Articles tagged "write"

“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.

 

Author Success Story: “If I Write It, They Will Come.”

Newly published author Rick Burton has built a career around sports.  Right out of college, he took a job with the Syracuse Post Standard as their sports writer.  He’s worked at the Miller Brewing Company managing public relations for sporting events.  While at ad agency DMB&B, Burton worked with clients such as the NFL and Reebok, and is currently the Professor of Sport Management at Syracuse University.  So Burton is about the last person you’d expect to write a World War II based thriller centered around the exploits of the B-17 100th Bomber Group, much less a great one.

Author Richard H. Burton

“Imagine this unknown sports guy pitching a WWII novel.” Burton says.  “Not only was I 20 years behind the curve of writers like Jack Higgins and Alistair Maclean, but I was entering the publishing industry at a time when the decision to publish an author virtually has to go to the CEO of a publishing company.”

Burton got the idea for his book, The Darkest Mission, while working at Miller Brewing Company after a life-changing chance encounter.  An actual bomber group, wanted Miller Brewing Company’s help staging a 40th anniversary reunion for those serving aboard the bomber appropriately named “High Life.” After meeting the crew, and hearing stories of the supposed “curse” placed on the group, Burton was hooked.

“I started doing a lot of research about World War II bombers and started the process of getting an agent and a publisher,” says Burton. “It became a nice distraction from my day job.  Regular guys golfed – I worked on my book.”

Burton soon realized how quickly the book industry is changing and that if he wanted to go the traditional route, he’d have his work cut out for him.

“If I was writing about vampires, I’d have done fine,” jokes Burton. “Agents and publishers kept telling me:  ‘This is fantastic, but not for us,’ or ‘this is really good, I wish you’d brought it to us 10 years ago.’”

Not to be discouraged, Burton thought back to sports for inspiration, thinking about Michael Jordan and how he got cut from his high school basketball team, only to go on to become one of the greatest players in history.  Burton knew he couldn’t just give up.

“I understand the need for rejection,” Burton says.  “You take the criticism, you make revisions, you get better.  But there comes a point when being rejected doesn’t move you forward anymore.”

So Burton turned to Lulu’s open publishing platform for help and after a year of putting the finishing touches on his work, The Darkest Mission is available to the pubic and is selling quite well – there’s even a production company looking to turn Burton’s work into a movie.  Burton stresses that a large part of his success has come from setting realistic expectations and goals.

“At first I felt kind of like I was selling insurance to family and friends,” Burton laughs.  “But I thought conservatively and set thresholds for myself.  Can I sell 100 copies to people other than family and friends?  200? 500? By meeting these goals a step at at time, you can really feel validated.”

Burton also believes it is important for authors to step away from the “lottery mentality” of publishing, where an author writes a book and just instantly finds a publisher and becomes an overnight sensation.

“The myth surrounding publishers has historically been:  If I write it, they will come,” says Burton. “Great writing will always get picked up, regardless of genre eventually. Luckily places like Lulu exist to make the process easier, and I can move onto book two.”

Be sure to check out Burton’s new book, The Darkest Mission, available on Lulu.com today.