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LuLu-'How to start' Blog

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy Talk' started by Tom, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    Created by luluexperts on 07 Jun 2005 [16:10 UTC]
    Last modified 06 Sep 2005 [16:07 UTC]

    How to start

    Now that I've settled into my new place, I thought I'd write a small piece about how to start with publishing here. Where to start? Let's start at the beginning.

    It's a fact of life that the majority of publishers here now use Microsoft Word. It's not a difficult thing to work with if your documents are easy and even if you don't use the template Lulu supplies you, it's not difficult to set up page sizes and margins in the tool. The biggest stumbling block is just writing. Here's a few tips.

    1. Turn off spell and grammar check. You'll create faster because you won't be editing as you go, which slows you down.
    2. Use a font that is at least 10 point, single-spacing, and full justification. This is not a manuscript, it's input to a final product. If you want a manuscript, create to copies of the book.
    3. Use Heading 1 style for new chapters, Heading 2 for subsections of the chapters, and Heading 3 for sections below that. I don't recommend going below 3 headings.
    4. Don't edit until you've finished writing. Again, if you edit as you go, you may never get past chapter one.
    5. Edit at least 3 times. In fact, have someone else do one for you. If you do this, you'll catch at least 90% of your errors. If you're not comfortable editing your own work, ask someone else to do it for you.
    6. Make sure your chapters start on odd pages. That's the industry standard and your book will look more professional.
    7. Carefully inspect your Table of Contents and Indices. This is the weakest part of the Word program and you may have to adjust your text appropriately. In fact, some problems may force you to edit the index to make the fix.
    That's it for now. Next time I'll talk a little about other things in preparation for actual publishing.

    Julio J. Vazquez

    Posted on Tuesday 06 of September, 2005 [16:07:44 UTC]

    Promoting Your Book: Creating the Hype

    Writing your book seems easy compared with the self-promotion aspect. There are so many readers, how do you know the ways to promote your book? The answer is: It depends on the author. There are hundreds of different ways to promote your book.

    Some tips may work for you; others may not, but give them a try. You’ll never know until you do.

    1. Create your own webpage. Authors with a web presence are more likely to sell their books.

    2. On your webpage or off, begin collecting an effective mailing list. Be sure to recruit only people you know want to sign up. Don’t spam.

    3. Network with people who have similar interests. You never know who knows someone. Conventions are great ways of networking.

    4. Niche Marketing - what groups would your book appeal to? Join a few, and then in conversation, drop a hint of your book.

    5. Business Cards - They’re not just for businesses anymore. You can make your own “book” cards. Buy either the ready-made cards, where all you have to do is design them, or buy heavy cardstock paper and make your own.

    6. Post Cards - While I’ve never tried this method, I know people who have. It’s a more expensive method of promotion.

    7. Join Writers Groups as well as book discussion groups.

    8. Publish short works in e-zines, e-anthologies or Short Story Publications. They pay little or not at all, but the exposure is amazing. Think of a short story or poem as a “teaser” to your best work. Make people want to read more.

    9. Write editorials and other articles. Send them out all over the web - be sure to include your URL and a brief (2-3 sentence) biography.

    10. Make friends with local “Mom and Pop” bookstores. They’re usually willing to put a few books up for consignment, it’s the local child done well thing. :)

    11. Always carry some form of promotional piece with you wherever you go. Bookmarks (you can make them yourself) go over well, as do the business cards.

    12. Ask local newspapers to feature you and your book for the same reasoning as the Mom and Pop bookstores.

    Give a few of these methods a try. You never know what will work. More links and methods are posted on the Poetry Corner Forum, so if you have more tips and tricks, feel free to post them there.
    Posted on Tuesday 07 of June, 2005 [16:18:49 UTC]

    Promote Your Book: Eight Easy Suggestions By Erika Dreifus

    1) Design or update your e-mail signature so that everyone who receives e-mail from you (willing recipients, of course!) is reminded about your fabulous feat—and where to find it.

    2) Consider participating in online discussion groups that relate to your book's area of interest. You'll likely learn from others and expand your own sense of your subject matter while presenting yourself to a broader audience at the same time. For example, if you're writing a children's book, you'll be able to find plenty of parenting, writing, and education-related groups. While blatant self-promotion isn't ordinarily welcome in these settings, including an e-mail signature or "tagline" with a link to your book or services is generally considered within the limits of good online etiquette. Be sure to check the rules of participation for any forum you might consider joining.

    3) Update your bio notes in any forthcoming articles to include information about your new book (if editors are amenable). It doesn't hurt to ask. I've been lucky to find generous, flexible editors who have accommodated me in this way.

    4) Especially if your book is nonfiction, consider selling excerpts to print and/or online magazines. Don't forget to include the necessary reference(s)/link(s) in your bio note!

    5) Submit the news about your book (again, including the information on where to find it) to your alumni association publications. Most provide directions on how to do this, either within the publications themselves, or on the relevant institution's Web site. Some even include book review sections featuring books published by alumni, so look into this publicity possibility as well. And don't forget any graduate school degrees. Sometimes graduate schools have their own, separate "notes" and publications worth targeting.

    6) Consider other professional and community resources. Does your company publish a newsletter? Your church? Let your collegial editor know about your newsworthy accomplishment. Volunteer to hold a "meet the author" event for a local library, bookstore, and/or writing group. Often, that organization's coordinator will handle the publicity.

    7) Check your calendar. Do you already have conferences, classes, or seminars planned? In that case, you have built-in audiences for your ideas and your work. Will there be book exhibits at the conferences? Find out how your book can be included. If you're teaching a class on a subject related to your book, bring a few copies you might be able to sell. If that seems inappropriate or makes you uncomfortable, be sure you have some business cards on hand—again with a link to the website where people can find and purchase your book.

    8) You wrote a book. Surely you can write a press release! If you need help, you can find plenty of useful guides, including MarketWire's "Writing a Press Release" and the "Press Release" section of _Now for the Hard Part: Marketing Your Book_, by Rachel Toor and the Lulu staff (you can download this for free at http://www.lulu.com/content/55244). For distribution tips see also the "Press Releases 101" post in the Lulu "Powerposters Blog".

    You may not find as many sales—and they may not come to you quite so quickly—as you could capture with Oprah's assistance. But especially if you're just starting out in the world of book promotion, and you're on a limited budget, some of these steps may suit you just fine.
    Posted on Tuesday 07 of June, 2005 [16:15:26 UTC]



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