People make a lot of books with Lulu. In fact, thousands upon thousands of titles are published to Lulu.com every week. While that’s a few too many books for us to read, we do know there are three things a writer needs to keep in mind to ensure their book is one readers will want to buy. If you’re among the writers preparing to publish a book this year, these three tips will be key factors in your success.
1. Know who your ideal reader is before you even start writing.
Readers are faithful people. Faithful to genres, writing styles and specific authors. If you don’t already have a reader base, determine who your reader is, what they like and expect from a book, and write for them. Having your readers in mind will go a long way toward helping you craft a better story and ultimately market your book as effectively as possible. In the end, this reader is your customer and the more you know about them, like where they shop, the better off you’ll be.
2. Once you have 10,000 words or so drafted, solicit feedback from people whose opinion you value.
Ideally, these people will either have a lot in common with the group you’re writing for or will actually be one of your ideal readers. The key to getting valuable feedback is to ask for specifics. Ask one friend to tell you what character they like best and why. Ask another to tell you what aspect of the story needs more development. Ask a third to point out gaps in the narrative that were distracting or that took them out of the story. Once you’ve finished the manuscript, ask another friend to proofread. Don’t be afraid to ask the same questions you asked previously now that your book is closer to being finished.
Remember that the goal is to publish a great book. Asking for trusted reader feedback along the way is the key to doing just that. Services like Wattpad, Figment and Medium are terrific ways to get reader feedback as well. Bear in mind that the feedback you get from these services may vary in its usefulness since it’s not necessarily coming from people you know.
3. Make your book available in print and electronic formats, and get your books into as many distribution channels as possible.
The math is simple: the more products you have in the marketplace and the more places they’re available for people to buy equal a higher potential for sales. Print is alive and well, and not just among specific sets of readers. People of all ages and readers across all genres are buying print books right alongside their collection of ebooks. The Guardian recently reported that 62 percent of 16-24 year-olds prefer print books to ebooks. As for making the most of the distribution channels available to you, Lulu’s data shows that authors who put their books into distribution make nearly twice as much money per book than those authors who don’t opt for distribution. The best part: Lulu’s distribution service is free.
Sure, there’s more that contributes to the overall success of your book, like having an awesome book cover and making sure your metadata is right. But, if you follow these three pieces of advice you’re well on your way of accomplishing your mission to create a book readers what to buy.
Dan Dillon is the director of product marketing for Lulu, the company that pioneered the self-publishing industry and paved the way for people around the world to publish books and bring them to market, while allowing authors to retain full control of their work. Lulu has enabled people in more than 225 countries and territories to self-publish nearly two million publications. For more adventures in self-publishing, read Lulu’s blog.