Monthly Archives: July 2009

Lulu Lens: How can we help you build a more meaningful connection with your readers?

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One of the things we consistently hear from users is that they want us to provide them with better tools to connect with their readers. Obviously this has a lot of value, both for the author and for Lulu, and we want to help you achieve this goal. We have a few things in the works, which we are looking forward to sharing with you soon, but we want your suggestions as well.

Last week, one of Julie’s suggestions was a great lead-in to this week’s topic. She suggested that we have “opt-in mailing lists that authors can use to send promotional offers to customers.” This is a fantastic idea and would certainly help authors and readers connect more. We are also looking at creating an author homepage, which would give authors full control over how their information is displayed on the site. What other ideas do you have for how Lulu can help you build meaningful connections with your readers?

This week's super bulk special

Only two days left to take advantage of one of our biggest bulk sales to date.

Save $100 off 100 or more copies of your book or $25 off quantities of 25. Just enter one of the corresponding coupon codes above during check to receive an instant cart discount. This offer expires end of day Friday so get your order in now before it’s too late.

Some terms and conditions apply

Want to see us offer more specials on the Lulu blog? Let us know what you think of these offers by commenting below.

Thanks!

-Adam

Author interview: Richard Galbraith

Richard Galbraith is a rock band photographer who has recently published a book of KISS photographs. I got a chance to interview him for the Lulu blog.

How long have you been taking photos of rock bands?

My father had sent a 35mm camera while he was overseas, so my first attempt at taking pictures at a concert was around 1971 at a Bloodrock and Grand Funk Railroad concert. Guess I was around 13. Next Alice Cooper, but it was a few years after that before I really got anything decent. We lived around 100 miles from Oklahoma City so it was a bit of a challenge getting to concerts at that age. I shot a lot of shows in the 2nd half of the 70’s, but by the time the 80’s hit, it was a lot harder to get passes for shows. By the time the 90’s got here it was very seldom that I took pictures unless Ronnie Dio had
a concert in the area.

Lulu Lens: How can we help readers better find your book?

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing how to get your book into broader distribution, and once it’s there what can be done to help it stand out. Now, we want your feedback on how Lulu can help bring readers to you?

Currently, approximately 90% of our traffic on Lulu is self-published authors. This means we have a lot of people interested in publishing, but very few people browsing for books. Most of the time, people purchase books via direct links to the author’s book. We want to try to come up with ways to help readers find the Lulu books they would be interested in, but may not even know about yet. We certainly have some ideas on how to accomplish this with more focus on selling on our homepage, helping quality content bubble to the top, and recommendations, but we want to hear from you. What can Lulu do to help readers find the Lulu books they want?

July Author Sales Contest Update

Adam here.

We apologize for the delay in posting this month’s Author Sales Contest Leaderboard. This month, instead of posting contest standings to the Lulu blog, we launched a Beta version of a new contest Leaderboard page, which we’ll constantly update. You can get a peak here: http://www.lulu.com/author_contest/winners/

Unfortunately, we’re still working some kinks with the automation; so as a disclaimer, please understand that the results displayed on the above page aren’t yet 100% accurate.

So in the meantime, we’ll continue to update the Leaderboards here on the Lulu blog.
So, without further delay…here are the current July Sales contest standings as of July 23, 2009:

1. Sidney Shapiro
2. Chaz Keller
3. James Danko
4. Daniel Proctor
5. Eve Schillo
6. Ron McCormick
7. Mark Boswell
8. Alex Corbin
9. Mike Palecek
10. Doyne Cantrell

Understanding Lulu: "Can I get a sample of a book?"

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At Lulu we are always thrilled to hear when anyone is interested in writing and publishing. Gearing up to start your own publishing venture is no minor feat though. For many, publishing is a huge decision that can seem overwhelming. We work hard to make the publishing process as smooth as possible so you can excel no matter what your publishing goals may be. We are always trying to grow and improve while continuously engaging the community we started in. That said, I think it would be beneficial to anyone seeking Lulu out to provide explanations to some of the questions and comments we have encountered during our daily customer service and community interactions. The goal is to address aspects of Lulu that may be unclear at first while answering why we do or don’t do certain things, and ultimately: “Why Lulu?”

First, I would like to address a question I get a lot: “could you send me a sample of a book?” I totally understand where people are coming from on this one. You are investing your time and money into something new and different and you want to make sure it is worth it. So much of the fun of having a book published is getting it out into the world and frankly…bragging about it to your friends! What you make has to look great and be a good interpretation of what you are trying to convey to your readers.

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Lulu is responding to the trends and needs of the digital age. Authors on Lulu have the option to sell their books as print or electronic download. The idea here is that the items on our website can be shared instantaneously without ever becoming physical content, much like the current digital music craze. Beyond that, Lulu functions as a print on demand company that produces only what you sell. No printing occurs within our building but with various global print partners. Printing on demand is great for both the environment and the author’s pocket because it means that without a minimum print run, you only have to pay for one sample instead of mass-produced stockpiles of books that take up expensive warehouse (or garage) space.

For photo books, the virtual Lulu Studio ™ actually does a really great job of letting you see your work every step of the way. The Studio ™ is free and there is nothing to install. You simply upload content straight from your computer and customize the layout. There is even a built in cost calculator that updates the manufacturing cost along with the changes you make to your content. If you are like me, you like to have an actual thing in your hands though. For regular books, you can buy your finished book at manufacturing cost or order a copy of a fellow author’s book similar to what you are trying to achieve. You’ll have your sample, and you’ll be making another Lulu author’s day in the process!

I hope this post and the ones that follow help to shed a little light onto the Lulu process. Please know that we are growing and learning right along with you to do something exceptional!

Lock In Up To 23% Off Hardcovers!

For a limited time, lock in newly reduced hardcover pricing for your book.

Through August 31, 2009, receive discounted pricing when you publish a new hardcover book or a hardcover edition of your existing paperback book and lock it in so your customers receive better pricing both now and later.

Already have a published hardcover book with Lulu? No problem – you can still take advantage of our lowest hardcover prices ever! Simply revise your hardcover book between now and August 31, 2009. Once revision is complete, you’ll be locked into the new, lower book price. Remember, the savings will continue after this limited promotion ends. Pass the savings onto your audience by re-pricing your hardcover editions.
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Start publishing your hardcover today >

Lulu Lens – How Can We Help Your Book Stand Out?

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Recently, we’ve been talking a lot about getting your book out there. With tools like weRead and our efforts to get you into new distribution channels, your period romantic comedy can be easily found alongside “Pride and Prejudice”, and your self-help book can be found with “The Secret”. Last week we asked you, “Where would you like to distribute your products?” Many of you told us that you wanted to be able to find your book in a brick & mortar store, and we are listening to you. We’re looking at a variety of ways to help you realize your dreams, and for your book to be found in as many places as possible. However, this begs the question of once your book gets there, how can Lulu help your book standout?

Whether it’s on the Lulu site, Amazon, or even in a brick & mortar store, people need to be able to find your work and be interested enough to purchase it. How can we help you? We may not be able to do everything you suggest, but we will be listening to you and taking your feedback into account as we implement new and better ways to help you succeed, which is always our priority.

New! Weekly Author Q&A

Take part in our first-ever Interactive Author Q&A!

Every week I will highlight one Lulu Author in our forums and encourage  you to ask the questions you choose. You can ask your favorite Lulu Authors things like “What inspired you to write your last book” or even “Who is your favorite author?”

This week, I highlight long-time Lulu author Jeane Trend-Hill.

If you would like to be one on the highlighted authors, drop me a line at chousel@lulu.com and let me know you’re interested. Be sure to include a brief summary as a way to introduce you to the community, highlighting any accomplishments, accolades, or even personality quirks!

I look forward to hearing from you and getting to know all of you better!

Lulu Lens: Where Would You Like To Distribute Your Products?

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One of the most important aspects of selling your content online is making sure your audience can easily find your work. At Lulu, we strive to make sure that if you choose to distribute your content that it can be found – not just on Lulu, but on other online retailers as well. We offer ISBNs, which come with listings on Bowker’s Books in Print, Amazon, and other online retail sites. Recently, we launched a program to get books without an ISBN onto Amazon Marketplace via a pilot program. Now, we are are looking at more avenues to help you get your work into the hands of your audience, and we want your feedback: Where would you like to distribute your products?

Feel free to suggest anything from the Barnes & Noble website to their brick & mortar stores to some kind of premium listing on Lulu, or anything you want. We may not be able to get your content into every channel you suggest, but we will be listening to you and taking your feedback into account.