Articles tagged "market"

Using Facebook Timeline to Better Market Your Books

Whether you’re ready to click the “Like” button or you’re secretly wishing for a new “Hate” button to be added over the new Facebook changes, the popular social networking site is getting ready to update…again. On February 2nd, everyone’s profiles will be switched to the new Facebook Timeline layout – like it or not.  It’s ok though, with change comes opportunity and in your case, oh faithful Lulu author, you’ll have new tools to play around with to help market your works.  This post will help you set up your Timeline and give you some ideas on how to best use it to reach your audience.

What is Facebook Timeline?

Facebook Timeline is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Timeline is the story of your life…in a new way to express who you are.”  Your posts (literally all of them) are divided in two and appear on a timeline in chronological order below your profile picture and basic information.  The super cool feature about your Timeline and the most obvious change is the new cover option, which lets you save an image as a banner at the very top of your page. This is your place to shine Lulu author.  I’ve already seen some really fun and innovative uses for this space.  Just check out these cool personal Timelines and these company Timelines for some inspiration.

From Mashable - Note the use of a QR code as the profile pic. You can do this to link to your book's product page on Lulu.

 

As you can see in the links and images above, the more creative you get with your new cover image, the more likely a potential reader might stop and consider reading your works.  Consider placing illustrations from your books in this space if you’re a children’s book author, or perhaps even a passage from your work if you’re a novelist.  Make it fun and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  This is a great chance to brand yourself and your work in an interesting and unique way.  To start setting up your Timeline, check out this handy slideshow from our friends at Mashable for step-by-step instructions.

Lifespan of a Post:

Right now, Facebook posts have an average lifespan of about three hours according to research recently done by Bitly. This is likely to decrease with Timeline, but you can ensure the right people are seeing your posts by trying different times throughout the day to pinpoint your highest traffic hours. It’s a good idea to set up your own personal Facebook page for your works too so you can have access to all of Facebook’s great insight tools, which show you which of your posts trend most and to what demographics. The more virality (the amount it will be shared) your posts have increase the likeliness that your fans will like it or share it, which will extend your posts’ lifespan.

Post more and post often:

Given the ever-decreasing life-span above, what you have to say has more potential to be lost in the sea of other frequent posters in your fans’ news feeds.  I still wouldn’t post things back to back, but once every hour to two hours certainly couldn’t hurt. The vast majority of readers are constantly plugged in now, and are always interested in discovering fresh, easy to digest content. But make sure that content is of quality and value or fans will flag you for spam.

Life Events:

You’ll notice you now have a new option next to your status updates on Facebook Timeline called “Life Event.” This is a great new feature specifically for authors because you can include your books, publications, and blog-type posts here and instantly share it with your readers.  You can include cover-photos along with your posts to really help them stand out – like so:

So there you go, you should be well-equipped to brave the new Facebook Timeline and be a cut-above the rest for marketing your titles through this channel.  Sound off on what you think about the new Facebook in the comments below and feel free to offer your own tips for how you’ve used it too.

 

What is a Book?

In the past, publishing was a closed system with countless barriers of entry an author had to overcome before they could see their work made public.

Lulu empowers a new generation of authors to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers easier than ever before. With the advent of eBooks and print on demand technology, the question begging to be answered is: “What is a book?”

Watch our video below to find out:

Author Success: Publishers Weekly Select

The publishing industry is changing. More authors are discovering new platforms and devices to help tell their stories everyday. So much so that, last month, well-known publication Publishers Weekly highlighted approximately 200 self-published works for the first time.

You may recognize some of the titles and names in their lists and reviews because many of the works come from Lulu authors and range in topics on everything from fiction to self-help.

The folks at Lulu wanted to call even more attention to these authors and congratulate them on such an remarkable accomplishment. It makes us proud to see a new generation of authors and publishers use our tools and services to carve out a name for themselves. It is amazing to see all the different kinds of knowledge and expertise our authors are able to bring to their customers.

Please help us congratulate these authors in the comments below and be sure to check out their, now Publishers Weekly Select, works in the Lulu Marketplace.

Shadow Women
by Thérèse Bonvouloir Bayol
The McNulty clan emigrated to Quebec to escape British oppression. This story follows the lives of four women in smalltown St. Brigide and tells a tale of Irish assimilation.

Promised Valley Rebellion
by Ron Fritsch
The first of a four-novel sequence set at the end of prehistory, asking whether civilization, with its countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, could’ve begun differently.

Four Nails in the Coffin
by Mark Wheaton
A deputy sheriff on the Texas-Mexico border gets more than she bargained for when she pursues three escaped convicts into the high desert—just one of the four horror novellas in this collection by screenwriter and graphic novelist Wheaton.

The Adventurous Life of Reamus Brownloe: From the Appalachians…
by Phillip Bryan Hartsock
A story of survival and faith narrated by a child born into poverty and violence.

Spun Gold—Poetic Reflections of Pure Luminosity
by Maren Springsteen
A mandala of poems that point to the “Infinite Heart of Spirit.”

Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder
by Christiane Wells
This journey through severe mental illness and addiction offers insight into what it’s like to hit bottom and come back.

Silent M.a.g.i.c. and Other Remedies: A Journey of Transformation, a Spiritual Journey
by Kim O’Kelley-Leigh
Practical tools to living our most fulfilling lives.

eBook Distribution Guidelines

It is an exciting time to be an author. Everyday customers find new ways to discover and purchase your remarkable works and Lulu has been proud to offer authors the ability to reach more readers and sell more books through our growing network of retail partners.

For us, the formula is simple: more channels equal more opportunities for your work to be discovered.

For authors selecting distribution, it is important to remember that many retail channels maintain strict policies on acceptable content. In an effort to ensure a lasting relationship with existing retail channels and to continue to cultivate even more options and opportunities for our authors, Lulu must uphold these policies and validation procedures. Lulu reviews all content marked for distribution and reserves the right to re- categorize and/or decline to submit books, which violate a retailer’s content policies.

One of the most popular retail channels is the iBookstore. Authors selecting this particular distribution method will need to keep these basic guidelines in mind:

  • To ensure an author’s work appears for sale, in the quality it deserves, iBookstore distribution takes at least 30 days.
  • Adult and/or sexually explicit content is de-prioritized and may be rejected if inappropriately categorized by the author.
  • eBooks in non-English languages and/or offered for free will be listed on lulu.com, but will not be distributed to the iBookstore or other retail channels.
  • Public domain content will only be submitted to the U.S. version of the iBookstore.

We know how eager you are to see your books out in the world and we want to assure you that Lulu processes your works with the utmost care. All authors are still able to publish and sell their eBooks immediately to the 2.5 million unique monthly visitors in the Lulu Marketplace for free. Lulu continues to strive to bring you the best service possible to empower you to sell more content to more readers more profitably than ever before and we look forward to your continued success on Lulu and all of our retail partners.

From the Vault: Giving it Away – How Previews May Help You Sell

This post was originally put up back in February 2008,  but a lot of the advice rings true today. With so many new e-devices popping up on the market, readers are finding more and more ways to discover and purchase content. Offering a free downloadable preview is a great way to help a reader make the decision to push the “purchase” button. Enjoy the original post below:

I tend to come across a lot of material on the site because of my job. Sometimes, it’s because I’m looking for something to buy, other times I am checking out whether it’s in violation of our membership agreement, and still others I am looking for content to highlight. Regardless of the reason, I am often surprised by how much of it lacks a preview.

According to Chris Anderson, author of the “Long Tail“, on average, 500 copies of a book are sold per year. For a self-published author, selling 500 copies in a year is considered a huge success, but how do you get 500 people to buy your book when most of them haven’t ever heard of you? The simple answer is to let them read it.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #3

Become an Authority in Your Field

Whether your book is an extensive study on quantum physics, or helpful tips on how to raise twins, there’s an online community just waiting to learn from your expertise.  What better way to flex your knowledge muscles, and promote your book, then providing commentary on your favorite forums, blogs and discussion boards?

By providing regular insight and support, you’ll quickly establish credibility and become known as an authority in your field.  This will also provide you with a golden opportunity to promote your book.  Be sure to mention that more information can be found in your book, and provide links for your new readers to purchase.

Once you’ve established yourself, your audience will be more than happy to help promote your book.  Reach out to bloggers and ask if they’ll mention your book in an upcoming post.

Before you know it, people will be buzzing over your book and your hard work!

What’s in a Name?: Picking Your Book’s Title

Now that you have poured your heart and soul onto every page of your Lulu book, here comes the real dilemma…what about the title? Yes, the title. It’s hard to imagine that those couple of words will be the first to introduce a potential reader to your book and will help them decide whether to pick it up or pass it by. In an effort to provide some aid to this rather daunting task, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Take the Short Road

Take a look at The New York Times Best Seller List and you will notice that, most often than not, today’s most popular titles are 3 words or less. If that isn’t enough to convince you, think of some of the books that you have read in the past. Here are a few of mine – The Help, The Scarlet Letter, What Remains, Pride and Prejudice, etc. Do you see a pattern? If you’re afraid that a couple of words or a short phrase won’t sum up your book, consider using a subtitle to provide further explanation.

Be Original

Since titles aren’t copyrighted, there could be a chance that the title you choose may already be spoken for. In the case that your title (or one very similar) is in use, it may be best to reevaluate what you have chosen to avoid confusion. Not sure if your book title has a twin? Try checking out an online book database or catalog like Project Gutenberg.

Share Your Ideas

Once you have had the chance to brainstorm a few title possibilities, bounce them off of your friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to provide several ideas and poll them for which ones they better. Like your potential readers, they won’t know much about your book and can only judge it based on the title.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #2

Get Your Book Into Influential Hands

We recently asked 1,000 of our bestselling authors to share their secrets to success. While the responses covered everything from taking out radio spots, to promoting at family reunions, there was one universal theme to marketing a book: Build relationships with influential people in your market.

A great way to get your new relationship off on the right foot is to send out complimentary copies of your book.  Target anyone you could think of that might be able to help create a buzz around your book.

  • School administrators
  • Local newspapers & radio stations
  • Community & church leaders
  • Scouting organizations
  • Bloggers

Be sure to include something personal, like a hand written thank you note, or a short memo describing how and why you wrote your book – anything you think will help you connect more strongly with your new audience.

Before you know it, more recommendations for your work will come from good old word of mouth. Happy publishing.

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.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Get the Word Out

Email your friends and colleagues:

Email is a great way to get the word out on your book, and who better to support you than those you already know. Explain why you wrote the book and what it is about. Be sure to include a link to your book on Lulu so they can click through and make a purchase. You can use your personal email provider or use the handy email button included on every Lulu product page.


Lastly, ask the people on your list to forward the email on to their friends and colleagues. Think of it this way – if you send an email to 100 friends, family and colleagues, and half of them send it on to another 10 people, you will reach 600 people – quick and cheap. Just take care to be respectful and don’t spam people with your book with too many emails. That can be a pretty quick turn off.

Contact your local newspaper:

Local journalists are always looking for new and interesting things to report on, so help them out by approaching them with your story. Onlinenewspapers.com serves as a directory for newspapers worldwide. Just select your state or country to find local newspapers in your area. Here are some tips on how to increases the odds of being featured:

  • Research the newspaper’s staff and identify the editor who would be most interested in the subject matter of your book based on their field of coverage (don’t send your book on murder mysteries to the international affairs journalist).
  • Have an angle: Pick one or two ideas that could be the lead-in for the story and why you think readers will find this interesting.
  • Have family, friends or coworkers read your pitch and make tweaks based on their questions and feedback.
  • Email the editor and follow up with a phone call.

Outreach like this can go a long way in gaining important exposure for your book. So, don’t be shy – get the word out!