have your worked noticed and picked up by new readers, you’ll want as many stars and reviews as you can get. These reviews are the “word of mouth” you’ll need to help find new readers and get them excited for your book.

 

It’s a lot of work, arguably more work than writing the book, but in the highly competitive self-publishing world, getting attention is the cornerstone of growing your book’s readership.

Bonus – Lulu has a section in our Forums called “Shameless Promotion” for, well, shamelessly promoting your book. It’s a great way to get the attention of the Lulu community and test the waters for reviews.

The importance of online customer reviews - editable

 

Infographic by- Invesp

Additional Resources:

Need Some Help Marketing? Ask a Friend

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

Free Access to Author Learning Center

 

ATCG: Lulu Prints The Human Code

Riccardo_Sabatini__How_to_read_the_genome_and_build_a_human_being___TED_Talk___TED_comHow many pages would it take for you to write the story of you? This story will contain your most intimate details such as height, eye color, facial structure, heart size, hair patterns and all the other details that make you unique. The team at Lulu learned the answer (see below) to this question when we partnered with scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini in preparation for his TED Talk: How to Read the Genome and Build a Human Being.

DNA, the blue print for all life here on Earth is composed of four nucleic acids; adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). You need about 3 billion of these to form the sequences required to build a human. As part of his TED talk, Sabatini needed a visual representation of the enormity of the human genetic coding. His idea was to print the entire genetic code for one human being as a series of books.

Printing and binding the DNA coding for one human being had never been done before.  The schedule was tight, but our teams and the printer pulled together to make history.

You can view Sabatini’s TED talk here: How to Read the Genome and Build a Human Being

Although not included in the official TED talk video, at the conclusion of his presentation, Sabatini offered to give away printed volumes to attendees. Apparently, there was quite the “scrum” to get a copy.

Lulu is proud to have worked with Sabatini on his Human Code project. The books we printed for his presentation displayed the complexity of one human’s story. The books we’ve printed for nearly 1 million other humans may not be as complex, but are as equally important in telling their stories.

the human genome.phpAnswer: Did you guess 262,784 pages? That’s 175, 8.5×11 volumes printed at 8pt font.

The Human Code is the first printing of the entire genome of a single human being – Craig Venter. This is the start of Chromosome 1.

Buy Now

One Minute of Inspiration

Your life consists of many chapters. Each describing a portion of who you are. When put together, these chapters create your story. Since 2002, Lulu has helped nearly 1 million people tell their stories. The world is waiting to hear yours.

Released May 2, 2016

Journey by Journal

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Margaret Holland says that keeping a journal was first an assignment, but over time, it took on a larger purpose as she began to understand herself and her experiences more clearly. She determined a book, based on her journals, would help others who might also be suffering. (Excerpt, The Brotherhood of Silence hardcover dust jacket)

From the start, I undertook editing The Brotherhood of Silence to help Margaret fulfill her dream. At her age, she couldn’t do it on her own. Even though she is nearly 82 now, her desire remains the same: to help others who are suffering in order to encourage them.

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Getting Started: Margaret’s Journals

Without having done anything like this before, I had no idea how to proceed. I couldn’t envision how to condense hundreds of pages of Margaret’s 29 journals into a readable form, or the countless hours it would take to type, edit, and transition the key entries. If I managed to produce a manuscript, how could I ever navigate the publishing morass? The whole project overwhelmed me. I asked for God’s wisdom and skill. One day at a time swam into my mind.

I knew that it was imperative to preserve Margaret’s voice so that the reader could “walk with her” through enormous challenges and emerge changed. After reading the full story, I knew it was a winner and told her so. Her delight put fuel in my tank, so I began typing, creating the format as I went. Although I could never see very far ahead, the creative process kept me engaged.

Although my eyes became red and strained after about three hours darting from her typed page to the computer screen and back, I reminded myself of Margaret at her typewriter for years, pouring out her heart and soul, trying to make sense of what was happening to her.

“Writing down the details of my daily life, getting everything out onto paper with a helpful purpose in mind and then re-reading them helped me recognize how much I had overcome.” She later wrote, “Thank God for my journals and the book that will come out of them. I don’t know what I would have done without this project. . . . Getting all of my feelings out and dealing with them in writing has been priceless therapy.”

After the 3rd draft, I committed our project to Lulu. I wrote to several authors who gave the company rave reviews. After editorial reviews, subsequent rewrites and twelve revisions, we finally submitted the book for printing, eagerly anticipating the day when Margaret would hold a copy in her hands. And we weren’t disappointed! Without the help of my assistant editor, copy editors and Lulu’s skilled individuals, I’d still be revising.

Cover: The Brotherhood of Silence

Cover: The Brotherhood of Silence


About the Author

Delana Reese has been a freelance writer/editor for thirty-five years. She is particularly drawn to before-and-after stories by women who have overcome adversity and who wish to share their stories as a means to encourage others.

Visit our website www.thebrotherhoodofsilence.com for interviews and reader comments.

 


Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

– See more at: http://www.lulu.com/blog/#sthash.lBYHT1KK.dpuf

Lulu Print-on-Demand – How It Works. Why It’s Great.

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In 2002 Lulu made publishing available to everyone through the use of print-on-demand technology. Our free, online tools allow authors to publish and distribute their work to online bookstores around the world. There are no upfront costs for publishing, other than the purchase and approval of a proof copy, there are no inventory costs, and authors earn profits on every book sold.

When you place an order in the Lulu bookstore, we send the book’s digital file to an approved printer in our global network. Whenever possible, we choose a printer located closest to the book’s final shipping destination where it will be printed in 1-3 business days and ship directly from the printer – hot off the press. When your books ship, you will receive an email with shipping and tracking information.

Why does it matter?

Lulu’s printondemand production model eliminates the need to maintain a huge inventory of books. It also reduces the waste associated with traditional publishing in which approximately 40% off all printed books are returned to publishers for pulping. In 2009, an estimated 77 million unsold books were pulped in the UK alone*.

If one 10-inch (25 cm) diameter tree yields 30 books of 200 pages in length**, then in one year 2.5 million trees were turned into books no one in the UK wanted. This number is just for one country. Imagine the number of trees saved each year if all books were printed using Lulu’s print-on-demand business model.

*Daily Mail 30 December 2009

** South Florida Business Journal, 23 May, 2014

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“What is Lulu?”
Where are my @#$% books?”

Order books from Lulu – Save More Trees – Get More Oxygen

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