Articles tagged "publishing"

Winners of the Lulu Short Story Contest Announced!


Wow.

We just can’t get over how many truly remarkable stories we received for the first ever Lulu Short Story Contest.

Our panel of 25 judges carefully read through the 2000+ submissions, picked their favorite, then read it out loud to the rest of the judges. From there, judges voted on which stories they liked the best from the readings and tallied the results until there were three clear winners with the most votes.  Your stories made us laugh, made us tear up, and some of the judges even got into literary debates over their favorites that lasted for days on end (no, really).

It was amazing to see everyone take such a passionate interest in our authors’ work. I can’t express enough how hard it was to pick just three finalists. But, we had to…SO! Without further ado (and because the suspense is killing me)…here are the winners of the Lulu Short Story Contest:

1ST PLACE WINNER:

The Red Boots by Poornima Ram Kiram

$1,000 Cash
Barnes and Noble NOOK
A review in Shelf-Unbound Magazine
Free Lulu Publicity


2ND PLACE WINNER:

Grass by Charles D. Shell
$250 and a Barnes and Noble NOOK™:


3RD PLACE WINNER:

Revenge by Gail Kavanagh
$100 Gift Card to Barnes and Noble


Honorable Mention:

Persona Quietus by Jesse Lee
Lovely Stranger by Jennifer Porter-Kennard

If you didn’t win, don’t let it get you down.  So many of the stories were so excellent and hey, now you have an eBook version of your story and your name out in the world for millions of readers to see. All just because you believed in yourself. Neat huh?!?

You can take that shiny new eBook of yours and promote it this holiday too for what we’re calling Download Day.  We did some research and figured out that December 26th is the highest traffic shopping day for eBook sales – much like “Black Friday” in November. So, we’re throwing a good old-fashioned author sales contest for Download Day and the author who sells the most copies of their eBook on December 26th, 2011 – even if you sell your eBook for free – will win a Barnes and Noble NOOK and $100 off coupon good for anything on Lulu.

Learn more about Download Day, the highest traffic buying day for digital content on the Lulu blog here. And thank you again so very much for helping make the Lulu Short Story Contest such a success.  Due to popular demand, we’ll soon be posting a full list of all 2,000+ submissions to the contest for everyone to read and we plan to publish an anthology featuring all the semi-finalists and three winners for all to enjoy.  More details on that to come soon.

All the best this holiday from Lulu.

Veterans Day Author Spotlight. An inside look at the life of a military family.

If my story can help overwhelmed military spouses gain a new perspective, I want to make it available to them.– Krista Graham, Author of Deployment Diaries.

In honor of both Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, we at Lulu want to take a moment, not only to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of our Veterans, but also to acknowledge military families – those who have loved ones currently serving. For some, today can be a very emotional day, particularly if a parent or spouse is deployed overseas.

Krista Graham is an Army Wife and a Marine Mom who recently published an account of her husband’s year of service in Kuwait. Krista was kind enough to share her perspective on Veterans Day, writing and being an Army Wife tasked with “holding down the fort” during her husband’s deployment.

How many family members do you currently have serving in the military?

My husband is a Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard and one of my sons is serving in the Marine Corps. He is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in 2012.

Tell us about your motivation for writing a book.

I didn’t set out to write a book.

Lulu on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act

Check out Lulu’s appearance on The Balancing Act:

 

Opinion: Is there an eBook “eZone?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other day, I was encouraged via Twitter to view the following video of New York Times bestselling author Seth Godin. The video is a sneak peak for the documentary PressPausePlay in which Godin describes his reasoning for self-publishing an eBook that took him 10-12 days to write. Godin raises a lot of interesting questions about modern publishing in this short video. An interesting question he raises is one that all self-published authors have to address at one time or another, namely: “I finished the book … ‘now what am I going to do with it?’”

As Authors today, we have many choices for delivering our content. We can try our luck and go the traditional route; we can self-publish it as a paperback; we can upload it to a blog; we can publish it as an eBook and distribute it to places like the iBookstore℠ or NOOK Bookstore™, etc, etc, etc. With all these choices, it can be hard to decide where and how to distribute your work.

Having published in different formats, I recently asked the question: is there an eBook “eZone?” Inspired by the “Goldilocks Zone” in planetary astronomy, the eBook eZone represents the length of written content that is too long for a blog post but too short for a printed book. It is the length of content that seems “just right” to be published electronically and made available for download at a minimal fee (or even made available for free). Keep in mind that any length of content can be made into an eBook (with at times unwieldy long books being easier to read electronically, as described here). When I talk about the eZone, I mean college papers, short stories, poetry, magazine articles – content that you’re proud of that didn’t really take you that long to write (relatively speaking) and when you see it sitting idle on your hard-drive you ask: “what am I going to do with it?” From a reader standpoint, eZone eBooks are those titles on your eReader that you can finish on a short train ride, regional flight, or in the time it takes to fall asleep.

Besides content length, the eZone also represents a sort of “sweet spot” between timeliness of content (how current the topic may be) and the time you have invested in writing and researching the content. The above infographic is what I believe the eBook eZone may look like. This infographic is by no means scientific nor does it take into account variables like genre, type of content, etc. The infographic exists to help visualize a point, namely that there may be a confluence of content length, content timeliness, and the amount of time one can devote to writing a title that makes eBooks the ideal vehicle for distributing content.

I figured it would also be helpful to point out some of my reasoning behind this infographic. Problogger.com reports that a typical reader “spends 96 seconds reading the average blog” – giving writers a “96 window of opportunity” to capture a reader’s attention. If the average American Adult has a reading speed of 300 words per minute, then it is reasonable to assume that a typical reader will focus his/her attention, on average, to around 450 words on a typical blog (I have just pasted that threshold, so congratulations loyal reader for being above average). The page length I selected for printed books was less about attention span and had more to do with printing requirements. A U.S. Trade perfect bound paperback book can have a page length of between 32 and 740 pages – anything above that would require a different format. Timeliness of content and the time invested in writing a book are very subjective criteria and are hard to measure. Everyone writes and researches at different rates. Some people like Seth Godin who are content machines can hammer out five best-sellers in the time it would take me to write one sub-par manuscript. So the intersection where timeliness of content and time invested is subjective – but a reality worth addressing nonetheless.

In short, the eBook eZone is a theory. If may turn out to be completely wrong. I just hope that authors test it out, find their writing comfort zones, and publish their content in as many formats as possible. You have many choices, make sure to find the format that’s “just right” for you!

“When Do I Get Paid?!?!” How to Check Your Creator Revenue

As an author on Lulu, you get to set your own price for your works beyond the manufacturing cost and you keep 80 percent of any revenue made.  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 firmly believe that everyone has ideas and expertise and should be able to share their knowledge with the world and, more importantly, profit from that knowledge.  We’ve provided different payment options to make it as convenient and easy as possible to claim your author revenue.  Below you’ll find tips for how to check your revenue and start seeing some green.

Finding your revenue: You can always check your earned revenue by looking at your “Recent Revenue,” and “All-Time Revenue” tabs found in the blue side-bar in your “My Lulu” tab.  It is important to note that your “Recent Revenue” DOES NOT include Amazon or 3rd party earnings.  Under your “All-Time Revenue” you’ll see a “Total Zero Creator Revenue” tab which shows your own purchases of your content, number of downloads from customers and Lulu support staff.  When you or Lulu purchases your own content, it is at-cost so no revenue is generated or recorded.

(Not) Getting Your Book on a Retail Shelf

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes in any marketing endeavor is not defining a clear goal. It’s easy to get caught up in a clever idea while losing sight of what you wish to accomplish. As authors, we are all trying to market our books. The way in which you promote your work will depend greatly on what you’re trying to achieve. I have read a number of blog posts by self-published authors describing ways to get one’s book on retail shelves. Most of these articles, however, don’t answer that fundamental question … why? Why bother trying to get your title on a retail shelf?

There’s no doubt that walking into a bookstore and seeing your work on the shelves is a wonderful feeling and a worthwhile goal for any author. But that is a personal goal, not a marketing goal. If your marketing goal it is to have as many people as possible read your work, you may be better off first focusing your efforts elsewhere – not just on your local bookstore.

Self-published author and book designer Joel Friedlander echoes my sentiment about trying to get one’s book on retail shelves when he writes:

“My own opinion, after watching many self-publishers try to break through into this market, is that it’s rarely worth the effort unless the book has a really wide appeal and is produced from the beginning with retail sales as the ultimate goal.

Most self-publishers of nonfiction will be far better off building an online community, learning keyword research and how to market their book online, using print on demand for fulfillment.”

Marketing your Book with “Buy Now” Buttons.

Keep your potential readers focused. Simplify book purchases by adding these free “Buy Now” buttons on your website or blog.

Reel in more readers with just four quick steps:

STEP 1: Log onto “My Lulu”

STEP 2: Click the star icon next to your published book

Buy Now Buttons

STEP 3: Choose the buy now button you like

Buy Now Buttons

STEP 4: Copy and paste the code to your website or blog

Buy Now Buttons

When your buyers click on these buttons, they will be taken to a Lulu shopping cart, which will include your book. It really is just that simple – so try it out today!

Take me to My Lulu.

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.

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:

Lulu API voted a favorite at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin

Mashery’s Circus Mashimus lounge

Partnering with Mashery, the leading provider of API management services, Lulu demoed its Publication API at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin, Texas this past weekend.  Mashery’s Circus Mashimus lounge was billed as a magnet for Web application developers and designers looking to attract buzz and networking around API platforms.  Lulu used the opportunity to showcase our Publication API, which allows individuals and publishers to create web applications, powered by Lulu’s backend tools, and marketed under their own brand names. They are then free to upload and publish books in any format (paperback, hardcover, eBook) to sell on Lulu.com and other leading retail channels.

Before I Grew Up’s Ben Barnett came from the London, England to show how his site is using the Lulu API to easily publish community generated Baby photo books.  Hundreds of show attendees came through the lounge each day, enjoying free food and beverages of course, and were very impressed with the tools available and how the Lulu Publication API is further enhancing the open-publishing model.  Through Twitter, users were also able to vote for their favorite API at Circus Mashimus. We’d like to thank everyone for helping make Lulu the second highest voted API out of the 14 companies represented in the contest.

Lulu also ran its own contest for developers at SXSWi.  Developers were encouraged to publish a short eBook through our Publication API.  Despite packed conference schedules and late-night networking events, numerous developers still found the time to successfully publish through our API.  Congratulations to Samuel Yu from Austin for winning our contest, which earned him an Apple TV®.

Lulu at SXSWi in Austin, Texas

Keeping true to the light-hearted and festive atmosphere of the Circus Mashimus lounge, Lulu provided pocket mustaches for show attendees. “Pocket staches” as they were commonly referred to, quickly became a must-have item for Circus Mashimus attendees, with people trying to collect as many different varieties as possible.

Finally, Lulu would like to give a big thank you to Mashery and to all the folks who stopped by our booth. We really enjoyed meeting the Lulu authors at SXSWi who took the time to come find us and all of the developers who have taken an interest in our Publication API. It was great to meet so many interesting and remarkable people … all of which are now sporting Lulu mustaches.

Lulu at SXSW Interactive - Austin, Texas

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