Articles tagged "Self-Publishing"

Keywords: Get your Self-Published Book noticed

Marketing your book is tricky business. Here at Lulu, we appreciate that many of our authors are not marketing experts, but still would like to amplify their sales. The Internet makes it easy to list your book and for readers to perform searches among the many books out there. The trick for authors is to make their book stand out from all the noise, to distinguish itself so that readers can find your book when they search.

How do potential readers find content?

Almost all content online is found through searches. Authors must align their book with the common search terms a reader might use. To do this, you’ll need to use ‘Keywords.’

Keywords are search terms users will type into a search engine (like Google) to find something. A reader might want a book about healthy eating for women over forty, so they would search something like:

“books, healthy diet, women over forty”

The resulting search will be thousands of books that have utilized these keywords.

Now you’ll have to decide which keywords to use for your book. This can be a challenge, but we can recommend a three part strategy to help narrow down the keyword options. First, sit down and write out as many words as you can think of associated with your book. At this stage, anything that comes to mind if fine.

With this list completed, the second step will be going on some retail sites and book review sites (like Goodreads) and search reviews for books similar to yours. Look at the words readers are using to describe these books and make a list.

In the third step, ask your beta readers (or if your book is already published, any reader) for their list of words they would use to describe your book, and/or any terms they might have searched if they were in the market for a book similar to yours.

Any words that fall on all of these lists will of course be good to use. Create a refined list with all the words that span the three lists, as well as any other words you think might be highly valued for your readers. This last part will take a bit of guess work and intuition on your part. It’s not an exact science, but aim for quantity over quality.

With your keyword list in hand, what you’ll want to do is integrate the keywords into your blurb/synopsis. Readers will perform searches, and because your keywords were thoughtfully chosen and added to you book description, they’ll find your listing coming up in the search results, ultimately leading to a sale. Apart from using the right keywords to draw in readers, you’ll also need to craft a compelling blurb. Weave in the keywords as they make sense, and if need be write new material to incorporate keywords you deem too valuable to exclude. Check out this post for some advice on synopsis writing for self-published authors – Writing your blurb/synopsis

Conscientious and careful application of keywords can do wonders to boost the discoverability of your book. Help your readers, grow your sales, and enjoy the success a little bit of market research and keyword application can bring!

 

Book Publishing: The Economics of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is a demanding project to take on. As a writer, you’ve already labored over the words and phrases of your book, researched and studied the ins and outs of writing effectively, developed plots and characters…you’ve done a lot of work! Now to get the manuscript published, you’ve got to take on even more roles, notably laying out the book, designing a cover, ensuring the content is error free, actually publishing, establishing an ISBN, claiming a copyright, distributing…AND THEN you’re just at the beginning of the sales portion of your self-publishing journey.

Once the book is finally done and published, you’re new task is pushing your book, establishing contacts, leads, engaging readers through book signings, and selling both online and by hand. Publishing itself may seem easy at this point. Profitably publishing, now that is a challenge.

You might stop at this point and think “why bother?” Why go the self-publishing route? Why take the time, energy, and money to do all the work yourself (or hire designers/editors to assist you) when you could pitch the book to traditional publishers, hand the book over to them, claim a nice advance, and sit back while they do the heavy lifting?

There’s one really good reason to go the self-publishing route. And what better way to convey that reason than an infographic!

That’s a lot of information, I know. Let’s break down two of the most important points:

1) Revenue – Self-Published authors earn 80% of their revenue for each sale with Lulu. In the above example, selling 3,000 copies resulted in four times the revenue earned! Earning power and potential is one of two differences that will lure a writer to self-publish (the other being editorial control). When you sell your work, you want it to truly me your work and you want to earn what you deserve. We agree, and by putting the author in the driver’s seat, we can direct substantially more revenue to the author.

2) Sales by Publisher – This is interesting enough to be worth looking again at the specific segment of the inforgraphic. Look at those Yellow portions. That’s the piece of the book selling market (ebook and print) including just Indie and Single Author publishing. 41% of ebooks, and 27% of Amazon print bestsellers. Think on that a moment. An idea (self-publishing) that is only fifteen years old has already taken over more than a quarter of the biggest bookseller in the world. And that doesn’t even include small and medium sized publishers.

 

Traditional publishing is out there. And if you can get your book picked up by a publisher, it might be right for you. But if you’re looking to make the most from each sale, to retain control over your work, and to have the freedom to publish just the way you want, Lulu is the only real option. The book is yours! You wrote it, so you should see the profits.

If you need some more information to get started publishing, check out the Lulu Toolkit!

Independent Authorship for the Senior Citizen

Individuals over 60 years old have a great deal of experience to impart on others, but sometimes they do not have their “visions” shared because of the complexity writing and publishing their stories.  In most instances, the senior has access to word processing software, and the ability to use the software, but after writing their story has to wait for printers or traditional publishers to review and approve their stories.

Chris (center) with Senior Center directors

 

This is where I come in. I’m an independent author with Lulu for almost 20 years (yep, he has been with Lulu almost from the very beginning!), and I teach at local senior centers in Baltimore Maryland about self-publishing and how to format and publish a person’s works so that they may share with others their knowledge and experience.  The course, entitled “Self-Publishing 101 for Independent Authors,” is taught with help from a study guide that I wrote and published on Lulu!  Using this study guide, along with the many different types of books (children’s, fiction, non-fiction, and education) I also published over the years, I aim to make the publishing process simple and clear.

My first class was given at Parkville Senior Center near Baltimore and had several individuals that wanted to learn more about self-publishing.  The students actually had products in electronic form that they wanted published and Chris accommodated them through a step-by-step approach.  As a result, most students have published works with Lulu.  A sad chapter in this story is that one of the students completed his book, and has it published on Lulu and shortly after publishing his work passed away.  His book of poems is available for sale on Lulu, which has been a great consolation for his relatives, who know that he left something for his future generations.

The gift of knowledge and experience is something that is priceless, and knowing that these individuals in the class have the ability to author a book that focuses on something they want to share is also priceless.  The fact that Lulu provides a platform for these individuals to express themselves makes them feel useful.  This, according to author Elie Wiesel, in his book “Night,” is something that can make the difference between life and death.

With Lulu as part of that platform, I’ve been able to make a great impact on the future independent authors; young heart, old smart.


With a combined 35 years of experience as a military officer, federal civilian and private industry combined, along with periodic teaching at the secondary and undergraduate levels, Chris has the perfect combination for writing everything from fiction to children’s books. Take a look at the many different offerings and see if one of these many titles fits your needs. You can contact Chris at chris@grectech.com if you have any questions or special requests.

 

Check out Chris’s Author Spotlight

Pre-Publishing Checklist

Writing a book is hard work. We appreciate just how challenging and time consuming it is to outline, draft, revise, redraft, edit, proof, finalize, and in the end produce a manuscript ready for publication.

And once you’ve finally gotten to that stage, an entirely new set of tasks confront you.

The file will need to be formatted to conform with layout requirements. The basic rule for self-publishing is to layout your book as a PDF, with all front matter and back matter included. There’s a lot of work that goes into laying out your manuscript, like selecting fonts, spacing, inserting page numbering, setting pages to appearing in the correct location (left or right side pages), and orienting all text in the right locations on the page. Most of these elements come down to your personal desires. But there are a few things you absolutely have to do if you want to be sure your book will look professional when you print the physical copies.

Use this checklist to make sure you’ve hit all the critical points for your file prior to uploading:

Print Books:

  • If you create a PDF file for uploading, all fonts must be printable and embedded
  • Pages are sized to match the Book size and are in the same orientation (portrait or landscape)
  • Front matter (Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgment, Table of Contents, etc.) included in file
  • Images sized properly and inserted at 300dpi resolution
  • Margins, header/footer, and gutter are properly set (min 0.5”, 0.5”, 0.3” mirrored)

Once you have your print book prepped and ready, you can easily take the source file and make an ebook. The first thing you’ll want to do is to open the file in Microsoft Word (or your text editing software of choice) and wipe all that formatting you added for printing. All of it can go.

With the file cleared of all formatting, use this checklist to reformat and prepare your file for ebook conversion.

Ebook:

  • Word Files: Remove headers/footer/page numbering
  • Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, are used to indicate titles, chapters, and sub sections.
    • Heading 1 is used for Title (which must appear on the first line of the first page)
    • All heading styles are used sequentially (1, 2. 3) in the document
  • All other text is in Normal Style
  • Automatic formatting turned off, and all automatically created elements removed or added manually (Such as lists or numbering)
  • Images sized approximately 500 x 500 pixels, at 72dpi resolution, and inserted “in line”
  • No text boxes or Borders.

These checklists are not the absolute and final list of things that have to be reviewed when making a book. A number of things can come into play based on the specifics of your project. The best thing to do is to review your files carefully once you’ve uploaded and converted. Then, once you complete publishing, order a copy to review yourself and give it a final look over.

We promise, the first time might seem like an insurmountable job, but with each book you publish, the process gets easier and more intuitive. As always, our support team is ready to help if you run into any problems you can’t overcome on your own.

2017 Book Expo America and Book Con

It’s that time of year again! Book Expo America and Book Con are coming to New York City May 31 through June 2. Come out and get serious about your publishing with a variety of other authors, readers, publishers, and book marketers.

As you would expect, Lulu will have a booth at the Expo, and we’ll be hanging out throughout the event, giving out cool prizes, promoting self-publishing, and enjoying all the terrific events and speakers BEA has to offer.

The Expo includes are range of speakers, including Hillary Clinton on the main stage June 1, as well as Mary Higgins Clark, Neil Patrick Harris, R.L. Stine, and Stephen King throughout the event.

Each day will also feature sessions on a variety of publishing industry. There are so many, I’m not even going to try to list them here. Just head over to the Expo’s Session’s page to find the comprehensive list. For anyone involved in the publishing industry, you’ll find something among these sessions to pique your interests and expand your publishing knowledge.

And if all that isn’t enough, the second half of the event will be the reader driven Book Expo, with their own unique list of speakers, including authors Dan Brown and Bill Nye. Find their complete main stage list here. The two events combine to provide a thorough perspective of the industry from writing and publishing, through to marketing and reading. There is something for everyone at the Book Expo and Convention!

Now that I’ve tantalized you with all those great speakers and expansive list of sessions hosted at the event, I’ve got the best for last.

Of course I mean the Lulu Booth. Come find us at #2258 on the Expo floor. We’ll be there with a bunch of awesome Lulu gear, including notebooks and pens to start planning your next novel, water bottles to keep you hydrated, and an awesome mystery prize for a few of our lucky visitors! Plus we’ll be spinning our prize wheel for give-a-ways and handing out lots of free self-publishing advice.

Please please come see us and help celebrate everything book at the Book Expo and Convention!

 

Maximum Formats

If you’re self-publishing, you have the unique ability to take advantage of all available formats with the click of your fingers.

Most books these days will appear in both print and ebook formats. It’s common to find the newest best sellers showing up on bookstore shelves in hardcover, and some months later in paperback, and later still in the even more economical trade paperback. All the while, the ebook will be available through online retailers.

Oddly enough, this trend hasn’t taken hold in the self-publishing world, despite that producing a book in all format types is astonishingly easy. In fact, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to take a self-published book you’ve already created, and release it in a variety of formats.

The reason is this: once you’ve made one book, once you’ve prepared the files for interior and cover, you’ve done 90% of the work for any additional versions you might like to make. The real challenging work of formatting, doing layout, designing the cover, and actually editing and proofing the book is already done. All you need to do is make additional projects, perform a few format updates, and publish!

Print

Paperback print books are the most common choice among self-published authors. We see the vast majority of books created in the 6 x 9 or 8.5 x 11 sizes. If you’ve opted for one of these sizes, creating a hardcover project will be simple!

With you Print File prepared, follow these steps to create a Hardcover book:

  1. Adjust page sizes – Make certain to set your pages to make the size of your book. Lulu offers hardcover in 6 x 9 and 8.25 x 10.75 for both dust jacket and case wrap.
    **If you made a 6 x 9 or 8.5 x 11 paperback, you will not need to resize your interior file to make a hardcover book**
  2. Update the copyright page – Your new format will need a unique ISBN, so update the Copyright page to reflect that.
  3. Update the cover – Hardcover books have different margins and bleeds for the cover. If you’re using the same cover as the paperback, you’ll have to adjust it to allow for those changes. Also be sure to update the barcode with your new ISBN.

Ebook

Ebooks did not spell the end of printing as some predicted years ago. Instead, they carved out a portion of the market as an accompaniment to printed books. An ebook is a simple means of presenting options for your readers, and is so easy to do, you should absolutely take advantage and create one.

  1. Open your Print File in MS Word – Select all the contents and clear formatting.
  2. Update the Copyright page to include your new ISBN
  3. Set the title, copyright, dedication, and any other front matter to Heading 1
  4. Set all Chapter titles to Heading 2.
  5. Remove all Header/Footer content. Remove all Text Boxes.
  6. Set all images ‘in line’ with text, and all text justification should be set to the ‘left.’

The cover for your ebook can be the same as your print. Just use the front cover alone as the ebook cover, and resize it to match the ebook cover specifications.

Detailed instructions and specifications.

Diversity is incredible important when selling your book, both online and by hand. Think about it like this: you’ll never again lose a sale because the buyer doesn’t want to wait for shipping. They can order an ebook! And the customer who simply loves hardcover books and is willing to spend a little more to get that can do so!

Best of all, making multiple formats can be completely free, and only takes a minimal investment of time and effort.

Don’t wait, get your book out there now with Lulu’s variety of available formats.

Writing with Purpose

Here at Lulu we talk daily about how every person has a story to tell. About the role of publishing in knowledge sharing. About the importance of text in education and business. About how critical it is that we as a culture write down and retain the world around us.

We write for a lot of reasons, but one thing we don’t think about as much is just how crucial writing is for us as individuals. The simple act of writing is in and of itself a special release,  whether we write fiction for pleasure, non-fiction for memories, or manuals to share knowledge, writing unburdens us of something stored inside of us. And in doing so, we offer that something up to the world. We give a little piece of ourselves so that others might enjoy it or learn from it.

Recently, we were reminded of this by someone who persevered through a difficult time thanks to writing. Here is his story:

About a year ago a lot of intense things happened in my life, and I fell into deep depression, and it caused a lot of problems for me and my family. I was really struggling to get out of it. I started to journal things each day, but it wasn’t the same. And my wife would say how she missed the “old me” before I got really depressed for about 9 months. I decided to do both, write something to help myself, but also write something to help her see the me that she married, not the depressed me. I spent the next 6-7 months writing a little bit each day, as much as I could even if it was just a paragraph. It helped me crawl out of the hole that I was in, and it gave me something to look forward to. I finally finished my book a couple of weeks ago, about 7 months after starting it. I’m not sure how to classify the book that I wrote, as it is more of a “this is me in every important way”, and I only intend for my wife to read it.

Thanks to you, and everyone supporting you, I was able to accomplish my goal, and just this week my book arrived at my house and I presented it to her. She spent the evening reading it, laughing and crying (good cries), and it really had a profound effect on me and her. And I couldn’t have done it without you.

This kind of story inspires us and reminds us how important offering self-publishing tools can be. We must not lose sight of the therapeutic benefit of writing regularly, of unloading our problems, our joys, and our fears onto the page.

The world of publishing is ever changing, and in this near-constant upheaval, it is easy to lose sight of the things that really matter. This matters.

We’d like to thank this author for sharing their story, and extend our gratitude to them and all of our authors for doing us the honor of choosing our service to print your books.

 

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)