Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fear Not Discovering God’s Promises For Our Lives’

In 2010 I used Lulu to publish my first book, Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises For Our Lives. Then, this year (2011), I decided to give CreateSpace a try when I published Simply Prayer. Although the two POD’s are similar, there are some differences I thought others might like to know about before choosing one or the other. Here’s the breakdown of the two.

Lulu

Cons:

  • Not very user-friendly. It took a lot of time to search through the FAQs and community answers to find out how to put Lulu’s free ISBN on my copyright page. By the time I was finished I had a major headache.
  • Difficult to add Lulu’s free ISBN to the copyright page. I first had to upload my .pdf to Lulu, then have them issue the ISBN (took only a minute or two), then add that to my copyright page and then re-upload the new .pdf.
  • Look Inside! not even an option. Let’s face it, even if you’re buying a book online you want to be able to see between the pages to get an idea if this book is right for you. I did find a work-around, but it’s not the same as having an Amazon Look Inside! right there with the buy button.



Pros:

  • It’s free. This was super important since I’m just starting out and have a very small budget.
  • You’re book will be listed on Amazon. It can take a couple weeks, but it does show up pretty quick. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered those supposed listings with other booksellers often show the book as “out of stock.” Not exactly helpful for distribution.
  • Great cover designer. I was able to design the front and back, then import them as .jpgs into a basic template. Lulu even added spine text, though they did warn me about the possibility of the text wrapping to one side or the other based on the small page count. This was very important to me as I’ve donated my books to church libraries that will be including them on bookshelves.



CreateSpace

Cons:

  • Cover designer difficult to use. I like designing my own covers (though I hope someday to employ someone much better), but I found designing a full cover (front, back and spine) very difficult. The CreateSpace instructions for creating a full cover were a little hard to figure out. Also, CreateSpace refused to add spine text, even though the page count for Simply Prayer was a little larger than my first book.
  • Questioned about picture quality. What I was asked to do was change every picture to “300 dpi” or risk poor print quality. While that might not seem like a big thing, for someone who understands the nature of printing houses it was an irritation because it’s not the dpi that matters. What’s important is the ppi (pixels per inch), which I knew were perfectly fine.
  • Look Inside! feature can take up to 8 weeks. Sure, waiting 8 weeks is better than not having the feature at all, but it does wear on one’s patience.



Pros:

  • It’s free.
  • Very user-friendly. With step-by-step instructions and simple buttons, I didn’t need to read any FAQs or search the community pages to figure out how to upload my book.
  • Easy to add CreateSpace’s free ISBN to copyright page. I was able to get the ISBN before uploading a .pdf, so adding it to my copyright page meant only creating one .pdf for the entire process.
  • Listing on Amazon. Of course, that’s where free distribution ends. If you have the budget, then getting the larger distribution package might be the way to go.



Those are the biggest pros and cons I found between Lulu and CreateSpace. Everything else was similar, as far as I could tell. For those of you who have used either or both, or even someone else, what are your experiences?

Read Full Post »

An alternative to a business cardBusiness cards. Some say you should have them. Others say don’t bother. There are some Independent Authors that suggest using your book as your business card. Personally, I think that would be a great idea if you had a) the money to give your book away and b) a shrink ray. I have neither, which meant one thing. I needed to get creative.

As a Highly Sensitive Person, creativity comes naturally. It’s almost as easy as breathing. That’s why many of us have chosen the careers we are in, because it gives us a creative outlet. Yet, when it comes to marketing ourselves or our product, we can become overwhelmed by the possibilities, choosing either to do nothing or doing the same thing everyone else does. That’s where I was when I was trying to decide if I needed a business card or not.

My first decision was not to bother. Business cards aren’t expensive, in fact you can get free ones from Vista Print if you can’t make your own, but if you’ve ever been stuck with multiple cards that either have an error or just aren’t needed anymore you can understand my hesitancy. I’m an Independent Author who will have multiple books and using a business card to promote them would mean a reprint every time a new book comes out. Of course I could have gone with a plain business card with only my name and contact information, but, for me, it’s about the books.

After guest teaching a Sunday school class, though, I knew I needed to rethink the idea of a business card when one of the students asked for more information about the book and how to contact me so she could “pick my brain.” All I could do was hurriedly jot my contact info on a scrap piece of paper and hand it and a copy of Fear Not! to her. I was pleased she wanted the information, but embarrassed at how unprofessional I looked at that moment.

It was back to deciding how to design a business card that would be “timeless,” yet promote each book I wrote. At first I considered putting a small picture of each book on the card. I gave that idea up when I considered the need for more information about each book and the small amount of space available (not to mention that reprint thing!). I also considered going with just contact info, but I’m convinced I need to promote my books more than myself.

Suddenly I struck upon a very creative idea. Why not a bookmark for each book? If it’s the book that’s important, what better way to promote an Independent Author than with a bookmark? What I love about the idea is that a bookmark is small enough to be carried around in my purse for easy distribution, but large enough to put quite a bit of information on it. Not only that, but, since readers are the target market, what better gift to them than a bookmark? (In my Mom’s case, it’s another one to add to her rather large collection. :D)

I don’t know that a bookmark would work for everyone, or even every Independent Author. What I do know is that HSPs are great at creatively thinking outside the box when we give ourselves time and permission. Finding a creative solution to any challenge, marketing or otherwise, is one of the great things about being an HSP on The Road to Writing.

Read Full Post »

As those of you who have been following along will know, I’ve been working with the BookBuzzr people to test out whether their service was a better choice for me as an Independent Author versus Scribd. After looking over their services and comparing stats from both, I’ve come to one conclusion… neither one is perfect for my needs when used alone. It’s not that either one is just a bad service, it’s that each one has different things I really like and things I wish were better.

Just looking at the stats, I’ve had 112 reads on Scribd since uploading my excerpt on April 13, 2010, and 203 full screen views (800 widget views) on BookBuzzr since May 4, 2010. If I looked only at the stats, then BookBuzzr would be the clear winner, but there is more to marketing than that. I need detailed information for one. I can get those details easily on Scribd, but BookBuzzr only gives totals (and yes I read each entry in the FAQ looking for info on getting more detailed stats with BookBuzzr).

I also liked that Scribd was so easy to upload my document to. With BookBuzzr I had to fill out three pages of forms, upload a .pdf version of my book excerpt and then a .jpg of my cover. I then received an error message that said something about my file either being too big or in the wrong format so it wouldn’t be converted. A day or so later I received an email that said my book had been converted into the BookBuzzr format. Huh? When I checked it out my book was there, just as the email said, so why the initial error message?

In marketing techniques, however, BookBuzzr was the clear winner since Scribd doesn’t have any marketing options included. With Scribd you have to do all of it on your own. BookBuzzr has numerous ways available to market your book from mini-widgets you can use just about anywhere…

www.bookbuzzr.com

…to automated tweets when your book excerpt is read. It all makes marketing your book just a little bit less stressful, which is all to the good for every busy writer since our main occupation is to write, not sell.

The main issue I’ve had with BookBuzzr is in it’s claims that their widgets can be easily shared in a variety of places. As ongoing readers can attest, I’ve had my share of difficulties getting their mini-widget to “stick” to a blog post intact. I have to thank the tech people at BookBuzzr for staying with me as we worked to solve that particular problem.

In that process I also found out that the larger widget cannot be shared on just any wordpress blog. You must have a wordpress.org blog for it to work. Sorry, but if you’re using wordpress.com BookBuzzr can’t be shared to your blog and you can’t put it in your sidebar as they say you can in their FAQ. I hope they will change that entry soon to let people know that little fact before the next person to try the share option is as disappointed as I was.

On the other hand, the widget works beautifully on my Facebook profile. It even has its own little spot on the sidebar that encourages visitors to “grab it.”

As for their claims to have an email signature authors can use, as best as I can tell it only works with Yahoo!Mail, at least easily. For any other email client you have to do a bit of work to put the widget in your signature. For instance, if you use Gmail, like I do, then you must:

1. Open the BookBuzzr.com / fReado.com website in Firefox
2. Login to your account which leads to ‘My Books’ profile.
3 Open Gmail in another tab of Firefox and click on Compose Mail
4. Click on the flipping book image (i.e. left click with your index finger)
5. Keep your index finger pressed on to the browser and move the mouse-cursor to the new tab. You will see that the image outline moves along with your cursor. When you get to the new tab, release your index finger from the mouse.

Please note that since Gmail does not allow for creating a default BookBuzzr signature you need to repeat the above steps for every email composed.

That seems like a lot of work to me. The other drawback is that you have to use a particular browser. Since I only use Google Chrome, that’s not going to work. I hope, again, that BookBuzzr will fix that problem in the near future.

Lastly, my attempt at sharing via the main widget to Twitter sort of garbled my book title: Fear-Not:-Discovering-God\’s-Promises-for-Our-Live. It should read Fear Not: Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives. It’s a minor thing, but one this perfectionist didn’t like. The auto tweets, though, have all looked just fine: My book ‘Fear Not: Discovering God’s Promises f…’ was viewed in the last 24 hours on #BookBuzzr by 7 Readers.

I like the ease of uploading and the ability to get detailed stats from Scribd, but doing all the marketing on my own takes up time I need to work on other projects. I like the marketing gadgets available with BookBuzzr, though I can’t use them all due to technical issues. In the end, until BookBuzzr makes everything easy to use across a lot more platforms, I’ll be using both to grab the attention of wayward travelers on The Road to Writing.

Update


For Further Reading:

3 Ways To Boost Potential Book Sales Using Samples

Read Full Post »

Okay, so if you’ve seen the previous post, then you know the mini-widget is working when I’ve added text first, then copied and pasted the code. In this post I re-published the content of the previous post, then went back to edit the text. Wish me luck…

www.bookbuzzr.com

Well that’s just awesome! It’s working just as it’s supposed to. Thanks, tech guys!! I’ll be doing a full review of BookBuzzr on May 29. Stay tuned!

Read Full Post »

Okay, so if you’ve seen the previous post, then you know the mini-widget is working without me writing anything to go along with it. Now I’m going to try adding the mini-widget to this post after I’ve written something. We’ll see how it goes…

www.bookbuzzr.com

Read Full Post »

www.bookbuzzr.com

Read Full Post »

According to the tech team, the reason the mini-widget did not work in the previous post regarding BookBuzzr was due to an incomplete code. Hmmm… I’ve copied and pasted the full code several times into this post only to have some of it disappear each time I hit publish. So it’s back to the techies to see if they have any idea why that is.

As I said before, I really like the idea of BookBuzzr, but I’m not sold yet. I’ll let everyone know the full details May 29, so keep reading.

www.bookbuzzr.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »