Articles tagged "self-publish"

How to Make an eBook Anyone Can Read with ePub

Blog Update: Before you read, check out our handy new eBook landing page for the latest tips to help you publish your eBook today.



In a recent post I talked about how all of you would-be eBook authors should know your file formats, or at least be somewhat familiar with the most commonly used ones.  As an author, you want to make your work as accessible as possible, which means making your content able to be read on as many devices as you can.  Since it is Read an eBook Week, and Lulu is giving away three Apple iPads, I thought it might be useful to provide a how-to tutorial for the most universal eBook format: ePub.

Many new authors might make the mistake of thinking that if they have a portable document format (PDF) of their book it means that it can be read on an e-reader or other mobile device.  While in many cases the PDF can be opened, the text is far too small because it is a static or unchangeable image.  ePub makes it so your text is resized to fit the screen of any given device.  Since the text in ePub format can be changed in terms of size, font and color, reading an ePub book becomes a much more personal experience for the reader.  Sounds great right?  But how do you make an ePub book?

You really have three options:  let Lulu do the work for you with our conversion services, use a conversion program like (Adobe InDesign, eCub, Calibre, Google ePub Toolkit, etc.), or you can do-it-yourself.  If you decide to do-it-yourself, I’ve added some great directions I found over at jedisaber.com.


What You’ll Need:

* A text editor (like Text Edit or Notepad) that can edit text files, HTML, and XML.
* A program that can create .zip files (which should be built into OS X or Windows).

Lulu Short Story Contest Tips

Wow.

In the 10 days since we launched the Lulu Short Story Contest, we’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of submissions, authors are helping each other out more than ever on our social networks, and authors are finding just how easy it is to publish an eBook of their very own.

Based on the whopping 150+ comments on the original contest announcement blog – we’ve noticed that a lot of you have some of the same questions about the contest, so here are some helpful tips to consider as you get closer to submitting your own story.

600 Word Max: We know it might be a challenge, but it is definitely possible to submit a short story that is 600 words or less.  Facebook fan Jason Johnson puts it best:  “I agree that 600 words is short, but I also think that’s the point.  What can you tell in 600 words that still makes it interesting to your readers.” Oh, and the 600 word count does not include the title and copyright material.

Use the Template: I love that people are looking for ways to spice up their entry – be it with pictures, a table of contents, etc.  But avoid straying from the template we’ve provided.  We’ve done most of the work for you formatting-wise and designed the template to pass through eBook validation as smoothly as possible so you can be sure your story can be distributed to places like the iBookstore.

Multiple Submissions: Yes please! You are certainly allowed to submit more than one short story, so keep em coming.  600 words not enough to contain all that remarkable creativity? Then write and submit as many new short stories as you want.  Several people have submitted more than one already.  We’ve even had one guy ask if he could send in 400 separate stories.  No matter how many you give us, submitting more than one will increase your chances at winning.

Submitting Your Story: Submitting your story is just a matter of visiting this link to Survey Monkey and filling in the 5 questions.  The most important part is providing us with a link to your work.  Once you finish publishing, you can click the “My Lulu” tab.  Here you’ll see a list of your projects, including your new eBook short story.  Click the “view/buy” button next to your work’s title.  Copy the web address of your story’s product page and paste it into question 4 on Survey Monkey.  This will help us track submissions and is how you get your 20% off coupon for participating.

Pricing: Once you get to the pricing step in the publishing wizard.  You will be able to set your price to anything you want – even free.  The default price is set at $1.24, which is the minimum for making revenue off your story.  If you’d like to give your eBook Short Story away, simply enter $0.00 as your price.

We’re excited to see so much activity going on with this contest and definitely plan to do more in the future.  There is still plenty of time left in the month though, so send us your short story today.  Good luck and thanks for playing.

Want even more short story writing tips?  Check out this handy article from Fiction Factor.

 

Make More Off Your eBook by Selling it for Free

In recent weeks, we’ve made some pretty big announcements about eBooks: an industry best 90/10 revenue split, distribution to Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, a handy new Word to EPUB Converter, and a new Manage Distribution page that lets you opt-in and opt-out of retail channels with the click of a button.

We’re on such a roll, why stop now?  The opportunities eBooks bring to reach new readers is so great, we just keep looking for ways to enhance our e-offerings even more.

Today, we’re happy to announce another eBook feature to give you more selling flexibility over your digital works:  Free pricing.  eBook authors can now distribute and sell their eBooks in the iBookstore with a price tag of $0.00.

Right about now I’m sure you’re asking: “How will being able to sell my eBooks for free get me more sales?”  Well, the answer is simple:  Everyone loves free.  Heck, we’ve built a business off the principle with our free publishing solutions.

So far we’ve seen authors use free pricing in a number of clever ways to better market their works:

  • Free eBook Previews: Letting your readers sample the first chapter or two of your eBook is a great way to get them hooked on your story and more likely to but the complete work.
  • Supplements to Your Print Version: This is a great way to keep your fans interested in your work, even after they’ve finished reading it.  A free supplement could include character bios, background details on how you started your story, etc.  Think of it almost like your own creator’s commentary for your book.
  • Word of mouth: In an article in the Guardian, best-selling author Cory Doctorow says nothing sells books better than word of mouth. “Personal recommendations…enabled by freely copyable eBooks act as a force-multiplier…by letting readers make informed guesses about who else will like it, and giving those readers a persuasive tool for closing the sale.” Most readers buy a book because someone recommended it to them.
  • Impulse buying: Doctorow goes on to say that “the Internet’s attention span is about five minutes, so unless the reader can do something affirmative to acquire the book within five minutes of being enticed by the eBook, there is a good chance they never will.”
  • Best-seller Lists: Remember, most e-readers count and display best-sellers on actual units sold, not how much money the author has made. According to the New York Times, currently more than half of the best-selling eBooks on some of the most popular e-readers are available at no charge.   Getting to the top of the best-seller list guarantees better visibility.

So there you have it, you’re now free to play around with your pricing however you want to better reach your readers.  To learn more, or to start your own eBook with just a few clicks of a button, visit our eBook publishing page.

 

Lulu Short Story Contest

The Lulu Short Story Contest is here and starts right now!

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a great time to put your nose to the grindstone and try to complete a 50,000 word novel in under 30 days.

But we got to thinking: over 200,000 authors participated in NaNoWriMo last year and only 30,000 actually made the deadline.  That leaves 170,000 dedicated and talented folks high and dry.  That’s a whole lot of creativity to waste.  So why not make things easier?  After all, creativity is about quality, not quantity.

Thus, the Lulu Short Story Contest was born…

Throughout the month of November – all the way to December 1st – anyone can participate in our Short Story Contest and take the pressure off the creative process.  Better yet, we want to help folks see their creativity available to the public as quickly as possible too, so we’re gonna help you create an eBook out of your short story that’ll go live in the iBookstore and on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK.

How to play:

  • Write a 600 word short story using our handy eBook template.  Download the template here.
  • Follow the list of things you don’t need to worry about available here.
  • Upload your work to Lulu.com and send it through the Lulu ePub Converter
  • Make sure to set your work to public availability and set to “sell on Lulu, the iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and more.”
  • Once published, submit a link to your eBook’s product page, along with your name and registered Lulu email address to SurveyMonkey to help us track submissions and claim your 20% off coupon.  Once submitted, you’ll receive a notice within Survey Monkey confirming your entry.
  • Feel free to promote your contest submission on our Facebook and Twitter (#nanowrimo) pages too

What about prizes?!?!

This is the best part.

First place:

  • $500 cash
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK
  • Feature in Lulu Staff Picks and Lulu Blog
  • Free mentions in upcoming Lulu publicity
  • Professional review of your work

Second place:

  • Barnes & Noble NOOK

Third place:

  • $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble

All participants:

  • 20% off coupon for next purchase on Lulu.com

Winners will be selected by a panel of Lulu judges and announced mid-December after review of all submissions.  Bring on your remarkable stories for a chance to win some amazing prizes!



No purchase necessary.  U.S. only.  Prize packages for the Lulu Short Story Contest include:  First place prize of $500, a Barnes and Noble NOOK, publicity in upcoming Lulu materials.  Second place prize of a Barnes and Noble NOOK.  Third place prize of a $100 gift card to a Barnes and Noble retail store location.  All participants will receive a 20% coupon good for their next purchase at 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, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on December 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! We can only accept English-language content.  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.  Lulu also reserves the right to make any short story submitted publicly available and to make small edits to content to aid in distribution to third-party retail stores.



 

The Short Story Contest is Coming…

Throughout the month of November, contestants will have a fabulous chance to publish a short story and win all sorts of remarkable prizes (some that are super top secret…shhhhh).

Details to come Nov. 1st.

Don’t miss it.

 

eBooks Made Easy with New Lulu Free EPUB Converter and eBook Publishing Tools

Today is a big day.

Today, Lulu officially launched the Lulu EPUB Converter and eBook Creator Guide – thus helping to simplify the complex process of turning your brilliant work from popular word processing formats, such as a Word document, into sellable EPUBs, the most widely adopted format used by eReaders – absolutely free.

So how is it different?

The Lulu EPUB Converter is unique in that it not only converts but also automatically fixes many pesky errors including accepted fonts and extra spacing. This is the highest level of automation available anywhere.

What does this mean for you?

For you, oh faithful Lulu creator, this means getting your work into popular eBook retail channels is easier and just in time to give you an edge this holiday season and sell your remarkable works electronically while earning more on eBooks than anywhere else with our new industry-best 90/10 revenue split (limited time offer through January 31, 2012).

As part of this initiative, Lulu has secured partnerships with Apple and Barnes and Noble so you can sell your works to millions of readers on devices like the iPad® and NOOK, not to mention in print on Amazon.com and the Lulu Marketplace.  We’ve even added a new Manage Distribution page that lets you opt-in and opt-out of retail channels for all your titles with the click of a button.

With our step-by-step eBook Creator Guide, you can be sure your customers are getting the most robust experience reading your work too.  All of these new tools, resources, and features can be found on Lulu’s new eBook Landing page – your source for all things eBooks.

Don’t forget to explore all your print book options too, and publish the way you, and your readers, want this holiday.

Using Your Book as a Business Card

Thanks to the Internet, the world is getting smaller everyday.  People are more connected now than ever, which means there is more competition to stand out than ever.  In a CNN article titled Why Just Being Good at Your Job is Not Good Enough, journalist Mark Tutton talks about how getting lost in this ocean of noise can even have a direct impact on your career.  With so many people so readily available, proving your relevancy may seem next to hopeless.  But it’s not.

Right now, at this very second, you have at your fingertips all the tools and resources you need to do anything. Really.  We live in an age where you can just wake up one morning and decide to cut an album, make a movie, or publish a book and can unleash your remarkable ideas upon the world in an instant.  Gone are the days where you had to maneuver around the various barriers into these industries.  Now, you just have to have some motivation and know where to start. You’re reading this blog too, so you’re already looking in the right places.

Building a successful career begins with knowing your worth.  Lulu is centered around the idea that everyone is an expert in something – no matter if you’re a model train builder, a prized physicist, a world-class chef, or a dedicated couch potato.  Your unique knowledge and experiences are what make you, you, and what better way to share that knowledge and expertise than through a published book?

“Writing a book…instantly establishes your credibility to potential customers and employers” Dan Schwabel, author of Me 2.0, told Tutton.  “You can self proclaim you’re an expert in your field all day long but the book is…your calling card.”

Whether you’re going for a job interview, meeting colleagues at a conference, or working on a big partnership, imagine how much more memorable you’d be when everyone else puts their cards on the table and you sit down your book. Or think about the lasting impression you’d leave if you said:  “Oh, you can find me in the iBookstore and on Amazon.”

“If you look at two resumes and they look the same, but one person wrote a book on the topic you’re interviewing for, you’re going to show more interest in that person,” Schwabel tells Tutton.  “Whether it’s a blog, an eBook or a published book, you’ve got to have something now, and a book has the most credibility.”

To Schwabel’s point, if writing and publishing a book seems overwhelming right now, try starting a blog or anything else that gets your name and your content out there.  You’re building a brand for yourself though, so remember to treat yourself like a business and be respectful of anyone you’re reaching out to.  For more help on marketing your work once you’ve gotten it out there, check out this recent post.

 

“When Do I Get Paid?!?!” How to Check Your Creator Revenue

As an author on Lulu, you get to set your own price for your works beyond the manufacturing cost and you keep 80 percent of any revenue made.  In an industry where most companies work off a 70/30 split or more, we take pride in being a publishing solution built entirely towards author success and freedom.  We firmly believe that everyone has ideas and expertise and should be able to share their knowledge with the world and, more importantly, profit from that knowledge.  We’ve provided different payment options to make it as convenient and easy as possible to claim your author revenue.  Below you’ll find tips for how to check your revenue and start seeing some green.

Finding your revenue: You can always check your earned revenue by looking at your “Recent Revenue,” and “All-Time Revenue” tabs found in the blue side-bar in your “My Lulu” tab.  It is important to note that your “Recent Revenue” DOES NOT include Amazon or 3rd party earnings.  Under your “All-Time Revenue” you’ll see a “Total Zero Creator Revenue” tab which shows your own purchases of your content, number of downloads from customers and Lulu support staff.  When you or Lulu purchases your own content, it is at-cost so no revenue is generated or recorded.

(Not) Getting Your Book on a Retail Shelf

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes in any marketing endeavor is not defining a clear goal. It’s easy to get caught up in a clever idea while losing sight of what you wish to accomplish. As authors, we are all trying to market our books. The way in which you promote your work will depend greatly on what you’re trying to achieve. I have read a number of blog posts by self-published authors describing ways to get one’s book on retail shelves. Most of these articles, however, don’t answer that fundamental question … why? Why bother trying to get your title on a retail shelf?

There’s no doubt that walking into a bookstore and seeing your work on the shelves is a wonderful feeling and a worthwhile goal for any author. But that is a personal goal, not a marketing goal. If your marketing goal it is to have as many people as possible read your work, you may be better off first focusing your efforts elsewhere – not just on your local bookstore.

Self-published author and book designer Joel Friedlander echoes my sentiment about trying to get one’s book on retail shelves when he writes:

“My own opinion, after watching many self-publishers try to break through into this market, is that it’s rarely worth the effort unless the book has a really wide appeal and is produced from the beginning with retail sales as the ultimate goal.

Most self-publishers of nonfiction will be far better off building an online community, learning keyword research and how to market their book online, using print on demand for fulfillment.”

Learn How to Publish an eBook with our New eBook Page

If you’ve been poking around the site in the past couple weeks, you’ve probably noticed a big addition. We’ve rolled out our new eBook landing page (pictured below) – your launchpad for reaching a whole new market of readers and selling more books.

eBooks keep gaining in popularity. Readers just can’t resist the competitive pricing many eBooks bring or the convenience of carrying around entire libraries of their favorite titles wherever they go. eBook sales have grown 80% at Lulu alone and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help your books grace the digital pages of your favorite devices and platforms.

Our new eBook page is where you’ll find answers to all sorts of frequently asked eBook questions like what’s the difference between different eBook formats, what’s this “metadata” term mean and why is it so important, and you can learn what your eBooks will need to get into tip top shape for your readers. You can also download our handy new eBook Distribution Guidelines that’ll save you lots of headaches when it comes time to sell through other retail channels.

We’ll keep updating our eBook page with the latest in eBook news and opportunities, so be sure to keep checking back, and as always – happy publishing.