Articles tagged "DIY"

Mythbusting: Traditional Publishing vs. DIY Publishing

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 1.32.51 PM“The only reason I’m here is to support and do whatever is possible for an editor to do to support a writer” is how Roy M. Carlisle started his presentation at the Writer’s Digest Conference.  This was refreshing…especially since it was being said by a man who lived in traditional publishing for years. Carlisle is currently the Acquisitions Director for the Independent Institute and gave us the inside scoop about traditional publishing and the myths associated with the industry.

A few things that are myths in traditional publishing:

  • Traditional publishers will always tell you that the self-publishing marketplace don’t exist.  Truth: that is completely false and your market is out there. Editors are often going to small publishers now to find authors.  Independent small publishers have grown by 5,000% in the last few years and there are 40,000 independent publishers now publishing really interesting, creative things.
  • You can’t do this on your own.  Truth, you CAN publish individually! You need to know what your strengths and your weaknesses are…in other words, know yourself. Reach out to experts from editors to cover designers and listen to their advice.
  • Only the GOOD books are published by traditional publishers. This is a blatant lie! There are numerous examples of amazing books done by DIY publishers. Refer 50 Shades of Grey sales figures. Don’t believe the hype!
  • Minor myth: Authors get rejected for specious reasons. Often times, traditional publishers are limited in their ability to respond in detail because of legal reasons. Get strong editorial critique from a qualified editor and don’t be afraid of it.

Final word: you are the future of publishing.

Yes, we are!

DIY Proofreading

Happy Editing Month: DIY Proofreading

Proofreading is an important topic these days, particularly for indie authors. Just this week we caught sight of a conversation on Quora that started with the thread: “What does it say about you if you are terrible at proofreading?” What we’ll say is that self-proofreading is very challenging, but doable. So, we thought we’d provide some tips.

Once you’ve edited your text and you’re 100 percent confident as to your content and narrative, it’s time to proofread. Self-proofreading isn’t optimal. Look at it this way: self-proofreaders inevitably see what they want to see. In other words, if you’re not serious about finding errors and typos, then you’re probably not up for the task—there’s that and let’s face it, if you don’t know something is a mistake, then a different set of eyes can make all the difference. That said, while it’s not ideal, it can be done. Editing expert Ellie Maas Davis is back today to give some tips on self-proofreading.

What do writers have in common with indie rock stars?

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture is everywhere these days. What started as a punk rock ethos of spurning the system and making your own clothing, albums and films has become an essential part of our economy (it even has its own cable channel). Self-publishing, one of the oldest forms of DIY (I doubt Gutenberg had a corporate publisher before there was such a thing as mass-produced books), is a brazen statement of independence and resiliency, no different from someone making their own shoes or outdoor shower.

Then why don’t we associate self-publishing with something as radical and cool as someone selling cassettes from the trunk of their beat-up Volkswagen? Possibly, it’s the very nature of writers to be reclusive — not trumpeting their works from behind a microphone and sweating all over the front row of screaming teenagers. And yet almost each week we see a new author who chose to self-publish, to go DIY, become a media force, able to connect with thousands of fans through Facebook, YouTube and public events.

Self-Publishing is as DIY as it gets, it just looks a little different. A writer decides not only to brave perhaps the most solitary experience in the world (the writing of a book), but to also to try to market and help that book find an audience with little help from (or interference by) a publisher. They’re able to rely on friends, other authors and even strangers to help edit their book, to spread the word, to create an underground sensation. That’s why it’s always a shock to everyone whenever a self-published book finds its way to the best-seller list — because it was done through a network of loose acquaintances. It’s just like when an independent band suddenly explodes onto the scene — a slow, underground, DIY product has taken the world by surprise.

So, while we do admit that there are some key distinctions between indie rock stars and writers, we like to point out their similarities: they both now participate in a great tradition of creating your own work, controlling your own work and building community around that work. When you self-publish, you aren’t handing off your book to someone else and saying, “now this is your problem.” Instead, you’re looking at what you’ve created, recognizing you’ve done something outstanding, something that not many do and inviting people to help your project grow. You’re ready to Do It Yourself, with the help of others. And that’s what DIY is really all about.

What is Metadata?: How to Save Yourself Some eBook Distribution Headaches

As eBook sales continue to rise, Lulu wants to be sure you have access to all the latest and greatest tools and resources to help you sell more books in this exciting new market. In order to reach the millions of customers who own e-Reading devices, it is important to stay up to speed on best practices for making an electronic book quickly and easily.

One term you’re likely to come across when publishing your eBook is “metadata.” It also happens to be one of the main causes eBooks get bounced back from distribution.  In many cases, a quick revision of your eBook’s metadata is all it takes to push your content out onto digital shelves and increases your work’s marketability.

Simply put, metadata is the who, what, when, and where of your eBook.  Items such as your title, author name, volume number, etc. are all types of metadata and are what most retailers use to appropriately list and categorize your content.  When your eBook is listed on an online store, customers will see an image of your cover, which they can click on for more information about your work and to access the actual content of your work.  Many retailers treat the cover image and the actual eBook’s content as two separate pieces and it is vital that the metadata for both match (including upper and lower case letters) so your customers are linked to the correct book interior.

For example, lets say your book title is The Greatest Book Ever: A Tale of Suspense and Intrigue by Samantha Thomas. If the metadata for your cover is only listed as The Greatest Book Ever, by Sam Thomas, without the subtitle and a different author name, then the retailers can’t be sure if it’s the same work.  With the thousands of new eBooks being submitted everyday, it becomes too difficult to try to match the cover to the content.

Luckily, on Lulu it is pretty simple to ensure all your metadata matches. When you start a new project and name it, whatever you enter into the title and author fields will autofill the empty fields in the cover step. Whenever a colon is used in the project title, the system automatically treats any text after it as a subtitle. Once you get to the cover step, you can still edit your title, author name, etc. just be sure if you do make changes, you also go back and change the project information you started with too. For authors uploading a one-piece cover, again, just be sure all the text matches the project information you enter.

Be sure to check out our knowledge base for more eBook metadata tips to help you reach more readers in more markets all over the globe.

 

Author Success Story: “Age of the Indie Author”

Author Greg Prato is a rockstar of journalism, having written articles and reviews for such publications as All Music Guide, Classic Rock Magazine, and Rolling Stone. When the time came for Prato to take his passion for music and writing beyond one-off articles and into the pages of a book, he thought he’d be a shoe-in. Turns out, even as an accomplished journalist, Prato had just as much trouble publishing traditionally as the next guy.

“In my experience, traditional publishers only listen to people with agents,” Prato says. “I’ve been writing for over 13 years, and Lulu was the only company to offer me any options.”

Author Greg Prato

Prato is a shining example of how Lulu empowers authors to profit from their unique knowledge and ideas. His first work, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other, published through Lulu in 2008, is one of the only books available that chronicles the tragic death of Shannon Hoon – frontman for popular 90’s band Blind Melon. The book acts as an oral history of Hoon’s life,  collecting original interviews from over 100 people close to the band.


“I wanted to make my book different” says Prato. “I tried to get more than just one perspective in there because conflict and criticism are key to making an interesting story.”

Prato brought his work to Lulu after being rejected time and time again by traditional publishers and agents, despite his ties to writing. He hired a publicist and was able to build a following by marketing his work and doing a circuit of radio interviews. A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other has gone on to sell thousands of copies.

“This is the age of the indie author” Prato says. “Lulu makes it easy for those with the urge to create because there is no approval process and no worries. Lulu gives the power back to the author and the author gets to make a good chunk of the cash, the way it should be.”

Prato certainly has the urge to create too, having completed six books with three more on the way. In his book, No Schlock…Just Rock!, Prato compiles five years worth of his magazine articles, including the three that ultimately pushed him to writing books. Each work revolves around his expertise on the music industry and offers an in-depth look into bands like Kiss and Deep Purple, and the rise of MTV.

“All my books are things I wanted to read about, but that didn’t exist yet.” says Prato. “It just goes to show you that you have to stick to your guns. If I’d listened to other people, I’d never written a single book.”

Check out Prato’s storefront and all of his remarkable works on Lulu and be on the look out for his upcoming releases.

Making Criticism Work For You

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re the creative type and maybe even a DIY-er. If I were to guess, I’d have to say you’ve probably written your own book, edited it, and then designed the cover. Pretty impressive, and you definitely get a pat on the back from me. But you may have noticed that it’s really easy to get stuck inside your own head and become blind or even evasive of constructive criticism when you’re doing it all on your own. The key is to not let your work suffer.

Tell Your Readers About FREE Summer Shipping

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A few months back, we announced that we’d be offering FREE Shipping for the entire summer. You may be thinking, “that’s great and all, but my shelves are packed.” Well, if you’ve recently published with Lulu, now is the perfect time to tell your readers. Create a press release and let your fans know they can get your book this summer with FREE shipping. There’s no better time.

If you need help creating your own press release, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding Distribution and ISBNs

Distribution

Much like Bigfoot and Chupacabra, ISBNs and Distribution remain a mystery to many Lulu authors. While we can’t explain Chupacabra or Bigfoot, we can help you understand Distribution and ISBNs.

What is distribution?
Distribution is a service that gets your book out to the world. We make your book available through bibliographic databases, online marketplaces and distribution catalogs. Lulu currently offers 3 distribution options: extendedREACH, globalREACH, and marketREACH. I will explain each of those in a little bit.

What is an ISBN?
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a controlled, 10- or 13-digit identification number that allows publishers, libraries, and book dealers to locate books. You may get a free ISBN from Lulu or you can bring an ISBN you own and assign it to your book.

In September 2009, Lulu separated distribution and ISBNs so authors could get distribution for ISBNs that they own and bring to Lulu. We offer distribution options for ISBN and non-ISBN titles. Each Lulu project may have one distribution option and/or ISBN. Once an ISBN or distribution option has been applied to a project, you cannot change it.

Our current distribution options:

Market Your Book on Facebook

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Did you know Lulu has a free marketing tool that allows you to share books with your Facebook friends? Did you know that the entire process could be done in less than a minute? Here’s how…

Market Your Book on Facebook

That’s it! You’re now sharing your book with your entire Facebook network.

Promote your books on Facebook.

Rome – a city of fashion, design, history… and Lulu?

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Federica (left) and Diana Balmori

That’s right! Lulu made an appearance recently at the Festa dell’Architettura, a meeting of the most creative urban designers, architects, artists, authors, professors, graduate students, and politicians in Italy. The purpose of this event was to exchange ideas to better the wonderful metropolis of Rome. Because Rome is such an ancient city, 2,000 years of buildings often impede progress. This event inspired a rebirth and revitalization of urban planning.

Lulu was there this year, to show these remarkable thinkers how our open publishing model creates opportunities for them to publish, profit, and connect with a larger audience.

I met great people and chatted with them while sipping Prosecco. I had the opportunity to introduce Lulu to a room full of Romans in the beautiful downtown Galleria di Architettura Come Se, directed by Rosetta Angelini, on two different occasions. I also met New Yorkers like Diana Balmori, an internationally renowned landscape and urban designer, and Lulu author.

After I presented and introduced Lulu, Dario Marcucci, President of Terzo Municipio of Rome, came to me and we spoke for a while. His words describing Lulu were “this is simply brilliant.”

The most exhilarating part of this experience was during the last night at the very end of the event. Out of nowhere, Professor Antonino Saggio, the Scientific Curator of the conference, spoke about the journey of all these numerous projects coming together to better the city of Rome, and all the struggles and difficulties they went through in order to make this event possible. He concluded his speech with “we will write a book about this long lasting endeavor and will publish it with Lulu!”

I believe the sense of excitement was not induced by the Prosecco.