Articles tagged "research"

Libraries and Self-Publishing

7 min read

publishing, library, authors, readers

Libraries. A time honored monument to our desire to preserve our past and share our stories. Since people first began setting down their stories on paper, the idea of a library as both a physical place and an institution has been central to how we organize society. The details change over time, but the purpose remains the same: store and make available to the public the knowledge and stories of the past and present.

Some years ago, as the Internet worked its way into our daily lives, there was an undercurrent of fear that the usefulness of libraries might have begun to wane. The information they stored in vast stacks of books could be digitized and presented in the palm of your hand. The questions that could absorb hours of scouring books were answered in moments with a Google search.

Thankfully we know that the Internet won’t directly be replacing libraries any time soon. What the Internet revolution taught us about libraries is that the institution still serves many vital purposes in their communities. From a place to go for a new novel, to a central locale for research, libraries evolved into a hub for information, web access, and a dedicated ‘maker-space’ for do-it-yourself minded people.

Sounds like a place perfect for self-publishing, doesn’t it?

Yet self-publishing and libraries have been slow to connect in many of the ways you would expect. Happily, we can observe that trend changing, as more libraries around the world are finding ways to incorporate self-publishing. The movement to promote community involvement and foster a creative world is one shared by both libraries and self-publishers; this connection alone is reason enough to recognize the need for libraries to embrace self-publishing.

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Keywords: Get your Self-Published Book noticed

2 min read

Marketing your book is tricky business. Here at Lulu, we appreciate that many of our authors are not marketing experts, but still would like to amplify their sales. The Internet makes it easy to list your book and for readers to perform searches among the many books out there. The trick for authors is to make their book stand out from all the noise, to distinguish itself so that readers can find your book when they search.

How do potential readers find content?

Almost all content online is found through searches. Authors must align their book with the common search terms a reader might use. To do this, you’ll need to use ‘Keywords.’

Keywords are search terms users will type into a search engine (like Google) to find something. A reader might want a book about healthy eating for women over forty, so they would search something like:

“books, healthy diet, women over forty”

The resulting search will be thousands of books that have utilized these keywords.

Now you’ll have to decide which keywords to use for your book. This can be a challenge, but we can recommend a three part strategy to help narrow down the keyword options. First, sit down and write out as many words as you can think of associated with your book. At this stage, anything that comes to mind if fine.

With this list completed, the second step will be going on some retail sites and book review sites (like Goodreads) and search reviews for books similar to yours. Look at the words readers are using to describe these books and make a list.

In the third step, ask your beta readers (or if your book is already published, any reader) for their list of words they would use to describe your book, and/or any terms they might have searched if they were in the market for a book similar to yours.

Any words that fall on all of these lists will of course be good to use. Create a refined list with all the words that span the three lists, as well as any other words you think might be highly valued for your readers. This last part will take a bit of guess work and intuition on your part. It’s not an exact science, but aim for quantity over quality.

With your keyword list in hand, what you’ll want to do is integrate the keywords into your blurb/synopsis. Readers will perform searches, and because your keywords were thoughtfully chosen and added to you book description, they’ll find your listing coming up in the search results, ultimately leading to a sale. Apart from using the right keywords to draw in readers, you’ll also need to craft a compelling blurb. Weave in the keywords as they make sense, and if need be write new material to incorporate keywords you deem too valuable to exclude. Check out this post for some advice on synopsis writing for self-published authors – Writing your blurb/synopsis

Conscientious and careful application of keywords can do wonders to boost the discoverability of your book. Help your readers, grow your sales, and enjoy the success a little bit of market research and keyword application can bring!

 

Fact-Checking Your Book

2 min read

With the precipitous fall of the New Yorker‘s Jonah Lehrer, whose books and articles were riddled with inaccuracies, it’s clear that a quick way to ruin your career as a writer is to pass off fiction as fact. But as you put together a book based on reporting, the line between fact and fiction can blur. 

It’s difficult to get all the facts right. Journalists write a piece then get fact-checkers to make sure they’re correct, or amend the facts. But for the writer who uses an open-publishing platform, the risks are magnified. You have to fact-check your own piece, and if you end up letting a few fabrications through the cracks, your entire career can be ruined.

In that spirit, here are some “Best Practices” for fact-checking your own writing:

1. Always get two sources. If you can find a fact or statistic once, you can probably find a different outlet to back up the same fact. It might seem like overkill, but even the most trusted sources get it wrong sometimes.

2. Wikipedia is a good resource! It might seem counter-intuitive to trust Wikipedia with facts, but the online encyclopedia has an insanely devoted group of volunteer editors who make sure that every fact is correctly sourced. Even better, they include links to the original sources on the bottom of every page, allowing you to find a more trusted source. It’s best to think of Wikipedia as a helpful tool, and not a definitive source.

3. Make the call. If you need answers about facts from specific individuals or organizations, call them. The Internet might be the repository of all things important, but at the end of the day, just calling someone can get you a lot further than endlessly scanning Google results.

4. Have a friend highlight. The best way to differentiate between something that should or shouldn’t be fact-checked is by having a friend or editor highlight all the facts in your piece. Often, when you’re close to a subject, you can’t tell the difference between what you know or what you think you know. A skeptical friend can be a writer’s best friend.

Starting with these four practices can help your writing become more accurate and also help you avoid the terrible fate of a writer who fabricates. Do you have any of your own best practices to add to the list?

The Upward eBook Trend

2 min read

According to a recent MediaBistro article, “net sales revenue from eBooks have surpassed hardcover books in the first quarter of 2012.” The data comes from the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report. I think that this was always expected, but it’s still indicative of a paradigm shift in book sales: It is now more popular to download a book than to pick up a hardcover copy at your local bookstore or order one shipped to your door.

While trade paperbacks still lead the industry in sales, it does seem inevitable that at some point, eBooks will make up the vast majority of book sales while physical books will fill a niche role. One of the main drivers of this surge in eBooks is the fact that people with e-readers just read more books. A Pew study, released in April of this year, found that “the average reader of eBooks says she has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-eBook consumer.”

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Be Bigger Than Your Book: Author Spotlight with Jeff Taylor

2 min read

Author Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor is a marketing genius with a heart of gold.

Having worked as a channel marketer for several top-tier companies such as Nortel and iContact over the years – Taylor started noticing a lot of common trends across all industries.

“Customers today want more than a product,” says Taylor.  “They need an experience or a  personal tie to a product and companies need to bigger than what they’re selling to build meaningful, lasting customer relationships.”

Taylor highlights exactly what he means in his new book Bigger than the Widget, available on Lulu.com.  And he has even taken his own advice in marketing his work by attaching it to a recognized brand and a good cause:  The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  All proceeds from Taylor’s book will be donated to the organization.

“If you want to have any success, if you truly want your product or service to be bigger and do bigger things, you have to be aware of the present trends and work to create an emotional connection with your customers,” says Taylor. “My family has been touched by cancer and the V Foundation was the most logical choice to associate with my book.”

Available Now on Lulu.com

When coming up with the idea of his book, Taylor was surprised by how many people tried to tell him it wouldn’t work.  But Jeff knew what his true motivation was:  this book was for his grandfather and he couldn’t be stopped.  He even considered going the traditional route first but couldn’t ignore the speed and customization self-publishing offers authors.

“The world of publishing is changing very quickly,” says Taylor.  “Companies like Lulu are so clearly the gatekeepers of the this new era of publishing.  I was honestly shocked at how easy it was to get to the right people and get my work done – even when it came to approaching organizations for sponsorships.  People are willing to help, you just have to know how to position yourself and be committed to your ideas. Then, you can accomplish anything.”

For more great marketing tips from a true professional, be sure to pick up a copy Bigger than the Widget by Jeff Taylor on Lulu.com and help support important cancer research today.


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