Articles tagged "publishing"

Is it time to destroy your little darlings?

Photo by vogmae on Flickr

Your book is your baby. We get it. That’s why we know how hard it is to objectively edit your work. But just because it’s a hard step in the process, doesn’t mean you can ignore it. It’s important to find a way to remove yourself enough from your work in order to get a clear, outsider’s view.

In that spirit, here are some tips for editing your novel:

1) Walk away. Not forever, but it’s incredibly important to read your novel with some fresh eyes. Even a week away will allow you some critical distance that you can use to help edit and see your whole structure better.

2) Destroy your little darlings. We all love the cute little sentences we’ve written, that flowery prose that convinces us we’re just the most talented writers we know. Guess what? This is hard to admit, but those pretty little darlings of yours are probably not so great. Beautiful moments in literature often emerge from simple descriptions and observations on the human and natural world — anything too convoluted will reek of trying just a little too hard. Keeping it simple doesn’t mean eliminating beauty.

3) Enlist trusted friends and editors. This could be the scariest moment of editing. The world has not yet seen your masterpiece, and this is the first step. And boy, is it a rough one. Your trusted editors and friends will be reading a piece of fiction that hasn’t yet been seen by other eyes. They will be of great assistance, pointing out flaws in grammar, continuity, and things that downright just don’t work. Inversely, they will also let you know what parts are great, where you shouldn’t change a thing, and how much they like it. It’s a quick dive into a cold pool, but for your novel’s sake, you have to do it.

4) Enlist professional services. Start with the Editorial Quality Review, in which, “a professional copy editor will review your book and provide a diagnostic tool of invaluable advice regarding the editing needs of your book. This service also includes a helpful 5-8 page sample edit to illustrate the level of edit recommended for your book.”Follow up with a Copy Edit Service.

What helps you edit your piece? Has editing made your novel’s better or worse? Do these tips work? Let us know in the comments below.

Additional Reading from the Lulu Blog:

DIY Proofreading

How To Choose An Editor

The Editorial Process

Life After NaNoWriMo

We’re well into December, and it’s almost the end of the year, but let’s take a minute to talk about last month. How did you spend your November? Maybe getting ready for the change in seasons or braving crowds to get a head start on holiday shopping? If you participated in NaNoWriMo you can add “writing an entire novel” to that list. Fifty thousand words in thirty days is no small feat so first things first: congratulations! Now that you’ve got everything all typed up and had some time to go over it, the most important question is…what’s next? You wrote your book in record time, so why not publish it just as quickly? Lulu has the professional publishing services to put a little shine on things and get your work ready for the world.

Cover Design


They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but let’s be honest, a nice cover goes a long way and can hook a customer before the first page is even turned.

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How to Market Your Book During the Holiday Season

November and December are the most lucrative months of the year for retailers because people are in a crunch to find and buy the perfect holiday gifts for their loved ones. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the season and show off your written wares.

Publicize your ultimate holiday gift list. At this time of year, people looking for the perfect gift often need help in the form of suggestions and ideas. Offer up your suggestions on your blog, on a contact’s blog, or perhaps even for a local magazine or newspaper. Whatever you suggest should be in line with what your book is about. For example, if you’ve written a cookbook, then come up with a list of the best bake ware — and no matter where you publish your gift tips, make sure you provide a bio with a link to your book.

Make a donation. Giving during the holiday season means more than handing out shiny new presents to friends and family, it means giving back to your community. Pick a charitable organization that inspires you and offer to partner with them. Offer signed copies of your book as perks for donors who contribute at a certain level (perhaps the charity will even name that level after you or your book!) You can also vow to donate a percentage of your profits to a charity that you support. This is a great way to boost holiday spirit and to get a charity to help promote your book to their audience. You can also donate books to families, libraries and schools that are in need. There are countless ways to give back. Which will you choose?

Drop the eBook price. Between the iPad, the Kindle, the Kobo Reader, and the Nexus 7, among many others, e-readers are becoming more and more hot, and with every new user comes the potential for many more eBook libraries. So entice potential customers by dropping the price of your book for a limited time.

Give away copies to friends, family, and social media followers/fans. Perhaps the most obvious tip but not to be overlooked since the best way for people to learn about your book is to hear about it from others. So order extra copies and stuff them in stockings or offer signed giveaways to fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter.

Strategize for 2013. There are another 365 days coming up… soon. This means you have holidays to capitalize on, anniversaries to plan, promotions to fund, and even new books to promote. Spend the last few weeks of this year thinking about how you want to handle the next 52 weeks and come up with a marketing and social media plan that will get you to your new year’s goals. This may help: Pre-Publication Marketing Timeline for Authors.

Tell us, what are you doing to prepare for the holiday season? Are you buffing up your marketing efforts?

 

The Return of the Serial Novel

Back in the early days of the novel, one of the most popular forms of publication was the serial. Charles Dickens, who was famously paid by the word, was only one of many authors in the Victorian era to publish what we now consider classics in installments, beginning with The Pickwick Papers published in 1836. Other works published in installments include Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Madame Bovary.

But as the cost of printing novels went down, the serialization of novels began to fall out of favor. Only recently have prominent authors began experimenting with the form again, notably Michael Chabon’s serialization of his novel Gentlemen of the Road in 2007. Some have even taken to micro-serialization, in the case of Jennifer Egan, who, earlier this year, published an entire short story through Twitter.

With the rise of electronic readers, and the ceaseless refreshing of one’s eBook library (along with renewed interest in short fiction) it seems only natural that serials would make a return. Renowned self-published author Neal Pollack has begun selling a serialized novel, Downward-Facing Death with installments that automatically downloaded to eReaders as they are released. The reader only needs to purchase the first installment to receive the following ones. The Huffington Post has also started publishing serialized novels, much like other news outlets would back in the day.

The idea of serializing a novel is an incredible opportunity for authors looking to take advantage of multi-platform publishing. Not only does it allow them to gradually build a fan base throughout the publication of a novel, but it gives the author time to gauge the reaction to certain characters or techniques, and change accordingly to his audience’s reaction (Dickens did this as well).

Serialization also lets readers weave in and out of a particular story, which readers are apt to do anyway with eReaders. It lets readers take a break, and then delve back into the book whenever their next installment arrives. For writers of the suspense or detective genres, the cliffhanger aspect of serials will keep readers on edge, constantly refreshing their libraries to see if the next installment has arrived. For writers, it will give them time to breathe and continue to write, even after parts of it are published.

Check out our follow-up blog post: How To: Serialize with Lulu

Would you ever write a serialized novel?

Lulu Celebrates Life@50+ with AARP

Where are the Lunatics today? We’re out in New Orleans celebrating Life@50+ with AARP.

At Lulu we believe that everyone has a story to share, and we take pride in helping people do just that. This is why we’re so excited to be here at the AARP conference where the crowd has been sharing some of their most unique, touching, extraordinary, silly and thoughtful stories with us. The wealth of knowledge and life experience here is incredible, and we love to offer services that can help preserve this wealth of knowledge and pass it along from generation to generation, whether that’s in the form of a novel, a recipe book or a photo book.

We are feeling totally invigorated after day one of the AARP conference – a day chock full of great story sharing.

So what’s your story? What memories do you want to share in words or photographs?

A Look Into Publishing Lingo

Publishing lingo can be tricky. When you’re making the decision about whether to self-publish your work or pursue a traditional publishing house, you may stumble upon some unfamiliar terms. Below we have outlined some of the most commonly used terms in the traditional publishing world to help.

Advance: This refers to the amount of money you receive up front from a traditional publisher. Depending on your deal it can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands, though first time/mid-list authors should expect more modest amounts. The structure of how an advance is paid out varies by house but range from half on signing and half on delivery of the final manuscript to a third on signing, another third on delivery, and the final third on publication. One quick note: it isn’t until your book makes back your advance that you’ll see any royalties whatsoever.

Royalties: Once a traditional publisher has made back the money it advanced you to write the book, you will begin earning royalties. Like an advance, the amount you receive per book sold (to a retailer at the wholesale price) will vary based on many factors, although typically it will be on the smaller side–say 6.5% to 10% for print editions (rates differ for paperbacks versus hardcovers) and 25% for eBooks. Payment schedules will differ based on the publisher, but will typically be doled out on a quarterly or twice-a-year basis.

When you self-publish through Lulu, you keep 80% of the profits on your print books and 90% of the profits on your eBook. To understand revenue vs. royalty vs. profit, we’ve written some brief explanations:

  • Revenue: a general term for any money Lulu pays you for book sales
  • Royalty: a specific type of revenue that comes from retail sales and is subject to United States of America income tax laws
  • Profit: the net income for your work after other expenses have been accounted for, including payment to contributors, pre-production, labor, marketing and overhead costs.
For more information on pricing and profit on Lulu.com, check here: Deciphering Retail Prices.

 

ISBNThis stands for International Standard Book Number. Essentially, it is a 13-digit identifier required if you plan on selling your book in a bookstore or distributing it via a library. It’s often printed on the back cover of a book or the copyright page and every edition (eBook, paperback, hardcover) need its own ISBN. 

Laydown date: Your book’s publication date — as in the day it will go on sale. Large publishers will sometimes enforce a “strict laydown date,” meaning that retailers are not allowed to sell the book before it comes out — and may even be subject to legal action copies be accidentally released beforehand.

Galley or ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy): These are the copies that authors/publicists send to media for review. A galley will include the cover and the book’s text with the caveat that reviewers check with the publisher before printing a quote, but won’t include any special effects on the cover like foil or embossing (raised print). An Advance Reader’s Copy costs more to produce and tends to include snazzier extras. In Lulu terms, this is called a proof copy. 

OOS: Out of stock. This can apply to either a retailer or the publisher — meaning books are flying off the shelves too fast for the printing press to keep up! In Lulu land, the only time this would happen would be if the author took his or her book out of distribution but a retail partner, such as Amazon, hasn’t taken the listing down from their site yet. 

Mass Market: In addition to hardcover and paperback bindings, there’s also what’s known as a “mass market” edition, which is always paperback and of a smaller trim than the dimensions of a “trade paperback.” However, mass market refers to more than just size. Distribution-wise these books are sold outside of bookstores in the aisles of your local big box or grocery stores. This term is specific to traditional publishing.

If there are other terms you’d like to know more about add them to the comments section below and stay tuned for a follow-up post.

The Editorial Process

Photo courtesy of TheCreativePenn’s photostream on Flickr

Michael Crichton once said of revising, “Books aren’t written. They’re re-written.” As any of us who have slogged through draft after draft knows, he’s entirely on the mark, and it’s what you do during the rounds of revisions that make your book closer to finally being finished.

Editors at traditional houses work extensively with writers on everything from a book’s plot and character to title and cover design. After a book is acquired, the author will receive an extensive, pages-long editorial letter that is not for the faint of heart. It outlines a number of changes that will need to be made, thus kicking off a long revision period that ultimately ends with publishing as much as 18 months later.

As an author using an open-publishing platform, you have more flexibility in accepting or rejecting where you want the story and characters to go, and you don’t have to wait nearly two years to hold a copy of your book in your hands.

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