Self-Publishing Book Expo Recap

This past weekend, Lulu.com was proud to once again be a sponsor of the Self-Publishing Book Expo (SPBE), which is now in its sixth year and was held in New York City. Created for authors considering self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing, the expo has expanded and now features lectures, panels and workshops for novice and experienced independent authors. Join me today with a quick Self-Publishing Book Expo Recap!

This year, two members of our team and a Lulu.com author took part in panel discussions throughout the day. Dan Dillon (Product Marketing) led discussions on Team Building, Advanced Marketing and took part in the Ask an Expert panel. While Dan was sharing his expertise, I manned the exhibition booth and moderated the Formatting panel discussion. Even more exciting, Lulu.com author Pascale Kavanagh, author of Fish Tails & Lady Legs, was a featured speaker in the Romance Authors’ workshop.

Glenn Hunt at SPBE 2014
Glenn Hunt at SPBE 2014

Another Year of Self-Publishing Book Expo

This was my second year attending Self-Publishing Book Expo with the Lulu team, and I was happy to see familiar faces from last year’s expo and hear about the progress of their work. While the primary goal of the authors I spoke with was to get published, I noticed that more were interested in hiring experienced editors, formatters and cover designers. Experienced independent authors have learned that a high-quality, professional looking product is even more important now than it has been in the past.

Dan Dillon summed this up perfectly following his Team Building and Marketing seminars: “Building an effective team around a product you are bringing to market is important. By taking advantage of diverse skill sets, authors can more quickly deliver a professionally packaged product and get back to doing what they do best, which is writing.”

Dan also presented some facts to encourage building a team to help polish and market your book:

1. Offer your book in multiple formats

It is key for indie authors to offer multiple formats of their book, and those that do sell 400% more than authors with only one format.

2. Get social

It is essential that authors use their own networks (blog/website) to promote their book, as that is where most sales come from.

3. Make the time for marketing

61% of authors spend less than 5 hours per week marketing their books.

4. Book cover design is important

40% of readers decide what they want to read based on the book cover.

5. Word of mouth is powerful

33% of readers decide what they want to read based on the recommendations of friends. See number 2 above.

Dan Dillon at SPBE 2014
Dan Dillon at SPBE 2014

Having spent the day chatting with authors and exhibitors, my thoughts are that not only has the industry matured, but so have the authors who skip the query letters, repeated submissions and rejection letters. Through self-publishing platforms, such as Lulu.com, authors are publishing what they want when they are ready to publish. If you’re interested in learning more about how to publish and sell more, faster – you can download free resources here: http://toolkit.lulu.com/.

20 thoughts on “Self-Publishing Book Expo Recap”

  1. It would be very helpful if LuLu’s services to authors were not so expensive to use. Self-publishing is not going to make us millionaires so we cannot pay thousands for services. I would like you to rethink lowering your rates and doing more business.

  2. it was great to self publish when the services were free. I got in as a serious writer when the self publishing industry was free. The industry hasn’t offered me much I am however happy to have a bookstore to display when the occasion comes up to show my work for the past seven years. I write because I have something to say. It is a badge of honor I came to develop something from inception to seeing it through in a professional manner. It’s a great opportunity for circumvention of the self publishing companies. Does anyone know how much profit the industry brings in on our backs? I haven’t made a penny for seven years of work. However that wasn’t always the point. I’d like to know how much lulu and author house are making? I bet it’s millions. I often wonder why my books sales are a constant zero even after all the marketing work I do. Hopefully one day in my old age it will pay off. Inventively and potentially the concept and potential of great sale has been my constant draw. I can’t believe the cost today of selfpublishing a single book. It used to be free. Who does the work of producing the books anyway? Let me know some information. Will I be able to leverage my ebook store one day? Is it gaining value? With zero sales over the past seven years does it warrant investing thousand dollars to publish a book?

  3. … not sure where the above comments re self publishing costing thousands comes from … im delighted with Lulu and it didnt cost me a penny to publish my first book Maggie’s Shadow and now available everywhere in print and electronic form … i did all the work myself and when stuck asked for help and Lulu’s response was almost immediate and either the following day or the next providing invaluable insight on how to proceed ~ and free … i’m now marketing myself and have already agreed to place my book on consignment at one indie bookshop and with others ive yet to call … my library opened their doors to introduce me as a local writer and the local paper just printed the event … little by little its happening but it requires diligence and a willingness to promote one’s work … i learn something new everyday and plan to submit my book to many of the self published contests that are now available … i would recommend Lulu to other authors tired of waiting for an agent

  4. I love writing, and have since I first picked up a pencil before I was old enough to go to school. I’m just learning the self publishing world and how to maneuver around it it successfully. True it doesn’t cost anything to write and publish your work. But for those who are just learning about self publishing and need a little bit of help to make sure that their work will be the highest level of professionalism possible in this business, could use a little help. Articles and a bit of communication isn’t always enough. Some self publishing authors live on a fixed income and still more don’t really even have that. I know for me, constantly seeing a zero revenue is very depressing and discouraging. I want to make writing my new and improved career and would love to see more free or even more affordable services available to make that happen. If you happen to have any questions at all, please feel free to email me and I will be glad to elaberate.

  5. Dear Team Lulu,
    I hope you are fine !You website is fun and I would to publish particarly my ebook to book at Lulu since 0ctober I try do it at Lulu but it not easy I need a Cover Design Spine back over and I have my own pictures.
    Draft2digital.com
    My DBA which was sold to 9.99 US $ I reduced it the price up to 1.99 US dollars for readers.
    Inform professors, Rectors, Advisors Tutors all over chek it.
    Regards !
    Dr Cheikh M. Bachir Mbodj
    DBA in Administration AIU Hawaii USA

  6. Lulu should do more by promoting books by Lulu authors online and offline like sponsoring Top 100 New Books on Lulu in The New York Times, Washington Post and have Lulu Books Awards for bestselling books in different categories.

  7. I am more than satisfied with Lulu’s services and website. Like Morrine Depolo said in her comments, I did all of the work myself and the only cost was purchasing the books.I even went on to publish books for others through Lulu.for those authors who are willing to develop additional skills, Lulu is invaluable.I am satisfied, impressed and committed.

  8. I agree that the “Marketing” services at Lulu are too high – that is the only reason I don’t use them. The prices for everything keep inching up … It cost me more to publish my second book than my first. I spend a lot of time on social media – the hardest is getting into bookstores. Lulu doesn’t help much with this either.

  9. If Lulu wants to help us, and them, sell more books, they need to have a space on their book site for editorial reviews and endorsements. We went out and got 7 reviews/endorsements, mainly from well-known NY Times best-selling authors in our field. Lulu won’t put these on our book page.

  10. I am still waiting for some simple things from Lulu to finish that seem to take forever. Regardless of the amount that you have invested in your book all facets have to be working in order to get your book out there correctly. That still has not happened and I sometimes wonder if Lulu even cares.

  11. Unless your book(s) can move up in the queue on websites selling the book; it will never get the visibility it needs to prosper… Visibility is PARAMOUNT.

  12. I have had nothing but great experiences with LULU and my books. I sell my books through direct meeting with people and through social media. To further sales, I have a website devoted just to my publishing. I promote this page whenever and wherever I can. Additionally, I link to a blog of mine when I leave comments at the sites of major newspapers. That directs people to my book page, and I assure you that I sell books that way. One such comment to the NY Times got me almost 500 hits in one day alone. More usual is 20-50 hits. Every day that I leave commentary on news items. Of the people who come to my blog, a percentage click the links within for my books. And I sell (my most popular title with newspaper readers is UNMASKING FEAR).
    Every week, I do an international web-based radio show (it also used to be over the air in Canada) aimed at my specific market segment. They respond well. In fact, I have shipped three books this week alone. I buy the books in bulk from LULU and sell them through AMAZON.COM as well as LULU. When LULU has a sale, like the 30% off now, I plug it all across the spectrum and move books that way too.
    No, I don’t make a fortune. But my books sell. They sell because through LULU they look great, they are top quality, and I control every aspect. In my field, occult writing, the standard royalty is 10%. That is for the newcomer AND the stars in the field. Occult books have a small audience, but a dedicated one. I sell less the way I do it, but make a hell of a lot more than 10%!
    I also use LULU for my free quarterly newsletter – a PDF which people can download at no charge.
    Soon I will be augmenting my media promotions with personal appearances. My “Back of the Room” table will have a wide array of books. All made possible by LULU, which is the most economical and professional of all the services.
    As I have said, LULU is the most important advancement in printing since Gutenberg!

  13. Eliot Camarena, Love the quarterly newsletter idea. I think I will do that.
    As for Lulu, had a great experience here. I have sold almost as many paperbacks as I have sold eBooks at other stores. My readers have been impressed with the paperback that Lulu provided.
    Yes, it took a lot of work getting the format to their specifications but that is part of the game. If you don’t want to fiddle with all that work, then you have to pay for someone else to do.

  14. The average ebook sells 100 copies and the average ebook author earns about $1000. If the royalty is $2 a download, total is $200 minus all expenses. Obviously it is not cost effective to pay for any services, such as cover art and editing. I don’t. People eager to see their work in print are suckers for people who take advantage of their naive egos.

  15. FOR THE MODERATOR:
    I strongly urge you to consider removing the comment from one “Harley L. Sachs.” Such sweeping put-downs as “People eager to see their work in print are suckers for people who take advantage of their naive egos” have no place here. This sounds like a person threatened to the bone by non-traditional publishing.
    LULU is not about sneering negativity, it is about creativity.

  16. I’m new at writing a book so reading everyone’s comments has enlighten me on my sales expectation. I spent more money that I should have. Everything cost more than it should. My experience using Lulu has not been bad. A person must realize that they are there to make money and what they offer will not guarantee a return on your investment. There job is to sale to people like you and I. They did a great job in the production of my book. I was fortunate to work with two really super people.
    Time will tell if I will see a return.
    From reading everyone’s comments, it has made me think of ways to promote my book – Taking Control, a simple approach to World-Class manufacturing.
    I extend to each the very best always and much success.

  17. What Lulu does not tell you about self publishing is that brick and mortar stores will not sell copies of self published books because of the Print on Demand set up. Listing a book on Amazon is bad news as a self-publisher. Just create a book and sell direct to your audience. Easy.

  18. I have no idea what “Listing a book on Amazon is bad news as a self-publisher” means, because I sell a steady stream of books through amazon.com. It is all a matter of publicity and the work one puts in to it. Look at my linked website. These are all on amazon and they sell regularly. Sold three books just last week. That is not unusual.

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