Articles tagged "reach"

5 Things to Avoid When Creating an eBook

UPDATE:  Learn More About eBook Publishing at Our New eBook Page

A little known fact about eBook distribution is that each retail channel has their very own set of requirements for accepting content that your eBook must meet before it can be sold. These requirements may sound scary at first, but they are actually pretty great.  By following the requirements set by each retailer, you can be sure your customers get the most robust experience from reading your work.  To help, here are the top five reasons we’ve seen eBooks bounce back from distribution.

  • No description or description too short – Describing your work might be the most important step of all.  Not only does a book description double as a great marketing tool to get readers interested, it’s also used to catalogue your work in retail channels all over the world. For this step, you’ll be asked to provide details including category and genre, keywords, description, language, licensing and edition number. It’s crucial you provide consistent information here that matches any details you have already provided or stated in your book and on your cover. Many retailers require this information to be accurate in order to list your content and make sure it gets in front of the right readers.
  • Metadata” mismatch - Simply put, metadata is the who, what, when, and where of your eBook.  Much like your eBook’s description, metadata includes items like your title, author name, volume number, price, etc. and are what most retailers use to appropriately list and categorize your content.  Metadata must perfectly match so that customers searching for your eBook in a catalogue can find it.
  • Up-selling or listing a price on your cover – You can adjust the price of your eBook at anytime and we encourage you to experiment with different prices that are competitive with other books in the same genre.  With that in mind, avoid listing the price of your eBook anywhere on the cover, in the description, or in the eBook itself so you can be flexible to change the price later if you need to.
  • Inappropriate or illegal content (erotic, malicious, or plagarized content) – This one is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Non-English content – Unfortunately, we’re unable to distribute non-English eBooks at this time.
  • Poor image quality (borders, pixels) – You’ve probably come across a picture on the Internet that was hard to see no matter how much you zoomed in or reloaded the page.  Pixelated or blurry images won’t show up on today’s high resolution computers, tablets, phones and eReading devices. This means they can’t go in your eBooks either.  If you decide to include images in your eBook, we can only accept high-resolution, three color, RGB (red, green, blue) formatted pictures.  Four color, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key black) images will not translate properly.


 

Winners of the HP Mini Laptops Announced!

As some of you may know, Lulu has an ongoing relationship with HP and we want you to reap the benefits of that relationship just as much as we do.  So, back in June, we announced two easy ways customers could win one of two brand-new HP 5103 Mini Laptops – by either creating and publishing a photo book, or by using one of Lulu’s handy services to publish one of your remarkable works.

We also got the chance to surprise one lucky Book Expo America attendee with a third HP Mini Laptop,  just for visiting our booth back at the conference in May.

Without further ado, the winners are:

  • Ronald Libertus – for his photo book wonderfully titled: Cupcakes and Lollipops
  • John Hurly – A long time customer of Lulu’s services.  John purchased a Best Seller package for his upcoming work.
  • Austin Reale (pictured) – Good old Mr. Reale, blogger for Reading Teen, stopped by the Lulu booth several times a day throughout BEA and was about as excited as I’ve seen anyone to receive a brand new computer.  Yes, I asked him to blog about it.

Help us in congratulating our winners on their new technological prowess in the comments.  Now, they’ve each got a shiny new computer to help them start on their next remarkable works.  As for the rest of you faithful Lulu blog readers, keep your eyes peeled for other contests in the coming months and for your chance to win from a selection of great prizes to help kickstart your publishing career. And most of all, thank you to HP.

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 Metadata?: How to Save Yourself Some eBook Distribution Headaches

As eBook sales continue to rise, Lulu wants to be sure you have access to all the latest and greatest tools and resources to help you sell more books in this exciting new market. In order to reach the millions of customers who own e-Reading devices, it is important to stay up to speed on best practices for making an electronic book quickly and easily.

One term you’re likely to come across when publishing your eBook is “metadata.” It also happens to be one of the main causes eBooks get bounced back from distribution.  In many cases, a quick revision of your eBook’s metadata is all it takes to push your content out onto digital shelves and increases your work’s marketability.

Simply put, metadata is the who, what, when, and where of your eBook.  Items such as your title, author name, volume number, etc. are all types of metadata and are what most retailers use to appropriately list and categorize your content.  When your eBook is listed on an online store, customers will see an image of your cover, which they can click on for more information about your work and to access the actual content of your work.  Many retailers treat the cover image and the actual eBook’s content as two separate pieces and it is vital that the metadata for both match (including upper and lower case letters) so your customers are linked to the correct book interior.

For example, lets say your book title is The Greatest Book Ever: A Tale of Suspense and Intrigue by Samantha Thomas. If the metadata for your cover is only listed as The Greatest Book Ever, by Sam Thomas, without the subtitle and a different author name, then the retailers can’t be sure if it’s the same work.  With the thousands of new eBooks being submitted everyday, it becomes too difficult to try to match the cover to the content.

Luckily, on Lulu it is pretty simple to ensure all your metadata matches. When you start a new project and name it, whatever you enter into the title and author fields will autofill the empty fields in the cover step. Whenever a colon is used in the project title, the system automatically treats any text after it as a subtitle. Once you get to the cover step, you can still edit your title, author name, etc. just be sure if you do make changes, you also go back and change the project information you started with too. For authors uploading a one-piece cover, again, just be sure all the text matches the project information you enter.

Be sure to check out our knowledge base for more eBook metadata tips to help you reach more readers in more markets all over the globe.

 

Lulu’s Free Book Event is Back!

Need incentive to help you finish up your latest book?  How about if it’s on the house?

That’s right, between June 14 and July 31, 2011, Lulu is providing all authors with a free copy of any newly published book.  To get started, just visit lulu.com/publish.

Already published a book? Well, we’ve got you covered too.  Here are some ideas we’ve come up with for you to take advantage of this offer too.

  • Create a hardcover version of your book – If you haven’t done so already, it’s never too late to turn your paperback book into a hardcover or vice-versa. The process is simple, and if we don’t already offer a hardcover size of your paperback, you can always reformat it for the new version.
  • Make a special version of your book. For example, you could add photos or illustrations to the book that help highlight the chapters.  Or, you could take a note from author Cory Doctorow, who recently published his book With a Little Help with four different cover illustrations.
  • Challenge yourself. Who says you can’t finish a whole new book by July 31st?  I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when it’s crunch time and a deadline is fast approaching. Your reward is a free copy of your brand new book. You can do it!
  • Collaborate with a friend on a book. You can either write something new together or work on finishing up a book one of you has already started. Either way you get to create something together!

Just remember, this promotion is for newly published or newly formatted books and does not apply to book revisions.  Whatever you decide, we want to help. So get started!

Terms and Conditions:
Promotion runs from 6/14 – 7/31. Creators are eligible for a free proof copy of a newly published work at
www.lulu.com up to a value of $25. Photo books, calendars, and eBooks are not eligible for this offer. Shipping is not included in the offer. Creator will receive a coupon code by email once the new work is published.

 

Lulu.com: Publishing for the Future

 

The only way to predict the future is to invent it.

Only seven short years ago Lulu launched what was one of the very first, if not the first, self-publishing sites on the Internet.   Since then, we’ve served millions of authors by helping sell tens of millions of their books.

But what was a great idea then is only a good idea today.  Our success has spawned a myriad of imitators some of whom, I am forced to admit, are almost as good at what we do as we are.   Competition is the least of our concerns.  The bigger trend we are embracing to better serve our customers is, of course, the explosion of eBook readers and digital marketplaces, which are changing the very nature of what a book is.

As you no doubt expect, we’ve been working hard to re-invent Lulu to offer features our competitors have yet to even dream about.   We are moving from a concept of self-publishing to one of open-publishing.   In very broad terms self-publishing is what it sounds like:  we give you the tools and you get to publish your book yourself.    The concept of open-publishing is one where we give you the platform and you are empowered to innovate the tools and solutions that best fit your needs and help you sell more books.  The Lulu platform will be of particular benefit to a new generation of publishers who can create new tools to help authors reach more readers, monetize out-of-print or back-catalogued titles, and grow their customer-base.  We will have several more major announcements coming throughout this year, the first being our exciting new Open Publishing APIs (Application Programming Interface), recently made available to the public.

With our APIs, which you can download and play with over at developer.lulu.com, Lulu is helping a new generation of creators profit by enabling them to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers more easily than ever before. For those of you who don’t know, an API is like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work. And with Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike, are able to create a new breed of web applications, powered by Lulu, and marketed under their own brand names – absolutely free.

So far, we’ve been blown away by the creativity and innovation we’ve seen in the sites and applications people have come up with. Some of our favorite examples are twournal.com, that lets turn your tweets into a book, and beforeigrewup.com, where you can capture your children’s life into a book and seamlessly share it with friends and family. Since its launch in late 2010, developer.lulu.com has grown to 150 registered developers, 45 applications and is live on 10 sites.

By releasing all of the great features found on Lulu.com such as document conversion, order fulfillment, and ecommerce through a series of APIs, Lulu is redefining the future for all publishers and providing our creators with even more freedom.  Now a new generation of publisher can now offer unique and innovative publishing services to their authors and the audiences those authors serve by using Lulu’s global print and retail networks, our commerce engine that can calculate royalties in a range of currencies all in real time, and our publishing tools that can help those authors turn their ideas into valuable books.

To learn more, or to tell your techie friends about it without having to learn more, visit:  developer.lulu.com

Cheers,

Bob

Win an HP Mini Laptop from Lulu

Ahh Summertime…The days are longer and the sun shines brighter, which means more time for family get togethers, pool parties and road trips.  We all capture these great moments with our digital cameras and smart phones, then we post our pics online to the envy of everyone.

But wouldn’t it be great to have a lasting reminder of how the Summer of 2011 began?  Now is the perfect time to get those photos out of your laptop and into a beautiful photo book or calendar.

From now until after the 4th of July holiday, not only will you be able to save 25% on any Lulu photo book or calendar order, but you’ll also be automatically entered to win 1 of 2 HP 5103 Mini Laptops!

Here’s how it works…

  1. Simply create and publish a photo book or calendar project between June 1 and June 30, 2011
  2. Purchase a copy of your beautiful photo book or calendar
  3. Save 25% off with code HPWIN305*
  4. You’ll be automatically entered to win 1 of 2 HP Mini Laptops
We’ll pick the winners on July 5, 2011 and notify each lucky person via email.  Oh yeah, the shipping of the laptop is on us too – all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your new toy.  Don’t feel like purchasing a photo book? You can also enter to win just by publishing a work through Lulu – absolutely free.

What’s an HP 5103 Mini Laptop? Funny you should ask – check them out here.

It’s really that simple.  Create, publish, buy and win.  Also be sure to find out how to win an HP laptop with the purchase of a Lulu service here.

So what are you waiting for?  There’s never been a better time to create a photo book or calendar with Lulu!

*No purchase necessary. Enter coupon code HPWIN305 at checkout and receive 25% off any photo book or calendar order or publish a work through Lulu.com. The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on July 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Shipping destinations must be within the United States.

Confessions of a Lulu Services Team Member


I confess. It excites me to read brilliant content from our creators. I also confess I see content with potential that lacks basic principles of composition.

The Editing Month festivities at Lulu last month challenged me to consider how one might break habitual bad writing habits and make significant changes to please the reader. I literally dusted off my grandmother’s copy of Strunk’s The Elements of Style in hopes of finding a few elements that would change any manuscript.

From William Strunk, Jr.’s The Elements of Style III. Elementary Principles of Composition:

  • Use the active voice: The active voice is more direct and vigorous than the passive. I shall always remember my first visit to Boston is much better than My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.
  • Put statements in positive form: Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word “not” as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion. For example, rather than He was not very often on time one could use He usually came late.
  • Omit needless words: Read your manuscript and see how many times you see the fact that and try to replace it with since, because, though or although. Another example is “there is no doubt but that” could simply be “no doubt.”

Too often I meet authors whose excitement of a speedy book launch diminishes the importance of a thorough pre-publishing scrub. One passionate author related the book launch to taking a child to school on the first day of kindergarten. Just as parents send kids equipped with backpacks and lunch boxes, your book should be as equipped with a proper edit. Correctness is contagious.

A professional editor can review your manuscript to determine which elements could make your book an easier and more enjoyable read. Our publishing packages provide the Editorial Quality Review as well as Formatting and Cover design. Buying services in June automatically enters you to win one of two new HP Mini laptops. Plus, use the coupon SVCWIN and we’ll take 15% off any package (maximum discount $1,425).  Offer expires 6/30/2011.

*No purchase necessary. Enter coupon code SVCWIN at checkout and receive 15% off any service package or simply publish a work through Lulu.com. The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on July 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Shipping destinations must be within the United States.

Lulu at Book Expo America 2011

Last week, Lulu attended Book Expo America (BEA), the largest book convention in the nation, where attendees got the chance to meet the new face of publishing – you!

Doors opened bright and early the morning of the 24th to floods of authors, publishers, journalists, librarians, and businesses all clamoring to get the latest scoop on the publishing industry and Lulu didn’t disappoint. With exciting new initiatives such as our Open Publishing APIs, Partner Program, and growing print network, Lulu has an affordable publishing solution for just about everyone – no matter if you’re an author looking to become a publisher, or a publisher wanting to monetize your back catalogue.

We definitely stood out in our bright orange booth too, but what really stole the show were our “author-ego” cutouts (pictured).  All three days of the show people lined up at our booth to have their photos taken behind their favorite author’s body and we’d display them on our wall.  They’d also be entered for a chance to win a new Mini 5303 laptop, courtesy of our partners at HP.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase:  “My friend Blahbity Blah, told me I had to come see the Lulu booth. You’ve gotta take my picture!” And we were happy to oblige.

For those on the go, we also had
mobile author-ego cards (pictured) that folks could use with their camera phones to encourage their friends to publish (or just make them look ridiculous). At Lulu, anyone is empowered to publish and sell their work to customers all over the world and our author-ego cards and cutouts really drove that point home – that and the fact that people love to get their photo taken.

We easily talked to about 2,000 attendees, but with the way boxes of author-ego cards, Lulu hats and tote-bags were flying off our tables, we definitely reached all 30,000+ attendees.  Lulu CEO and Founder, Bob Young, also presented to convention attendees Monday, May 23rd on the future of publishing and the impact of eBooks and e-readers.

While eBooks were a hot topic among the BEA crowd this year, we were surprisingly asked about print-on-demand books even more.  This boils down to what the new generation of authors and content owners really seems to want:  options.  And with Lulu’s open-publishing model we’re providing the freedom to creators that tons of options bring.  At Lulu, you’re free to publish and sell books immediately, electronically or in print. You pick the price.  You pick the market.  You pick the medium.  You are the new face of publishing and you are in control.


 

Everybody Needs an Editor

Happy Editing Month, everyone. Didn’t know May was Editing Month? Well it is, because Lulu says it is! And we all have our virtual red pens poised and ready to edit some great books!

“I was an English major, so I don’t need editing.” “My professor already edited it.” “My mother was a teacher for 27 years; she can proofread it.”

We here at Lulu have heard every rationalization authors have for not investing in professional copy editing. It’s completely understandable—editing can be costly, especially if you have a very long manuscript. And for some, it may seem preposterous to pay someone else to do what your professor or a relative has already done.

So why should you consider a professional copy edit?

First, remember that, while it is great that you have friends or family that will closely read your book (trust me, not everyone is that lucky!), more than likely, these people are not editors by trade. A teacher is not an editor. An English major, while he or she may have a better grasp on the English language than most, probably isn’t up-to-date on the changing style rules. (The Chicago Manual of Style is on its 16th edition—which edition is that dusty copy of yours?) Not to mention, your friend knows how hard you’ve worked on your book and may be afraid to tell you that your dialogue is dry and unrealistic, or that Chapters 9 through 14 go off on a tangent they didn’t understand. An editor doesn’t know you from Adam, and isn’t concerned with hurting your feelings—they want your book to be as good as it possibly can be.

Second, a proofread is not a copy edit. What your friends are probably doing for you is checking for typos and grammar mistakes. While these are, of course, very important, they only scratch the surface of what a true editor looks at in a manuscript. A professional editor is also looking at syntax, word choice, organization, plot and character development, text flow, inconsistencies in tense, among other issues.

Third, consider the value that a copy edit will add to your book. You wouldn’t go out the door without looking in the mirror to make sure your shirt is buttoned correctly, right? Now imagine if you had a stylist from Vogue stopping you at the door each morning to tell you if your shoes are inappropriate for the interview/wedding/wrestling match you’re headed to. That’s what editing does for your book. It adds credibility—you obviously think so much of your book, and of the information you are relaying, that you won’t settle with only one pair of eyes going over it. Yes, the cost of editing might be higher than what you’d planned to spend on the whole pre-publishing process, but it’s really an investment in your book’s future.  You’ve worked on this book for months, or maybe years—you certainly don’t want your reviews to start, “Great message overall, but couldn’t get past the glaring typos and strange sentence structure.”

How can Lulu help with editing?

An Editorial Quality Review is a great place to start. This service is included in our three main Pre-Publishing Packages, and is also available on its own. This review not only provides helpful feedback that you might use in your own revisions, but also recommends one of our three levels of copy editing. And to celebrate Editing Month, we are offering the Editorial Quality Review itself, normally $199, for $149, plus 15% off the price of whichever copy edit we suggest. And if you decide to take that polished manuscript all the way to the finish line with one our publishing packages, we’ll reduce the cost of the Review from the package price. To get started, just click “Add to Cart” here.  This promotion, along with Editing Month festivities, will end on June 1, 2011.