Articles tagged "read"

Author Success Story: “Age of the Indie Author”

Author Greg Prato is a rockstar of journalism, having written articles and reviews for such publications as All Music Guide, Classic Rock Magazine, and Rolling Stone. When the time came for Prato to take his passion for music and writing beyond one-off articles and into the pages of a book, he thought he’d be a shoe-in. Turns out, even as an accomplished journalist, Prato had just as much trouble publishing traditionally as the next guy.

“In my experience, traditional publishers only listen to people with agents,” Prato says. “I’ve been writing for over 13 years, and Lulu was the only company to offer me any options.”

Author Greg Prato

Prato is a shining example of how Lulu empowers authors to profit from their unique knowledge and ideas. His first work, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other, published through Lulu in 2008, is one of the only books available that chronicles the tragic death of Shannon Hoon – frontman for popular 90’s band Blind Melon. The book acts as an oral history of Hoon’s life,  collecting original interviews from over 100 people close to the band.


“I wanted to make my book different” says Prato. “I tried to get more than just one perspective in there because conflict and criticism are key to making an interesting story.”

Prato brought his work to Lulu after being rejected time and time again by traditional publishers and agents, despite his ties to writing. He hired a publicist and was able to build a following by marketing his work and doing a circuit of radio interviews. A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other has gone on to sell thousands of copies.

“This is the age of the indie author” Prato says. “Lulu makes it easy for those with the urge to create because there is no approval process and no worries. Lulu gives the power back to the author and the author gets to make a good chunk of the cash, the way it should be.”

Prato certainly has the urge to create too, having completed six books with three more on the way. In his book, No Schlock…Just Rock!, Prato compiles five years worth of his magazine articles, including the three that ultimately pushed him to writing books. Each work revolves around his expertise on the music industry and offers an in-depth look into bands like Kiss and Deep Purple, and the rise of MTV.

“All my books are things I wanted to read about, but that didn’t exist yet.” says Prato. “It just goes to show you that you have to stick to your guns. If I’d listened to other people, I’d never written a single book.”

Check out Prato’s storefront and all of his remarkable works on Lulu and be on the look out for his upcoming releases.

What’s in a Name?: Picking Your Book’s Title

Now that you have poured your heart and soul onto every page of your Lulu book, here comes the real dilemma…what about the title? Yes, the title. It’s hard to imagine that those couple of words will be the first to introduce a potential reader to your book and will help them decide whether to pick it up or pass it by. In an effort to provide some aid to this rather daunting task, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Take the Short Road

Take a look at The New York Times Best Seller List and you will notice that, most often than not, today’s most popular titles are 3 words or less. If that isn’t enough to convince you, think of some of the books that you have read in the past. Here are a few of mine – The Help, The Scarlet Letter, What Remains, Pride and Prejudice, etc. Do you see a pattern? If you’re afraid that a couple of words or a short phrase won’t sum up your book, consider using a subtitle to provide further explanation.

Be Original

Since titles aren’t copyrighted, there could be a chance that the title you choose may already be spoken for. In the case that your title (or one very similar) is in use, it may be best to reevaluate what you have chosen to avoid confusion. Not sure if your book title has a twin? Try checking out an online book database or catalog like Project Gutenberg.

Share Your Ideas

Once you have had the chance to brainstorm a few title possibilities, bounce them off of your friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to provide several ideas and poll them for which ones they better. Like your potential readers, they won’t know much about your book and can only judge it based on the title.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #2

Get Your Book Into Influential Hands

We recently asked 1,000 of our bestselling authors to share their secrets to success. While the responses covered everything from taking out radio spots, to promoting at family reunions, there was one universal theme to marketing a book: Build relationships with influential people in your market.

A great way to get your new relationship off on the right foot is to send out complimentary copies of your book.  Target anyone you could think of that might be able to help create a buzz around your book.

  • School administrators
  • Local newspapers & radio stations
  • Community & church leaders
  • Scouting organizations
  • Bloggers

Be sure to include something personal, like a hand written thank you note, or a short memo describing how and why you wrote your book – anything you think will help you connect more strongly with your new audience.

Before you know it, more recommendations for your work will come from good old word of mouth. Happy publishing.

How To Get Your Book Into Libraries

A question that keeps popping up around the Lulu community is “How do I get my book(s) into a library?” Libraries can provide a great way to reach new readers that, otherwise, may not find out about your books. There are a lot of perks to getting your work into the library system. You don’t really have to worry about maintaining inventory or making a huge sales pitch because libraries are in it to share knowledge and help educate people. Many libraries even highlight local authors or will host regular book events like fundraisers that accept donated books. That doesn’t mean that some of the same marketing rules don’t apply when approaching a library however. And there are a lot of misconceptions about the best ways to go about getting a library’s attention.

Quality – Give Them Something to Work With:

A quickly diminishing stereotype of self-published books is that they are of poor quality. Lulu works to erase all of the preconceptions about self-published titles and helps authors create quality products that can sit on a shelf next to any best-seller. As long as an author takes his or her time to create a professional book that is formatted and edited well, then there is no reason a Lulu book can’t make it into a library.

It is important to note that some libraries do prefer certain bindings and can be reluctant to stock others like comb bound and saddle stitched (stapled) books. If you’re thinking about pursuing library distribution, it might be a good idea to call ahead to see what their requirements for submittal are.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Get the Word Out

Email your friends and colleagues:

Email is a great way to get the word out on your book, and who better to support you than those you already know. Explain why you wrote the book and what it is about. Be sure to include a link to your book on Lulu so they can click through and make a purchase. You can use your personal email provider or use the handy email button included on every Lulu product page.


Lastly, ask the people on your list to forward the email on to their friends and colleagues. Think of it this way – if you send an email to 100 friends, family and colleagues, and half of them send it on to another 10 people, you will reach 600 people – quick and cheap. Just take care to be respectful and don’t spam people with your book with too many emails. That can be a pretty quick turn off.

Contact your local newspaper:

Local journalists are always looking for new and interesting things to report on, so help them out by approaching them with your story. Onlinenewspapers.com serves as a directory for newspapers worldwide. Just select your state or country to find local newspapers in your area. Here are some tips on how to increases the odds of being featured:

  • Research the newspaper’s staff and identify the editor who would be most interested in the subject matter of your book based on their field of coverage (don’t send your book on murder mysteries to the international affairs journalist).
  • Have an angle: Pick one or two ideas that could be the lead-in for the story and why you think readers will find this interesting.
  • Have family, friends or coworkers read your pitch and make tweaks based on their questions and feedback.
  • Email the editor and follow up with a phone call.

Outreach like this can go a long way in gaining important exposure for your book. So, don’t be shy – get the word out!

Focus: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is a very exciting month for many reasons – pumpkins, costumes, football games, etc. But it’s also an important month for one very special reason. I’ll give you a hint…think PINK!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, about 207,090 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States this year. That’s a scary statistic, but the good news is that there so many foundations, blogs, and, of course, books out there dedicated to keeping people informed and to providing support to those experiencing the disease, firsthand.

On Lulu, we are lucky enough to have some great titles right at our fingertips! Whether you have been personally touched by breast cancer or are just looking for a way to contribute to the cause, here are a couple of books that may be just what you’re looking for.

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Becoming Whole
by Meg Wolff

Written by cancer survivor, Meg Wolff, this book tells the story of her complete recovery from breast cancer after being told that a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy couldn’t stop her disease. Instead of giving up, Wolff took a different approach by changing her diet and is now a living testament that changing your diet can save your life.

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Mommy Found a Lump
by Nathalie G. Johnson, M.D.

This children’s book, complete with colored illustrations, was designed as a guide to assist parents in helping their children understand what a family experiences when a parent goes through the treatment of breast cancer.  A portion of all sales will be donated to cancer research.

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Eat for the Cure
by Maria Fernandez

This cookbook is a compilation of recipes contributed by women all over the country, dedicated to the discovery of a cure for breast cancer. With recipes ranging from Baked Apple French Toast to Jalapeño Havarti Cheese Grits, your taste buds will thank you! All profits made from sales will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

Focus: Books That’ll Make You Grin

Working at Lulu can introduce a person to tons of new books and authors, as you’d probably imagine.  Since I have been here, I have hoarded some of my favorites from the rest of the office at my desk.  They are the ones that have caught my eye walking by as they peek out from our bookshelves. Some are about music, some about food, but mostly, ones that make me laugh.  Below are just a few recommendations for anyone looking for a grin.

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Never Iron When Your Are Naked
by Trevor Perry

Advice your mother should have given you, but never did. Trevor Perry has a gift for taking the complicated things in life and turning them into good advice.  While ironing naked may be dangerous, Perry also reminds us to live with passion, to laugh often, and to constantly stand in awe of life itself.

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The Things Your Don’t Know You Don’t Know
by Harland Williams

Get ready to laugh yourself silly, scratch your head in wonder, and perhaps even cry as you delve into the hilarious and often bizarre mind of renowned actor/comedian Harland Williams.  Here, Williams shares his ridiculous and sometimes poignant observations on…well…everything. Some are things you may have overlooked, others you just not have cared to notice.  But with Williams unique spin on life and the things we interact with, you’ll start second guessing how you take things in.

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The Torture Device Coloring Book
by Erik Ruhling

You might feel slightly guilty as you snicker at this coloring book clearly not intended for children.  This coloring book’s irreverent humor is reminiscent of artwork by one of my favorite artists Brandon Bird. In Ruhling’s book, colorers can explore all sorts of historical torture devices, each with an accompanying rhyme. Stay within the lines or you will be punished.