Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Thank You from Lulu

Over the past several days I’ve received messages from many of our customers about the joy their creations brought to friends and family over the holidays.

Messages like this one from Keri in Washington: “I just wanted to say THANK YOU for such an easy and fantastic service! I made a photo album using your downloadable template. The process of setting everything into the template, uploading it, and selecting the cover art was all so simple. They were printed and delivered within a matter of days – just in time for Christmas! My family LOVED them. They were definitely the hit of the evening. Everyone kept commenting about how professional they look.”

And this one from John, a services customer in Wisconsin: “I just received the books and they are perfect!! … Thank you very much! Your close attention to my book was greatly appreciated!”

Messages like those inspire us and humble us. We know that your book is so much more than words, pictures and paper. It’s the embodiment of a memory. A life goal. A dream made real. And we very much appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

As the year draws to a close, I just wanted to say Thank You for choosing us and share my commitment to making Lulu even better in 2010. I’ll leave you with a video of a Lulu customer that came to our attention a few weeks back. We often wish we could be at the door when your books arrive. This got us close. And as it made its way around the office, I’ve got to tell you more than a few of us had goose bumps.

All the best for a prosperous — and creative! — New Year!

Lulu Downtime Alert

We wanted to let you know that we’re scheduling some site maintenance tonight starting at 10 PM EST. Thank you for your patience while we improve the  performance of our site!

Top 5 Tips for Making a Great Ebook Stand Out.

Top 5 Tips for Making a Great Ebook Stand Out.

Analysts estimate Amazon’s Kindle selling about 1.5 million units by the end of 2009, while Barnes and Noble’s Nook is already sold out for the holidays.  More e-readers are popping onto the market, and publishers are beginning to rethink their approach to digital media, like Time Inc.’s recent demo of a digital version of Sports Illustrated. The immediacy and convenience of ebooks and digital content has definitely had an impact on how people today read.  Authors are beginning to realize that they can publish freely and digitally distribute their work for nothing other than their time with sites like Lulu.com.  But, how do you make a great ebook that stands out?

You CAN judge a book by its cover.

A good cover can be a great marketing tool for an ebook.  You want your cover to make someone scanning through a website, stop and click your ebook.  You don’t want to be tacky or overbearing, but the cover should draw attention.  In the open-publishing world, a cover gives readers their first impression of what to expect from an author’s book.  For now, the quality of a cover is a good indication of which authors have invested more time into their work than others.  Well-formatted and edited books typically have a cover that was put together by a professional designer and features professional art or photography that is eye-catching and relevant to the audience the content is trying to reach.

Do the work for your readers; be visible.

The easier you make the purchasing step for your customers, the better.  This can be done by making your ebook as visible as possible.  Every time you mention your book or yourself online, provide links to make it easy for people to find your content or more information about you.  Let’s say you just put up a book trailer on youtube.  That youtube page needs a link to your book’s storefront and the storefront needs a link to the video.  This is called cross-linking.

One of the great things about Lulu.com is that it offers non-exclusivity for an author’s book.  This means an author maintains the rights to their work, so they are free to upload it to Lulu and as many other sites as they want.  This is a way to have your work reach that many more people.  A little research into exclusivity rights could do a lot for your ebook.

Don’t make your customers read.

People want to read your ebook, not read about it.  Try to limit the text that appears around your ebook to a minimum.  A brief summation is a good thing, but make sure it builds up the content of the book.  Use language that makes readers want to dive in right away.  The less you say the better because you might talk potential readers out of a sale otherwise.  Leave the real talk to reviewers.

Proactively respond to your readers.

Most of the work that goes into selling an ebook arguably comes after it has been written.  All of the marketing for your book falls to you, and you need to be responsive to your growing audience.  Social networking makes this much easier.  Something like a Facebook fan page is a great way to maintain an open dialogue with several people at once while keeping people informed about your work.  Be aware of reviews and respond to them positively when appropriate.  weRead keeps authors connected with millions of users, and offers great opportunities to receive constructive criticism and expand their readership.

Keep up with the tech – know your formats.

.pdf, .epub, .bbeb, .lit.  There are dozens of different file formats able to be assigned to the end of your would-be ebook.  The most universal file format is International Digital or “EPUB.”  Some ebook tech only accept proprietary file formats though so keeping up on tech trends can go a long way in getting your content out.  Much like making your content as visible as possible, try making your content as accessible as possible by offering multiple file formats.  You’d hate to lose sales just because you didn’t offer your book in the Kindle’s .azw format.

Create A Customized Calendar

It may be a little late in the holiday season, but there’s still time to create a personalized gift on Lulu. One of my favorites are our calendars. With our Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug and Photobucket photo integration you can easily find and add 12 photos your friend or family member will love. Add some custom dates like birthdays, anniversaries and the like, and you’re ready to go! Select one of our faster shipping options and you can probably get in time for the holidays. If not, then you can always use them as a belated gift.

This year, I imported a bunch of photos from Flickr to make a calendar for my Mom.  Shh…don’t tell my mom.

Get started before it’s too late!

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Create a Lasting Impression

As I looked over my holiday gift list last week, it came to me that the best gift to give is one that will stay with the person for many years. If you’re anything like me, you adore special books like first editions and signed copies. When I decided to buy some wonderful Children’s books for my nieces and nephew, I was delighted that the author, Ursula Vernon, agreed to sign them for me. It then dawned on me the very first time I encountered a book that was personalized by the author.

gishbookWhen I was a child, my family visited my father’s boss on Christmas day. At the time, my father was a limo driver for stage actress Helen Hayes. We normally visited her on holidays, but this one particular Christmas a friend of hers, Lillian Gish, was also visiting.

Ms. Gish was very kind and  I am told that she loved holding me on her lap. My 6 older brothers and sisters most likely provided a lot of entertainment! Unfortunately I was only 22 months old at the time so I don’t remember this encounter, but knowing how my family has always been, I’m certain there was never a dull moment.

My father later received a book from Ms. Gish about her and her sister Dorothy. Inside, she thanked my father for taking care of her “blessed friend Helen” and hoped her book would “interest and amuse” us. Even though I was too young to remember that Christmas, I have always loved that book. I was amazed when my father gave me that book a handful of years ago to keep as my own. I will always cherish it.

There are so many ways to personalize a book. If you are an author, never forget that signing a copy of your book or leaving a personalized message can create a lasting impression.

Lulu pays your shipping on 10 paperback books

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Hey everyone. I just wanted to shout out an offer that Lulu is running this weekend only.

This Saturday and Sunday only, order 10 paperback books and Lulu has setup a coupon that will discount you the equivalent of your shipping cost up to $15.24 (for about 99% of orders of 10 paperbacks, that should cover the full cost of shipping).

Now,  since  the discount is subtracted from the cost of your books, we can’t “technically” call it free shipping, but it’s pretty much the same thing.

To take advantage of this discount just use coupon code MAILSHIP10 at checkout.Again this offer is good this weekend only  from 12/5/09  thru 12/6/09.

How did this discount work out for you?  Let me know.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you soon.

-Adam

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

This holiday season Lulu is providing a list of key dates to ensure orders arrive in time for the holidays. Order with the following constraints:

  • Orders from North and South America and for Publisher Grade Books must be placed before 6 p.m. EST (21:00 UTC)
  • Orders from Europe, Middle East, and Africa must be placed before 6 p.m. GMT
  • Orders from Australia, New Zealand and Oceania must be placed by 6 p.m. GMT + 10
  • Orders must be 25 or less to meet the Holiday deadlines listed below
  • Some items may not be available for certain shipping options in your region. Double check your items in the shopping cart
  • Lulu does not recommend the Mail shipping method and will not guarantee December 24th delivery

Disclaimer: The dates and information provided are intended to serve as a guideline for order delivery by December 24th, 2009. The dates provided here do not imply a guarantee. Weather and unforeseen circumstances may delay deliveries.

The full list of holiday shipping deadlines by country and shipping FAQ! Click the tab for your region of the globe and compare the deadlines for each ship method.