Articles tagged "Distribution"

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

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Repeat after me. “Christmas is coming. Christmas is coming. It’s just around the corner.”

finish-line-aheadNow that we have accepted the inevitable, let’s take a few minutes to think about what we need to do to make this year your most successful sales year yet. Lucky for authors, book sales are up in 2016 with printed books making a huge comeback, so this could be the best year ever for holiday book sales, but only if you are ready.

If you are in the final stages of completing, editing or revising your book and wish to have it ready for holiday gift giving, there is no time for procrastination – particularly if you wish to have your book available for purchase in all online bookstores for the holidays.

As you race to the finish, keep these things in mind:

  • Your print book must meet all distribution requirements before it can be approved for online distribution. To prevent it from being rejected by retailers, take a few minutes to carefully review the requirements and make edits prior to publishing.
  • Before your book can be submitted for distribution, you must first purchase and approve a proof copy. Once you review and approve your proof, Lulu will release it into distribution.
  • Retailers will review your book to ensure it meets distribution requirements. If your book is rejected, you must edit it, then purchase and approve another proof copy before it can be resubmitted to distributors.
  • Once your book is sent to retailers, it will usually be available for purchase from online bookstores in about three weeks. However, due to retailer processing, workloads, and holiday volume it could take 6-8 weeks for your book to be added to all online booksellers.
  • Each retailer has their own process and schedule for reviewing books and updating their online catalogs. There is no means for Lulu to expedite this process for you.

If you are running out of time and think there is no way you will finish in time, don’t worry. You can forego distribution (for now) and publish directly to the Lulu bookstore.

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When you publish to the Lulu bookstore:

  • Your book will be available for purchase within minutes of publication.
  • You can publish without an ISBN, which means there is no required retail markup resulting in higher profits for you and no US income tax withholding.
  • You can take advantage of Lulu discounts to boost holiday sales.
  • You can purchase your book at manufacturing cost.
  • You can even publish a hardcover special edition to sign and give to family and friends as Christmas gifts.

And, don’t forget, you are not alone. The Lulu support team is here to help Monday-Friday during regular office hours. You can also get author-to-author support 24/7 in the Lulu forums.

So get back to work!

Learn with Charlie: Make More Money

After publishing his book on Lulu, Charlie learns a very “valuable” lesson.

For more author tips, visit the Lulu.com Learn with Charlie channel on Vimeo.

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.

Expand Your Distribution and Reach More Readers

At Lulu.com, we want to give every author the tools they need to have a chance at success. After all, there’s a lot to do with your self-published book between editing it, formatting it and designing the perfect cover. That doesn’t even include writing it! But there’s one aspect you might not have given a lot of thought to yet: how exactly are you going to sell your book?

Selling on Lulu.com is a great start, but to reach the largest pool of potential readers you need to be in the most stores possible – that means Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and more. Luckily, Lulu.com’s globalREACH distribution service lists your book on websites around the world in a few quick steps.

So why should your book have globalREACH? Well, there’s no reason not to get it! Worried that it’ll take too much time and effort on your part to get everything set-up? Think again – it couldn’t be any easier.

New and Improved: Lulu now offers Kindle, Kobo and More

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Alright, we’re just going to cut to the chase: Lulu authors may now distribute their Lulu eBooks to both the Kindle and Kobo eBookstores. That’s right, upload it once and sell it everywhere – and, by the way since we’re talking about awesome news, our print book distribution service is Free!

Now with Lulu, authors have a single, free and simple method for getting all of your books into as many distribution channels as possible. No more need to publish your books in multiple places. With Lulu, you can sell what you love everywhere.

To make this even better, when you choose the Kobo and Everything Else distribution option, your eBook will be made available for purchase on eBook retailer sites in the Ingram network includinhttp://www.lulu.com/blog/wp-admin/post-new.phpg Kalahari, Booktopia, Baker & Taylor, Gardners, Oyster Books, Sainsbury’s and others – not to mention a long list specialty eBook retailers from around the world.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are not yet able to offer Kindle and Kobo distribution options to authors residing in Australia.

New eBook Pricing and Manage Distribution Pages

mediumAs part of this release, we have redesigned the Manage Distribution page and the pricing step in the eBook publishing wizard. Authors may now enter a retail price and then choose the retail sites (distribution channels) on which they want to sell their books. The retail price, distribution fees, Lulu commission, and creator revenue are clearly displayed for each channel.

How do I get my previously published eBook in the Kindle and Kobo Stores?

If your eBook is already in distribution, simply click the Manage button next to the project title, add the Kindle and Kobo options, and save your changes. Since your eBook previously passed the Lulu QA Review, we will pass it directly to Ingram for distribution into their network. You eBook will, however, be subject to each retailer’s review procedure before being made available for purchase on those sites.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your eBook is already published through Kindle Direct or available for purchase on Amazon.com, you may not distribute a duplicate copy to the Kindle Bookstore. Doing so will violate both the Lulu eBook distribution terms and your Amazon agreement.

New Sell Page Design

Intensive studies and user feedback indicate that people really like the Lulu site, but the most important question of all “How much money will I make?” is not readily apparent. To help answer this most important of questions, we have redesigned the Sell page to provide an at-a-glance summary of Lulu’s distribution options, services, tools, and retail pricing examples for both print and eBooks in distribution. It’s glorious!

Other Improvements

  • eBook Title Capitalization Validation. 

One of the most common causes for our QA team rejecting an eBook is that the author did not follow proper capitalization rules for their title. This new feature alerts a creator a title does not meet these capitalization rules, so that it can be fixed on the very first step.

  • Select Between Previously Used Publisher Names.

When an author brings their own ISBN, they must also provide the publisher name that they tied to that ISBN when they bought it. This name is then sent to all of our distribution and metadata partners. To help reduce the number of almost-the-same duplicate publisher names, we have replaced the text entry field with a dropdown that allows a creator to choose a previously used publisher name or enter a brand new one. This list is account-based, and an account without any publisher names will see a blank entry field.

  • eBook Approval Email.

We now send an email to an author when our QA team approves their eBook for distribution to retailers. Previously, they were only notified if we had rejected their eBook. This keeps our authors informed on their eBook’s status, and will help prevent support cases from authors asking for a status update.

  • Edit Price on Manage Distribution Page.

When we gave the eBook Manage Distribution page the same interface as the Price step in the Wizard, we also opened up the ability for creators to edit their eBook’s price on the Manage Distro page. This allows them to manage all aspects of how their book is sold in one place.

Getting self-published books on store shelves

Compliments of Blogto.com

In an increasingly digital world, it’s still the dream of many authors see their books in print and on the shelves of their favorite bookstores.  Many stores order books from wholesale distributors such as Ingram Book Company, where Lulu authors can get their books listed through our GlobalReach distribution service.  That means that in addition to having your book on popular online retailers like Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, you’re also giving brick-and-mortar stores the chance to carry your book!

But there’s another way to go about it, and that’s by selling directly to bookstores yourself on a consignment basis.  Basically you, the author, purchase copies of your book and work out a deal with a bookstore to get those copies on their shelves.  The catch is that bookstores don’t pay for the books right away: money is only transferred when a book sells, with you being paid an agreed-upon, per-book price.  In short, you’ll need to foot the bill initially and will be responsible for any unsold copies.  Unlike your average print-on-demand sale, where there are no upfront costs to you and books are printed as they’re ordered, you’ll need to spend a little money to make a profit down the road.

Getting Started
The easiest way is to simply talk to someone at your local bookstore.  Each store will have their own practices on ordering books, so you’ll have to ask some important questions before signing any deals.  How many copies will they shelve at a time?  How long is the consignment agreement for?  Are there any fees?  How and when will you be notified of (and paid for!) copies that have sold?  What’s the revenue split between you and the store?  Check out the websites of any places you have in mind; stores often have their consignment policies posted online and you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with them before speaking to someone.

There are a few hurdles you’ll have to get past when selling on consignment – paying to print the books, dealing with the business side of bookstores, and so on – but the benefits make the effort worthwhile.  This method is great for bookstores – it’s less risk on their end since they’re not paying for a book until it’s already sold – and that means more stores will be willing to take a chance on you.  You also stand to make more money per sale since you’ll have more control over the final price of your book.  Overall, the relationships built with retailers and the lessons learned about what it really takes to sell your work can prove to be invaluable over the course of your self-publishing career.

A few final tips:

  • Go Local: You might have better success targeting local independent bookstores rather than big chains.  Small bookstores are generally happy to showcase local talent and might be more willing to work with you not only to display your books but also set up book signings and other promotional events to help sell books.  IndieBound’s store finder makes it easy to locate bookstores near you.  If you do go to a chain location, see if they have a section spotlighting local or self-published authors.
  • Look the Part: Getting your book into bookstores starts well before it hits the shelves.  Unlike online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores only have so much space so they’ll want books that look like they belong there.  Make sure you have an eye-catching cover and that your interior is edited and formatted.  If you don’t want to do this on your own, Lulu has you covered with our professional publishing services.
  • Buy Big: You already know that with Lulu’s print-on-demand model you can print as many or as few books as you like, but just because you can print only one book doesn’t mean you should!  If you have more copies you can make deals with more stores right away.  You also don’t want to find out that a store has sold out and wants more copies of your book and you don’t have any to give them!  With Lulu’s bulk purchase discounts the more you buy, the more you save.  You’ll never find yourself short of books, and you’ll end up saving money in the long run.

Life After NaNoWriMo

We’re well into December, and it’s almost the end of the year, but let’s take a minute to talk about last month. How did you spend your November? Maybe getting ready for the change in seasons or braving crowds to get a head start on holiday shopping? If you participated in NaNoWriMo you can add “writing an entire novel” to that list. Fifty thousand words in thirty days is no small feat so first things first: congratulations! Now that you’ve got everything all typed up and had some time to go over it, the most important question is…what’s next? You wrote your book in record time, so why not publish it just as quickly? Lulu has the professional publishing services to put a little shine on things and get your work ready for the world.

Cover Design


They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but let’s be honest, a nice cover goes a long way and can hook a customer before the first page is even turned.

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