Articles tagged "self-publish"

A Busy Queen Bee’s Journey to Self-Publishing Success

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Author: Claire Boscq-Scott

On completing catering school I pursued a career in the hospitality industry, which required me to leave my beautiful France. I traveled quite a lot, working in both England and America. Sixteen years ago, I returned to the Channel Islands and settled in Jersey.

During my travels, I encountered and worked with incredible people. I learned so much and had so many ideas and stories I wanted to tell. Then I thought if I was to write a book, not only could I easily reference the information myself, but I could also share what I had learned with others.

Three people encouraged me to start the book: My business coach, who basically kicked me in the backside and said let go of your fear of failure, your fear of writing and get on with it. Second was my business consultant who told me if he could publish a book on Lulu.com, so could I. And lastly a friend who taught me some “techie” tips and tricks.

As I finished up the writing, I began working with a marketing agency to help with the book title, the cover illustrations and the synopsis. Since I wanted to sell the book, I knew all of this had to be done professionally. We looked at things such as catchy titles and bright covers that could be seen in the middle of 100’s of other books. Being French and writing in English, professional editing of the book was also a must. I was very lucky to have the support of an editor who had the task to read and edit 418 pages.

I also thought it would be a great idea to try to get celebrity endorsements. Again, I was very lucky to get recommendations from two customer service experts. Once this was done and pricing structures for the print and eBooks had been worked out, it was time to upload the final version of the manuscript. Then I pressed the publish button… it was a scary and thrilling experience. Incredibly, two days later, the books were delivered and I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present. Wow, the book was so big and so bright. It was such an amazing feeling to hold my very own book.

But the journey didn’t stop there, I visited local retailers and managed to get Thrive with the Hive on WHSmith’s and Waterstones’ shelves. The Chamber of Commerce and a local coffee shop also agreed to sell copies. You can now also find it at the Jersey Library. I have found that marketing is an on going effort that has be constantly managed with press releases, social media, radio and newspaper interviews.

The book has now been sold in 13 different countries and I am about to sign an agreement for Thrive with the Hive to be translated and published in Korea. All of this is just amazing!!

Now I see that my publishing journey is only just starting. My book is now my big business card and has inspired me to create a new online course: “Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.” I am also developing a speaking program to help businesses thrive by delivering buzz worthy customer service.

So, I tell you what, if I can do it, so can you… what are you waiting for??


Thrive with the Hive bookcover

About the Author

Originally from France, Claire Boscq-Scott has lived in Jersey, Channel Islands, since 2000. Capitalizing on her experience gained in the hospitality industry, she founded, The Busy Queen Bee in 2009. To learn more, visit her site at: www.thebusyqueenbee.com.

Thrive with the Hive is her very own view for delivering customer excellence. Her book focuses on 10 “buzzes” to deliver consistently exceptional customer service resulting in an unforgettable experience for every customer who walks through your doors.

Survey Says…. What Matters Most

We asked 4000 of our top selling authors about their marketing plans and what they think mattered most to their success. Here’s what they had to say:

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Key Takeaways

Positioning your book and understanding your audience are key to success. Offering an attractive printed book as well as an eBook version online to generate word of mouth interest and validation via customer reviews should be your goal.

What Should You Do?

  • Prepare your book in eBook and print formats
  • Get a professionally designed cover for each format of your book
  • Focus on building reader reviews and incorporate them into your book cover, book description and website.

Additional Resources

eBook or “Real” Book: Which Should You Publish First?

Lulu Tip

If you ever need professional publishing services in a hurry, browse a list of our offerings here: http://lulu.com/services.

Inside Lulu: What the Interns Did This Summer

Intern Susan

2016 Summer Intern: Susan Z.

Summer Intern: Susan Z.

As an international student, I enjoy learning about different cultures and Lulu has employees from all over the world who support international markets. In the Lulu office you hear different languages spoken everyday. I also appreciate the company culture. One of the things I noticed on my first day at Lulu was the relaxing work atmosphere. Employees always have a smile on their face. I can tell they enjoy working here. They are like friends and family. Not to mention that at Lulu you will never get hungry because the kitchen is always full of “Lulu” snacks including my favorite granola bar, fresh fruits, and all the homemade treats people bring to share. At Lulu, it’s all about sharing.

During my internship I also learned how to step out of my comfort zone. What makes you a little uncomfortable at first is often an opportunity to learn a new skill. For example, I was a bit nervous when I learned I was to work on a project using WordPress. During the process, not only did I learn how to use the software, but also learned about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). I was surprised to find that coding and CSS are things that interest me. As a Fashion and Textiles major , I never thought this would be an area in which I would have an interest, but with my supervisor’s encouragement, I am now taking online coding classes.

Although this internship has come to the end, I cannot thank Lulu enough for having brought me on board. It was great to be a part of the Lulu team. During my time here, I got to see how a company operates and learned how to handle multiple projects, work across several departments and manage my time effectively. I also got to participate in department meetings, workshops, team training and community volunteering.

I believe my experience at Lulu will be beneficial to my future career path. And, now I actually know the difference between an ISBN and an ISNI .

Intern Chris

2016 Summer Intern: Chris A.

2016 Summer Intern: Chris A.

When I interviewed with Lulu for an intern position, I was admittedly nervous. The main purpose of the internship was to assist Lulu in obtaining B Corp Certification. I was a supply chain major with an interest in sustainability, but not much experience with B Corp or sustainable business practices. I was a bit worried about how much would be expected of me and whether I was capable of meeting those lofty expectations.

Little did I know that there was absolutely no reason to be worried. Lulu is an awesome company. I was given my own desk and treated with the utmost respect the entire time I was here. I was not simply a lowly intern doing busy work that nobody else wanted to do. I was able to work on important projects that would have a notable effect on the business going forward. At one point, I pitched my project proposals to the Vice President and the CEO. It was truly an invaluable experience and one that I certainly would not have gotten at many other companies.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Lulu, which was very apparent even during my interview, is how great the people are. The company culture is almost unrivaled. It is a friendly and comfortable work environment filled with great people and a common goal; make the world a better place. I am truly, truly thankful for the opportunity to have worked at Lulu and I cannot thank everyone at Lulu enough for everything they have done for me.

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Chris (back left) and Susan (front right) volunteering at the Alliance Medical Ministry community garden.

 

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Susan (left) and Chris (right) on their volunteer day.

Going Up: Crafting an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

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Many bestselling authors pick their topic or approach to a topic specifically because they know it will be of interest to their audience. The pairing of those two strategies – targeting an audience and delivering a unique message – is what sells books. As one author in our survey said, “We wrote the book for a specific market giving them information we knew they needed.”

In the marketing world, this is called positioning – understanding your audience and explaining why your book is uniquely suited to their interests. You might also think of it as “finding your niche.” Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll have a clear, easily articulated understanding of what your book is about, who it’s for, and how it fits into the existing body of published books within your domain.

elevator PitchHere’s an exercise for you. Entrepreneurs are often challenged to come up with an elevator pitch for their business. An elevator pitch is a short, interesting way to explain what value your product offers to the world in the time you’d have in an elevator with someone. It must be concise and informative and inspire the person you’re speaking with to take action to learn more.

To show how powerful a good elevator pitch can be, let’s play a game. Below are four elevator pitches for best-selling books, presented as though they were new books on the market.

Western meets suspense meets a Tarantino-esque hit man. A cowboy stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad, takes the money, only to find that he’s being hunted by a relentless killer.

~~~

Hearts will race for the tween girl who would risk her soul for the everlasting love of the vampire version of James Dean.

~ ~ ~

If you love puzzles, religious symbolism and a great crime mystery, you’ll hang on every action-packed moment as our hero decodes his way across Europe to uncover an ancient secret, zealously guarded by a clandestine society that will stop at nothing to protect it.

~ ~ ~

What if dinosaurs could be cloned? For the child in all of us that still marvels at T. Rex in the natural history museum, this novel set in the modern age tells the story of an adventure theme park whose proprietors have brought dinosaurs back from extinction.

See how just a few sentences can create interest in a book for the reader? That is the power of positioning. That is the power of knowing your book, your audience and how to bring them together.

Think you know the books pitched above?  Click here for the answers.

What Should You Do?

Develop and practice a concise pitch for your book that entices readers to learn more. Always have a few business cards on hand with your contact and website information. Practice your pitch on members of your target audience. Edit the pitch based on their reactions.

Key Takeaway

Remember, you are the best salesperson for your book. Be prepared.

Additional Resources

Know Your Audience

Find Your Audience

Develop a Distribution Strategy

Market Your Book: Developing a Distribution Strategy

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In the book business, determining where your target audience shops and how to get your books into those places is called developing a distribution strategy.

While every author wants to walk into their local bookstore and see their books prominently displayed on the selves, there is much more to consider when developing your distribution strategy. Some authors leverage their professional connections to make sales – i.e. book as business card. Others teach classes and sell their books to students and/or attendees. Still others sell their books through their churches or they partner with websites.

There are innumerable ways to distribute your book and it takes some trial and error to find the right distribution channels. Since every book is different, we wanted to see if there was a pattern as to where authors sold their books.

We asked 4000 of Lulu’s best selling authors where they sold their books. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Marketing Series 3 Where to sell your books

Distribution channels for authors, both traditionally published and self-published, are changing. With the closing of large brick-and-mortar booksellers, all publishers are reevaluating their distribution strategy. In August 2013, Bowker released a study citing a 5% increase in online book sales in the U.S., up to 44% of total book sales compared to 39% in 2011.

What does this mean for you? As an author, you must focus on your audience and develop the best distribution strategy for them. If you are communicating with your audience through your existing channels or through online networks and communities, Lulu.com’s marketplace can be a strong component of your distribution strategy. If you need to target a broader audience that seeks content all over the Internet and online stores, you may want to expand to additional retail distribution channels.

Getting Your Book Noticed

E-book Formatting Fairies did a survey of readers in August 2013 that revealed fantastic insights into how readers perceive books and authors. We’ve compiled a few highlights of their findings below:

  • 95% of respondents were more likely to buy a self-published book from an author who is known to them.
  • When asked where readers get information about new books, Facebook came in first place.

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  • When readers were asked where they get information about their favorite authors, Facebook and author websites were virtually tied.  These findings reinforce the need for author’s to create and maintain author platforms that incorporate both social media and author websites.

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What Should You Do?

Ask your readers or people in your target market how they discover new books and where they shop for them. The answers to those two questions are the key elements in developing your distribution strategy.

Key Takeaway

Create an online presence from which potential readers can learn more about you and your book.

Additional Resources

Know Your Audience

Find Your Audience

Build Your Online Marketing Presence

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation

Get 90 Days Free Access to the Author Learning Center

Author Learning CenterThe Author Learning Center (ALC) is a one-of-kind online author education community designed to help educate, motivate, and support you as you work to become a published author. The center offers educational information about writing, publishing, and marketing from a variety of industry experts, agents, best-selling authors, publicists, and editors.

 

How can the ALC help you?

By combining industry-leading education, exclusive tools, and a supportive community, the ALC provides a one-of-a-kind resource to help you get to your goal of becoming a published author.

By taking advantage of all the ALC has to offer, you can become:

  • better educated on the publishing industry,
  • more equipped to finish your manuscript, and
  • empowered to makes smart choices for your book marketing.

 

90 Days Free

Lulu authors get a free 90 day subscription with access to:

  • Ask The Expert Video Interviews
  • Podcasts on writing, publishing and marketing
  • Live online webinars with industry experts
  • Articles and recorded webinars
  • Exclusive tools to help you get to your goal

ALC Stan Lee

The Author Learning Center also provides a unique set of tools to help you quickly move through your writing and publishing process with confidence:

  • The Book Launch Tool, which helps you identify the tasks you need to complete your book and helps you track your progress
  • The Author Circle, which enables you to invite up to seven people into your private online writers group to provide feedback and encouragement throughout your publishing journey.

Learn from bestselling authors

Among the wide range of interviews on the ALC are a number of best-selling authors share their wisdom and experience. Here are just a few of the names you recogonize.

  • Elmore Leonard, Best-selling writer
  • Victor Villasenor, Best-selling author, Pulitzer winning writer, Rain of Gold
  • Stan Lee, Former head of Marvel Comics
  • Mitch Albom, author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international best-seller Tuesdays with Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time
  • Seth Godin, author of 18 international best-sellers, including Tribes: We Need Your to Lead Us

 

90 Day No-Risk Free Trial!

ALC CommunityYou can access the ALC for 90 days for free.  If  after three months you want to continue your subscription, it is only $9.99 a month. You can cancel at any time.

Join now to be a part of the best online author community available and let us help you get to your goal of becoming a published author!

To claim your FREE 90-day trial, go to the Author Learning Center, click the button to claim your 90 Day Free Trial and enter the promo code lue during registration.

* Your credit card number is required to register with the Author Learning Center. It will only be charged if you do not cancel your Author Learning Center account before the free 90-day subscription expires.

eBook Distribution: Understanding Your NCX or eBook Table of Contents

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Distribution Henry

As I perused  the Lulu mailbag this morning I was struck by the number of queries regarding NCX errors in eBook submissions. Some excerpts:

My eBook was recently rejected from retail distribution due to an NCX error. What does that mean? What do I do?

I Googled NCX and was directed to articles on sodium-calcium exchangers? Do I have to know chemistry to make an eBook?

Great questions that unfortunately come as no surprise. NCX errors are among the top three reasons independent eBook authors are rejected from retail distribution. Setting up a fully functional NCX requires some working knowledge of heading styles in MS Word—a feature that a lot of otherwise savvy writers ignore. But never fear, it’s not difficult. And once you’ve applied the proper styles to your document, Lulu’s Epub Converter will convert them into a fully functional NCX for you.

It’s exactly this simple:

  1. Apply Heading 1 style to the Title and to each line containing a Section name (copyright, prologue, etc.) or section (Part 1, Section II, etc.). Heading 1 style will always appear at the top of the next page.
  2. Apply Heading 2 style to each line containing a Chapter name or number
  3. Apply Heading 3 style to each line containing a sub chapter or subsection.
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Create an eBook from your MS Word document.

 

Still confused? Click here to dip into Lulu’s Knowledge Base and learn more about formatting these headings.

One more thing. I foresee tomorrow’s mailbag asking:

But why?

Do I really need an NCX?

What purpose does it serve?

 

 

So. In a nutshell:

NCX is short for Navigation Control file for XML. (XML is a set of rules for formatting that both humans and computers can read.) It’s that first word in NCX—Navigation—that reveals its purpose. Like a table of contents in a printed book, an NCX helps your readers navigate your work.

But unlike a traditional table of contents, an NCX can’t simply list page numbers. The text in your eBook is scalable (meaning, the size can be changed), and just tilting an iPad 90 degrees can completely change the layout of eBook pages and how many words fit on them. So the number of pages in your eBook is variable from one reader—and even one moment—to the next. A table of contents built on static page numbers is useless, even a little misleading. Navigation has to be connected to something other than page numbers.

Enter the NCX. It contains links to your chapters, sections, and subsections. It lets readers jump from place to place in your eBook without thumbing or scrolling endlessly. You want your readers to have a good experience. So do we, and so do our retail distribution partners. It’s why we collectively urge you to have a fully functional, fully-enjoyable eBook.

Need help with something else? No worries — here’s a link to our insanely thorough Knowledge Base.

Go forth and learn, then publish.

The Dead Are Rising

About the Author

Distribution Henry is a member of the Lulu eBook Quality Review team.

He is also a Lulu author.

You can view his work here: It’s Going to Be Okay. I Promise.