Articles tagged "books"

Do enhanced eBooks promote children’s literacy?

Mixing a children’s book with something like a videogame seems like a no-brainer for promoting reading skills, right? Apparently not.

A new study finds that enhanced eBooks for children don’t raise literacy levels. The study, which followed 32 pairs of parents working with young children, found that the young readers were distracted by the many different interactive parts of the enhanced story, and quickly forgot certain key parts of the narrative. The young readers were given an eBook, a physical copy, and an enhanced eBook version of the same story. After reading them all, the comprehension just didn’t add up.

The authors of the study commented, “The enhanced eBook was less effective than the print and basic ebook in supporting the benefits of co-reading because it prompted more non-content related interactions. When adults prompt children with questions pertaining to the text, label objects, and encourage them to discuss the book’s content in terms of their own experiences and curiosities, this elicits increased verbalization by the child and can lead to improved vocabulary and overall language development.”

The Upward eBook Trend

According to a recent MediaBistro article, “net sales revenue from eBooks have surpassed hardcover books in the first quarter of 2012.” The data comes from the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report. I think that this was always expected, but it’s still indicative of a paradigm shift in book sales: It is now more popular to download a book than to pick up a hardcover copy at your local bookstore or order one shipped to your door.

While trade paperbacks still lead the industry in sales, it does seem inevitable that at some point, eBooks will make up the vast majority of book sales while physical books will fill a niche role. One of the main drivers of this surge in eBooks is the fact that people with e-readers just read more books. A Pew study, released in April of this year, found that “the average reader of eBooks says she has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-eBook consumer.”

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.

Sizzlin’ Summer Reading List

Summer is officially here, and with it brings a heat wave. Ever felt like you’re just too hot to even move, let alone write a novel? So what better way to deal with the heat then by finding a shady spot and reading your favorite books about heat waves?

Here are some recommendations I have. They tend to be a bit on the scarier side of things, but that’s to keep your mind off this terrifying heat:

Cujo by Stephen King: A mother and son get trapped inside a Ford Pinto during the hottest summer in 30 years. A rabid dog waits to pounce if they attempt to leave. Uplifting reading, best done on a sweaty subway car surrounded by almost-rabid commuters.

To Kill a Mockingbird: Our precocious narrator Scout describes that fateful summer,  “Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square; Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning; Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

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.

Lulu’s First-Ever MYSTERY SALE!

Lulu’s first-ever MYSTERY SALE! No coupon required. A mystery discount automatically applies to your cart.

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!)

Room to Create- Kids Can Publish Too

This is Chloe. Her big sister, Mia, just published a book on Lulu, and now Chloe wants in on the action.

And why shouldn’t she publish? Seeing your story printed is an amazing feeling. I still remember staring in awe, when my first grade teacher placed a book of my story, Perry the Parrot, into my tiny hands. Of course, that “book” was held together by red yarn and glue. I probably would have never stopped bragging if Perry had been a printed book.

Perry the Parrot may be out of print now, but there is a whole new generation of budding authors on Lulu. Check out The Travelling Dolphin by Clara Curtis or, my personal favorite, The Shiny Fork, to see the possibilities. With just a little help from parents to create an account, scan, and upload their work, kids can have the best book they will ever take to school for Show and Tell.

What stories will your kids have to tell?

iPad 2 Means More Readers for You

We love technology at Lulu, especially technology that helps our authors reach more readers.

Today, Apple is set to unveil the new iPad after the first version shattered sales records (15 million units sold in 2010) and introduced a new retail channel, the iBookstore, for authors to distribute their eBooks through.

Last year, eBooks accounted for $263 million of total trade book sales, which represents a 193% increase from 2009 according to the Association of American Publishers. As readers continue to find new ways to discover and purchase content, any author would do well to provide their work in as many formats and on as many devices as possible because you never know how your next biggest fan may discover your work.  As speculation builds over new iPad features, more eyes are turning towards the device, which opens up even greater opportunities for authors to expand their readership across millions of people.

In recent posts, we’ve shown you how to get your Lulu published eBook into the iBookstore and onto the iPad and we know how eager you are to see your books out in the world. That’s why we’re happy to help you distribute your remarkable works through our growing network of retail partners. Keep in mind too, that authors are always able to publish and sell their books immediately to the 2.5 million unique customers in the Lulu Marketplace for free, either electronically or in print. Lulu continues to help you bring your knowledge and expertise to your customers more easily than every before. We look forward to your continued success with Lulu and our retail partners.

Author Success: Publishers Weekly Select

The publishing industry is changing. More authors are discovering new platforms and devices to help tell their stories everyday. So much so that, last month, well-known publication Publishers Weekly highlighted approximately 200 self-published works for the first time.

You may recognize some of the titles and names in their lists and reviews because many of the works come from Lulu authors and range in topics on everything from fiction to self-help.

The folks at Lulu wanted to call even more attention to these authors and congratulate them on such an remarkable accomplishment. It makes us proud to see a new generation of authors and publishers use our tools and services to carve out a name for themselves. It is amazing to see all the different kinds of knowledge and expertise our authors are able to bring to their customers.

Please help us congratulate these authors in the comments below and be sure to check out their, now Publishers Weekly Select, works in the Lulu Marketplace.

Shadow Women
by Thérèse Bonvouloir Bayol
The McNulty clan emigrated to Quebec to escape British oppression. This story follows the lives of four women in smalltown St. Brigide and tells a tale of Irish assimilation.

Promised Valley Rebellion
by Ron Fritsch
The first of a four-novel sequence set at the end of prehistory, asking whether civilization, with its countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, could’ve begun differently.

Four Nails in the Coffin
by Mark Wheaton
A deputy sheriff on the Texas-Mexico border gets more than she bargained for when she pursues three escaped convicts into the high desert—just one of the four horror novellas in this collection by screenwriter and graphic novelist Wheaton.

The Adventurous Life of Reamus Brownloe: From the Appalachians…
by Phillip Bryan Hartsock
A story of survival and faith narrated by a child born into poverty and violence.

Spun Gold—Poetic Reflections of Pure Luminosity
by Maren Springsteen
A mandala of poems that point to the “Infinite Heart of Spirit.”

Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder
by Christiane Wells
This journey through severe mental illness and addiction offers insight into what it’s like to hit bottom and come back.

Silent M.a.g.i.c. and Other Remedies: A Journey of Transformation, a Spiritual Journey
by Kim O’Kelley-Leigh
Practical tools to living our most fulfilling lives.