Articles tagged "authors"

Disputes over eBook pricing models… what do they all mean?

The eBook pricing war rages on, with such heavy-hitters as the Department of Justice, Amazon, Apple, and the majority of major publishers continuing to tussle over the price of eBooks.

To recap: Amazon has been selling eBooks at a loss for some time, in order to increase sales of their Kindle e-reader. Apple, looking to take some of the eBook business away from Amazon, then offered a higher pricing model to the major publishers, one which would keep them in business through the change of book formats. The Department of Justice, urged on by Amazon, filed suit against the major publishers claiming that they worked together to fix prices artificially high. The DOJ charged that this collusion is a breach of Federal Antitrust laws. After the suit was filed, a handful of publishers settled. Still, this is far from over.

The Consumer Federation of America, an association of nearly 300 nonprofit consumer groups, released a statement claiming that, “Books are being devalued, literature is not.”

By restoring competitive pricing to the market (a race to the bottom for eBook prices) the consumer obviously wins. But at what cost? Surely the major publishers cannot continue peddling a product they can’t make a profit off of.

Pre-Publication Marketing Timeline for Authors

On Lulu’s blog there’s been a lot of talk about the “how” of marketing (Pinterest, Blogging, Twitter, writing a press release, video chat, etc.) but little focus on the “when,” which is an equally important component of a successful book marketing campaign.

Here are some general guidelines you can follow compiled in a simple marketing timeline to help you plan:

10–12 weeks out: Do your research. Find appropriate blogs and media outlets that might want to review your book and compile a list of media contacts. Come up with a list of friends who can help spread the announcement of your publication and ask each one personally for support. When you reach out to contacts, offer them a free copy of your book and ask for pre-publication quotes to be used in your book’s detail page at various online retailers.

*Expert tip: Make the first chapter of your book available for free for anyone who might want to review your book or include it in a news article. You can do this by creating a free eBook on Lulu.com that includes just the first chapter of your book as well as contact details for press inquiries.

8–10 weeks out: Draft your press release and any announcement emails you’re planning on sending out.

The Editorial Process

Photo courtesy of TheCreativePenn’s photostream on Flickr

Michael Crichton once said of revising, “Books aren’t written. They’re re-written.” As any of us who have slogged through draft after draft knows, he’s entirely on the mark, and it’s what you do during the rounds of revisions that make your book closer to finally being finished.

Editors at traditional houses work extensively with writers on everything from a book’s plot and character to title and cover design. After a book is acquired, the author will receive an extensive, pages-long editorial letter that is not for the faint of heart. It outlines a number of changes that will need to be made, thus kicking off a long revision period that ultimately ends with publishing as much as 18 months later.

As an author using an open-publishing platform, you have more flexibility in accepting or rejecting where you want the story and characters to go, and you don’t have to wait nearly two years to hold a copy of your book in your hands.

Infographic: 10 Remarkable Years

Thank you to our authors and readers for making this 10 remarkable years in self-publishing. Check out this awesome info graph to see how we’ve grown.

How to Get Your Local Bookseller to Carry Your Book

Selling your self-published book through Lulu and other online outlets feels good. Your book is now available to anyone, anywhere in the world just by downloading or ordering it through the Internet. But there might be something missing. What about being able to eagerly browse the shelf at your local independent bookstore and coming across your book there?

Independent bookstores have considerable trouble stocking self-published titles. First, they’re not often able to sell the book back to the self-publisher if the product doesn’t sell. As such, bookstores need to be pretty sure the book is going to be purchased before they buy it.

Congratulations Earth Day Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of our Earth Day Contest! Lulu is proud to partner with Eco-Libris to plant over 500 trees in honor of each author who entered the contest. Winners were based on most print sales on submitted titles from April 18-April 25.

First place winner Melanie Potock, author of Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food!, wins a NOOK and a $475 Marketing Consultation.

“Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP is a certified speech language pathologist who has specialized for over 12 years in helping children love a variety of food. Her practice focuses on the family and teaching the fundamentals of parenting in the kitchen. Mel wrote this book in the same manner that she works with families; with an open heart and a touch of humor. Raising an adventurous eater is meant to be fun. Enjoy the journey!” -Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food!

We had a tie for second place and will award a $350 Clarion Book Review to: Jim Galvanek, author of The Ironman’s Guide To Cancer Survival and David Thorne, author of I’ll Go Home Then, It’s Warm and Has Chairs.

“Jim Galvanek was a 27-year-old architect when he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in 1998. At the time, the only reliable treatment was a bone marrow transplant, which required that his entire blood and immune system be destroyed and replaced with that from a donor. Galvanek spent over a month in hospital and more than a year recuperating before returning to work. Galvanek’s body accepted the transplant and he made a full recovery. But something in his life seemed incomplete. He eventually set his sights on the Ironman triathlon, a feat of endurance that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and full marathon. Galvanek successfully completed his first Ironman in 2008 to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of his bone marrow transplant. He has since competed in numerous triathlons and other endurance events, raising over $250,000 in support of blood cancer research.”-The Ironman’s Guide To Cancer Survival

“All new, never before published material from the author of The Internet is a Playground. New emails, new articles, new exclusive content. Featuring more than 233 pages of brand-spanking-new material, I’ll Go Home Then, It’s Warm and Has Chairs is the second book by author David Thorne.” -I’ll Go Home Then, It’s Warm and Has Chairs

For more on how Lulu supports sustainability through Print-On-Demand, check out our blog post here: Saving Mother Earth by Using Print-On-Demand.

 

The Importance of a Writing Routine

When it comes to when and where to write, everyone is different. Maya Angelou starts early and works in hotel rooms with bare walls, Truman Capote claimed he could only write when in bed, horizontal, and Vladimir Nabokov scribbled on index cards for entire nights. Some authors hold themselves to 10 pages per day no matter what (Stephen King), while others force out 500 words a day (Ernest Hemingway). Despite these differences in approach many writers share one commonality: a routine. Like competitive athletes, writers don’t show up for practice when they feel like it. They commit to a schedule and stick with it. Yes, some days will be good, and some days will be bad, but in order to improve one has to keep going.

To be clear there’s no “right” routine, only what works best for you. So what is that? Well, first off, what do you want to achieve? Are you hoping to finish a 100,000 word novel in 12 months? Or complete a short story in 60 days? Once you know, write your objective down and put it in a place where you’re sure to see it every day. A constant reminder will hopefully spur you forward.

Now that you know what you want to achieve what’s next?

  • Friends, family, and work will get in the way, if you let ‘em. Don’t. Review your schedule and find a few times a week where you can allot at least an hour of writing time. Put it in your calendar (even set up a reminder 1 hour in advance) or tack up a note in a prominent place on the fridge or by your desk. Make sure everyone knows they cannot bother you unless there is an emergency.
  • You have your big objective in place, but what do you want to accomplish in each session? Whether it’s word count or page(s), commit to a measurable goal during your writing time.
  • Test out the best place to work. Maybe it’s not at home at your desk, but instead at a coffee shop, your friend’s living room table, or in Maya Angelou’s case, a hotel room. Wherever it is, make note of where you feel most inspired.
  • Turn off your Internet connection and while you’re at it, leave your phone in another room. This is your time not to be distracted and trust me, Twitter, Facebook, and People.com will try to lure you in. The worst thing you can do is Google a writer you know or admire who is about to publish his or her first, third, or eighth book. This time is about you, not you versus someone else.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has bad days. Anne Lamott wrote an entire book about the moments of despair, and the fleeting glimmers of good, in Bird By Bird (if you haven’t read yet, you should) that are part of being a writer. If you just can’t eke out even a sentence about your current project, describe your surroundings, write a scene from a work not yet started, or re-write the ending of your favorite TV show. Just WORK and reward yourself (ice cream!) afterwards.
  • Keep a log of your writing. Perhaps this is “business-y” but once you see your victories add up, sitting down to write will feel a whole lot more plausible. So jot down the date and your word count or number of pages and reflect on what you’ve accomplished once a week or month.

Like anything routine (ie. general hygiene, washing the dishes, etc.) it becomes somewhat second nature after a while. Explains author Kristiana Gregory, “Since it’s now a long-time habit, a day without writing makes me feel naked.”

So, Lulu authors, now it’s your turn to tell us what your routine looks like in the comments section below.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

How many of you have been influenced by the works of Dr. Seuss? Help us celebrate his birthday by sharing with us your childhood memories of Dr. Seuss, lessons you learned, your favorite quotes and maybe even a rhyme of your own!

Buy eBooks. Save trees. In honor of The Lorax and Dr. Seuss.

Tackling Twitter, Part 1

(Click here for Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!)

It’s hard for some writers to express a thought in 140 characters, but in today’s world of Pinterest, Facebook, and blogging it’s necessary. As The New York Times recently noted, “With the digital age comes new conceptions of authorship.” This is especially true for authors who don’t have the marketing muscle of a publishing house at their disposal.

Not everyone has been quick to jump into the “Twittersphere.” Explains author Lucas Klauss, “I was — like a lot of writers, I imagine — initially pretty suspicious of Twitter and its supposed benefits. I thought it would end up being just a big time-suck. And sometimes it is! But I’ve been happily surprised at how fun it can be.”

He used the social media platform to promote his book trailer (more on these at a later date). “By far most of the views I got were from Twitter — people retweeting it and saying they thought it was funny. And it connected me to other authors I hadn’t yet met.”

Wanting to be on Twitter and actually getting the mojo to join and keep on top of it are very different. It can also be intimidating and, take it from me, just plain weird at first.

Don’t let it be.

Remember how you tackled the blank page and completed a book? Well, trust me, Twitter has nothing on that. However before you start crying from the Twitterverse’s rooftops, remember the following:

Define your online persona: Being on Twitter means others will come to “know” you so think about which part(s) of yourself you want to put out there. What interests and hobbies will you promote? Your writing and reading, sure, but maybe you also love old Nintendo games, tulips, or your Subaru? Whatever it is take note and once you join, seek out similar folks with whom you’ll want to have a dialog.

Contribute to the conversation: Someone you follow is looking for a book recommendation? Answer him or her. Another person posts a link to a blog post you loved? Say so. The point of Twitter is not to tirelessly promote your own work but build your own community of online “tweeps” who will answer your questions and hopefully support you

Stay committed: The most popular people on Twitter tend to update their feeds often so plan on tweeting at least twice a day. If you’re worried about making such a big commitment, strategize. Keep a running log of future tweets as far out as you can handle. This can help reduce the pressure to always be by your phone or computer

Cross-pollinate: I’m not normally a big fan of corporate buzz words, but in this case it makes sense. Basically, you want to make sure that all of your various social media platforms are interconnected, meaning that your Twitter profile points to your blog and vice versa. This helps people become aware of your entire body of work. Thankfully, this linking process isn’t usually very difficult!

Be patient: Building followers takes time. It’s unlikely you’ll acquire 5,000 followers overnight but that’s okay. You want quality — as in people with similar interests who you can have a dialog with — over quantity.

Check out next week’s column for tips on using the hashtag (see below), the difference between replying and retweeting, as well as a whole host of general do’s and don’ts!

(Click here for Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!)

SXSW Interactive 2012 Recommendations for Authors & Publishers

South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) 2012 is right around the corner, scheduled to take place in Austin, Texas March 9-13.  If you’re an author and have never heard of “South by,” you may want to check out the following blog post by Evo Terra entitled “7 tips for authors attending SXSW 2012.”  Evo manages to give a great overview of the festival with tips catering specifically to authors.  Even though SXSW is not a publishing conference, Evo correctly points out that our “world is changing faster than you imagine,” and SXSW is a great way to “forward your knowledge and expertise in the interactive world.”

As we all know, electronic marketing tools such as social media are very important to authors looking to promote their work.  Among other things, SXSW offers you the ability to learn from interactive industry leaders who work on the cutting edge of digital technology.

So whether you’re planning to attend this year of not, to add to Evo’s blog post, I have outlined below some of 2012’s SXSW Interactive panel discussions that are geared specifically to authors and publishers.  The list below may help you save time as you plan your schedule.  If you are not planning on going, hopefully these panels will inspire you to get your late registration in … at the very least, these can help get you excited for next year.

Discoverability and the New World of Book PR
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13632

Publishing Models Transforming the Book
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP10347

Libros digitales para todos/eBooks for Everybody
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13728

Rhapsody to Year 0: Music & Publishing Go Digital
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9680

Take a Look It’s in a Book or Now Tablet Devices
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP12327

Self-Publishing: A Revolution for Midlist Authors?
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9146

Social Role-Playing: Brands and Publishers
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9024

Knitting a Long Tail in Niche Publishing
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9356

Making eBooks Smarter: Responsive Page Design
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9737

Books Win the Attention Economy
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9275

Next Stage: Tear It Up: How to Write a Digital Novel
http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_OE00939