Articles tagged "share"

Bring on the Reviews!

Thank you, Internet for connecting all of us, all the time. I can’t make any decision without consulting the web for reviews. Need new tires? Find some affordable options and compare reviews. A new computer? Same. Dinner out? More of the same.

Books are different. I’m not going to pick a handful of books and make a choice based on the reviews. Buying books is more subjective. I actually decide whether or not to consider buying based on reviews. Those little stars can be the difference between trying out a new author, or passing them over for someone I know and trust.

5stars

In this way, getting reviews for your book may well be the most important factor in hooking new readers (a good cover and well crafted description being the other elements). The question becomes: how do I get reviews for my book?

The first thing to do would be to tap resources you have on hand, such as friends, family, coworkers, or fellow writers. These are the folks who are willing to read your book and give reviews initially. It’s a great place to get started, particularly if you have a network of authors and fellow writers who can provide honest feedback.

Remember, not all reviews are going to be glowing. But a specific criticism or suggestion can be more valuable than simple praise. This is self-publishing, so a well crafted critical review could be the impetus to revise the work, in the end landing you an even stronger book!

Once you’ve reached out to your friends, family, and fellow writers for reviews, you might consider sources like Publishers Weekly or Kirkus, who offer paid reviewing services. This is a good way to get a “professional” review, but this may not be the most important element in increasing sales and visibility.

In fact, what might matter the most, are the stars. Invesp is a site dedicated to the commerce of opinion, and they present a nice little info graphic (see below) that highlights how important it is to have stars on those reviews. The main takeaway here is that getting 4+ stars can be as important, if not more important, than having a written review from a paid service like Publisher Weekly. Another crucial point this information brings up is review quantity. Most buyers feel confident with 4 to 6 good reviews. What this means is that you don’t actually need a lot of great reviews to get your book that extra attention. Just a few reviews with 4+ stars can be all it takes to start pulling in new readers!

bookheartEither way, as a self-published author, if you hope to have your worked noticed and picked up by new readers, you’ll want as many stars and reviews as you can get. These reviews are the “word of mouth” you’ll need to help find new readers and get them excited for your book.

 

It’s a lot of work, arguably more work than writing the book, but in the highly competitive self-publishing world, getting attention is the cornerstone of growing your book’s readership.

Bonus – Lulu has a section in our Forums called “Shameless Promotion” for, well, shamelessly promoting your book. It’s a great way to get the attention of the Lulu community and test the waters for reviews.

The importance of online customer reviews - editable

 

Infographic by- Invesp

Additional Resources:

Need Some Help Marketing? Ask a Friend

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

Free Access to Author Learning Center

 

Promote Your Book Sale on Facebook

Dearest Lulu Authors,

We are having a site-wide mystery sale at Lulu.com until Thursday. To help you encourage your readers to take advantage of the sale, we’ve created a Facebook graphic for you to share on your Wall. When it shows up in your friends’ newsfeeds, it will point to your profile pic!

Here is the link to the image on Facebook so that you can share it on your Wall: This author’s book is on sale! Hurry, the sale only lasts until Thursday. Happy savings.

 

 

How to Write a Great Press Release

Writing a book is no small feat and you should be proud of yourself for all the hard work you’ve done.  The next step is to let the world know about your story and where they can find it.  A good press release can be just the thing to spread the word quickly and generate some buzz around your work.  But what makes for a great press release?  These 10 tips should help.

Know Your Audience and Stick to the Facts: Most press releases will be read by a journalist.  They aren’t interested in being sold something or helping you drive visitors to your product page.  The best way to increase the likelihood that your release will be picked up is to do as much of the work for the journalist as possible.  Provide interesting facts, numbers, statistics from analysts, or quotes from yourself or your readers.  Do your research and include it in the release – anything you can do to provide unique, interesting information will increase your release’s credibility and its chances of being picked up.

Write in Third-Person: A press release is always written in third person because you are announcing news to a fresh audience and need to make the subject of your release as clear as possible.

Say Who or What in the First Line: Journalists are very very busy and receive tons of releases everyday.  A good release should be able to get your point across within the first paragraph because most journalists only have time to read that far. It isn’t always possible, but if you can mention the subject of your story within the first sentence, better yet, the first word of your press release, you can immediately set an expectation for what the release is about and if it is relevant to the reader.

Keep It Simple: Try to focus on one main point throughout your release – otherwise you risk confusing your reader.  A great press release should make the journalist want to call you to learn more, not scratch their heads halfway through.  A good rule of thumb to help is to keep your release down to one page and around 300 – 500 words.

Call to Action: Every release needs to finish with a call to action.  In many cases, with a book release, the call to action would be along the lines of:  “Jim Brown’s book, The Greatest Book Ever, is available at www.lulu.com.”  Or, “To learn more, visit www.lulu.com.” Without a call to action, readers will finish your release and say:  “Ok, now what?”

Avoid Buzzwords: A journalist is interested in finding the story in your release so they can write their own.  Buzzwords like “innovative,” “breakthrough,” “revolutionary,” are all an immediate turn-off to a journalist.  They are more interested in the facts that can back claims like this up.

Boilerplate: Every press release has a short, two to five sentence paragraph at the bottom called a “boilerplate.”  This is a high-level summary about the press release’s subject material.  For an author, think of it as a brief bio about yourself to give a journalist more information if they need it.  Items like how long you’ve been writing, where you’ve been featured, where readers can find your work, awards and accolades, etc. are all good things to mention in a boilerplate and establish yourself as a reputable source.

Think of a Catchy, Thought Provoking Title and Subheading: I list this close to the bottom because a great press release title should summarize the content of the release in one line.  A clever title can often be just the thing to catch a reader’s eye.  If you can’t think of anything catchy, then try to highlight the most interesting, exciting news from the body of the release. You don’t have to use subheadings, but they can be a great way to give just a little more detail about your release upfront.  This should be complimentary to your title, and aim to further hook the journalist into reading further.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Think of keywords associated with your work and the audience you want to reach.  Good SEO can help drive your release up further in search results on sites like Google and Yahoo!. Simply including keywords relevant to your subject will increase your release’s visibility.

Sending It Out: There are many ways to send out a press release.  I recommend a wire service like PRWeb, PRNewswire, or GlobeNewswire.  Services like this typically charge a one-time fee that lets you use their distribution lists and will let you optimize your release in multiple formats such as a PDF, HTML, or plain text to ensure you reach the most readers.  However, you may have your own list of contacts too.  Emailing a release to a journalist is fine, but remember, you don’t like to be spammed and they certainly don’t.  Emailing a journalist multiple times, addressing them by the wrong name, or sending them content that isn’t relevant to their field of coverage is a sure way to get yourself blacklisted from ever getting coverage from them.

Now that you’re ready to tell the world your story, feel free to use the handy press release template below.  Just copy and paste the layout into a document and plug in your own information. Note the “###” at the bottom.  This indicates the end of the release.  Also, if you mention Lulu, please be sure to include this line at the end of your boilerplate:  “The views and opinions expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Lulu.com or its affiliates.” For more examples, also check out the Lulu press center.

Press Release Template

The Telepathy Standard

Once upon a time, there was a clear distinction between author and publisher.  Despite everyone’s knowledge and expertise, not everyone had access to the tools and resources necessary to make content public. Publishing was a closed system. Now, thanks to the Internet and digital text, publishing is open and more and more opportunities are becoming available to creators, businesses, developers and publishers alike – everyday.

Today we live in a world where it’s possible for someone to share their ideas instantaneously across multiple devices and platforms – electronically or in print.

But what comes next?

Lulu Founder and CEO Bob Young shares his thoughts on that question in the The Telepathy Standard below as he highlights why telepathy is the gold standard by which authors transfer content to their readers and how we are getting closer to that standard everyday with advances in technology.

Guest Author Blog: “In My Eyes, Lulu is the Best”

I’m honored to have Lorraine Holloway-White guest blog today. Lorraine has done well in establishing not only herself, but other authors as well through her website Authors on Show. Lorraine is a leader in the Lulu community and can often be found helping others on our Facebook page. Lorraine feels so strongly about her Lulu experience, that she has asked to write a post for our blog.

Author Lorraine Holloway-White

“In My Eyes, Lulu is the Best”
By Lorraine Holloway-White
Author of A Sceptical Medium

Just over a year ago I was a housewife who was pretty unfulfilled. Today, I am an author, public speaker and natural medium/healer who is well respected the world over.  A lot of this is thanks to Lulu as I am also now a published author.

When I started writing, I was seen on a writing site and signed within a month by an agent, who has sadly turned out to have done nothing much for me. My agents told me to get “well-known” so I set up a site called, Authors on Show (AOS) where I would promote authors and they would promote the site. In less than seven months, we have been voted one of the best sites for writers in the world and reached the final top twenty. Sadly we didn’t win, but what an achievement in such a short space of time. I was also voted for and came 19th in the innovation category in the Twitter Shorty Awards for AOS. I also have a private blog called, A Sceptical Medium, which is also the name of my two self published books. The first book was nominated in the books section of the Shorty Awards and came first.

During the year I have been with my agents, I had lots of people asking where they could buy my books. I had nowhere to send them though as they weren’t published and then I heard of Lulu. In order to give something to people asking, I produced two books from my blog, which also contain excerpts from three other books that my agents are meant to be trying to sell to publishing houses. What an amazing find Lulu was – I cannot praise them highly enough.

Lulu Support and Connect Update

As many of you are aware, a couple weeks back we launched a new forum and knowledge base platform, Lithium. Since then, we have been monitoring the feedback from our users, and thus far the new platform has been received quite positively. In fact, we’ve even seen some of our longtime customers return to the forums that we haven’t heard from in quite sometime – praising the new system.

We also launched Lithium with the objective of creating a clear distinction between “Support” and “Connect“. Our intention is to have the Support page be the home for issues requiring direct Lulu team member involvement, while Connect is meant to be focused on “self-service” support with our knowledge base and community of fellow users. We have reinforced that distinction consistently within Connect, and we have our users helping to reinforce it with newer customers. In the past week, we have seen over 500 posts made to the new boards, and we continue to receive positive feedback on the changes we have implemented.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to solicit feedback from our users, and we’ll be setting up polls to help gather that data. Please check the Connect home page to see the active polls on the right-hand side. We’ll also be looking at ways to increase activity and engagement, and we welcome any suggestions you may have.

Congratulations to the Project Team and all who supported the efforts in getting Lithium launched and off to an incredibly successful first couple weeks.

Lulu Launches New Connect and Support Pages for Improved Help

At Lulu, we succeed when you do. That’s why we look to our community to help us grow, adapt and get better. Always. Today Lulu launched an all new area to the Lulu.com site, Connect! The Connect section is our new forum, knowledge base and idea exchange area, and replaces our previous system. We’re quite excited about the improvements this update is offering, including enhanced navigation, speed, and an improved content structure.

The New Connect page

Additionally, it is a launching point for our newly revised Support page. We are striving for ease and speed in getting you the type of help you need, and the Support page is focused on emailing or chatting live with the Lulu customer service team. The link for Support is presented in the upper right-hand corner of every page, which will help you access important tools and resources you may need to reference. Our customer service team is dedicated to responding to you with the best solutions for your needs — whether you’re here to make or find something remarkable.

Screenshot of the new Support page

The New Support Page

While launching Connect and our Support page, we want to clearly distinguish between the functions of the areas served. Connect is designed to be your home for interacting with other Lulu customers, browsing our knowledge base, and sharing new ideas. It’s a self-service option that also hosts our community and will help you find great solutions. In the past, the forums have served as a place to post to get assistance from Lulu team members, as well as fellow customers. Moving forward Connect and Support will be separated so you can more easily get the help you need. That said, this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help there, or that I’m going anywhere.

Connect continues to be the home of our community, and Lulu team members will still be present there, but it’s not the place to resolve specific cases. The focus moving forward for Connect is one of collaboration, building resources for our customers and helping our product team understand your needs. Feel free to browse our comprehensive knowledge base for answers to your questions about Lulu, join the conversation, or start one of your own, to share ideas, ask questions, make friends, and learn something new.

When it comes to issues that need a team member response to a technical matter or quality concern, we encourage you to use the options available to you on Support. Our team of Lulu Specialists can instantly see your customer history and will work to get you the best solutions.

At Lulu, we’re committed to giving you a more enriched experience. Currently, our customer service team has an 81% customer satisfaction rate, and we are improving on that every week. You’re definitely in good hands! Now get out there and Connect with other Lulu customers!

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