Articles tagged "blog"

Blogging Your Way to Success

2 min read

Earlier this month we posted a blog with some advice about Facebook’s potential as a marketing tool. And make no mistake, Facebook will be your best friend when it comes to marketing your book. But Facebook only works if you have a continual stream of content to offer. Yes you can (and should) share coupons and the store links to your book from Lulu. And yes you can share a variety of industry news relevant to you and other authors like you.

That’s not enough though. Your readers and potential readers need to have an investment in you as a person. They need to get to know you and your work before they will open their wallets and buy your book.

A Blog is the perfect means to do this (and much more in the long term). An Author Blog is a direct link to you, a way to advertise, advocate for, and create a connection to your work. The people who follow your social media presence need a reason to come back to you. This is how you build a following, and how that following then goes to work for you by drawing in their friends to your network.

Best of all, blogs are easy to do. You can find a wealth of free blogging sites across the web, such as WordPress, Weebly, or Blogger. These platforms allow you to quickly and easily create and maintain a blog.

Now all you need to do is start adding content. Here’s some ideas for posting:

  1. Look at what’s trending on Twitter (by hashtag), Instagram, or Facebook and write an opinion piece about the topic at hand. Remember to use your researching skills to back up your argument. Anything that ties back to the topics your book(s) focus on are a plus.
  2. Come up with a weekly feature. For example, maybe every Wednesday you interview an author about writing or his/her process. Or on Tuesdays you post a photo of your work area and write about your progress. Whatever it is, be consistent.
  3. What have you read recently that you loved or hated? What is your favorite book of all time? Why do you prefer one specific genre over another? Or do you no longer read at all, and why?
  4. What challenges or fears have you faced in life and overcome? Inspirational writing is always popular.
  5. Make a top 10 list. From nail colors to the best advice on book cover concepts; do your research and show off what you’ve found. Again, if you can tie this back to the content of your book(s), all the better.
  6. As writers, we love words, but appreciate the other fine arts, too. Don’t shy away from putting up a video you found on YouTube or a photo of your favorite coffee shop, carnival ride, or pet. These small glimpses into your life will be appreciated by your readers.
  7. What do you want to accomplish over the next year and how will you get there? Tell your readers so they can root for you. And remember to talk about your progress now and again.
  8. Still not inspired? Check out these interactive prompts that will get your mind churning.

Providing a consistent stream of content, even small pieces, gives you fodder for social media sharing, allowing you to continually grow your presence.

Every blog follow, every Facebook like, is a potential reader. And each reader can then tell their friends and family, expanding your network and making your book more and more successful!

Be Our Guest (Blogger)

2 min read

Be Our Guest

 

You need a platform – we have that.
You want to reach a wider audience – we have that, too.
You have a story to tell – so tell it.

Lulu is throwing caution to the wind and inviting our authors to become Lulu bloggers. After all, who knows more about self-publishing than self-published authors? You get to share your knowledge with a broader audience while promoting your work. We get to show the world that Lulu authors are among the best writers on the web.

Send your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Your pitch should include:

  • An introduction: Who are you?
  • Relevance: How does your proposal fit with our existing audience?
  • Topics: What do you propose to write about?
  • Value: What benefit will readers get from the article?

Your pitch should not be a bulleted list, nor should it be an epic love poem in long form. This is the one piece of your writing we are guaranteed to read, so keep it brief, to the point, and grammatically correct.  For more information on writing an effective pitch, see: Pitch Perfect: Pitching a Guest Post.

Here are some ideas for articles, but don’t be limited by what you see here. Originality will be rewarded.

What do you know? What have you learned? What would you tell a new author? What should an author avoid? How do you feel when your words arrive in the mail as a book? What new technologies help you stay organized? How do you research your characters and locales? What do people say when they recognize themselves in your book? How many times do you write, rewrite and rewrite again? Got any funny stories? How do you effectively edit your own writing? How do you find trustworthy publishing services? Whose dreams are you making come true?

You can be assured that all pitches will be read and responded to by our team.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and working with you to expand your audience.

Guest Posting Guidelines

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation Using Someone Else’s Platform

2 min read

Author Platform 1Since joining the Lulu team, I have attended publishing trade shows around the country in an effort to keep up with industry trends. After a few years, I noticed a distinct pattern. Each year it seemed the industry latched onto a particular theme or buzzword around which all shows were organized. One of the first of these themes focused on the need for creating an author platform.

Once I learned what an author platform was, it seemed like a rather simple and logical approach to publicizing your work. All you need to do is set up a website, start a blog and interact with your fans on social media. Easy right? According to the experts, an author platform makes current fans feel connected to the author while at the same time attracting new readers thereby ensuring a steady flow of money into an authors’ bank account.

The thinking here is solid.  If we conduct a quick online study we will find most successful, independently published authors already have an author platform in place – likely built by a member of their publishing team (another year’s theme). If you conduct a search for these authors on the internet, not only would their books be returned in the search results, but also links to their social media pages, discussion boards, blog posts, and articles – all of which contribute to their online reputation.Guest Bloggers Welcome

For new authors the question then becomes, “How can I get some of this search engine goodness for myself?” If you don’t have access to a social media team or a neighborhood kid to build your website, the easiest option is join a few discussion groups or to make use of another person’s platform by guest blogging. Both of which give you an opportunity to reach new audiences.

You may respond “I don’t write for free.” Well, yes you do. You write for free until someone buys your book. Once enough people have bought your book you can set your own price for articles. Until then, your best bet is to find a site that appeals to your target audience and pitch them an article. Most bloggers are constantly on the lookout for new material. So much so they will even let you plug your book in return for free, compelling content..

This strategy is a win/win for everyone. The site owner gets content to fill their pages.  You get more search hits, a new audience for your work, free advertising, and a bump in your online reputation score.

Coming up: Tips on Pitching a Guest Blog

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

3 min read

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: www.markhillary.com (@markhillary)

Mark on Lulu: http://j.mp/lulumarkhillary

Turning Your Blog Into Your eBook

2 min read

One of the most frustrating truths of running a website is the ascendancy of new content. No matter how you lay out your website, more often than not, new content will take center stage, relegating older content to the recesses of your website, only reappearing when someone happens upon it through an internet search. It’s sad to see such good material get buried, and is clearly a limitation of the blog format.

But the blog isn’t the end of content, by any means. To get more mileage out of their content, bloggers have begun turning their webpages into eBooks. By turning old content into new profit, they also give some pieces that might deserve another look the chance to get one. This tactic helps bloggers advance their brand and provide offline consumption of their writing. Not only that, but bloggers already have access to a targeted audience (their site visitors) which makes publishing an eBook that much more viable. Besides the ever-present Tumblr-books (think cats doing funny things), some successful books have started out as blogs, including the basis for the film Julie & Julia.

EBooks also give a website the chance to showcase work around a specific theme or topic. If you run a cooking website, it might make sense to publish an eBook around Halloween that presents recipes for candy or other sweets. Or if you run a political website, an eBook that comes out highlighting your best writing about the upcoming election might also be a smart idea.

EBooks push the pause button on the lighting fast internet, and allow for reading to be more reflective and not reactive. Revisiting pieces before publishing them in an eBook, with updates of course, compels readers to get the eBook, and not just find the pieces on the blog itself. An eBook can also be a better way to engage contributors to the blog, who will see their writing published across multiple mediums, instead of flaming out quickly on the front page.

Turning a blog into an eBook gives old material new life, helps disseminate your content farther, and gives it an even better chance of earning money. What does a blogger have to lose?

Ready to start you own eBook?

Lulu University is FREE!

1 min read

Picture 2We offer a variety of free online webinars to help educate our authors on a variety of publishing topics – from how to create a press release to social networking. We’ll be adding to our list of topics and even have guest speakers joining the classes. Take advantage of our knowledgeable experts and learn the tips and tricks of publishing and marketing your books.

Please let us know what other classes you would be interested in seeing in our course catalog.

April 5 @ 7PM EST- Red Hot Internet Basics: Touring Yourself Online
If you’re ready to market your book online but don’t know where to start, you’ll love this class. We’ll look at creating and launching your very own Virtual Author Tour. During this class we’ll look at:

Win a Prize for Contributing to Our Knowledge-Base

1 min read

KnowledgeBaseContest_BlogBanner

We see success every day in the vibrant community of authors, artists, and creators that has gathered around Lulu.  Creators come together on our Facebook page, Twitter feed and blog to give advice and cheer on each other as they realize their dreams and ambitions.

We’re particularly excited by the strong response to our improved — and expanding — knowledge base. In the past seven weeks, more than 6,000 items have been added in six different languages and thousands of customers have used our tools to check out popular articles, add to the community discussion, and recommend ideas.

Just the other day I saw how author Keith Dixon helped a new author decide what her best print options would be for the project she has in mind.  It’s great to see that kind of support and encouragement from one passionate creator to another.

And we want to reward it.

From now through April 23rd, we will give away daily prizes to knowledge base users with the most posts, highest ranked posts, best questions, and best answers.  Daily winners will receive a coveted Lulu hat (you should see how fast these things go at conferences) and bragging rights.  Once a week, we’ll randomly select a winner for a grand prize ranging from an iPod Nano to a Book Lover’s Bonanza Service Pack (a $1,895 value), one of our newest service offerings.

We truly appreciate the Lulu community and all the ways you help us grow, adapt, and improve.  So join the conversation, or start one of your own.  Check out our knowledge base to share ideas, ask questions, make friends, and learn something new while inspiring creativity in your fellow creators.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)