Articles tagged "Self-Publishing"

The Price of Success: Not as High as You Think

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We now know that devoting as little as five hours a week to your marketing plan can result in much higher sales. That seems like a minimal investment in time, but how much will it cost? We asked 4000 of our bestselling authors how much they spent marketing their books.

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Not as much as you thought, right? 65% spent less than $500. If you add the authors who spent nothing (7%), the total number of authors who spent less than $500 in marketing is 72%. In other words, nearly three out of four best-selling authors spent less than $500 promoting their book.

How best-selling authors spent their marketing budgets

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As you can see, authors spent the most on advertising. Website and purchasing promotional copies of their book come in second and third, respectively. Below is a detailed breakout of how authors spent their advertising budgets.

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Key Takeaways

$500 or less is enough to promote a book. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars.

Most authors spent 28% of their overall budget on advertising, 15% on their websites and 14% on buying promotional copies as well as copies they sell direct to readers.

Action Items

Determine a marketing budget for promoting your book based on how many copies you think you will sell. Take into consideration annual fluctuations in sells as well as any upcoming holidays.

Examine previous promotional spending and determine what worked and what didn’t. Adjust your marketing plan to more accurately target your intended audience.

Additional Information

What Authors Say Is Most Important for Sales

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

Need Some Help Marketing? Ask a Friend

5-Star Reviews Are Actually Better

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books

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You will spends months, maybe years writing, editing, and rewriting your book. When all of that is done, you can release your work into the world with just a few clicks on Lulu.com.  For some authors the work stops there, but successful authors know that’s when the real work begins. How will you make your book visible in a marketplace full of books? How will you get your book onto the bestseller lists? Where will you find the time and the money to market your book to your audience?

For most authors, marketing a new book will likely be more challenging than writing it.  To help you focus your efforts, we asked 4000 of our bestselling authors how many hours a week they spend marketing their books.

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The majority of best selling authors (61%) dedicated five hours or less to book marketing each week. 16% — about one out of every six — said they spent 5-10 hours a week on marketing tasks. Only 25% of these authors said they spend more than ten hours a week marketing their book to their audience.

How much time can you invest?

Let’s face it, authors would rather be writing than marketing. It’s what you are good at, but without a marketing plan, your book will simply gather digital dust on some online bookshelf.

By breaking marketing tasks into small steps, you can make them more manageable, regardless of your time constraints. If you only have five hours a week, work in blocks of one to two hours. Keep plugging away until every item on the list below has been researched and completed:

  1. Define your audience
    • If you aren’t familiar with your audience and their shopping habits, research them to gain that understanding
    • Write a one-paragraph description of your target audience – what they like, where they shop, etc.
    • Find those people and get your book in front of them
  2. Write your book’s elevator pitch
  3. Create a website
    • Write a detailed author biography page and include a head shot
    • Set up an email opt-in to create a mailing list (see below)
    • Add a page for editors and bloggers to request review copies of your book
    • Add new articles, transcripts of recent interviews, and reprints of book reviews
    • Add a blog to your site. Update it at least weekly. Twice a week is even better
    • Add a page with contact information for interviews, events and public speaking opportunities
    • Add a page for your coaching or consulting services (if that makes sense for your business and market)
  4. Get a Facebook business page for your book
    • Update your page at least weekly
    • Add a way to sign up for your email list (see below)
    • Like and follow other Facebook pages in your niche and comment on their pages to expand your audience
    • Use Shopify to sell your books directly from your Facebook page.
  5. Set up an email list with a free email service provider such as mailchimp.com
    • Send an email update at least every two weeks
    • Use content from your blog or update your readers on your marketing efforts or how your next book is coming along
    • Include Lulu coupon codes for reader discounts in your email messaging to encourage shopping
  6. Identify 20 influential people to whom you can send your book
    • Create a promotion package
    • Mail the promotion package to those 20 people
  7. Secure 3-5 speaking gigs
    • Bring copies of your book to speaking events for audience members to purchase
    • Be on the lookout for other authors targeting the same audience. You can build a relationship with them and cross-promote each other’s books to build audiences and drive sales
  8. Research 1-2 conferences or book fairs to attend or to sponsor for a booth
  9. Find 3-5 niche websites where you could advertise or write a guest blog post
  10. Make your printed book look as good as possible. Does it need a new cover? Better typesetting?
  11. List your book on eBay
  12. List your book on Goodreads
  13. List your book in “Shameless Promotions” in the Lulu forums
  14. On an ongoing basis, spend one hour on each major bookselling site polishing up your book’s description and appearance
  15. Reach out to potential reviewers on the big bookselling sites. Aim for at least 20-30 reviews for your book
  16. Don’t give up. As one author said about marketing, “It’s hard work! But it’s also essential for the author to relentlessly promote a new book for at least 18 months after publication.”

 

phew giphyPhew! … Sounds like a lot or work, right? Well, put in just five hours a week and you’ll be further along than you’d think. And – here’s the best part – you’ll also be closer to making enough sales to brag about on your Facebook page.

 

Action item

Schedule one hour every weekday to promote your book.

Key takeaway

Once you have everything set up, marketing shouldn’t require as much of your time. The majority of successful independent authors spend 5 hours or less per week on marketing.

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

In previous articles we have discussed the two the key components of marketing your book (knowing your audience and knowing your book). Now we can talk about how to drive sales through the use of marketing tactics, which is a fancy way of saying that people need to be able to find you and your book on the internet.

We asked 4000 of our bestselling authors about their most effective methods of reaching their audience and encouraging book purchases.

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These authors credited their website with the lion’s share of their sales. When you combine the website-related responses with “email list” and “search engines,” you see that almost half of an author’s traffic and sells can be credited to their website(s).

To further highlight this finding, think about your own behavior. What’s the first thing you do online when you want to learn, do, or purchase something? You search for it. Then you browse the websites listed on the search results page. If you’ve ever searched for a company, person or event online and been unable to find any information, you probably gave up or got distracted by other things. From your own experience it is easy to see that the harder you are to find, the less likely you are to sell your books. Hence the importance of having a website to market your books.

In addition to websites, authors also mentioned social media as a tool for generating sales. Of all the available social media marketing techniques, having a Facebook page was overwhelmingly the most often cited way to sell books. We saw similar results earlier in our discussion of distribution strategies.

Action items

  1. Create a website for your book using a simple tool like WordPress.com.
  2. Make it easy for people to sign up for your mailing list with a free service like Mailchimp.com.
  3. Create a Facebook page dedicated to your books: https://www.facebook.com/about/pages.
  4. Write regular blog posts for your website and when possible on other sites as a guest poster.
  5. Find events where you can speak or share your knowledge with an audience interested in your topic.
  6. Improve the visibility of your website, either through advertising or search engine optimization.
  7. Send free promotional copies of your book to influential people, such as bloggers in your niche or book reviewers.

Key takeaway

Bestselling independent authors employ a mix of tactics to promote themselves and their work.

Make More Money: Include Lulu Discounts in Your Email Marketing

Summer Reading

What’s missing from this picture? Your book, of course.

Sizzling Summer Savings!
The Hottest Deals of the Season!
Best Book Ever Written, Get It Now and Save!

The words you choose to promote your books and new releases are all yours, but you should also be taking advantage of Lulu.com’s weekly sales and special offers. To help you with your marketing, our site discounts are now being offered for up to one week making it easier than ever to share them with your readers.

Why should you be using email promotion? For starters, email marketing works. Social media may seem like the savvier approach, but email is roughly six times more effective at bringing in new buyers than Facebook and Twitter. Email also gives you a great platform for sharing special offers and introducing new books, without your carefully crafted message getting lost in the endless scroll of tweets, status updates, and ever-changing social media display algorithms.

 

Here’s a sample email template you can adapt for your use:

Email Subject Line:
Save XX% on the Summer’s Hottest Book: <insert book title>

Email Body:
Be the first of your friends to read the book everyone will soon be talking about. <Placeholder for title and one line / elevator pitch book description>

Order today from Lulu.com and save <discount> with coupon code <insert Code here> thru <expiration date>.

To place your order, simply click this link: <Placeholder for link to book>, then click Add to Cart and apply the code at checkout.

This discount is for a limited time, so don’t wait.

Order today and save!

<Link to book>
<Author name>

**Don’t forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive.

 

See? Simple. You highlight the current savings, briefly describe the book, and provide easy instructions. It’s low-pressure, informative and brief. You can even provide a link right to your book’s product page and save your readers from searching. If you have multiple titles, include a link to your Author Spotlight page to encourage shoppers to browse your catalog. Everyone wins when your readers shop in the Lulu bookstore. They save money and you earn higher revenues.

Though we are currently in the middle of the summer reading season, this strategy works year-round. At Lulu.com, we’re always looking for ways to help you promote and sell your books. Whenever we have a sale — seasonal or otherwise — send out an email blast letting everyone know. After all, it’s always the season for reading!

Current discounts, coupon codes, and expiration dates are always listed on the Lulu home page: www.lulu.com/home

Additional References:

Make More Money by Selling on Lulu

Publish More, Sell More

The Art of the Short Description

Developing Your Distribution Strategy

 

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.

Garden Volunteer

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

 

Volunteer Garden

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

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