Articles tagged "how-to"

eBook Distribution 101: Table of Contents

If you haven’t discovered it yet, check out our new Word to EPUB Converter on the eBook publishing page. This is our fastest, most streamlined way yet for you to create an eBook from your manuscript and send it out into the world. Go ahead and play around with it– you can have an eBook for sale in an hour!

The EPUB Converter is a powerful tool, and with great power comes great responsibility– so we’ve written an eBook Creator Guide to help you format your Word DOC into the best shape for conversion. Why should you bother? Think of it as getting your book ready for a race. Sometimes a runner can win after barely training. But most times even the greatest athletes will collapse on the track unless they’ve prepared for the event. (Or, in your case, create an eBook that can’t be sent to distribution channels.) While our wizard isn’t as demanding as a race, a little preparation never hurt anyone, or any book.

One essential retail distribution requirement (which takes little prep work) is to have a working Table of Contents. This Table of Contents is not the same as a print book, but a file inside your EPUB called the NCX. (That’s the Navigation Control file for XML, for technical folks.) The NCX contains links to the sections or chapters of your eBook, which makes for easy navigation between one part to another. It appears on e-readers as a vertical list of links.

A very common problem is an NCX that has only one link named “untitled”. When this happens, your eBook needs to be styled with headings that point out its sections or chapters. Letting the wizard know you need an NCX link isn’t hard: just format the name of each section in your Word DOC as style “Heading 1″. (You can do this through the “Styles” options, listed in the Word tab “Home”.) Then, you can change this style’s settings (font, size, etc.) to reflect the styling of your book. If you want to create subsections, use “Heading 2″ and “Heading 3″.

NCX links that aren’t correct are another problem; for example, a phrase in your manuscript becomes a link in your eBook. This means that parts of your book other than chapter headings are styled as “Heading 1″, etc. Weeding these out is as easy as styling them back to “Normal”. And if you’d like more information on NCXs, our Connect page can help you out.

Of course, always check your EPUB in an e-reader like Adobe Digital Editions to make sure it appears the way you want it to, and it follows the retail distribution guidelines.

Keep playing with the tool, and don’t forget to consult our handy eBook Creator Guide for all things eBooks. Happy e-publishing.

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.

Earn More. 90% Revenue for a Limited Time.

If this holiday season is anything like last year’s, then a lot of people can expect to find an e-reader or tablet from Santa under their trees – 17 million to be exact.  That’s a ho-ho-whole lot of new readers who’ll be itching to fill their digital shelves with new books, so why not make your eBook one of them?

Still on the fence? Well, we’re decking the halls early at Lulu this year and slashing our industry-best 80/20 revenue split on eBooks so you can reach more readers, sell more books,
and earn even more revenue this holiday than
ever before – tis the season right?

For a limited time, all creators publishing new eBook projects will receive 90 percent of the revenue from those projects through January 31st, 2012.

In an industry where most companies work off a 70/30 split or more, we take pride in being a publishing solution built entirely towards author success and freedom.  We want you to be able to share your stories and ideas with the world and, more importantly, make money while you do it.  You pick the price.  You keep the profit.  Just like it should be.

So spread some joy this holiday season by publishing an eBook.  You can sell it to all those folks who got a shiny new iPad® or Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and your tree won’t be the only green you see.

FAQs:

Q: What is a new Publication?

A: New publications are defined as a new project in your “My Lulu” account with a new ISBN.  This also applies to any conversion of an existing print title into an eBook.

Fun Ways to Improve Your Next Book Pt. 2

Last week, we posted some new ways to help you make your next work even more remarkable. Below are two more tips to help inspire you to put pen to paper or start hammering away on your keyboard.

3. Challenge your vocabulary at Knoword.org.

If you’re a word nerd like I am, you will quickly find yourself addicted to this vocabulary game. Unlike some games that have you match words and their meanings, this one gives you the definition and first letter, and you just fill in the word. It’s harder and faster paced than some others I’ve played. You can choose your level, and either Canadian or US dialect. This is really valuable for those studying for SAT and GRE exams, too.

4. Follow your favorite authors on Twitter.
If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably following a number of celebrities–why not authors? Here are some of our favorite tweeting writers from a variety of genres. (Of course, the opinions expressed by these authors do not necessarily reflect those of Lulu, so tweet at your own risk!)

Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow @doctorow
Young Adult writer Adam Selzer
@adamselzer
Fiction writer Chuck Palahniuk
@chuckpalahniuk
Novelist and poet Margaret Atwood
@margaretatwood
Jon Winokour gives daily quotes from famous writers, as well as goings-on from the writing and publishing world.
@AdviceToWriters

If you’re not on Twitter, it’s free to sign up! Check out InkyGirl’s Writer’s Guide to Twitter.

Be sure to check back next week for even more tips.

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.

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.

Author Story: “How I Went About Self-Publishing”

Tony Eldridge, author and creator of the blog Marketing Tips for Authors, recently contacted Lulu to let us know about a project he was working on. Tony had gotten in touch with Lulu author, Robert Shepherd, and asked him to write a guest post for his blog. The post focused on how to self-publish if you’re a first time aspiring author and offers a “how-to” on Lulu straight from an author’s first hand experience – no holds barred.

I thought I’d share with you Tony and Robert’s post and hope that it helps you get started on your next remarkable work. Enjoy and be sure to check out other marketing tips from Tony by visiting: http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com

How I Went About Self Publishing
By Robert Shepherd

Hello Everyone, firstly, it is nice to meet you all. Secondly, I would like to thank Tony for asking me to share my experiences of self publishing with you on his blog.

How To Get Your Book Into Libraries

A question that keeps popping up around the Lulu community is “How do I get my book(s) into a library?” Libraries can provide a great way to reach new readers that, otherwise, may not find out about your books. There are a lot of perks to getting your work into the library system. You don’t really have to worry about maintaining inventory or making a huge sales pitch because libraries are in it to share knowledge and help educate people. Many libraries even highlight local authors or will host regular book events like fundraisers that accept donated books. That doesn’t mean that some of the same marketing rules don’t apply when approaching a library however. And there are a lot of misconceptions about the best ways to go about getting a library’s attention.

Quality – Give Them Something to Work With:

A quickly diminishing stereotype of self-published books is that they are of poor quality. Lulu works to erase all of the preconceptions about self-published titles and helps authors create quality products that can sit on a shelf next to any best-seller. As long as an author takes his or her time to create a professional book that is formatted and edited well, then there is no reason a Lulu book can’t make it into a library.

It is important to note that some libraries do prefer certain bindings and can be reluctant to stock others like comb bound and saddle stitched (stapled) books. If you’re thinking about pursuing library distribution, it might be a good idea to call ahead to see what their requirements for submittal are.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #1

You’ve done it – you’re a published author! Now it’s time to start reaping the benefits of all your long hours of work.

Who couldn’t use a few ideas on how to sell more books and expand readership? In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing tips, resources and ideas designed to help you sell more books…without having to quit your day job!

Check out these two tips – try to do one of them by the end of the weekend.

Tip 1: Ratings and Reviews

Believe it or not, user ratings and reviews are powerful marketing tools. These 3rd party views of your book will influence other potential readers whether or not your book is right for them. Think of it as word-of-mouth endorsements for your book. How many times have been told by someone “you’ve got to read this book!” Adding ratings and reviews to your book page will send potential readers the same message.

Tip 2: Email Signature

How many emails do you write on a typical day? How many in a week? A month? Your email signature is a great way to promote your book to as wide of an audience as possible…without really trying. All it takes is a few minutes to set up your email signature, include a link to your book, and you’re all set. Try something subtle like “Check out my new book” with a link to your book. For a stronger approach, consider taking a 10-word excerpt from one of your reviews, then link to your book.

Being a Lulu

Lulu’s a place where individuality is “in.” People are celebrated for who they are – even us, the lowly interns. This how-to guide to being a Lulu documents our experiences working here. The philosophies we’ve picked up along the way are some of the same ones that go into Lulu’s approach to our authors:  celebrate people, appreciate them, help them be remarkable. Without further ado, here’s how to fit in with the Lulu crowd.

  1. Develop a shtick. Seriously, everyone at Lulu is a character. For instance: 
    • Bob always wears red socks
    • Manny has an extensive elephant collection
    • Jonathan always tucks his t-shirts into his jeans and somehow pulls it off
  2. Hoard Pirate’s Booty Cheese Puffs from the break room. None of the other chips will fulfill your craving for cheesy goodness. Trust us. We’ve been there.
  3. Don’t drink the coffee labeled “Jet Fuel”- yes, it’s delicious, but you’ll be bouncing in your chair and will not be able to concentrate.
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