Articles tagged "publishing"

Tackling Twitter, Part 1

(Click here for Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!)

It’s hard for some writers to express a thought in 140 characters, but in today’s world of Pinterest, Facebook, and blogging it’s necessary. As The New York Times recently noted, “With the digital age comes new conceptions of authorship.” This is especially true for authors who don’t have the marketing muscle of a publishing house at their disposal.

Not everyone has been quick to jump into the “Twittersphere.” Explains author Lucas Klauss, “I was — like a lot of writers, I imagine — initially pretty suspicious of Twitter and its supposed benefits. I thought it would end up being just a big time-suck. And sometimes it is! But I’ve been happily surprised at how fun it can be.”

He used the social media platform to promote his book trailer (more on these at a later date). “By far most of the views I got were from Twitter — people retweeting it and saying they thought it was funny. And it connected me to other authors I hadn’t yet met.”

Wanting to be on Twitter and actually getting the mojo to join and keep on top of it are very different. It can also be intimidating and, take it from me, just plain weird at first.

Don’t let it be.

Remember how you tackled the blank page and completed a book? Well, trust me, Twitter has nothing on that. However before you start crying from the Twitterverse’s rooftops, remember the following:

Define your online persona: Being on Twitter means others will come to “know” you so think about which part(s) of yourself you want to put out there. What interests and hobbies will you promote? Your writing and reading, sure, but maybe you also love old Nintendo games, tulips, or your Subaru? Whatever it is take note and once you join, seek out similar folks with whom you’ll want to have a dialog.

Contribute to the conversation: Someone you follow is looking for a book recommendation? Answer him or her. Another person posts a link to a blog post you loved? Say so. The point of Twitter is not to tirelessly promote your own work but build your own community of online “tweeps” who will answer your questions and hopefully support you

Stay committed: The most popular people on Twitter tend to update their feeds often so plan on tweeting at least twice a day. If you’re worried about making such a big commitment, strategize. Keep a running log of future tweets as far out as you can handle. This can help reduce the pressure to always be by your phone or computer

Cross-pollinate: I’m not normally a big fan of corporate buzz words, but in this case it makes sense. Basically, you want to make sure that all of your various social media platforms are interconnected, meaning that your Twitter profile points to your blog and vice versa. This helps people become aware of your entire body of work. Thankfully, this linking process isn’t usually very difficult!

Be patient: Building followers takes time. It’s unlikely you’ll acquire 5,000 followers overnight but that’s okay. You want quality — as in people with similar interests who you can have a dialog with — over quantity.

Check out next week’s column for tips on using the hashtag (see below), the difference between replying and retweeting, as well as a whole host of general do’s and don’ts!

(Click here for Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!)

SXSW Interactive 2012 Recommendations for Authors & Publishers

South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) 2012 is right around the corner, scheduled to take place in Austin, Texas March 9-13.  If you’re an author and have never heard of “South by,” you may want to check out the following blog post by Evo Terra entitled “7 tips for authors attending SXSW 2012.”  Evo manages to give a great overview of the festival with tips catering specifically to authors.  Even though SXSW is not a publishing conference, Evo correctly points out that our “world is changing faster than you imagine,” and SXSW is a great way to “forward your knowledge and expertise in the interactive world.”

As we all know, electronic marketing tools such as social media are very important to authors looking to promote their work.  Among other things, SXSW offers you the ability to learn from interactive industry leaders who work on the cutting edge of digital technology.

So whether you’re planning to attend this year of not, to add to Evo’s blog post, I have outlined below some of 2012’s SXSW Interactive panel discussions that are geared specifically to authors and publishers.  The list below may help you save time as you plan your schedule.  If you are not planning on going, hopefully these panels will inspire you to get your late registration in … at the very least, these can help get you excited for next year.

Discoverability and the New World of Book PR

Publishing Models Transforming the Book

Libros digitales para todos/eBooks for Everybody

Rhapsody to Year 0: Music & Publishing Go Digital

Take a Look It’s in a Book or Now Tablet Devices

Self-Publishing: A Revolution for Midlist Authors?

Social Role-Playing: Brands and Publishers

Knitting a Long Tail in Niche Publishing

Making eBooks Smarter: Responsive Page Design

Books Win the Attention Economy

Next Stage: Tear It Up: How to Write a Digital Novel

Update from Lulu Chief Operation Officer – Tom Bright

Hello Lulu fanatics and creators,

My name is Tom Bright, and I am the President and Chief Operating Officer at Lulu.  Today, I’m writing my first blog post and what better time than now, when so many new and exciting opportunities are becoming available for authors every day.  In my posts, I’ll speak to these opportunities, like Apple’s newly announced iBooks® Author app, what they mean for you, and how Lulu’s tools give you the ultimate control over your publishing experience.  This will empower you to go even further with your works in more markets including not only the iBookstore℠, but also,, and the NOOK Book Store, as an eBook or in print.

Our mission here at Lulu is to make sure you, our remarkable content creators, are able to take full advantage of these opportunities.  We want to help you reach more readers and sell more books – no matter your background or goals – all while maximizing your visibility and your profits.  We do this through our retail partnerships with companies like Apple, which already has over 60,000 Lulu eBooks for sale on iBookstore shelves.

Speaking of Apple, we think what they’re offering aspiring authors is great.  It is just one more way to share knowledge and ideas with each other – an endeavor that is becoming more and more important. I’ve read the concerns of bloggers and journalists around iBooks Author.  I believe that especially in a self-publishing world, the author has a responsibility to market their book and distribute it as widely as possible.  After all, isn’t this the goal – the transfer of ideas to as many people as possible?  When the publishers and bookstores controlled which books were available for sale, marketing could be left to the publisher.  Today, the barrier to publishing is lower than it has ever been.  No author can afford to restrict their work to a single channel.  Lulu’s tools make it easier than ever to distribute to the widest array of physical and digital bookstores.

Indeed, it is through the power of options that we give authors what matters most:  control.  We’ve found that authors don’t want to choose between formats, channels, or mediums, and we don’t believe you, or your readers, should have to.  Through Lulu’s distribution partnerships, print-on-demand, and eBook technologies, authors are able to best meet the needs of all their customers in the ways that make the most sense for them.  Because an author today can never really be sure how someone might discover and read their titles, Lulu is here to ensure your titles are accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Feel free to click the following links to learn more about Lulu’s publishing and distribution options and how they can work for you.




The iBookstore is a service mark of Apple Inc. iBook is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

Winners of the Lulu Short Story Contest Announced!


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:


The Red Boots by Poornima Ram Kiram

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


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


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. 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!