Articles tagged "self-publish"

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

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Repeat after me. “Christmas is coming. Christmas is coming. It’s just around the corner.”

finish-line-aheadNow that we have accepted the inevitable, let’s take a few minutes to think about what we need to do to make this year your most successful sales year yet. Lucky for authors, book sales are up in 2016 with printed books making a huge comeback, so this could be the best year ever for holiday book sales, but only if you are ready.

If you are in the final stages of completing, editing or revising your book and wish to have it ready for holiday gift giving, there is no time for procrastination – particularly if you wish to have your book available for purchase in all online bookstores for the holidays.

As you race to the finish, keep these things in mind:

  • Your print book must meet all distribution requirements before it can be approved for online distribution. To prevent it from being rejected by retailers, take a few minutes to carefully review the requirements and make edits prior to publishing.
  • Before your book can be submitted for distribution, you must first purchase and approve a proof copy. Once you review and approve your proof, Lulu will release it into distribution.
  • Retailers will review your book to ensure it meets distribution requirements. If your book is rejected, you must edit it, then purchase and approve another proof copy before it can be resubmitted to distributors.
  • Once your book is sent to retailers, it will usually be available for purchase from online bookstores in about three weeks. However, due to retailer processing, workloads, and holiday volume it could take 6-8 weeks for your book to be added to all online booksellers.
  • Each retailer has their own process and schedule for reviewing books and updating their online catalogs. There is no means for Lulu to expedite this process for you.

If you are running out of time and think there is no way you will finish in time, don’t worry. You can forego distribution (for now) and publish directly to the Lulu bookstore.

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When you publish to the Lulu bookstore:

  • Your book will be available for purchase within minutes of publication.
  • You can publish without an ISBN, which means there is no required retail markup resulting in higher profits for you and no US income tax withholding.
  • You can take advantage of Lulu discounts to boost holiday sales.
  • You can purchase your book at manufacturing cost.
  • You can even publish a hardcover special edition to sign and give to family and friends as Christmas gifts.

And, don’t forget, you are not alone. The Lulu support team is here to help Monday-Friday during regular office hours. You can also get author-to-author support 24/7 in the Lulu forums.

So get back to work!

Lulu Teams Up with NC State to Fund the World’s Next Big Ideas

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RALEIGH, NC – <Oct 4, 2016> – Lulu, the world’s leading independent publishing company, proudly announces a five-year extension of our partnership with North Carolina State University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative to fund the Lulu eGames through 2020.

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Entrepalooza kicks off another year of innovation at NCSU

“Lulu was founded by entrepreneur Bob Young to remove the barriers that prevented promising new authors from publishing and sharing their knowledge,” said Nigel Lee, Lulu CEO. “Our partnership with NC State is a natural extension of that mission. Who knows how these brilliant young minds, these knowledge entrepreneurs, will change the world when given the opportunity to share their ideas for new products and innovative solutions to real-world problems?”

Last year’s Lulu eGames competition awarded more than $60,000 in cash prizes across five different categories, including the Daugherty Endowment Challenge for companies who have licensed NC State intellectual property and the B Corp Champions Challenge for students building new ventures that use business as a force for social and environmental change. Past winners include Undercover Colors, a startup developing nail products that change color in the presence of date rape drugs; Bee Downtown, a venture that earned one of only four IDEO-backed global fellowships for climate innovators; and Trakex, a company whose founders were selected to participate in the competitive Y Combinator Fellowship program.

“The Lulu eGames provides participants with the opportunity to gain real-world experience in entrepreneurship; build invaluable relationships regionally, nationally and globally; and receive cash awards to help their ventures move forward in a real way,” said Dr. Tom Miller, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Entrepreneurship and McPherson Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship at NC State. “It’s a pleasure to continue this partnership with Lulu, a company that shares NC State’s commitment to cultivating entrepreneurship because of the tremendous impact it has on our world.”

image1As the eGames sponsor, Lulu will work with teams to develop and present product pitches and written descriptions to more effectively tell their stories and share their ideas with the world. Through our participation, Lulu hopes to further increase awareness and visibility of the eGames.

When asked about Lulu’s continuing relationship with NC State, Lee responded, “Lulu has always been dedicated to making the world a better place, one story at a time. By continuing our sponsorship of the Lulu eGames, we will add to this legacy one innovative idea, one life-changing product, and one entrepreneur at a time.”

 

For more information

NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative, please visit: https://ei.ncsu.edu/

Lulu eGames, please visit: https://ei.ncsu.edu/egames/

Lulu Press, please visit: www.lulu.com

Lulu Receives B-Corporation Certification

PR Part III: Release the Press Release!

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For authors seeking that elusive “best-seller” status, self-promotion can be your best tool for generating internet traffic and increasing book sales.

Author signing autograph in own book at wooden table on light blurred background

With an effective press release, you’ll be giving autographs in no time!

Of all the self-promotion options available to independent authors, distributing press releases is probably the most overlooked and affordable method. This is unfortunate because it can be highly effective – especially if your press release is picked-up by a major news outlet, journal or magazine. It could even launch you to stardom.

With all of this said, you are just wasting your time if only launch a press release into the deep space of the internet and hope someone notices. It’s up to you to make sure people are aware it’s out there. So, put it to work on your author platform and start getting some of that sweet, sweet internet love.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a technical term for getting the most from what you put out on the internet. The technicalities are for the engineers to understand. For us, let’s think of it as executing a social media blitz, which sounds much more glamorous.

You may think this is complicated, but it’s easier than you think. First, post the news on your web site, then link to it from everywhere. The more back-links that point to your press release, the more value search engines assign to it. This means you show up higher on the search results page.

Don’t forget to get a little social media help from your friends.

Here’s what to do:

  • Tweet your news with a link to the announcement on your web site (and have friends and family retweet it)
  • Post your news with a link to the announcement on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ (very important for SEO), and everywhere else your audience may be found.
  • Create and post a video on YouTube, with you talking about the announcement and link back to the press release.
  • Embed the YouTube video into a blog post and link back to the announcement pages on other social networks such as Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon.

 

The combined effect of this promotion will be a four to five times increase in interest and traffic to your site  – thanks to the improved search engine rankings of your press release and author news.

Your press release is finished–get ready to ace the interviews!

 

As an independently published author, it’s up to you to get the word out about your work. If you lay the groundwork ahead of time, you will be ready for the attention. As a reminder, when your press release gets picked up by a local, state, or national publication, launch a new social media blitz announcing the announcement.

Additional information:
PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

PR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

Let’s Go Viral: Five Tactics for Boosting Your Clicks, Likes, and Shares

Lulu Publishes Augmented Reality Art Book

arbook_2Do you remember being fascinated by pop-up books as a child? Or, maybe you discovered them as an adult and wondered where they’d been all your life. Pop-up books have a long, historical tradition going back several hundred years. The best ones feature elaborate artwork combined with clever paper cutouts to lift a story beyond the printed page.

Recently, the Center for Contemporary Art (CoCA) in Seattle, WA, took pop-ups a step further by applying augmented reality to print books. Yes, you heard that right: print and digital work hand-in-hand to create a new visual experience in the CoCA Pop-Up (AR)t book, a 48-page book published with Lulu. The book features beautiful contemporary art, and with the aid of a smartphone or tablet, the artwork jumps from the page into virtual reality.

CoCA aar_book1rtists displayed their original works in a gallery in the museum, where visitors could scan their devices over the pieces themselves and experience the magic of the 3D popup. The printed book reproduces the contemporary  art gallery’s ima ges allowing you to view both the printed artwork and experience it in 3D. Using an app found in the Apple and Google Play stores, users scan their device over the page, and a 3D image springs to life. On one page, a ghost floats eerily above the page; on another, a tree appears to grow straight out of the book. The Pop-Up AR(t) book is a fantastic example of augmented reality, and CoCA found a unique way to combine printed art and language traditions with technology to create an immersive user experience.

CoCA specializes in the development and advancement of contemporary art, and their innovative projects take art beyond the canvas and page. Their wide range of books, published with Lulu, expand on this idea and present new concepts to the world. The Pop-Up AR(t) book takes recent contemporary works from a variety of artists and presents them in a way that no other published art book has done.

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Available in the Lulu bookstore

Publishing with Lulu gave CoCA a platform for reaching artists around the world with their innovative artwork and project. As a platform for publishing freedom, Lulu gave CoCA the tools to create one of the first AR art books. With Lulu, your creativity knows no limits: from a coloring book to a 3D reality book, you can create projects that are only as limited as your imagination.

Also available in hardcover.

PR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

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You wrote a book! Yay for you! Take a moment and celebrate the accomplishment. Savor the giddy happiness of creating something from just an idea (and months and months of toil). Actually, take a few moments to really appreciate this feeling. You deserve it.

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Now get back to work. First, buy a few copies to sign for family and close friends. Also, share your great news on Facebook, Twitter and all the places your friends hang out. If you are like many newly published authors you will stop here and and devote the coming weeks to hoping someone will stumble upon your book among all the books available to purchase online.

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It could happen, but to be honest, without a savvy media campaign it is unlikely. I hear you gnashing your teeth and wailing, “Nobody has money for that!” I get it, really I do, but come on, you just wrote a book.  You can surely write a one-page press release about it.

Remember those five-paragraph essays you wrote in high school and college? Writing a press release is pretty much the same thing and like those high school essays, they follow a standard format. Let’s get started.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (all caps – you can also enter a future release date here)

Press Release Title (bold font, up to 80 characters, should be catchy, not cutesy!)

Write a three sentence summary of your news angle or book pitch here. Your angle is what makes your book special. Your pitch is how you generate interest in your book.

CITY, STATE – DATE (all caps, bold font)The body of your press release starts here, on the same line as your dateline. An effective release will be written around the pitch idea you’ve perfected for your book. The first paragraph briefly answers the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.

Use the body paragraphs to expand on the five Ws and an H above. Why is your book timely or relevant. Who will care? What problem does it solve? How will people benefit by reading it?

The writing style for your press release should imitate a news story or book review you would find in the publications to which you are submitting your release. This approach makes it easier for journalists in search of content to see your news as something ready for publication through their outlets.

It is always good to incorporate quotes from the author, an authority in the field, or a reputable reviewer, throughout the body of your release. Keep in mind that quotes cannot be changed if your press release is picked up by a journalist, so choose them carefully. Include the names and credentials of the people you quote. DO NOT quote family or friends unless they are an expert in the field in which you write.

Add any remaining details such as the release date, where the book can be purchased (Lulu.com), the formats in which it is available, the retail price, etc.

About <Your Name>

Include a short author bio ( approximately 100 words). Include your qualifications to write the book – i.e. local connection, profession, life-long interest, etc. This paragraph is referred to as a boilerplate and usually remains the same from one press release to another.

For more information about <YOUR BOOK TITLE>, visit <Link to WEBSITE>. Additional author information and promotional images are available at <Link to AUTHOR PRESS KIT> or contact <PUBLICIST’S NAME> at <PHONE NUMBER>. Free review copies are provided on request.

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(Indicates the end of the press release)

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Experts recommend a press release be about one page in length, so use your words wisely. Most importantly, your press release will be the first impression you make on a journalist, editor, or reviewer so proofread, proofread, and proofread again before you send it.

When complete, copy and paste your attention grabbing headline into the email subject line. Then copy the entire press release (including the headline) into the body of the email. Include links to your website and author press kit. Be sure to include your contact information. Do not attach files to the email or include a free electronic copy of your book unless requested by a journalist.

Up next – PR Part III: Release the Press Release! Now that you have written the best press release ever, put it to work.

Additional Information

PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

PR Part III: Release the Press Release!

Crafting an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

How to Write a Killer Author Bio

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

 

PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

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RALEIGH, NC – September 13, 2016 – Lulu, the pioneer and world leader in independent publishing, announced today that all authors should launch their new books with a well-crafted press release. “It’s your story and you should be the person telling it,” said Glenn@Lulu, Content Marketing Manager at Lulu Press.

 

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That’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard all day!

That’s a pretty standard (and frankly boring) opening for a press release: Announce something, follow it by an authoritative, quotable quote, then tell the story. It’s really like writing a one-page essay. All you need to do is write a release that answers who, what, when, where, why and how. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

You may be surprised to learn there are people out there who make hundreds of dollars per press release. That’s right, all that money for writing five paragraphs announcing something someone thinks is newsworthy. In reality, this is something you can do yourself. All you need is a bit of practice and an ear for what will attract the attention of local, national, and global news outlets.

Let’s get started.

One second to fame

Books are published everyday. Another one being published is not news. Therefore, your headline has to jump off the screen and make a reporter want to read more of your story. Since your headline is the first impression you will make, avoid clichés, puns, and gimmicky subject lines. Otherwise your headline may be the last impression you make before a journalist hits the delete key.

Sell the hook, not the book

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Sell the hook first. Then sell the book.

What makes your book relevant? Does it solve a problem? How does it relate to other books in the genre? Does your book explain or fit neatly into a current news story? Does the action in your book revolve around an upcoming holiday? Are you a coroner writing a crime novel? A mother writing a conspiracy thriller? A life-long city dweller celebrating life off the grid? Your press release is the means to tell your story. The book is almost an afterthought, “If you want to know more, you can find <insert title here> on Lulu and all major online bookstores.”

 

Don’t promote, inform

An effective press release is based on facts, not opinion. Of course you, your mom and your best friend think your book is the best book ever published, but that is only an opinion. A journalist needs facts and when possible quotes. If your book solves a problem, state the problem and the solution it provides. If your characters or plot happen to coincide with something happening in the news, explain why your book will help people better understand the situation. When possible, provide quotes from experts in your field or snippets from reputable reviewers.

The best book in the world – Really?

hyperboleYou want your headline and body text to be original, snappy, and attention grabbing; however, avoid using clichés and hyperbole. Unless you have proof your book will transform lives, leave readers breathless or on their knees begging for more, don’t include these overused tropes in your press release. They show a lack of thought and imagination (see above – facts not opinions).

 

Do your research

Your best bet for getting early publicity for your book will be from local newspapers, libraries, radio programs, and independent bookstores. With that said, make sure you do your homework and address your press release email to a person (name spelled correctly).   No one wants to receive a generic email blast sent to every Sir, Madame, or Whom it May Concern in the business. Make it personal. I spell my name Glenn with two Ns – you should too!

Everybody is busy (and lazy)

busy-lazy-journalists

Content, I need good content!

All journalists are on tight deadlines, so the easier you make it for them to write the story, the more likely it is your story will get their attention. When you send your press release email, include links to your author press kit (About the Author), your book’s retail page, and book excerpts. It is not recommended you send a free copy of your book with the initial contact. Instead, explain that free electronic copies will be provided upon request.

 

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to getting the publicity your book deserves. Remember, start local, be personal, and try different angles until you have perfected your press release. Then go national.

 

Up nextPR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

Tips for composing the best book launch press release in the history of the written word in the format of a standard press release.

Additional Resources

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

Crafting an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books

How to Publish a Paperback Book on Lulu.com

 

 

Summer Success Summit: Students Publish Guide for All Cool Kids

Tell_Your_Story_NarrowJuly’s Summer Success Summit at Shady Oak included the subtitle “formula for a happy, motivated child.” I have frequently taught high school students a similar program on the secrets of achievement, but this year I thought, “Why make kids wait until high school to learn principles they would need all through life?” So this summer I brought the training to late-elementary and middle-school students.

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2016 Summer Success Summit Attendees

I also wanted to incorporate a hands-on project to instill the principles through practical application, while providing an opportunity for fun learning. Since the love of stories knows no minimum age—and kids this age are highly vulnerable to “everyone knows more than I do” anxieties—I decided to have them create a book as a group project, a book that would give them the opportunity to share their knowledge with others.

The students loved the idea. We started with two questions:

  1. What do successful people think?
  2. What do successful people do?

I wrote down every answer the kids gave. Each day thereafter, I taught a new concept and had everyone share more ideas to incorporate into the book. The students quickly took charge and came up with fifteen success strategies:

  1. Practice, practice, practice to achieve your dreams
  2. Be open-minded and think outside the box
  3. Believe in your own ideas
  4. Be patient, stay focused, and use your time wisely
  5. Stay healthy
  6. Surround yourself with positive people
  7. Set clear goals and make clear plans for moving toward them
  8. Let your mind wander and appreciate where it takes you
  9. Take risks—that’s the only way you’ll find opportunities
  10. What you think about, you bring about
  11. Know your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses
  12. Ask for help when you need it
  13. Remember, enthusiasm and passion are the keys to success
  14. Work smarter, not harder. Whatever you do well, do lots of it
  15. Help others get what they want, which is also the best way to ensure you get what you need. Always be a team player

With the outline complete, students divided into four teams based on individual strengths: Writers, illustrators, layout editors, and final editors / publishers.

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Authors, illustrators, and editors hard at work

Meanwhile, I researched professional self-publishing services to find one that would meet our needs. Lulu.com got the job after the CEO sent a personal response to my LinkedIn inquiry. From the beginning, Lulu was 100 percent behind the project and always ready to support us.

Back at Success Summit, our writers put each concept into an 18 to 36-word summary. One example:

Be enthusiastic and passionate, they are the keys to success. Focus on your goal. You have to want it more than anything because success doesn’t just happen.

After that stage was finished, the whole group reviewed the content and brainstormed illustration ideas for each concept. The illustration team then planned and sketched pictures for each concept and the title page. The resulting pages were distributed among the entire group for coloring.

The completed illustrations and text for the pages were passed to the layout-editing team, who created mock-ups for the final pages by sizing and arranging pictures and wording. They ordered the pages and prepared a collection of contributor bios that were entered into a computer along with the page images.

Lastly, the final editors reviewed the manuscript and wrote up a publishing plan including desired book size, paper type, and cover designs; and uploaded it to our “end publishers” at Lulu.

All the kids whWhat Every Cool Kido completed Success Summit are convinced they are great writers and are ready to continue authoring books. Who knows how many of their names will appear on bookstore shelves over the next twenty years?

What books could your students write as they develop new ideas from your curriculum?

Our book, What Every Cool Kid Deserves to Know!, may be ordered directly from Lulu. Please post a review and watch for our book on Amazon and other online bookstores.

 


About the Author

Debbie Elder co-authored the 2013 best seller Against the Grain. She followed this in 2014 with the bestselling Share Your Message with the World. Over the course of her career she has developed courses for teaching behavior management techniques for classrooms and corporate employees as well as courses to teach life skills students need for success. Upon urging from her student’s parents she opened a school for 6th to 12th graders which eventually lead to the opening of 15 additional schools nationwide. Debbie recently returned to her passion and is now working with elementary students at her school Shady Oak Primary, located in Richmond, Texas. For more information about her after school program, see Set Them Up for Success – The Homework Hangout.


More About Project-based Learning

Student Publishing with Lulu

Students Publish Guide for All Cool Kids

YSHS Students Turn Cookbooks into Scholarships

Lulu Academy: Enroll Today

Video Tutorial: How to Publish a Paperback Book

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