Articles tagged "Self-Publishing"

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.

Learn with Charlie: Make More Money

After publishing his book on Lulu, Charlie learns a very “valuable” lesson.

For more author tips, visit the Lulu.com Learn with Charlie channel on Vimeo.

Winning at Writing

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When I won my first writing competition I was almost 40, living in a run-down farmhouse in rural Australia and working odd jobs. I was a waitress, a mill worker and, on weekends, I guided tourists through a crocodile farm. Now, twenty years on, my writing awards have given me the freedom to give up odd jobs and focus on writing full-time.

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The deadly garden that holds the secrets.

My stories have been published by major publishing houses (HarperCollins & Harlequin), yet in 2012 I decided to take complete control of my work and self-publish. I’ve never looked back. I chose LULU because of the amount of control I have over the entire publishing process as well as the affordability and quality of the final product.

Writing for awards and competitions has been an effective way to increase my profile in the literary world. It’s provided me with some fantastic and very legitimate marketing tools and forced me to edit and polish my work until it shines in the face of judges. If you want to win, you’ve got to get it right, and it’s the same with self-publishing – your readers are the judges and your goal is to impress them with a finely tuned product.

If you are going to enter writing awards or contests, make sure they are legitimate. Look into the publishing house or company’s previous awards and publications. Find out who is judging the award (this is an important step) and the cost to enter (some are free. but you usually have to pay a reading fee which is normally around the $5 – $25 mark). I avoid competitions where I’m required to buy books, pay a load of money, or am unsure about the reputation of the company or publishing house.

My latest short story was chosen in the top three in the international Ruth Rendell awards. The judge of this award was Lynda La Plante who I was invited to meet at the awards ceremony in London. I couldn’t make the ceremony but I can’t tell you how excited I was that Lynda loves my story and knows who I am. I’ve now been commissioned by InterAct Stroke Support (through the Ruth Rendell Trust) to write another story to be read in hospitals throughout the UK by British actors.

 


Author Bio

Dianne Gray_picDianne Gray lives on a sugar cane farm in rural Australia. When she’s not chasing snakes from the farmhouse or crocodiles from her yard, she’s writing. Dianne’s writing not only includes five cross-genre novels and a multitude of award winning short stories, she has also written articles for government websites and hosts a popular blog. She is currently updating her book of short stories and writing two novels. Why two novels at once? Dianne believes that working on two stories at the same time is the reason she never suffers from writer’s block. To read more, visit her blog: https://diannegray.wordpress.com/


Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

HB2 and the Lulu Way

 

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We welcome everyone. We are Lulu.

Lulu stands for being remarkable. We strive every day to make the world a better place by allowing authors to tell their stories through the free flow of information for the benefit of humanity.

We accomplish this through an inclusive, transparent platform that gives every author –the single parent, the politician, the poet, the entrepreneur, the priest, and the scientist – the opportunity to be heard equally without censorship or bias. We do not make judgments on our authors’ works, nor discriminate based on their content.

These values are at the foundation of our company, and HB2, which was passed in our home state of North Carolina on March 23, stands in direct conflict of the work we do every day to give our authors a voice, to enable their success, and to create a more empowered and tolerant society. As a business, we cannot support any legislative decisions that encourage, promote, or facilitate actions that clearly oppose and oppress our corporate values by marginalizing and degrading people and their stories.

Individual success is achieved by each of us being given equal opportunities that are fueled by empowerment, control, and self-discovery. We reject the actions taken by our elected officials and the timid attempt at back-pedaling we’ve seen this week from the Governor of North Carolina. Instead, we choose to continue celebrating the individuality and experiences that make our company, state, and country a rich, fruitful land where we learn by including those around us rather than alienating any group as an inferior people.

We are equality. We are love. We are embracing.

We are Lulu.

 

Press Release: Lulu Leaps Ahead of Competitors with Release of Solar-Powered Books

2016 April Fools

 

RALEIGH, NC – <April 1, 2016> – Lulu, the first and largest independent publisher, today announced a breakthrough in reading technology, the solar-powered book.

By incorporating this new technology into FSC Certified, acid and lead-free, premium quality paper, every page of a book ordered on Lulu.com acts as its own solar-powered reading substrate. The paper’s reflective qualities highlight the print in such a way that when a page is exposed to light, black text appears to float in a pool of white and colors seem to vibrantly leap off the page.

“By combining this affordable, cutting-edge technology with our global print-on-demand network, Lulu will once again disrupt the publishing industry,” said Lulu CEO Nigel Lee. “Despite the fact that I knew what our team was developing, I was gobsmacked when I held the final product. When I put it under the light, the page lit up clear as could be. What I didn’t expect was the warm comfort I felt when reading it.”

Following recent advancements in cell sensitivity, Lulu’s solar-powered books are not limited to use in direct sunlight, but are fully functional with LED, incandescent, fluorescent, firelight, candlelight and even moonlight on clear nights. This breakthrough ensures that students and readers everywhere can complete their assignments and even read for pleasure in any lighted space regardless of access to electricity or charging stations.

Beginning today, all printed books purchased from the Lulu.com bookstore will incorporate solar activated pages at no additional cost.

Continued Lee, “Light activation is indeed the future of reading and we are leading the way. I predict that solar-powered books will soon be the norm in every home around the world.”

To learn more or to order light-activated books for your home or business, visit: www.lulu.com.

UPDATE: As you may have figured out by now, this was an April Fools Day prank. The hoax being that all printed books are light-activated – i.e. cannot be read in the absence of light.

About Lulu

Since 2002, Lulu has enabled authors in more than 225 countries and territories to self-publish nearly two million publications. Our industry-leading tools and global community help authors hone their craft and publish printed books or eBooks for free, then sell them around the world via multiple channels. At Lulu, authors are in control, owning the rights to their works, setting their own price and keeping up to 90 percent of their book profits.

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation Using Someone Else’s Platform

Author Platform 1Since joining the Lulu team, I have attended publishing trade shows around the country in an effort to keep up with industry trends. After a few years, I noticed a distinct pattern. Each year it seemed the industry latched onto a particular theme or buzzword around which all shows were organized. One of the first of these themes focused on the need for creating an author platform.

Once I learned what an author platform was, it seemed like a rather simple and logical approach to publicizing your work. All you need to do is set up a website, start a blog and interact with your fans on social media. Easy right? According to the experts, an author platform makes current fans feel connected to the author while at the same time attracting new readers thereby ensuring a steady flow of money into an authors’ bank account.

The thinking here is solid.  If we conduct a quick online study we will find most successful, independently published authors already have an author platform in place – likely built by a member of their publishing team (another year’s theme). If you conduct a search for these authors on the internet, not only would their books be returned in the search results, but also links to their social media pages, discussion boards, blog posts, and articles – all of which contribute to their online reputation.Guest Bloggers Welcome

For new authors the question then becomes, “How can I get some of this search engine goodness for myself?” If you don’t have access to a social media team or a neighborhood kid to build your website, the easiest option is join a few discussion groups or to make use of another person’s platform by guest blogging. Both of which give you an opportunity to reach new audiences.

You may respond “I don’t write for free.” Well, yes you do. You write for free until someone buys your book. Once enough people have bought your book you can set your own price for articles. Until then, your best bet is to find a site that appeals to your target audience and pitch them an article. Most bloggers are constantly on the lookout for new material. So much so they will even let you plug your book in return for free, compelling content..

This strategy is a win/win for everyone. The site owner gets content to fill their pages.  You get more search hits, a new audience for your work, free advertising, and a bump in your online reputation score.

Coming up: Tips on Pitching a Guest Blog

Tell Your Story: My Last Birthday Wish

On January 9, 2016, a doctor told me: “This will be your last Birthday”

You see, I Vortexwoke up January 5, 2016 and I was totally blind. I called another doctor when the first told me I was diabetic. He said, “I have been around a long time and I know Diabetic retinopathy when I see it.” A blood test was ordered. They found I had High cholesterol, high blood pressure, the starting of kidney disease, and blood sugar of 183. “I told you so” said the doctor.

My brother and Uncle died just two weeks earlier so I advised my family and began getting my affairs in order. While doing so, I stumbled over something I wrote in high school. Forty years earlier, when I graduated high school, my father told me to put childish things aside, but now seemed like the time to resurrect that long forgotten story. A friend staked his journalistic career to help me out.

I began working on my book. As it neared completion, I contacted Lulu and spoke with Thomas. During our conversation, it came out that I wasn’t in good shape and would not likely see my book published. Friends set up a book signing event and funded an order of my books. Time was short, and I worried I might not get the books in time for the signing. Once again, I contacted Lulu to see when they would arrive, and if any accommodations could be made for shipping them more quickly. Thomas agreed to look into it and do what he could.

On my birthday, March 8, 2016, I called for his supervisor (her name is Rachel), and told her how exceptional he was over the last few days. Just to hear his voice lifted my spirits. I was afraid that I might have been a pain and wanted her to know what he did for a stranger and I didn’t want to get him trouble for looking into upgrading my shipping. I needed her to know that he was one hell of a representative for Lulu.

I got the books at 10:00 AM the next day!

I planned this to be my last Hurrah. And because of Lulu and Thomas’ personal assistance, I could achieve it.

That’s not even the end of the story; I told Thomas that someone else would probably complete the series, now it seems he may have to put up with me from time to time; at least for a while! I met with my Doctor this past Monday, she began by saying that on my first visit she needed me to know how serious the problems were and she needed to “scare the hell” out of me if I did not take action.

She sat with me and went through all the frightening signs the initial round of blood tests reveals; my weight, my blood sugar, my blood pressure. And after a month and a half, the improvements were tremendous. I told her that I did what she and the nutritionist told me to do. Cut out sodas, eat fruits and vegetables, cut starch, and eat appropriate servings.

I went through the scariest part of my life in the past month and half, not knowing if I would even see tomorrow, much less see the book published. Now it may be the first of many!

I am very happy to have worked with Lulu to achieve my dream.

Michael DeFranco

The Vortex at Thompson Park

Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your 250-500 word story to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.