Articles tagged "author"

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.


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


Journey by Journal


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.


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 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 Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

– See more at:

7 Questions to Ask When Converting Your Blog to a Print Book

After writing a teblog to bookchnology blog for a UK-based magazine for about three years and notching up hundreds of blog entries, I approached the magazine editor and suggested this interesting collection of articles was worthy of a book.

He immediately began asking questions, including, “Why on earth might anyone be interested in a series of blog posts collected together into a book?” He was also concerned about the complexities of publishing, but having already published with Lulu, I knew this was the least of our worries – I published the book in 2009.

Can anyone turn his or her blog into a book?

In theory yes, but there are some questions worth considering before you initiate that big WordPress download.

Is there an audience for the book?

You don’t need to do a lot of market research on this. You can publish with Lulu even if you anticipate a limited or specialized audience.

How much effort is required?

If you are doing this because you want to see your name on the spine of a book, you should consider that selecting your best posts and formatting them for the printed page will be quite a bit of work.

Will your blog work as a book?

The blog I converted to book format was mainly journalism and commentary, so I could easily imagine it on the printed page. On the other hand, turning your years of Tumblr posts into a book may be a futile exercise – and may even infringe copyright unless you personally own every image you shared. Remember, your posts may work well in the context of a blog where you might feature video clips, Instagram photos and other media that looks great when viewed on an iPad, but is not going to translate to the printed page.

Are the blog posts relevant now and in the future?

Blog content almost always features a date-stamp, which can translate to book content in an epistolary format – dated blogs in sequence – but there is an important time distinction between blogs and books.

Blogs are written and published in the now, usually referencing the exact time they were written. As time goes on, new posts may update or supersede earlier ones. As such, some of your blog entries will be completely unsuitable for use in a book because they are comments on a moment, rather than less time-bound thoughts or comments.

A book needs to be planned with a much longer shelf life than an individual blog post. When you publish a book, it is published at a moment in time and cannot be quickly updated except through new editions. In general, book content needs to be planned so that it will not become quickly dated.

Will the structure of my blog translate to a book?

It is worth viewing your blog in the round. You may have a hundred thousand words of great content, but you may end up stripping away half of that content to preserve your best posts. It is worth thinking about whether you want a literal version of your blogs in book format or whether you can do more with the text when planning how it might be read on the page. For example, you may be able to connect several blogs together and present them as longer essays.

Why should I do it?

If you are already blogging then you are a writer. Many writers have used short publications that were eventually collected together into a longer book format – The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens is one of the most famous examples. In fact, there is little to distinguish the way Dickens wrote then from a blogger today who releases short articles then collects them together into a longer book.

Posterity is as good a reason as any to take a close look at your blog to see if it might be worth publishing as a book. Even if your blog posts are individual and cannot be collected together into a coherent story, there may still be value in collecting them together. In my case, my articles from 2006-2009 that went into my “book-of-the-blog” have now been deleted from the magazine website. Now my book is the only place where they continue to live!

Mark Hillary

Author BIO

Mark Hillary is a British author, blogger and advisor on technology and globalization based in São Paulo, Brazil. He is a regular contributor to journals including The Huffington Post, Reuters, The Guardian, and Computer Weekly.

Mark live-blogged the 2010 UK General Election for Reuters. He was an official blogger at the 2012 London Olympics. He was shortlisted as blogger of the year in 2009 and 2011 by Computer Weekly magazine.

Contact Mark: (@markhillary)

Mark on Lulu:

Authors: Make your voice heard!

Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest are doing their third annual Author Survey. The results of the survey help guide the direction of the industry and the survey takes 15 minutes or less to complete. Be sure to make your voice heard and complete the survey here:

“Participants in the survey will get a sneak preview of results. The full results will be presented at the Digital Book World Conference and Expo in January 2015 and published as a series of blog posts on the Digital Book World website, offering free analysis and commentary on a range of subjects captured by the data. In-depth analysis will also be available for purchase both in a comprehensive technical report as well as in a series of shorter briefs designed for authors and their partners.”

Read more about the survey here:

How to Raise Money for Your Next Writing Project

The Kickstarter of books is here, it’s Pubslush

You may have heard the term “crowd funding”, but may not be sure what it’s all about. Crowdfunding is a way that artists and entrepreneurs are raising funds for their projects, so they can take on less of the financial risk. With a successful crowdfunding campaign, you can raise funds – before you publish – rather than paying out of your own pocket.

Authors are already successfully raising money by pitching their book idea to potential readers and future fans, and now Pubslush has built a fund raising platform exclusively for you.

A Crowdfunding Platform for Authors
A number of authors are already finding success raising money for their projects, and gaining access to options they wouldn’t have had before – like investing in professional cover design, marketing campaigns, first run copies of their books and more.

pubslush kickstarter authors crowdfunding

Some of the top projects on Pubslush have raised over $10,000 from readers


Let us know if Pubslush is right for you in the comments

Take a moment to check out Pubslush, check out their successful projects, watch the video embedded below, and let us know what you think in the comments on this blog post.

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 11.39.00 AM

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 11.39.00 AM

Modern Thought Leadership: three absolute must-have’s

 Modern Thought-Leadership: It doesn’t happen overnight

With the ever-expanding world of social media marketing influence, the concept of the modern day “thought-leader” has not only experienced resurgence, it has also enjoyed an expanded application of what thought-leadership is and can be.  Just last week, I had the opportunity to work with the awesome team at Prezi to create a kind of journey for modern day thought-leader.  Out of this research developed a pathway and three key, absolute must-have drivers:

  • Passion and Drive – a characteristic all thought-leaders share.  Not only do they have a new idea or way of thinking about something, they all posses an avalanche-like drive to share this idea with the masses.  It is what keeps them awake at night, what makes them attend every conference, present at every forum, and write every blog post.  You must have passion for the subject matter.  Want some inspiration?  Check out any TEDtalk.
  • Innovative Use of Tools – every influencer/thought-leader I’ve ever run across from Deepak Chopra to Guy Kawasaki have all utilized creative ways to spread their knowledge with new audiences.  This is now easier than ever in that anyone with an imagination and access to the web can find an audience.  Social media outlets provide ever-inventive opportunities for infinite sharing and connection.
  • Care about the Audience – yes, meeting your audience face-to-face after a presentation matters, book signings matter, interactive Q&A sessions matter.  In other words, the audience matters (A LOT).  The most successful thought-leaders realize this fact and take great care to not only reach out to but also elicit feedback from their audiences.

These three points just begin to scratch the surface of the path to thought-leadership but, truthfully influencers and innovators can come from anywhere…so, STAY MOTIVATED AND SHARE YOUR IDEAS! (also, checking out some of the steps summarized in the thought-leadership Prezi won’t hurt either.

What does modern-day thought-leadership mean to you?  How are you spreading your ideas?

Helix Review webinar opportunity

It’s really hard to get an objective, unbiased perspective on your book. Actually, it can be really hard just to get someone to read your book. Picture this — your book read and analyzed to reveal insights you never thought you’d be able to get from anyone. Ever. Meet Helix.

Helix is the brain behind the Helix Review, “the ultimate unbiased perspective on your book,” as one knowledgeable author put it. The Helix Review tells you not whether your book is good or bad, but reveals the innermost workings of your prose and how it compares to other works in your genre. The Helix Review allows you to uncover who your readers are by comparing you book to well known titles and authors.

Up until now, this kind of analysis has involved some pretty sophisticated tools, including a magic eight ball, your editor’s best guess, the psychic network, or your mom’s opinion.

Lulu is providing a free look into the Helix Review: A Personality Test for Your Book. Join us for the webinar on April 26 at 1:00 p.m. ET to get an in-depth look at this tool that compares your writing to more than 100,000 classics. You’ll also have the opportunity to provide input into shaping the future direction of the Helix Review. Register now.