Articles tagged "news"

Reselling eBooks raises questions for authors

Over the past week, debate has intensified over the practice of reselling eBooks. Amazon and Apple both filed patents last week to make reselling eBooks a reality, and the collective reaction by readers and book-buyers across the Internet was ambivalent. Of course, selling and buying used books has long been a practice in the publishing world, but eBooks provide a series of new issues that need to be resolved before the practice can become widespread.

When you would buy a physical version of a book, you would buy the rights to owning one copy of that book. It could be resold to whomever you chose, at whatever price, but at least there was only one copy of it. eBooks are a little more complicated with their ability to be copied as well as the multiple Digital Rights Management choices out there for authors. Every author’s worst nightmare is seeing their book go out there, become a hit, and everyone reading a pirated copy. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case so far for eBook readers. A lot of readers enjoy buying their books, which is good. But at what price do they want to pay for it?

If the book resells for a dime, wouldn’t it cut into the profit margins of the author, especially if it is being resold right next to the original full-priced eBook? Mark-downs are common for used copies of physical books, but that’s because they physically degrade. A “used” eBook would look just like the original one.

David Pogue over at The Times tries to sort through this complication — physical degradation of a book is necessary for its discount.  He goes through the patents filed by Amazon and Apple and doesn’t quite find a solution, but believes that publishers and writers will find a common-ground that allows for used eBooks to help writers make a living, while also making their work more available and affordable.

What do you think about the possibility of used eBooks? As writers, do you want their to be a secondhand marketplace?

eBooks: A Home for Long-Form Journalism

Have you heard the phrase ‘eBook singles’? If not, this refers to short pieces of fiction or journalism that are sold for less than five dollars. The success of eBook singles has paved the way for bigger players to get involved. Last week The New York Times released its first eBook Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, which is a long-form, reported piece about a group of skiers trapped after an avalanche in Washington State.

The eBook itself contains original material that wasn’t included in the newspaper version of the piece, and uses several new techniques that enhance news reporting. Seeing a reputable periodical like The New York Times embrace eBooks is a testament to the value of the format. For years there has been talk that journalism is at a crossroads and that newspaper reporters are in a race to the bottom – getting paid less for stories that have a dwindling readership. But, what we see happening here is simply indicative of a change in both format and pay-schemes.

Journalists and media outlets, by taking advantage of eBooks, are entering a voracious reading market. When people buy e-readers, they read more, and they’re able to read a wider variety of content. E-readers can provide an outlet for long-form journalism pieces that are too long to fit in the layout of a printed newspaper, but too short to publish as standalone books. As readers and writers, we welcome the return of long, thoughtful, journalistic writing. Cheers!

The Week in Self-Publishing and eBooks

Another week spent staring at that one perfect sentence you’ve written, dreading the fact that this one incredible sentence needs to eventually become part of a paragraph, then part of a chapter, and eventually just an almost insignificant part of a brilliant book. But you can do it! We promise.

Another week means another week in self-publishing and eBook news, so here we go:

  • The Association of Independent Authors (AiA) will be releasing a comprehensive guide to self-publishing in a few months. We’re assuming they will be self-publishing it.
  • Ebook revolution? Sure seems like it. A self-published author in Britain has sold more books than Stieg Larsson and James Patterson.
  • Could it be time for a single format for ebooks? This article weighs the pros and cons of ending the use of digital rights management (DRM).
  • Nicholas Carr discusses the idea of writers changing their ebooks after they’ve published them. Would The Great Gatsby be even better had Fitzgerald the ability to continue to edit it? Will your novel continue to change years after you publish it?
  • Big Surprise! Jonathan Franzen hates ebooks. But he’s sold thousands of them.
  • Activist and award-winning writer Kevin Powell will self-publish his next book.
  • Is “bundling” eBooks with print books a good idea? A small publisher shares his ideas.
  • A pretty comprehensive look at how drastically the rise of self-publishing and eBooks have changed the publishing industry (and the Internet).
  • Want to lend eBooks? Want to make your ebook available to be lent? Here’s how.
  • A great piece about why award-winning chef John Sundstrom is choosing to self-publish a new cookbook, despite offers from major publishers.
  • Digital textbooks are the future. what’s to stop professors from self-publishing their own?

Happy writing and publishing!

 

How to Write a Great Press Release

Writing a book is no small feat and you should be proud of yourself for all the hard work you’ve done.  The next step is to let the world know about your story and where they can find it.  A good press release can be just the thing to spread the word quickly and generate some buzz around your work.  But what makes for a great press release?  These 10 tips should help.

Know Your Audience and Stick to the Facts: Most press releases will be read by a journalist.  They aren’t interested in being sold something or helping you drive visitors to your product page.  The best way to increase the likelihood that your release will be picked up is to do as much of the work for the journalist as possible.  Provide interesting facts, numbers, statistics from analysts, or quotes from yourself or your readers.  Do your research and include it in the release – anything you can do to provide unique, interesting information will increase your release’s credibility and its chances of being picked up.

Write in Third-Person: A press release is always written in third person because you are announcing news to a fresh audience and need to make the subject of your release as clear as possible.

Say Who or What in the First Line: Journalists are very very busy and receive tons of releases everyday.  A good release should be able to get your point across within the first paragraph because most journalists only have time to read that far. It isn’t always possible, but if you can mention the subject of your story within the first sentence, better yet, the first word of your press release, you can immediately set an expectation for what the release is about and if it is relevant to the reader.

Keep It Simple: Try to focus on one main point throughout your release – otherwise you risk confusing your reader.  A great press release should make the journalist want to call you to learn more, not scratch their heads halfway through.  A good rule of thumb to help is to keep your release down to one page and around 300 – 500 words.

Call to Action: Every release needs to finish with a call to action.  In many cases, with a book release, the call to action would be along the lines of:  “Jim Brown’s book, The Greatest Book Ever, is available at www.lulu.com.”  Or, “To learn more, visit www.lulu.com.” Without a call to action, readers will finish your release and say:  “Ok, now what?”

Avoid Buzzwords: A journalist is interested in finding the story in your release so they can write their own.  Buzzwords like “innovative,” “breakthrough,” “revolutionary,” are all an immediate turn-off to a journalist.  They are more interested in the facts that can back claims like this up.

Boilerplate: Every press release has a short, two to five sentence paragraph at the bottom called a “boilerplate.”  This is a high-level summary about the press release’s subject material.  For an author, think of it as a brief bio about yourself to give a journalist more information if they need it.  Items like how long you’ve been writing, where you’ve been featured, where readers can find your work, awards and accolades, etc. are all good things to mention in a boilerplate and establish yourself as a reputable source.

Think of a Catchy, Thought Provoking Title and Subheading: I list this close to the bottom because a great press release title should summarize the content of the release in one line.  A clever title can often be just the thing to catch a reader’s eye.  If you can’t think of anything catchy, then try to highlight the most interesting, exciting news from the body of the release. You don’t have to use subheadings, but they can be a great way to give just a little more detail about your release upfront.  This should be complimentary to your title, and aim to further hook the journalist into reading further.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Think of keywords associated with your work and the audience you want to reach.  Good SEO can help drive your release up further in search results on sites like Google and Yahoo!. Simply including keywords relevant to your subject will increase your release’s visibility.

Sending It Out: There are many ways to send out a press release.  I recommend a wire service like PRWeb, PRNewswire, or GlobeNewswire.  Services like this typically charge a one-time fee that lets you use their distribution lists and will let you optimize your release in multiple formats such as a PDF, HTML, or plain text to ensure you reach the most readers.  However, you may have your own list of contacts too.  Emailing a release to a journalist is fine, but remember, you don’t like to be spammed and they certainly don’t.  Emailing a journalist multiple times, addressing them by the wrong name, or sending them content that isn’t relevant to their field of coverage is a sure way to get yourself blacklisted from ever getting coverage from them.

Now that you’re ready to tell the world your story, feel free to use the handy press release template below.  Just copy and paste the layout into a document and plug in your own information. Note the “###” at the bottom.  This indicates the end of the release.  Also, if you mention Lulu, please be sure to include this line at the end of your boilerplate:  “The views and opinions expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Lulu.com or its affiliates.” For more examples, also check out the Lulu press center.

Press Release Template

eBooks and the Future of Publishing

Last Tuesday, Lulu attended the “Future of Book Publishing” roundtable at the New York Public Library, hosted by Kodak. Lulu’s own Paul M., along with Lulu author Melinda Roberts, were there to discuss the top technological and economic challenges facing the publishing industry today.

The panel provided a unique opportunity to gain first hand insights and perspectives from publishing insiders including authors, printers, and traditional publishers.

“One of the main topics was of course eBooks,” said Paul. “The convergence of e-sales and POD technology are exerting pressure on both ends of the supply chain. Everyone wants to know how this effects each industry stakeholder’s overall strategy.”

As customers continue to discover a myriad of new devices to purchase and read books with, eBooks are definitely worth keeping an eye on. What is perhaps more interesting is the fact that out of last December’s total eBook sales, many of the top sellers were self-published authors, according to research done by authors Derek Canyon and Robin Sullivan.

“Many of these authors don’t have a traditionally published book under their belt,” said Paul. “It’s not just people that are already famous, going out on their own and selling a bunch anymore. Some of them are Lulu authors and they are selling hundreds of thousands of copies.”

In the past, it could take upwards of 18 months before an author’s work would be available for sale. Now authors can easily create a book and have it out for sale in a matter of minutes, either electronically or in print. Either way, books are evolving to a point to where they aren’t made until they’re bought and paid for. The days where a publishing house had to guess how many books they thought an author would sell and then “print and pray” based off that estimate are numbered.

“Lulu is empowering people to create self-sustaining businesses with their print and electronic books,” Paul says. “Authors can sell their work in the format their customers prefer, and with our global print network, authors literally have the world at their fingertips.”

Visit the Kodak roundtable site to learn more about the event and the future of publishing. And be sure to keep checking lulu.com to see what exciting new ways we’re helping authors and publishers profit by enabling them to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers more easily than ever before.

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.

Focus: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is a very exciting month for many reasons – pumpkins, costumes, football games, etc. But it’s also an important month for one very special reason. I’ll give you a hint…think PINK!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, about 207,090 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States this year. That’s a scary statistic, but the good news is that there so many foundations, blogs, and, of course, books out there dedicated to keeping people informed and to providing support to those experiencing the disease, firsthand.

On Lulu, we are lucky enough to have some great titles right at our fingertips! Whether you have been personally touched by breast cancer or are just looking for a way to contribute to the cause, here are a couple of books that may be just what you’re looking for.

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Becoming Whole
by Meg Wolff

Written by cancer survivor, Meg Wolff, this book tells the story of her complete recovery from breast cancer after being told that a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy couldn’t stop her disease. Instead of giving up, Wolff took a different approach by changing her diet and is now a living testament that changing your diet can save your life.

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Mommy Found a Lump
by Nathalie G. Johnson, M.D.

This children’s book, complete with colored illustrations, was designed as a guide to assist parents in helping their children understand what a family experiences when a parent goes through the treatment of breast cancer.  A portion of all sales will be donated to cancer research.

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Eat for the Cure
by Maria Fernandez

This cookbook is a compilation of recipes contributed by women all over the country, dedicated to the discovery of a cure for breast cancer. With recipes ranging from Baked Apple French Toast to Jalapeño Havarti Cheese Grits, your taste buds will thank you! All profits made from sales will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.