Articles tagged "writer"

From the Vault: Giving it Away – How Previews May Help You Sell

This post was originally put up back in February 2008,  but a lot of the advice rings true today. With so many new e-devices popping up on the market, readers are finding more and more ways to discover and purchase content. Offering a free downloadable preview is a great way to help a reader make the decision to push the “purchase” button. Enjoy the original post below:

I tend to come across a lot of material on the site because of my job. Sometimes, it’s because I’m looking for something to buy, other times I am checking out whether it’s in violation of our membership agreement, and still others I am looking for content to highlight. Regardless of the reason, I am often surprised by how much of it lacks a preview.

According to Chris Anderson, author of the “Long Tail“, on average, 500 copies of a book are sold per year. For a self-published author, selling 500 copies in a year is considered a huge success, but how do you get 500 people to buy your book when most of them haven’t ever heard of you? The simple answer is to let them read it.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Get the Word Out

Email your friends and colleagues:

Email is a great way to get the word out on your book, and who better to support you than those you already know. Explain why you wrote the book and what it is about. Be sure to include a link to your book on Lulu so they can click through and make a purchase. You can use your personal email provider or use the handy email button included on every Lulu product page.

Lastly, ask the people on your list to forward the email on to their friends and colleagues. Think of it this way – if you send an email to 100 friends, family and colleagues, and half of them send it on to another 10 people, you will reach 600 people – quick and cheap. Just take care to be respectful and don’t spam people with your book with too many emails. That can be a pretty quick turn off.

Contact your local newspaper:

Local journalists are always looking for new and interesting things to report on, so help them out by approaching them with your story. serves as a directory for newspapers worldwide. Just select your state or country to find local newspapers in your area. Here are some tips on how to increases the odds of being featured:

  • Research the newspaper’s staff and identify the editor who would be most interested in the subject matter of your book based on their field of coverage (don’t send your book on murder mysteries to the international affairs journalist).
  • Have an angle: Pick one or two ideas that could be the lead-in for the story and why you think readers will find this interesting.
  • Have family, friends or coworkers read your pitch and make tweaks based on their questions and feedback.
  • Email the editor and follow up with a phone call.

Outreach like this can go a long way in gaining important exposure for your book. So, don’t be shy – get the word out!

Find Authors and Readers Like You at Wattpad

Introducing our partner, Wattpad

Read what you like. Share what you write.™

What is Wattpad?
Wattpad is the world’s largest eBook community, and a platform for remarkable writers, just like you, to connect with readers, collaborate with fellow authors, and expand your fan base.

Interview with Shayla Hawkins: Winner of The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest

Shayla HawkinsLast Tuesday, we announced Shayla Hawkins as the winner of The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest. Her microstory, “A Test”, was selected to be included in future copies of John Edgar Wideman’s latest book, Briefs.

When I read the announcement that Shayla Hawkins had won the contest, I couldn’t help but wonder who this amazing talent was. And I couldn’t help but think that others might want to get to know her as well. I was ecstatic when she agreed to answer a few questions for the Lulu blog.

What do you do for a living and what do you aspire to do?
I’m a freelance writer and editor, but my dream is to be a successful novelist so that I can write great stories with memorable characters whenever I want, wherever I want. And, although it sounds silly because there’s no money in it, I would love to have books of my poems published, too, since I was introduced to literature by way of my early exposure to poetry (fairy tales, nursery rhymes, Bible stories, etc.), and the love that I developed as a child for the rhythm, rich language and concision of good poetry remains with me to this day.

And the Microstory winner is…

A TEST by Shayla Hawkins

On April 1, John Edgar Wideman invited aspiring writers everywhere to submit their own microstory for possible inclusion in future copies of Briefs. It was a unique way for this literary master to connect with his readers.

The competition was fierce, submissions plenty and the talent overwhelming. But the time has come to announce the winner of The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest.

We are pleased to say that Shayla Hawkins’ microstory “A Test” was chosen to be  included in a special edition of Briefs. She will also receive a complimentary signed copy of the book from Wideman. “A Test” is about how even the smallest actions of our mundane daily lives are actually tests that we all pass or fail .

A heart-felt congratulations to Shayla Hawkins and special thanks to all the very talented writers who submitted their microstories.

Wideman Contest Winner to be Named Tuesday

John Edgar WidemanOne thing we’ve learned from the Wideman flash fiction contest: There are many talented writers out there. We’re thrilled to have received a large number of entries for the contest. But that volume of quality work combined with Mr. Wideman’s travel schedule have caused a bit of a delay in announcing a winner.

Check back Tuesday when we will reveal the winning entry. Good luck!

The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest

John Edgar WidemanWith his latest book, Briefs: Stories for the Palm of the Mind, two-time Faulkner award-winning author John Edgar Wideman has broken with tradition to partner with Lulu for greater control over the publishing process and a more direct connection with readers.

Briefs is a masterful collage of “microstories” that challenges assumptions about the genre. With a variety of voices, characters and compass points, Wideman unveils a unique structure—hip-hop Zen—where each story provides a single breath, to be caught, held, shared and savored.

Now Wideman is taking publishing innovation with Lulu one step further. With The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest, he’s inviting aspiring writers everywhere to submit their own microstory for possible inclusion in future copies of Briefs. What better way for a literary master to connect with readers than to share space with them in his latest book?

Here are the details: You can learn about Wideman’s storytelling style by getting a copy of Briefs and reading his introduction to microfiction. Then, starting today, submit your own microstory (up to 600 words) to The submission period ends May 1. Anyone can enter. Just summon your creativity and show us your literary prowess in microstory form.

After the contest, Wideman will choose his favorite story. The winning entry will be announced on the Lulu Blog May 14 and include in a special edition of Briefs. The winner will also receive a complimentary signed copy of the book from Wideman.

Have a story to tell? Let us hear your voice and enter the The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest for a chance to be published alongside a literary giant.

Forums – Rubbing Elbows, Virtually.

Forums are virtual meeting rooms where people with an Internet connection from all walks of life can come together and mingle. Think of forums as a party where the discussions are typed out and only one person talks at a time. The people at the party might be writers, photographers, teenagers, single parents, lawyers, pool boys or even sports fanatics.  Each person has a unique point of view and will add something different to the discussion.

Most forums found on the Internet will have a specific theme. There are gamer forums, support forums for people dealing with personal challenges, parenting forums, heck – there’s even a forum for one of my favorite movies.

I know you’re thinking, “Carol, this is all fine and dandy, but why should I care?” The benefits of virtual networking with other people of the same interests are many.  To name just a few: discussing your latest book, tips for book signings and sharing tips on marketing. You can meet people who have already been there, and some that have even done that, learn about new contest opportunities, discuss industry standards, request reviews and just be yourself with other creative folks.