Articles tagged "marketing"

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.


 

Marketing Your Book at Book Fairs

This past May, Lulu team members, along with numerous works by our remarkable authors, attended Book Expo America 2011 in New York City, the largest book convention in the United States.  Book Expos such as BEA offer great opportunities for authors to display their content, meet fellow authors, and hear insights from industry professionals.  Check out the video above of the action from this year’s BEA and see why Lulu’s booth was the talk of the show – drawing such great crowds.  If you are thinking about attending or displaying your book at a book fair, here is a list of up-coming events.  Hopefully this video will get you excited for BEA next year, as we’d love to see both you and your book(s) at the show.

Everybody Needs an Editor

Happy Editing Month, everyone. Didn’t know May was Editing Month? Well it is, because Lulu says it is! And we all have our virtual red pens poised and ready to edit some great books!

“I was an English major, so I don’t need editing.” “My professor already edited it.” “My mother was a teacher for 27 years; she can proofread it.”

We here at Lulu have heard every rationalization authors have for not investing in professional copy editing. It’s completely understandable—editing can be costly, especially if you have a very long manuscript. And for some, it may seem preposterous to pay someone else to do what your professor or a relative has already done.

So why should you consider a professional copy edit?

First, remember that, while it is great that you have friends or family that will closely read your book (trust me, not everyone is that lucky!), more than likely, these people are not editors by trade. A teacher is not an editor. An English major, while he or she may have a better grasp on the English language than most, probably isn’t up-to-date on the changing style rules. (The Chicago Manual of Style is on its 16th edition—which edition is that dusty copy of yours?) Not to mention, your friend knows how hard you’ve worked on your book and may be afraid to tell you that your dialogue is dry and unrealistic, or that Chapters 9 through 14 go off on a tangent they didn’t understand. An editor doesn’t know you from Adam, and isn’t concerned with hurting your feelings—they want your book to be as good as it possibly can be.

Second, a proofread is not a copy edit. What your friends are probably doing for you is checking for typos and grammar mistakes. While these are, of course, very important, they only scratch the surface of what a true editor looks at in a manuscript. A professional editor is also looking at syntax, word choice, organization, plot and character development, text flow, inconsistencies in tense, among other issues.

Third, consider the value that a copy edit will add to your book. You wouldn’t go out the door without looking in the mirror to make sure your shirt is buttoned correctly, right? Now imagine if you had a stylist from Vogue stopping you at the door each morning to tell you if your shoes are inappropriate for the interview/wedding/wrestling match you’re headed to. That’s what editing does for your book. It adds credibility—you obviously think so much of your book, and of the information you are relaying, that you won’t settle with only one pair of eyes going over it. Yes, the cost of editing might be higher than what you’d planned to spend on the whole pre-publishing process, but it’s really an investment in your book’s future.  You’ve worked on this book for months, or maybe years—you certainly don’t want your reviews to start, “Great message overall, but couldn’t get past the glaring typos and strange sentence structure.”

How can Lulu help with editing?

An Editorial Quality Review is a great place to start. This service is included in our three main Pre-Publishing Packages, and is also available on its own. This review not only provides helpful feedback that you might use in your own revisions, but also recommends one of our three levels of copy editing. And to celebrate Editing Month, we are offering the Editorial Quality Review itself, normally $199, for $149, plus 15% off the price of whichever copy edit we suggest. And if you decide to take that polished manuscript all the way to the finish line with one our publishing packages, we’ll reduce the cost of the Review from the package price. To get started, just click “Add to Cart” here.  This promotion, along with Editing Month festivities, will end on June 1, 2011.

What Do St. Valentine and Book Publicity Have in Common?

In a nutshell they are both misunderstood. Poor St. Valentine–there is actually no historical evidence that his sentiments were intentionally romantic. It is reported that he healed the blind daughter of his jailor and then wrote her a note signed: “From Your Valentine.” That was his name after all; how else would he have signed it?

Just like the St. Valentine story, perceptions of the best way to promote your book are not always true. You might want to dump the idea of promoting your book and start courting the notion of promoting yourself. Let’s remember whose idea the book was: yours!

You are the best publicity tool, not the book.

It was never the Valentine’s Day card that did it for me; it was the message in the card that made me smile thinking of the sender. For fun, let’s say your book is the card and its contents are the message. The most compelling part of that idea is the author behind it, you. Think about the last few books you’ve loved. You should be able to tell me something about the authors: their history, credentials, education. Those are the things your readers will need to absorb to make the same connection with you. Once that connection is bridged, you might have a relationship that surpasses a first date, your readers will know you as the expert on the topic or a leading resource in your genre.

How does this happen? For example, if you’re an expert on ancient Rome, and have written a book about Roman saints, now would be a great time to be promoting your expertise. Think of all the newspapers, magazines, and TV shows that want to talk about the origin of Valentine’s Day! You could be their go-to person to explain the myths and little-known facts about poor misunderstood St. Valentine.

We’ll never know if St. Valentine’s intentions of romance in his note were real or not. What IS real, however, is the impact that a great publicity campaign can have on your book sales!

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.

Author Success Story: From Salesman to Silver Screen.

Love & Other Drugs in theaters today.

Today, Lulu author Jamie Reidy is getting to see one of the biggest dreams any author can have come true. His autobiography, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, has been made into a movie, Love & Other Drugs, starring breakout actors Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathaway.

If you ask Reidy if he ever expected this level of success, he’ll chuckle and smugly say: “Well, yeah.”

While Reidy jokingly admits to being somewhat of an egomaniac, he believes that any author who has gone so far as to have their work published should be thinking about their potential and at least have an idea of their long term goals for their work. Otherwise, it’s a self-defeating process.

“If you’re determined to be an author, you obviously have a story to tell and characters to share” says Reidy. “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not ready to go to all lengths to make something happen with them.”

Even with Reidy’s newfound success, his follow-up book, Bachelor 101: Cooking + Cleaning = Closing, available on Lulu, was still rejected by traditional means.

“The industry is scared to take a chance right now” says Reidy. “Luckily, tech like Lulu lets me sell my work anyway and I can get on with my writing.”

Reidy is particularly fond of Lulu’s formatting services and the freedom of not having to go back and forth between editors, which can become very expensive and time consuming.

“With Lulu, $400 for formatting was a deal – I know I got my money’s worth,” Reidy says.

Be sure to pick up a copy of both of Reidy’s books in the Lulu Marketplace and head to your local theater to see Love & Other Drugs, opening today. And for those aspiring authors out there, Reidy has a few last sarcastic words of advice: “No matter how good it is, you cannot count on your friends to buy your book.”

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.