Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

christmas-is-comingOver the last several months we have discussed marketing strategies, expanding your internet presence, and promoting your books. To help you better prepare for the holidays, we have also discussed taking advantage of Lulu’s weekly discounts to not only restock your inventory for direct sales and events, but also as a means to promote your books on your website and social media outlets.

What if there was another way you could take advantage of these sales to increase your profits? A way that doesn’t require you to make a huge upfront investment on inventory, but allows you to take advantage of your author discount in addition to the Lulu discount?

“What is this magic of which you speak?”
“Drop shipping,” I respond.

 Drop shipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer.

Let’s imagine you have a storefront set up on your website. From the storefront, you can sell your book at retail price or even at a slight discount. You collect all the buyer’s information and the funds including shipping costs. You then log into your Lulu account, place the order at your author discount plus the Lulu discount. You enter the buyer’s email and shipping address and Lulu prints and ships the book. You pocket bigger profits.


How does it work?
Let’s do the math:

Assume you are selling a 250 page, 6×9, paperback.



What if Lulu is offering a 25% discount and you drop ship the book?


You may think it’s not worth the effort to earn a few more $ € or £ per sale, but if you are taking orders for 5, 10 or 50 books, drop shipping the orders can significantly increase your profits per book – particularly if your book includes an ISBN and your revenue is subject to US tax withholding.


Besides earning higher profits on book sales, drop shipping allows you to get paid immediately. It also allows you to collect buyer contact information for future marketing campaigns. Win, win, win.

Lulu wishes you great success this holiday season. Together, we will it make the most profitable ever.


What’s Nouveau at Lulu? Le Blog


After four years in hibernation (!), our French team has updated and resuscitated the Lulu blog in French. Like its English cousin, Le Blog will keep authors and independent publishers informed about what’s happening at Lulu as well as providing advice and help on self-publishing.

Whether you wish to brush up on your French or discover a new French author, Le Blog has it all.


What’s New at Lulu? Our Address

In 2009 Lulu moved from the Research Triangle Park into a newly renovated building on Hillsborough Street.



Lulu Grand Opening: 2009


As a child, I remember driving by this building on our way to the North Carolina State Fair every year. We knew we were getting close to the fairgrounds when we drove past the building that had the bulldozer on the roof. Back then, the bulldozer’s treads and gear shifts were lit by neon and appeared to move. The treads going round and round; the gears shifting backwards and forwards. Who knew that many (many) years later I would find myself working in this very same building?


The neon sign lighting up Hillsborough St. (1940)

On Thursday, October 20th, we are moving out of our home near North Carolina State University and returning to the Research Triangle Park where Lulu got its start. We have carefully planned to minimize disruptions over the next several days as we move everybody and everything to our new location.

While we are in transition October 20-27:

  • The website will be up and running.
  • Email support cases will be answered by the support team.
  • Chat support will be available during business hours in all English stores.
  • US phone support will be unavailable, but will return October 25th.
  • As always, the author forums are available 24/7 for peer-to-peer publishing support.

We are sad to be leaving our historical building and neighbors, but we are excited about our new modern space and the new things we have in store for Lulu authors. Stay tuned.



Hillsborough St. side of the building (2016)

Sell More Books: Christmas Marketing Ideas


Know what would look good on this shelf? Your book!

Being a self-published author is a bit like being Santa, but without any elves. In some ways this is great; you get to make all the decisions and things get done the way you want them to be done. On the other hand, you have to make all the decisions and things don’t get done until you do them.

Take a deep breath and reinvigorate yourself by reflecting on what you have already accomplished. You are a published author. You are among the select few who had an idea, struggled through all the drafts and rewrites, and published a book. As a result, people around the world can now enjoy and benefit from your work. You changed lives. You made a difference.

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time for you to profit from your effort, and there’s no time to waste. Books make great gifts, everyone (including Santa) knows this, but how are you planning to sell your book this Christmas? If your plan is to simply get it into the Amazon bookstore and hope for the best, you are likely to be disappointed. It’s time to take things into your own hands.

Here are few easy ideas to help you spread the word and generate holiday sales:

  • Create an “About the Author” page on your website to act as your press kit.  Share this page on all your social media pages.
  • Write a press release about your book and send it to all local newspapers and radio stations. Include a link to your media kit with your press release.
  • Contact your public library and offer to conduct a seminar on self-publishing or lead a discussion about your author experience.
  • Contact your local bookstores and schedule a reading and book signing.
  • Team up with other writers and sponsor a booth at local Christmas festivals in your area.
  • Add a “buy-now” button to your website and advertise Lulu’s weekly discounts to encourage holiday sales. Remember, your revenues are much higher from sales made in the Lulu bookstore.
  • Offer personalized, signed copies of your book on your website and social media pages.

Take advantage of Lulu’s weekly discounts when stocking up for holiday sales.

Business-savvy authors have learned that by taking advantage of Lulu’s weekly discounts – on top of their author discount – they can earn more revenue per book by selling to readers during events or directly from their website. This strategy requires you to dedicate time for packing and shipping orders, but it also allows you to sign and personalize books and add bonus items such as bookmarks and thank you notes to orders. These small personal touches create a connection between you and your readers, making them more likely to recommend your books to their friends.

xmas-tree-bookshelfAn added bonus to events and direct sales is that you can collect buyers’ email addresses to add to your mailing list allowing you to market directly to fans when your next book is published.

So, make a plan now to market your book locally and online, stock up*, and get ready for the best Christmas season yet.

*If you are planning to purchase more than 100 books, please contact our bulk sales desk for a custom quote.  We may be able to help you save even more on your planned purchases.


More Marketing Tips

Make More Money: Include Lulu Discount Codes in your Marketing Emails

Make the Most of Seasonal Sales

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books


Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors


Repeat after me. “Christmas is coming. Christmas is coming. It’s just around the corner.”

finish-line-aheadNow that we have accepted the inevitable, let’s take a few minutes to think about what we need to do to make this year your most successful sales year yet. Lucky for authors, book sales are up in 2016 with printed books making a huge comeback, so this could be the best year ever for holiday book sales, but only if you are ready.

If you are in the final stages of completing, editing or revising your book and wish to have it ready for holiday gift giving, there is no time for procrastination – particularly if you wish to have your book available for purchase in all online bookstores for the holidays.

As you race to the finish, keep these things in mind:

  • Your print book must meet all distribution requirements before it can be approved for online distribution. To prevent it from being rejected by retailers, take a few minutes to carefully review the requirements and make edits prior to publishing.
  • Before your book can be submitted for distribution, you must first purchase and approve a proof copy. Once you review and approve your proof, Lulu will release it into distribution.
  • Retailers will review your book to ensure it meets distribution requirements. If your book is rejected, you must edit it, then purchase and approve another proof copy before it can be resubmitted to distributors.
  • Once your book is sent to retailers, it will usually be available for purchase from online bookstores in about three weeks. However, due to retailer processing, workloads, and holiday volume it could take 6-8 weeks for your book to be added to all online booksellers.
  • Each retailer has their own process and schedule for reviewing books and updating their online catalogs. There is no means for Lulu to expedite this process for you.

If you are running out of time and think there is no way you will finish in time, don’t worry. You can forego distribution (for now) and publish directly to the Lulu bookstore.


When you publish to the Lulu bookstore:

  • Your book will be available for purchase within minutes of publication.
  • You can publish without an ISBN, which means there is no required retail markup resulting in higher profits for you and no US income tax withholding.
  • You can take advantage of Lulu discounts to boost holiday sales.
  • You can purchase your book at manufacturing cost.
  • You can even publish a hardcover special edition to sign and give to family and friends as Christmas gifts.

And, don’t forget, you are not alone. The Lulu support team is here to help Monday-Friday during regular office hours. You can also get author-to-author support 24/7 in the Lulu forums.

So get back to work!

20 Fun Facts for National Book Month


October is here and with the changing season, many of our thoughts turn to fall leaves, pumpkin-spiced lattes and well… anything and everything pumpkin-spiced.

Here at Lulu, we can’t stop thinking about BOOKS! After all, October is National Book Month. It’s a time to celebrate the joy brought to us by paper, ink, binding and the written word. In honor of National Book Month, we wanted to share some fun book facts you can share with your reading group (it’s also National Reading Group Month) over pumpkin spiced lattes at your local coffee shop.

  1. We all know the smell of old books is glorious, but there’s some interesting science behind it too! Over time the gradual breakdown of the cellulose and lignin contained in paper leads to the production of large amounts of various organic compounds. The odor these compounds produce varies depending on where the book was printed, the paper and ink types and how long the book has been degrading.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.25.52 PM

    The Tree Library – Made from Trees

  2. The Alnarp Library in Sweden has a 217 volume collection of wooden books called The Tree Library. Each book describes a specific tree—its binding is bark, moss and lichens found on that species and the book interiors hold more natural surprises. The books were made in Germany during the 19th century.
  3. Of Mice and Men was originally titled Something that Happened.
  4. Abibliophobia – the fear of running out of reading material.
  5. The Neverending Story not only ends, but is estimated to be only around 96,000 words. It was also written by Michael Ende.
  6. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury includes a 600 word section that has no punctuation!
  7. Avid reading over the course of a lifetime may reduce the rate of memory decline by as much as 32%.
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the first book written with a typewriter.
  9. The Harvard University library has four law books bound in human skin.
  10. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan. There was never a recorded Wendy before.
  11. People in Iceland read more books per capita than any other country in the world.
  12. Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks.
  13. Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is the world’s smallest book.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.40.50 PM

    Maybe it would be easier to just stop and ask directions.

  14. The largest bound book in the world is The Klencke Atlas. A 1.75 meter tall by 1.9 meter wide tome that is so heavy six people are necessary to lift it. It was presented as a gift to Charles II of England by Johannes Klencke in 1660. The atlas contains 37 printed wall maps.
  15. Ernest Hemingway survived anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, skin cancer, hepatitis, anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, a rupture spleen, a ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull, and more. He ultimately died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  16.  33% of high school graduates in the U.S. never read another book the rest of their lives.
  17.  The Harry Potter books are the most banned books in America.



  18.  J.R.R. Tolkien typed the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with two fingers.
  19. J.M. Barrie gave the rights of Peter Pan to the Children’s Hospital on Great Ormond Street, London so they could always collect royalties and fund the hospital.
  20. It is rumored that Teddy Roosevelt read, on average, one book a day even when juggling the responsibilities of his presidential office.

6 Ways Reading Will Improve Your Life

Students Youth Adult Reading Education Knowledge Concept

Did you know it’s #WorldSmileDay? To celebrate, why not pick up your favorite book and immerse yourself in a story that makes you beam. Reading can definitely improve your mood and make you happy, but we have 6 solid ways it can also impact your life and make every aspect of it happy and healthy.

  1. Reading improves your memory
    Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your body. One of the major health benefits is that your memory is strengthened by reading. People who read consistently over their lifetime have healthier and more active brains in old age. The Alzheimer’s Research Foundation found that reading significantly slowed cognitive decline and individuals who read more preserved valuable memory and thinking skills.
  2. Reading reduces stress (and anxiety!)
    A group of researchers at Mindlab International, University of Sussex discovered that reading worked best to reduce stress — better than exercise or a cup of tea or coffee — lowering stress levels by 68 per cent. They described losing yourself in a book as the “ultimate relaxation.”
  3. Reading helps you live longer
    Even a half-hour of reading a day can add to your lifespan, a study in Social Science & Medicine shows. Simply put, reading more can help you live longer (and learn more!). Compared to those who didn’t read at all, the study showed that readers live an average of 2 years longer. That’s a lot of extra time to read more books!
  4. Reading increases your attention span
    Humans currently have an attention span that is one second shorter than that of a goldfish. Even so, millions of people still read — and it increases their attention span by leaps and bounds, well beyond the goldfish. Simply reading regularly has shown to be beneficial to increasing attention span, but the University of Leicester lists a number of ways to get the most out of a text and how to process what you’ve read.
  5. Reading increases your emotional intelligence
    Emotional intelligence? That’s a fancy way of describing how reading can broaden your emotions and understanding of them — as well as the world around you. Readers have been found to be more empathetic, and social skills are developed and improved by reading. Reading, particularly fiction, allows a reader to step into the shoes of different people and also stimulates the brain. Researchers in Spain found that metaphors and texture-based word imagery had a profound impact on participants’ brains and stimulated the mind in a positive way.
  6. Reading helps you understand other cultures better
    Increasing empathy and understanding (see #5) also leads to better understanding of other cultures. Even if you can’t travel far or often, reading a book is an incredible way to learn more about the unknown. Writer Ann Morgan challenged herself to read one book from every country and she mentions that instead of just armchair travel, her experience took her so far as to “inhabit the mental space of the storytellers.” She was also struck by the power of diverse stories: “More powerful than a thousand news reports, these stories not only opened my mind to the nuts and bolts of life in other places, but opened my heart to the way people there might feel.”

From strengthening your mind to opening yourself up to different cultures, the positive benefits of reading are limitless.