Articles tagged "Lulu"

Market Your Book: Developing a Distribution Strategy

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In the book business, determining where your target audience shops and how to get your books into those places is called developing a distribution strategy.

While every author wants to walk into their local bookstore and see their books prominently displayed on the selves, there is much more to consider when developing your distribution strategy. Some authors leverage their professional connections to make sales – i.e. book as business card. Others teach classes and sell their books to students and/or attendees. Still others sell their books through their churches or they partner with websites.

There are innumerable ways to distribute your book and it takes some trial and error to find the right distribution channels. Since every book is different, we wanted to see if there was a pattern as to where authors sold their books.

We asked 4000 of Lulu’s best selling authors where they sold their books. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Marketing Series 3 Where to sell your books

Distribution channels for authors, both traditionally published and self-published, are changing. With the closing of large brick-and-mortar booksellers, all publishers are reevaluating their distribution strategy. In August 2013, Bowker released a study citing a 5% increase in online book sales in the U.S., up to 44% of total book sales compared to 39% in 2011.

What does this mean for you? As an author, you must focus on your audience and develop the best distribution strategy for them. If you are communicating with your audience through your existing channels or through online networks and communities, Lulu.com’s marketplace can be a strong component of your distribution strategy. If you need to target a broader audience that seeks content all over the Internet and online stores, you may want to expand to additional retail distribution channels.

Getting Your Book Noticed

E-book Formatting Fairies did a survey of readers in August 2013 that revealed fantastic insights into how readers perceive books and authors. We’ve compiled a few highlights of their findings below:

  • 95% of respondents were more likely to buy a self-published book from an author who is known to them.
  • When asked where readers get information about new books, Facebook came in first place.

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  • When readers were asked where they get information about their favorite authors, Facebook and author websites were virtually tied.  These findings reinforce the need for author’s to create and maintain author platforms that incorporate both social media and author websites.

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What Should You Do?

Ask your readers or people in your target market how they discover new books and where they shop for them. The answers to those two questions are the key elements in developing your distribution strategy.

Key Takeaway

Create an online presence from which potential readers can learn more about you and your book.

Additional Resources

Know Your Audience

Find Your Audience

Build Your Online Marketing Presence

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation

Get 90 Days Free Access to the Author Learning Center

Author Learning CenterThe Author Learning Center (ALC) is a one-of-kind online author education community designed to help educate, motivate, and support you as you work to become a published author. The center offers educational information about writing, publishing, and marketing from a variety of industry experts, agents, best-selling authors, publicists, and editors.

 

How can the ALC help you?

By combining industry-leading education, exclusive tools, and a supportive community, the ALC provides a one-of-a-kind resource to help you get to your goal of becoming a published author.

By taking advantage of all the ALC has to offer, you can become:

  • better educated on the publishing industry,
  • more equipped to finish your manuscript, and
  • empowered to makes smart choices for your book marketing.

 

90 Days Free

Lulu authors get a free 90 day subscription with access to:

  • Ask The Expert Video Interviews
  • Podcasts on writing, publishing and marketing
  • Live online webinars with industry experts
  • Articles and recorded webinars
  • Exclusive tools to help you get to your goal

ALC Stan Lee

The Author Learning Center also provides a unique set of tools to help you quickly move through your writing and publishing process with confidence:

  • The Book Launch Tool, which helps you identify the tasks you need to complete your book and helps you track your progress
  • The Author Circle, which enables you to invite up to seven people into your private online writers group to provide feedback and encouragement throughout your publishing journey.

Learn from bestselling authors

Among the wide range of interviews on the ALC are a number of best-selling authors share their wisdom and experience. Here are just a few of the names you recogonize.

  • Elmore Leonard, Best-selling writer
  • Victor Villasenor, Best-selling author, Pulitzer winning writer, Rain of Gold
  • Stan Lee, Former head of Marvel Comics
  • Mitch Albom, author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international best-seller Tuesdays with Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time
  • Seth Godin, author of 18 international best-sellers, including Tribes: We Need Your to Lead Us

 

90 Day No-Risk Free Trial!

ALC CommunityYou can access the ALC for 90 days for free.  If  after three months you want to continue your subscription, it is only $9.99 a month. You can cancel at any time.

Join now to be a part of the best online author community available and let us help you get to your goal of becoming a published author!

To claim your FREE 90-day trial, go to the Author Learning Center, click the button to claim your 90 Day Free Trial and enter the promo code lue during registration.

* Your credit card number is required to register with the Author Learning Center. It will only be charged if you do not cancel your Author Learning Center account before the free 90-day subscription expires.

Market Your Book: Finding Your Audience

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Build your audience and sell more books with these tips from successful Lulu authors.

In our last article on marketing, we talked about knowing your book’s target audience. Now it’s time to go out and get them. We asked 4000 successful Lulu authors how they found the audience for their book.

Here’s what they said:

Marketing Series 2 Finding Your Audience

Most authors wrote for audiences they either consider themselves to be a part of or groups whose needs and shopping behaviors they have familiarity. This made the process of determining how to reach their audience easier because they had an idea which marketing channels would most effectively grow their reader base.

Is this true for you? For example, if your book is on health and fitness and you have identified your audience as other like-minded fitness enthusiasts, you may already know several websites these enthusiasts regularly visit to learn about fitness and to make purchases.

If you are writing for an audience you do not know that well, you are not alone! Nearly a third of authors conducted online research to discover what made their audience tick and how to find them. They identified pre existing professional networks, organizations and online communities to reach readers who would be interested in their content.

What Should You Do?

Make a list of and, if possible, join professional networks, organizations and large communities to promote your book. Remember, pitch the hook not the book. Start out with your area of expertise, then mention your are an author.

Key Takeaway

Often, bestselling independent authors are a member of the group for which they are writing. If you are not, research ways to discover their interests and reach out by joining and participating in their communities.

Market Your Book: Knowing Your Audience

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You wrote and published a book. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to think about the business of marketing and selling it. The most important challenge you face after publication is getting your book in front of people who want to buy it. Where do you start?

We asked 4,000 of our top selling authors to share some of their secrets to success. Over the next few weeks we will share their insights. While you may find some of their answers to be painfully obvious, others may surprise you. The first question asked why author’s why they thought their book had found success.

Lulu-Marketing-Your-Book-eBook28web-final29_pdfThe top 3 answers are all representative of understanding and providing content for a very specific audience. Again and again the words “niche,” “audience,” and “filled a need” came up in answers to this question. As one author said, “Make it your overriding passion to learn as much as you can about your audience and then give them what they crave.”

Take note of two related answers “Only book of its kind” and “Subject matter / topic.” Many authors stress that successful books require a fresh perspective on a popular topic or that they address a subject that’s never been written about. One author said their book was successful because “it fills a niche with no competition for content, quality or clarity of presentation.”

Also, take a second look at the votes for “Author platform.” Later on, we’ll look at the different elements of an author platform, and which parts of the platform our best-selling authors think helped them the most.

What Should You Do?

Define your audience. What are they interested in? Where do they spend time online and in the real world? How do they satisfy their need for content similar to yours – for example, blogs, magazines, social communities, events, or video? What can your book oƒffer this audience that’s not available anywhere else?

Key Takeaway

The most important step in effectively marketing your product – whether it’s a book, a business or a lemonade stand – is understanding your audience. Successful independently published authors credit knowing their audience and filling a niche as their key to success.

Additional Information:

How Authors Can Build Their Marketing Presence Online
Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation

We Are Orlando: Stories Lost

We are OrlandoLulu was founded in 2002 to provide a better way to publish books. Our goal was to tear down the barriers that prevent people from sharing and benefiting from their stories, experiences and knowledge. Fourteen years later, nearly one million authors from all walks of life and nearly every country on the planet have written and published their stories on Lulu.

It is our belief that we all have common stories of struggle and perseverance, stories of defeat and victory despite the odds, as well as stories of faith, family, and love. When shared, our stories help us see our similarities and understand our differences. They bring us together through a universal desire for a safe home for our families, plentiful food, clean water, loyal friends, and hope for a happier future. Our common stories are the glue bonding us together into a human tribe.

This past weekend, 49 LGBT people were murdered in an Orlando nightclub. 53 others were injured. The lives of the victims’ families and their innumerable friends will be forever changed – as will those of the shooter’s family. How many stories came to an end that night? How much knowledge did we lose? How will our human tribe heal and come back together?

In the wake of these events, Lulu continues to believe that there is a better way. Our collective stories tear down the barriers that separate me from you, us from them, ours from theirs, the familiar from the strange – but only if we are willing to hear and learn from them. By passing along our knowledge and telling our stories we truly come to know each other, appreciate love in all its glorious forms, and cherish the diversity of our human family.

With profound sadness, the Lulu family mourns the loss of these lives. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families, friends, and survivors of this tragedy. Most importantly, we send our love to Orlando and the LGBT community. Although the world seems to be a little less beautiful today, we have faith that a tragedy can be transformed into a story of hope and love.

Tell your story.

Change the world.

eBook Distribution: Understanding Your NCX or eBook Table of Contents

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Distribution Henry

As I perused  the Lulu mailbag this morning I was struck by the number of queries regarding NCX errors in eBook submissions. Some excerpts:

My eBook was recently rejected from retail distribution due to an NCX error. What does that mean? What do I do?

I Googled NCX and was directed to articles on sodium-calcium exchangers? Do I have to know chemistry to make an eBook?

Great questions that unfortunately come as no surprise. NCX errors are among the top three reasons independent eBook authors are rejected from retail distribution. Setting up a fully functional NCX requires some working knowledge of heading styles in MS Word—a feature that a lot of otherwise savvy writers ignore. But never fear, it’s not difficult. And once you’ve applied the proper styles to your document, Lulu’s Epub Converter will convert them into a fully functional NCX for you.

It’s exactly this simple:

  1. Apply Heading 1 style to the Title and to each line containing a Section name (copyright, prologue, etc.) or section (Part 1, Section II, etc.). Heading 1 style will always appear at the top of the next page.
  2. Apply Heading 2 style to each line containing a Chapter name or number
  3. Apply Heading 3 style to each line containing a sub chapter or subsection.
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Create an eBook from your MS Word document.

 

Still confused? Click here to dip into Lulu’s Knowledge Base and learn more about formatting these headings.

One more thing. I foresee tomorrow’s mailbag asking:

But why?

Do I really need an NCX?

What purpose does it serve?

 

 

So. In a nutshell:

NCX is short for Navigation Control file for XML. (XML is a set of rules for formatting that both humans and computers can read.) It’s that first word in NCX—Navigation—that reveals its purpose. Like a table of contents in a printed book, an NCX helps your readers navigate your work.

But unlike a traditional table of contents, an NCX can’t simply list page numbers. The text in your eBook is scalable (meaning, the size can be changed), and just tilting an iPad 90 degrees can completely change the layout of eBook pages and how many words fit on them. So the number of pages in your eBook is variable from one reader—and even one moment—to the next. A table of contents built on static page numbers is useless, even a little misleading. Navigation has to be connected to something other than page numbers.

Enter the NCX. It contains links to your chapters, sections, and subsections. It lets readers jump from place to place in your eBook without thumbing or scrolling endlessly. You want your readers to have a good experience. So do we, and so do our retail distribution partners. It’s why we collectively urge you to have a fully functional, fully-enjoyable eBook.

Need help with something else? No worries — here’s a link to our insanely thorough Knowledge Base.

Go forth and learn, then publish.

The Dead Are Rising

About 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.

Memoirs: If You Don’t Tell Your Story, Who Will?

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Memoirs of WWII

Memoirs of WWII

Here in the USA, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. This day is a national holiday dedicated to the remembrance of our soldiers who died in war. It should also be a day in which we take a moment to remember the events and people who shaped our lives. We may enjoy or dread looking back on these memories, but when we reminisce, we should consider whether our story is one that will be helpful to others and if so, how it will be shared and preserved.

It’s likely that 99% of us think we lead exceedingly boring lives and that our story would be of little interest to others. But, we all have one thing in common, we are all trying to make sense of and find meaning in our lives. Hence the value in writing your memoir. Not only is writing often therapeutic for the writer, but it also preserves your story as you remember it.

All on Account of You

All on Account of You

“Memoir is about handing over a portion of your life to someone and saying, This is what I went through, this is who I am, and maybe you can learn something from it,” says Jeannette Walls, author of the bestseller The Glass Castle. “It’s honestly sharing what you think, feel, and have gone through. If you can do that effectively, then somebody gets the wisdom and benefit of your experience without having to live it.”

So, how do you get started?

10 Tips for Writing a Memoir

  1. A memoir is not an autobiography: An autobiography is a book-length depiction of your life from birth to present time. A memoir depicts a specific period or event from your life.
  2. Detail, detail, detail: Your readers want to know how you felt, what you saw, the color of the umbrella, the smell of the ocean, the taste of the wine, how the wine glass got chipped.
  3. You be you: Your readers want to know about you, how you think, speak, and feel. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not.
  4. Write like your Grandmother tells a story: We don’t know how people are connected or related. We don’t know the color of your hair. Include the backstory that makes the person relevant to your story.
  5. Believe it or not, your memoir is not about you.: A good book is built around a theme – survival, redemption, personal journey, reunion, coming of age, etc. You and your story serve to illustrate the theme.
  6. Don’t lie: Someone will know the truth and they will be more than happy to share it. Remember James Frey?
  7. What is memoir be about? How something happened is not nearly as important as why it happened, how it made you feel and what you learned from it.
  8. Your memoir is not a collection of your best stories: A memoir is about a specific event or time. If you have had an exceedingly interesting life, you probably have enough material for several memoirs so be selective.
  9. Check your facts. Who was the King of Spain when you moved there in 1983? Don’t guess, be accurate (See #6 above).
  10. Beginning is half done. Write your first draft. Then re-write, and re-write, and re-write until your theme is clear and you are ready to share your story with your family, friends, and the world.
Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker

 

Isn’t it time you told your story? If you don’t, who will tell it for you?

To further inspire you, we have selected a few memoirs specifically for Memorial Day reading.

 

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