Articles tagged "help"

eBooks Made Easy with New Lulu Free EPUB Converter and eBook Publishing Tools

Today is a big day.

Today, Lulu officially launched the Lulu EPUB Converter and eBook Creator Guide – thus helping to simplify the complex process of turning your brilliant work from popular word processing formats, such as a Word document, into sellable EPUBs, the most widely adopted format used by eReaders – absolutely free.

So how is it different?

The Lulu EPUB Converter is unique in that it not only converts but also automatically fixes many pesky errors including accepted fonts and extra spacing. This is the highest level of automation available anywhere.

What does this mean for you?

For you, oh faithful Lulu creator, this means getting your work into popular eBook retail channels is easier and just in time to give you an edge this holiday season and sell your remarkable works electronically while earning more on eBooks than anywhere else with our new industry-best 90/10 revenue split (limited time offer through January 31, 2012).

As part of this initiative, Lulu has secured partnerships with Apple and Barnes and Noble so you can sell your works to millions of readers on devices like the iPad® and NOOK, not to mention in print on Amazon.com and the Lulu Marketplace.  We’ve even added a new Manage Distribution page that lets you opt-in and opt-out of retail channels for all your titles with the click of a button.

With our step-by-step eBook Creator Guide, you can be sure your customers are getting the most robust experience reading your work too.  All of these new tools, resources, and features can be found on Lulu’s new eBook Landing page – your source for all things eBooks.

Don’t forget to explore all your print book options too, and publish the way you, and your readers, want this holiday.

5 Things to Avoid When Creating an eBook

UPDATE:  Learn More About eBook Publishing at Our New eBook Page

A little known fact about eBook distribution is that each retail channel has their very own set of requirements for accepting content that your eBook must meet before it can be sold. These requirements may sound scary at first, but they are actually pretty great.  By following the requirements set by each retailer, you can be sure your customers get the most robust experience from reading your work.  To help, here are the top five reasons we’ve seen eBooks bounce back from distribution.

  • No description or description too short – Describing your work might be the most important step of all.  Not only does a book description double as a great marketing tool to get readers interested, it’s also used to catalogue your work in retail channels all over the world. For this step, you’ll be asked to provide details including category and genre, keywords, description, language, licensing and edition number. It’s crucial you provide consistent information here that matches any details you have already provided or stated in your book and on your cover. Many retailers require this information to be accurate in order to list your content and make sure it gets in front of the right readers.
  • Metadata” mismatch - Simply put, metadata is the who, what, when, and where of your eBook.  Much like your eBook’s description, metadata includes items like your title, author name, volume number, price, etc. and are what most retailers use to appropriately list and categorize your content.  Metadata must perfectly match so that customers searching for your eBook in a catalogue can find it.
  • Up-selling or listing a price on your cover – You can adjust the price of your eBook at anytime and we encourage you to experiment with different prices that are competitive with other books in the same genre.  With that in mind, avoid listing the price of your eBook anywhere on the cover, in the description, or in the eBook itself so you can be flexible to change the price later if you need to.
  • Inappropriate or illegal content (erotic, malicious, or plagarized content) – This one is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Non-English content – Unfortunately, we’re unable to distribute non-English eBooks at this time.
  • Poor image quality (borders, pixels) – You’ve probably come across a picture on the Internet that was hard to see no matter how much you zoomed in or reloaded the page.  Pixelated or blurry images won’t show up on today’s high resolution computers, tablets, phones and eReading devices. This means they can’t go in your eBooks either.  If you decide to include images in your eBook, we can only accept high-resolution, three color, RGB (red, green, blue) formatted pictures.  Four color, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key black) images will not translate properly.


 

Confessions of a Lulu Services Team Member


I confess. It excites me to read brilliant content from our creators. I also confess I see content with potential that lacks basic principles of composition.

The Editing Month festivities at Lulu last month challenged me to consider how one might break habitual bad writing habits and make significant changes to please the reader. I literally dusted off my grandmother’s copy of Strunk’s The Elements of Style in hopes of finding a few elements that would change any manuscript.

From William Strunk, Jr.’s The Elements of Style III. Elementary Principles of Composition:

  • Use the active voice: The active voice is more direct and vigorous than the passive. I shall always remember my first visit to Boston is much better than My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.
  • Put statements in positive form: Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word “not” as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion. For example, rather than He was not very often on time one could use He usually came late.
  • Omit needless words: Read your manuscript and see how many times you see the fact that and try to replace it with since, because, though or although. Another example is “there is no doubt but that” could simply be “no doubt.”

Too often I meet authors whose excitement of a speedy book launch diminishes the importance of a thorough pre-publishing scrub. One passionate author related the book launch to taking a child to school on the first day of kindergarten. Just as parents send kids equipped with backpacks and lunch boxes, your book should be as equipped with a proper edit. Correctness is contagious.

A professional editor can review your manuscript to determine which elements could make your book an easier and more enjoyable read. Our publishing packages provide the Editorial Quality Review as well as Formatting and Cover design. Buying services in June automatically enters you to win one of two new HP Mini laptops. Plus, use the coupon SVCWIN and we’ll take 15% off any package (maximum discount $1,425).  Offer expires 6/30/2011.

*No purchase necessary. Enter coupon code SVCWIN at checkout and receive 15% off any service package or simply publish a work through Lulu.com. The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on July 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Shipping destinations must be within the United States.

Wallflowers: Get Familiar with Our Lesser-Known Services

They might not be the most popular services on the block, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be an invaluable step in the process of publishing your book! Get to know these services, and see if they might be a good fit for your project.

Ghostwriting: Ghostwriting services can start from any stage of the writing process. Maybe you are an expert in naval engineering, and have an idea for a book that will totally change the industry–but you’re too busy to sit down behind the computer, or just don’t have the writing skill to make a cohesive sentence. Maybe you’ve been working on your book for years, but you still don’t feel that it’s complete, and could use the talents of a co-author to help you finish. Maybe you have the bones of the book, but need some help in fleshing it out. Our ghostwriters can help! We have a talented team of writers with years of experience, who are eager to help you with your project. Learn more about Ghostwriting Services or get a Ghostwriting Consultation.

Transcription: Transcription services turn a printed manuscript into a digital Word document. Examples might include your grandfather’s memoirs, written on a typewriter and coil-bound at a copy center, or a book you published previously, that you want to reprint, but you only have the printed book. Once you have the Word document, you can then take the next steps of publishing, either formatting and designing it yourself, or using one of Lulu’s pre-publishing packages to help you with the work. Request a consultation and express your interest in transcription services.

Media List: The Media list will answer one really big question for you when it comes to Book Publicity: Who? In a world where more than 800 books are published daily, you’ll need to make a great first impression to the right audience. Our Media List Service will help you create a refined list of exactly who to contact. You’ll work with a publicist who will consult with you about your goals, possible publicity angles, media preferences and the best way to stir up interest in you and your book. In the end you’ll have a targeted media list of local, regional and national print (magazine and newspaper), broadcast (radio and television), and online (e-zines, blogs, websites) outlets in the US and Canada in Excel and mailing label formats; minimum of 500 targeted media contacts. One idea … Pair this with a Press Release Writing service and prepare for liftoff. Learn more.

Lulu Launches New Connect and Support Pages for Improved Help

At Lulu, we succeed when you do. That’s why we look to our community to help us grow, adapt and get better. Always. Today Lulu launched an all new area to the Lulu.com site, Connect! The Connect section is our new forum, knowledge base and idea exchange area, and replaces our previous system. We’re quite excited about the improvements this update is offering, including enhanced navigation, speed, and an improved content structure.

The New Connect page

Additionally, it is a launching point for our newly revised Support page. We are striving for ease and speed in getting you the type of help you need, and the Support page is focused on emailing or chatting live with the Lulu customer service team. The link for Support is presented in the upper right-hand corner of every page, which will help you access important tools and resources you may need to reference. Our customer service team is dedicated to responding to you with the best solutions for your needs — whether you’re here to make or find something remarkable.

Screenshot of the new Support page

The New Support Page

While launching Connect and our Support page, we want to clearly distinguish between the functions of the areas served. Connect is designed to be your home for interacting with other Lulu customers, browsing our knowledge base, and sharing new ideas. It’s a self-service option that also hosts our community and will help you find great solutions. In the past, the forums have served as a place to post to get assistance from Lulu team members, as well as fellow customers. Moving forward Connect and Support will be separated so you can more easily get the help you need. That said, this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help there, or that I’m going anywhere.

Connect continues to be the home of our community, and Lulu team members will still be present there, but it’s not the place to resolve specific cases. The focus moving forward for Connect is one of collaboration, building resources for our customers and helping our product team understand your needs. Feel free to browse our comprehensive knowledge base for answers to your questions about Lulu, join the conversation, or start one of your own, to share ideas, ask questions, make friends, and learn something new.

When it comes to issues that need a team member response to a technical matter or quality concern, we encourage you to use the options available to you on Support. Our team of Lulu Specialists can instantly see your customer history and will work to get you the best solutions.

At Lulu, we’re committed to giving you a more enriched experience. Currently, our customer service team has an 81% customer satisfaction rate, and we are improving on that every week. You’re definitely in good hands! Now get out there and Connect with other Lulu customers!

How To Use Customer Support & Our Online Community Part 1

How many of us have run into a problem we couldn’t solve? Perhaps it was an unexpected error message, an order that takes too long to arrive, or a question about how to format your book. Regardless, most of us (and yes, I include myself in this) have run into an issue while publishing our projects because as easy as Lulu makes the process, writing and publishing a book is still involves a lot of error checking, revisions, and proofing. I have the advantage of being able to walk over to someone’s desk and ask for help, but obviously not everyone else does. So, what do you do? This is part one of a series on how to get the most out of our customer service.

Creating A Case With Customer Service
This is the easiest and most effective way to get help with an issue that is specific to you. Maybe it’s an issue with your order, or a question about your ISBN or Distribution package. Whatever it is, you need help and you need to talk to someone who works at Lulu.

Step One: it’s pretty obvious, but it bears repeating. Contact Customer Support. You should see the link under the Support tab on the right-hand side of the page.

Step Two: Select the area most appropriate to your issue. If it’s an issue with your order, select My Order, or if it’s about your ISBN/Distribution select that. If you aren’t sure, choose the one closest to what you’re looking for, or select Lulu Website.

Step Three: The more information you can give us, the better. Some of the fields will be required based on which option you chose. For example, email address, order number, “What’s the problem,” and “Describe the problem” are required for My Order. If you have an Existing Ticket id, please provide it. The order status, item id and item name aren’t necessary, but they can help and it’s better for us to have that information than to need to ask you for it or look it up.

Step Four: It can take up to 2 days for us to respond. In the meantime, please respond to the automated email you will be sent with pictures or other information relevant to the case as soon as you can. As previously mentioned the more we have up front from you, the faster we will be able to resolve your issue.

Step Five: Be patient with us. I know this is the hardest step, but we are going to do our best to help you make your work as remarkable as you envision it to be and as polished as it deserves.

We strive to support you as much as we can, and we appreciate your help and patience while we do that. I will post more advice on how to get the most out of our online support and community in upcoming articles. And as always, you can get a look at your support options, like LiveChat, on our customer service page.

Setting Realistic Goals for Marketing Your Book: Part 2 – Realistic Expectations

In a recent post, I wrote about how treating yourself as a business can positively impact the way you market your DIY book.  While changing your perspective, researching what works with other companies, and coming up with a plan that you can follow through with are all huge steps towards reaching more readers and selling more books – that’s only part of coming up with a successful marketing strategy.

By completing your book, you’ve done something remarkable.  You’ve put so much hard work and energy into, it can be difficult not to be emotionally attached to your work.  But the key now, is to take a step back and start setting realistic expectations to go along with each of above steps. Otherwise, you may become frustrated or disappointed if you don’t think your book is gaining a large enough readership as quickly as you’d like.