Monthly Archives: October 2009

Lulu Lens – How can we make help more helpful?

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At Lulu, we believe it’s important to provide as much information as possible in our Help section and to present the information in an easy-to-use way. To accomplish this we have video tutorials, community forums, and an extensive knowledgebase where creators can help each other. However, we also recognize that we can always do better. Part of this is reflected in our continued commitment to improve our customer service, but we also want to make our Help easy to navigate and as useful as possible.

We are already working on initiatives that allow us to easily pull useful threads that our community creates into Help and improve navigation, but we want to hear from you. How can we make Help more helpful?

Columbus Day Weekend Sale – 14.92% off any purchase

Disclaimer: Enter coupon code ‘PINTA’ at checkout and save 14.92% off any purchase – maximum discount $25 per account. Enter coupon code ‘SANTAMARIA’ and save 25% off on any order of $350 or more – maximum discount of $500 per account. Discount cannot be used to pay for, nor shall be applied to, applicable taxes or shipping and handling charges. Promotional codes cannot be applied to any previous order. No exchanges or substitutions allowed. Only one valid coupon code may be used per account. Offer expires on 10/12/09 at 11:59 PM GMT. Lulu.com reserves the right to change or revoke this offer at any time. Void where prohibited.

Design Chat: Start your holiday calendars now!

designchat1Join us again tomorrow (Wednesday October 5th) from 12 noon until 1pm (NY time)  if you would like to discuss photo books and calendars – simple questions or in depth inquiries into how to create successful projects.

Please send an email if you’d like to join and I’ll send you the URL and password for the chat. DesignChat@lulu.com

Lulu Lights Up Poetry at SparkCon '09

September 17th through the 20th was a lively time to be in Raleigh, NC.  Over the course of four days, downtown Raleigh hosted the highly anticipated (by those “in the know”) SparkCon event.  Restaurants, shops, and even the streets were transformed into havens for the artistically inclined and visitors gained a real understanding of the breadth of cultural diversity Raleigh has to offer.

Now in its fourth year, SparkCon had the largest turnout to date this year.  Thousands of attendees spread out over Fayetteville and Hargett Street, which were closed to any traffic.  The streets were filled with people giving mass dance lessons, artists spraying graffiti on designated walls, and children drawing chalk art.  Tents blanketed most of Hargett Street, housing an eclectic bazaar which featured handmade items from stores throughout the city.  Each storefront and building put their normal business on hold in order to host artistic and insightful events such as “fashionSpark” at The Foundation, or “filmSpark” at Art Space.

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Lulu sponsored “poetrySpark,” which was held in the upstairs lounge of The Morning Times coffee shop.  At any given moment there was a minimum of 60 people, and a maximum of what seemed like 200 people out to enjoy and enrich themselves with poetry from well-known authors such as Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, as well as from open-mic poets that happened to stop by.  Saturday evening started with live music from local band Lizh Crew – a soulful rock/pop act that really set the mood for the readers and listeners.  At one point more chairs had to be brought in!

Lulu, which began as a grassroots company, is thrilled to be able to be a part of something that inspires creativity in the community.  It was such an honor to be able to participate and have a presence at the poetrySpark and we hope we get to do it again.  Lulu will be publishing a collection of poetry read throughout poetrySpark later this year.

Lulu Lens – How Can We Improve Our Author Storefronts?

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One of the things that is most important to us at Lulu is giving our users a place to sell their content and highlight themselves. The author storefront is a place where you can easily display your creations, provide your readers with more information about you, and more! We want to make these storefronts as useful as possible to you, and so we are asking for your input on them. What can we do to improve our storefronts?

We’ve already gotten some feedback from you on what you want, and we are looking at how we can allow you to easily contact your readers so you can update them when you have new releases or need to give them information, and allowing you to generate your own coupons. Those features are still a ways off, but they are high on our priority list. What other features would you like to see? Modular sections of your storefront you can take with you to your personal website or blog? A search feature so it’s easy for your readers to find content if you have more than a few books? Let us know what would help you!

10/4 Sale – $10 Off 4 Books until 10/4 With Code TEN4

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* Discount cannot be used to pay for, nor shall be applied to, applicable taxes or shipping and handling charges.  Promotional codes cannot be applied to any previous orders. No exchanges or substitutions allowed.  Only one valid promotional code may be used per account. Orders must be in U.S. Dollars. Offer ends 10/4/09 at 11:59 PM GMT .  Lulu.com reserves the right to change or revoke this offer at any time.  Void where prohibited.

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

How To Build Your Author Brand With A weRead Author Profile

I talk to authors everyday through Lulu’s blog, Twitter account, Facebook, forums and email. You’re a passionate, driven group, and you should be. You create great work — powerful work that you put heart and soul into. You deserve access to a large audience, but getting noticed is often among the biggest challenges.

One of the solutions to the issue of finding your audience is weRead. That’s the book discovery tool Lulu acquired last year that makes use of social networks to help authors find new readers and readers find new authors. More than 3 million people already use the site to rate and review the books they read, and the number keeps growing. Just this week, Yahoo! made weRead the only book application accessible from its revamped home page. That means more than 100 million more users could discover weRead. It’s a powerful tool, one that we’ll be doing even more with over the coming months, and can help you find new readers and develop stronger connections to them.

One of the features that you can already use to help build your personal brand as an author is weRead’s author profile. I want to walk you through the some of the steps of setting up a profile of your own, but first I want to highlight some of the benefits of having one. With a weRead author profile you:

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As you can see, you then have the option to claim the profile associated with your book(s). Once you’ve claimed your profile you can add a profile picture, biography, choose what information gets shown, add details to your profile, and view your stats. Below is a screenshot of my profile:

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To me, the most exciting part of the author profile is the stats section and how easily you can connect with your fans. As you can see from my page, I have no readers, no fans and no discussions. However, if you’re a fan of my work, if I have a profile, then you can easily become a fan, or start a discussion about one of my books. For authors, this is invaluable.

The ability to easily participate in discussion with their readers, get feedback on their work, and reach out to fans when they release a new project (and to do so across multiple platforms), is priceless. This kind of connection is why social media is such an important part of self-publishing, and publishing in general. Most of us have to do our own marketing and publicity, and tools like weRead’s author profiles allow us to easily connect directly with our fans.