Articles tagged "Self-Publishing"

Market Your Book: Developing a Distribution Strategy

Featured_Article_Narrow

In the book business, determining where your target audience shops and how to get your books into those places is called developing a distribution strategy.

While every author wants to walk into their local bookstore and see their books prominently displayed on the selves, there is much more to consider when developing your distribution strategy. Some authors leverage their professional connections to make sales – i.e. book as business card. Others teach classes and sell their books to students and/or attendees. Still others sell their books through their churches or they partner with websites.

There are innumerable ways to distribute your book and it takes some trial and error to find the right distribution channels. Since every book is different, we wanted to see if there was a pattern as to where authors sold their books.

We asked 4000 of Lulu’s best selling authors where they sold their books. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Marketing Series 3 Where to sell your books

Distribution channels for authors, both traditionally published and self-published, are changing. With the closing of large brick-and-mortar booksellers, all publishers are reevaluating their distribution strategy. In August 2013, Bowker released a study citing a 5% increase in online book sales in the U.S., up to 44% of total book sales compared to 39% in 2011.

What does this mean for you? As an author, you must focus on your audience and develop the best distribution strategy for them. If you are communicating with your audience through your existing channels or through online networks and communities, Lulu.com’s marketplace can be a strong component of your distribution strategy. If you need to target a broader audience that seeks content all over the Internet and online stores, you may want to expand to additional retail distribution channels.

Getting Your Book Noticed

E-book Formatting Fairies did a survey of readers in August 2013 that revealed fantastic insights into how readers perceive books and authors. We’ve compiled a few highlights of their findings below:

  • 95% of respondents were more likely to buy a self-published book from an author who is known to them.
  • When asked where readers get information about new books, Facebook came in first place.

Lulu-Marketing-Your-Book-eBook28web-final29_docx__Compatibility_Mode_

  • When readers were asked where they get information about their favorite authors, Facebook and author websites were virtually tied.  These findings reinforce the need for author’s to create and maintain author platforms that incorporate both social media and author websites.

Lulu-Marketing-Your-Book-eBook28web-final29_docx__Compatibility_Mode_

What Should You Do?

Ask your readers or people in your target market how they discover new books and where they shop for them. The answers to those two questions are the key elements in developing your distribution strategy.

Key Takeaway

Create an online presence from which potential readers can learn more about you and your book.

Additional Resources

Know Your Audience

Find Your Audience

Build Your Online Marketing Presence

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation

Market Your Book: Finding Your Audience

Featured_Article_Narrow

Build your audience and sell more books with these tips from successful Lulu authors.

In our last article on marketing, we talked about knowing your book’s target audience. Now it’s time to go out and get them. We asked 4000 successful Lulu authors how they found the audience for their book.

Here’s what they said:

Marketing Series 2 Finding Your Audience

Most authors wrote for audiences they either consider themselves to be a part of or groups whose needs and shopping behaviors they have familiarity. This made the process of determining how to reach their audience easier because they had an idea which marketing channels would most effectively grow their reader base.

Is this true for you? For example, if your book is on health and fitness and you have identified your audience as other like-minded fitness enthusiasts, you may already know several websites these enthusiasts regularly visit to learn about fitness and to make purchases.

If you are writing for an audience you do not know that well, you are not alone! Nearly a third of authors conducted online research to discover what made their audience tick and how to find them. They identified pre existing professional networks, organizations and online communities to reach readers who would be interested in their content.

What Should You Do?

Make a list of and, if possible, join professional networks, organizations and large communities to promote your book. Remember, pitch the hook not the book. Start out with your area of expertise, then mention your are an author.

Key Takeaway

Often, bestselling independent authors are a member of the group for which they are writing. If you are not, research ways to discover their interests and reach out by joining and participating in their communities.

We Are Orlando: Stories Lost

We are OrlandoLulu was founded in 2002 to provide a better way to publish books. Our goal was to tear down the barriers that prevent people from sharing and benefiting from their stories, experiences and knowledge. Fourteen years later, nearly one million authors from all walks of life and nearly every country on the planet have written and published their stories on Lulu.

It is our belief that we all have common stories of struggle and perseverance, stories of defeat and victory despite the odds, as well as stories of faith, family, and love. When shared, our stories help us see our similarities and understand our differences. They bring us together through a universal desire for a safe home for our families, plentiful food, clean water, loyal friends, and hope for a happier future. Our common stories are the glue bonding us together into a human tribe.

This past weekend, 49 LGBT people were murdered in an Orlando nightclub. 53 others were injured. The lives of the victims’ families and their innumerable friends will be forever changed – as will those of the shooter’s family. How many stories came to an end that night? How much knowledge did we lose? How will our human tribe heal and come back together?

In the wake of these events, Lulu continues to believe that there is a better way. Our collective stories tear down the barriers that separate me from you, us from them, ours from theirs, the familiar from the strange – but only if we are willing to hear and learn from them. By passing along our knowledge and telling our stories we truly come to know each other, appreciate love in all its glorious forms, and cherish the diversity of our human family.

With profound sadness, the Lulu family mourns the loss of these lives. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families, friends, and survivors of this tragedy. Most importantly, we send our love to Orlando and the LGBT community. Although the world seems to be a little less beautiful today, we have faith that a tragedy can be transformed into a story of hope and love.

Tell your story.

Change the world.

eBook Distribution: Understanding Your NCX or eBook Table of Contents

Featured_Article_Narrow

4-22-16_Lulu_Yearbook_pdf

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.
ebook-creator-guide

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

Guest_Blogger_Narrow

 

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.

wolf pear

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

 

Entrance 1

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.

 

UA-30214-1