Articles tagged "publishing"

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.

Lulu at Internet Summit 2010

The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday, with Internet professionals and entrepreneurs from across the United States coming together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young was a keynote panelist and featured speaker discussing the future of both the web and books – no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.

Bob’s featured talk was entitled “There is No Such Thing as a Book” – claiming that “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.” During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that).  Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form, but now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.

Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable,” as a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video, hyperlinks and an Internet connect may actually detract from a book’s narrative – diminishing the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think that in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide, opting to read stories on books – not devices. But of course, that will remain a question of preference and choice, and if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event and enjoy all the interactivity that digital media has to offer, be sure to check out a recap of the lively discussions on Twitter #isum10.

We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit for putting on such an informative and well-organized event, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

The Future of the Book

One of our designers sent around a link to this video this morning. It was put together by IDEO, the global design firm, and shows the possibilities it envisions for the book. Some interesting ideas. Let us know what you think!

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

“Be the Adventure You Dream.”

I found this incredibly inspiring story while I was poking around Facebook and just had to share it. It is a note by writer J.C. Hutchins about his good friend and fellow writer Zellie Blake.

Blake was a talented young woman who recently passed away due to cancer. Her story is a testament to the passion and tenacity every author must embody in order to see their dreams through and share their remarkable works and ideas with the world.

Knowing her strong desire to have her book published, Blake’s friends all chipped in to make her book a reality by making it available on Lulu.com. Enjoy this amazing story. And be sure to check out Blake’s book Lightning Spliced.

Zellie Blake, a generous and beautiful woman — a fellow writer and dreamer — died two days ago. She was 27 years old.

Zellie was a tireless champion of my work. She once said I was an inspiration for her own writing career goals, but she will always be an inspiration for me. Her friends say that throughout her treatment, Zellie never lost her sense of humor or optimistic verve. She wrote often, and well.
khlkjh

Her personal mantra was, “Be the adventure you dream.” I am hard-pressed to think of a more inspiring and empowering personal philosophy.

Bringing You a Bigger Audience

You are the future.

Your knowledge and ideas are the building blocks for the next generation, the foundation that ensures we continue to progress as a society. You need ever-better ways to share your knowledge and reach more people — and you deserve ever-better incentives to do so.

Lulu is working to open publishing to everyone, to create best-in-class tools so you can make just about anything and reach anyone. Whether you are an individual, publisher, educator, or enterprise — and whether you write technical manuals or romance novels — our goal is simple: to give you the most opportunities to share and profit from your remarkable ideas, knowledge and stories.

We are launching a significant initiative in the effort.

Beginning today, you will find more than 700,000 new titles in the Lulu Marketplace, titles as diverse as Harlan Coben’s Caught from the list of New York Times bestsellers to Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. This follows the addition of more than 200,000 traditionally published eBooks that we added in November. In the coming weeks, we’ll add more content through additional partnerships as we make Lulu.com the world’s premier destination for published knowledge, ideas and expression. In effect, we are creating the world’s biggest bookstore.

The Importance of Editing

photo: Unhindered by Talent

photo: Unhindered by Talent

One of the most common questions I receive is, “Why isn’t my book selling?”  The answer is usually painful to hear.  Avoiding that question altogether lies in tackling another question early in the publishing process, “What will prevent my book from selling?”

Editing is one of the absolute factors that will influence your book sales. The degree to which you personally edit your thoughts and writing, combined with the degree to which you invest in professional editing will ultimately play a large role in developing reader comfort.  A great edit will not ensure your book sells, but it will definitely eliminate one of the largest potential detractors that might prevent book sales.

Top 5 Tips for Making a Great Ebook Stand Out.

Top 5 Tips for Making a Great Ebook Stand Out.

Analysts estimate Amazon’s Kindle selling about 1.5 million units by the end of 2009, while Barnes and Noble’s Nook is already sold out for the holidays.  More e-readers are popping onto the market, and publishers are beginning to rethink their approach to digital media, like Time Inc.’s recent demo of a digital version of Sports Illustrated. The immediacy and convenience of ebooks and digital content has definitely had an impact on how people today read.  Authors are beginning to realize that they can publish freely and digitally distribute their work for nothing other than their time with sites like Lulu.com.  But, how do you make a great ebook that stands out?

You CAN judge a book by its cover.

A good cover can be a great marketing tool for an ebook.  You want your cover to make someone scanning through a website, stop and click your ebook.  You don’t want to be tacky or overbearing, but the cover should draw attention.  In the open-publishing world, a cover gives readers their first impression of what to expect from an author’s book.  For now, the quality of a cover is a good indication of which authors have invested more time into their work than others.  Well-formatted and edited books typically have a cover that was put together by a professional designer and features professional art or photography that is eye-catching and relevant to the audience the content is trying to reach.

Do the work for your readers; be visible.

The easier you make the purchasing step for your customers, the better.  This can be done by making your ebook as visible as possible.  Every time you mention your book or yourself online, provide links to make it easy for people to find your content or more information about you.  Let’s say you just put up a book trailer on youtube.  That youtube page needs a link to your book’s storefront and the storefront needs a link to the video.  This is called cross-linking.

One of the great things about Lulu.com is that it offers non-exclusivity for an author’s book.  This means an author maintains the rights to their work, so they are free to upload it to Lulu and as many other sites as they want.  This is a way to have your work reach that many more people.  A little research into exclusivity rights could do a lot for your ebook.

Don’t make your customers read.

People want to read your ebook, not read about it.  Try to limit the text that appears around your ebook to a minimum.  A brief summation is a good thing, but make sure it builds up the content of the book.  Use language that makes readers want to dive in right away.  The less you say the better because you might talk potential readers out of a sale otherwise.  Leave the real talk to reviewers.

Proactively respond to your readers.

Most of the work that goes into selling an ebook arguably comes after it has been written.  All of the marketing for your book falls to you, and you need to be responsive to your growing audience.  Social networking makes this much easier.  Something like a Facebook fan page is a great way to maintain an open dialogue with several people at once while keeping people informed about your work.  Be aware of reviews and respond to them positively when appropriate.  weRead keeps authors connected with millions of users, and offers great opportunities to receive constructive criticism and expand their readership.

Keep up with the tech – know your formats.

.pdf, .epub, .bbeb, .lit.  There are dozens of different file formats able to be assigned to the end of your would-be ebook.  The most universal file format is International Digital or “EPUB.”  Some ebook tech only accept proprietary file formats though so keeping up on tech trends can go a long way in getting your content out.  Much like making your content as visible as possible, try making your content as accessible as possible by offering multiple file formats.  You’d hate to lose sales just because you didn’t offer your book in the Kindle’s .azw format.

Lulu Author Interview: Anthony S. Policastro

Working at Lulu.com has been a pretty interesting experience. Aside from all I have learned about the publishing industry, I have met some pretty unique people. I interviewed a former adult movie actress, a magazine publisher, and even helped a person in Moose Jaw, Canada publish a book via Twitter.

lulu-self-published-author

Even within Lulu.com there are tons of interesting people. I sat next to Anthony S. Policastro during his time at here and in between him getting hit in the head with a Nerf dart or answering his phone via his watch, we’d discuss different ways self-publishing authors can promote their books as well as the future of ebooks. Anthony has written two books that he has released through Lulu.com as well as guest posted on the Lulu Blog about writing and marketing.

Forums – Rubbing Elbows, Virtually.

Forums are virtual meeting rooms where people with an Internet connection from all walks of life can come together and mingle. Think of forums as a party where the discussions are typed out and only one person talks at a time. The people at the party might be writers, photographers, teenagers, single parents, lawyers, pool boys or even sports fanatics.  Each person has a unique point of view and will add something different to the discussion.

Most forums found on the Internet will have a specific theme. There are gamer forums, support forums for people dealing with personal challenges, parenting forums, heck – there’s even a forum for one of my favorite movies.

I know you’re thinking, “Carol, this is all fine and dandy, but why should I care?” The benefits of virtual networking with other people of the same interests are many.  To name just a few: discussing your latest book, tips for book signings and sharing tips on marketing. You can meet people who have already been there, and some that have even done that, learn about new contest opportunities, discuss industry standards, request reviews and just be yourself with other creative folks.