Articles tagged "write"

Make More Off Your eBook by Selling it for Free

In recent weeks, we’ve made some pretty big announcements about eBooks: an industry best 90/10 revenue split, distribution to Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, a handy new Word to EPUB Converter, and a new Manage Distribution page that lets you opt-in and opt-out of retail channels with the click of a button.

We’re on such a roll, why stop now?  The opportunities eBooks bring to reach new readers is so great, we just keep looking for ways to enhance our e-offerings even more.

Today, we’re happy to announce another eBook feature to give you more selling flexibility over your digital works:  Free pricing.  eBook authors can now distribute and sell their eBooks in the iBookstore with a price tag of $0.00.

Right about now I’m sure you’re asking: “How will being able to sell my eBooks for free get me more sales?”  Well, the answer is simple:  Everyone loves free.  Heck, we’ve built a business off the principle with our free publishing solutions.

So far we’ve seen authors use free pricing in a number of clever ways to better market their works:

  • Free eBook Previews: Letting your readers sample the first chapter or two of your eBook is a great way to get them hooked on your story and more likely to but the complete work.
  • Supplements to Your Print Version: This is a great way to keep your fans interested in your work, even after they’ve finished reading it.  A free supplement could include character bios, background details on how you started your story, etc.  Think of it almost like your own creator’s commentary for your book.
  • Word of mouth: In an article in the Guardian, best-selling author Cory Doctorow says nothing sells books better than word of mouth. “Personal recommendations…enabled by freely copyable eBooks act as a force-multiplier…by letting readers make informed guesses about who else will like it, and giving those readers a persuasive tool for closing the sale.” Most readers buy a book because someone recommended it to them.
  • Impulse buying: Doctorow goes on to say that “the Internet’s attention span is about five minutes, so unless the reader can do something affirmative to acquire the book within five minutes of being enticed by the eBook, there is a good chance they never will.”
  • Best-seller Lists: Remember, most e-readers count and display best-sellers on actual units sold, not how much money the author has made. According to the New York Times, currently more than half of the best-selling eBooks on some of the most popular e-readers are available at no charge.   Getting to the top of the best-seller list guarantees better visibility.

So there you have it, you’re now free to play around with your pricing however you want to better reach your readers.  To learn more, or to start your own eBook with just a few clicks of a button, visit our eBook publishing page.

 

Lulu Short Story Contest

The Lulu Short Story Contest is here and starts right now!

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a great time to put your nose to the grindstone and try to complete a 50,000 word novel in under 30 days.

But we got to thinking: over 200,000 authors participated in NaNoWriMo last year and only 30,000 actually made the deadline.  That leaves 170,000 dedicated and talented folks high and dry.  That’s a whole lot of creativity to waste.  So why not make things easier?  After all, creativity is about quality, not quantity.

Thus, the Lulu Short Story Contest was born…

Throughout the month of November – all the way to December 1st – anyone can participate in our Short Story Contest and take the pressure off the creative process.  Better yet, we want to help folks see their creativity available to the public as quickly as possible too, so we’re gonna help you create an eBook out of your short story that’ll go live in the iBookstore and on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK.

How to play:

  • Write a 600 word short story using our handy eBook template.  Download the template here.
  • Follow the list of things you don’t need to worry about available here.
  • Upload your work to Lulu.com and send it through the Lulu ePub Converter
  • Make sure to set your work to public availability and set to “sell on Lulu, the iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and more.”
  • Once published, submit a link to your eBook’s product page, along with your name and registered Lulu email address to SurveyMonkey to help us track submissions and claim your 20% off coupon.  Once submitted, you’ll receive a notice within Survey Monkey confirming your entry.
  • Feel free to promote your contest submission on our Facebook and Twitter (#nanowrimo) pages too

What about prizes?!?!

This is the best part.

First place:

  • $500 cash
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK
  • Feature in Lulu Staff Picks and Lulu Blog
  • Free mentions in upcoming Lulu publicity
  • Professional review of your work

Second place:

  • Barnes & Noble NOOK

Third place:

  • $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble

All participants:

  • 20% off coupon for next purchase on Lulu.com

Winners will be selected by a panel of Lulu judges and announced mid-December after review of all submissions.  Bring on your remarkable stories for a chance to win some amazing prizes!



No purchase necessary.  U.S. only.  Prize packages for the Lulu Short Story Contest include:  First place prize of $500, a Barnes and Noble NOOK, publicity in upcoming Lulu materials.  Second place prize of a Barnes and Noble NOOK.  Third place prize of a $100 gift card to a Barnes and Noble retail store location.  All participants will receive a 20% coupon good for their next purchase at Lulu.com.  The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on December 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! We can only accept English-language content.  While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.  Lulu also reserves the right to make any short story submitted publicly available and to make small edits to content to aid in distribution to third-party retail stores.



 

Opinion: Is there an eBook “eZone?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other day, I was encouraged via Twitter to view the following video of New York Times bestselling author Seth Godin. The video is a sneak peak for the documentary PressPausePlay in which Godin describes his reasoning for self-publishing an eBook that took him 10-12 days to write. Godin raises a lot of interesting questions about modern publishing in this short video. An interesting question he raises is one that all self-published authors have to address at one time or another, namely: “I finished the book … ‘now what am I going to do with it?’”

As Authors today, we have many choices for delivering our content. We can try our luck and go the traditional route; we can self-publish it as a paperback; we can upload it to a blog; we can publish it as an eBook and distribute it to places like the iBookstore℠ or NOOK Bookstore™, etc, etc, etc. With all these choices, it can be hard to decide where and how to distribute your work.

Having published in different formats, I recently asked the question: is there an eBook “eZone?” Inspired by the “Goldilocks Zone” in planetary astronomy, the eBook eZone represents the length of written content that is too long for a blog post but too short for a printed book. It is the length of content that seems “just right” to be published electronically and made available for download at a minimal fee (or even made available for free). Keep in mind that any length of content can be made into an eBook (with at times unwieldy long books being easier to read electronically, as described here). When I talk about the eZone, I mean college papers, short stories, poetry, magazine articles – content that you’re proud of that didn’t really take you that long to write (relatively speaking) and when you see it sitting idle on your hard-drive you ask: “what am I going to do with it?” From a reader standpoint, eZone eBooks are those titles on your eReader that you can finish on a short train ride, regional flight, or in the time it takes to fall asleep.

Besides content length, the eZone also represents a sort of “sweet spot” between timeliness of content (how current the topic may be) and the time you have invested in writing and researching the content. The above infographic is what I believe the eBook eZone may look like. This infographic is by no means scientific nor does it take into account variables like genre, type of content, etc. The infographic exists to help visualize a point, namely that there may be a confluence of content length, content timeliness, and the amount of time one can devote to writing a title that makes eBooks the ideal vehicle for distributing content.

I figured it would also be helpful to point out some of my reasoning behind this infographic. Problogger.com reports that a typical reader “spends 96 seconds reading the average blog” – giving writers a “96 window of opportunity” to capture a reader’s attention. If the average American Adult has a reading speed of 300 words per minute, then it is reasonable to assume that a typical reader will focus his/her attention, on average, to around 450 words on a typical blog (I have just pasted that threshold, so congratulations loyal reader for being above average). The page length I selected for printed books was less about attention span and had more to do with printing requirements. A U.S. Trade perfect bound paperback book can have a page length of between 32 and 740 pages – anything above that would require a different format. Timeliness of content and the time invested in writing a book are very subjective criteria and are hard to measure. Everyone writes and researches at different rates. Some people like Seth Godin who are content machines can hammer out five best-sellers in the time it would take me to write one sub-par manuscript. So the intersection where timeliness of content and time invested is subjective – but a reality worth addressing nonetheless.

In short, the eBook eZone is a theory. If may turn out to be completely wrong. I just hope that authors test it out, find their writing comfort zones, and publish their content in as many formats as possible. You have many choices, make sure to find the format that’s “just right” for you!

Scarytelling Spooktacular


October 31st and all-hallow’s eve are fast approaching.  The ghosts and goblins are just waiting to come out and create some mischief, but we can’t let them have all the fun.  To get us all in the Halloween spirit, tomorrow, Oct. 18th, we’ll be hosting a scarytelling contest, where the winner will get 30% off their next purchase at Lulu.com.

To play, just visit the Lulu Facebook page and add onto the scary story we post on our wall.  We’ll even help get the ball rolling by providing the first line.  All you have to do is keep the story going.  The comment with the most likes will win! Easy, right?

So thrill us, chill us, and write us your best scary story.  Big savings await the ghoul who wins.  Happy Halloween!

No purchase necessary. The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expire on December 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.

“Butterfly in the sky…”

LeVar Burton, doing what he loves.

So, last night I found the picture below on the often hilarious shirt.woot.com. I was suddenly flooded with memories of my favorite show as a kid: Reading Rainbow. Sadly, I realized that, before last night, I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I even thought about this program. Then it dawned on me…the entire reason I like books, love writing, and work at a self-publishing company isn’t because of all the Hemingways, Faulkners, and Emersons – it is because of one man: LeVar Burton.

With his warm, friendly charm, Burton captured childrens’ imaginations each week with fun stories, guest celebrity appearances, and a genuine enthusiasm to inspire kids to read. Without this show, I wouldn’t have discovered greats like Goodnight Moon, Miss Nelson is Missing,The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or Where the Wild Things Are. Even more remarkable is Burton’s 20+ year struggle with dyslexia, which he overcame before auditioning for Reading Rainbow.

It took a silly cartoon to remind me, but Burton really is a true inspiration. He diligently piloted the show Reading Rainbow, helping it win a Peabody Award and 26 Emmy Awards. The man is almost single-handedly responsible for helping four generations of kids not only learn to read, but find the fun in it. My favorite episode was when he went to a hat store. Each hat would magically transport him into the pages of a story. I remember endlessly begging my mother to take me to that shop for the better part of my youth.  I think I speak for several hundred-thousand kids when I say:  Thank you Mr. Burton. Thank you for teaching us that yes, “we can do anything.”

Wonderfully enough, Reading Rainbow will be coming back on an iPad® near you soon. According to Fast Company, Burton plans on revitalizing the show as a multimedia app with games, voiceovers, and over 300 books at launch. “But, you don’t have to take my word for it…”


What’s your favorite Reading Rainbow memory? Did it impact you as much as it did so many other young readers? Feel free to share in the comments below. Also be sure to learn about Lulu’s own literacy program:  Lulu for Literacy.

eBook Distribution 101: Table of Contents

If you haven’t discovered it yet, check out our new Word to EPUB Converter on the eBook publishing page. This is our fastest, most streamlined way yet for you to create an eBook from your manuscript and send it out into the world. Go ahead and play around with it– you can have an eBook for sale in an hour!

The EPUB Converter is a powerful tool, and with great power comes great responsibility– so we’ve written an eBook Creator Guide to help you format your Word DOC into the best shape for conversion. Why should you bother? Think of it as getting your book ready for a race. Sometimes a runner can win after barely training. But most times even the greatest athletes will collapse on the track unless they’ve prepared for the event. (Or, in your case, create an eBook that can’t be sent to distribution channels.) While our wizard isn’t as demanding as a race, a little preparation never hurt anyone, or any book.

One essential retail distribution requirement (which takes little prep work) is to have a working Table of Contents. This Table of Contents is not the same as a print book, but a file inside your EPUB called the NCX. (That’s the Navigation Control file for XML, for technical folks.) The NCX contains links to the sections or chapters of your eBook, which makes for easy navigation between one part to another. It appears on e-readers as a vertical list of links.

A very common problem is an NCX that has only one link named “untitled”. When this happens, your eBook needs to be styled with headings that point out its sections or chapters. Letting the wizard know you need an NCX link isn’t hard: just format the name of each section in your Word DOC as style “Heading 1″. (You can do this through the “Styles” options, listed in the Word tab “Home”.) Then, you can change this style’s settings (font, size, etc.) to reflect the styling of your book. If you want to create subsections, use “Heading 2″ and “Heading 3″.

NCX links that aren’t correct are another problem; for example, a phrase in your manuscript becomes a link in your eBook. This means that parts of your book other than chapter headings are styled as “Heading 1″, etc. Weeding these out is as easy as styling them back to “Normal”. And if you’d like more information on NCXs, our Connect page can help you out.

Of course, always check your EPUB in an e-reader like Adobe Digital Editions to make sure it appears the way you want it to, and it follows the retail distribution guidelines.

Keep playing with the tool, and don’t forget to consult our handy eBook Creator Guide for all things eBooks. Happy e-publishing.

Earn More. 90% Revenue for a Limited Time.

If this holiday season is anything like last year’s, then a lot of people can expect to find an e-reader or tablet from Santa under their trees – 17 million to be exact.  That’s a ho-ho-whole lot of new readers who’ll be itching to fill their digital shelves with new books, so why not make your eBook one of them?

Still on the fence? Well, we’re decking the halls early at Lulu this year and slashing our industry-best 80/20 revenue split on eBooks so you can reach more readers, sell more books,
and earn even more revenue this holiday than
ever before – tis the season right?

For a limited time, all creators publishing new eBook projects will receive 90 percent of the revenue from those projects through January 31st, 2012.

In an industry where most companies work off a 70/30 split or more, we take pride in being a publishing solution built entirely towards author success and freedom.  We want you to be able to share your stories and ideas with the world and, more importantly, make money while you do it.  You pick the price.  You keep the profit.  Just like it should be.

So spread some joy this holiday season by publishing an eBook.  You can sell it to all those folks who got a shiny new iPad® or Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and your tree won’t be the only green you see.

FAQs:

Q: What is a new Publication?

A: New publications are defined as a new project in your “My Lulu” account with a new ISBN.  This also applies to any conversion of an existing print title into an eBook.

Using Your Book as a Business Card

Thanks to the Internet, the world is getting smaller everyday.  People are more connected now than ever, which means there is more competition to stand out than ever.  In a CNN article titled Why Just Being Good at Your Job is Not Good Enough, journalist Mark Tutton talks about how getting lost in this ocean of noise can even have a direct impact on your career.  With so many people so readily available, proving your relevancy may seem next to hopeless.  But it’s not.

Right now, at this very second, you have at your fingertips all the tools and resources you need to do anything. Really.  We live in an age where you can just wake up one morning and decide to cut an album, make a movie, or publish a book and can unleash your remarkable ideas upon the world in an instant.  Gone are the days where you had to maneuver around the various barriers into these industries.  Now, you just have to have some motivation and know where to start. You’re reading this blog too, so you’re already looking in the right places.

Building a successful career begins with knowing your worth.  Lulu is centered around the idea that everyone is an expert in something – no matter if you’re a model train builder, a prized physicist, a world-class chef, or a dedicated couch potato.  Your unique knowledge and experiences are what make you, you, and what better way to share that knowledge and expertise than through a published book?

“Writing a book…instantly establishes your credibility to potential customers and employers” Dan Schwabel, author of Me 2.0, told Tutton.  “You can self proclaim you’re an expert in your field all day long but the book is…your calling card.”

Whether you’re going for a job interview, meeting colleagues at a conference, or working on a big partnership, imagine how much more memorable you’d be when everyone else puts their cards on the table and you sit down your book. Or think about the lasting impression you’d leave if you said:  “Oh, you can find me in the iBookstore and on Amazon.”

“If you look at two resumes and they look the same, but one person wrote a book on the topic you’re interviewing for, you’re going to show more interest in that person,” Schwabel tells Tutton.  “Whether it’s a blog, an eBook or a published book, you’ve got to have something now, and a book has the most credibility.”

To Schwabel’s point, if writing and publishing a book seems overwhelming right now, try starting a blog or anything else that gets your name and your content out there.  You’re building a brand for yourself though, so remember to treat yourself like a business and be respectful of anyone you’re reaching out to.  For more help on marketing your work once you’ve gotten it out there, check out this recent post.

 

Learn How to Publish an eBook with our New eBook Page

If you’ve been poking around the site in the past couple weeks, you’ve probably noticed a big addition. We’ve rolled out our new eBook landing page (pictured below) – your launchpad for reaching a whole new market of readers and selling more books.

eBooks keep gaining in popularity. Readers just can’t resist the competitive pricing many eBooks bring or the convenience of carrying around entire libraries of their favorite titles wherever they go. eBook sales have grown 80% at Lulu alone and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help your books grace the digital pages of your favorite devices and platforms.

Our new eBook page is where you’ll find answers to all sorts of frequently asked eBook questions like what’s the difference between different eBook formats, what’s this “metadata” term mean and why is it so important, and you can learn what your eBooks will need to get into tip top shape for your readers. You can also download our handy new eBook Distribution Guidelines that’ll save you lots of headaches when it comes time to sell through other retail channels.

We’ll keep updating our eBook page with the latest in eBook news and opportunities, so be sure to keep checking back, and as always – happy publishing.

How to Publish a Book the Modern Way

In the past, publishing a book was a closed system, reserved for an elite few.  We all have ideas and expertise, but not all of us had the means or opportunity to share our knowledge and sell our works. Today, there is a new way to publish and sell content for authors, businesses, and traditional publishers alike – absolutely free.  Whether you’re out to make a mint, or just share an idea, Lulu is providing publishers with more options and authors with more freedom.