Monthly Archives: September 2010

Getting the Most Out of Your Lulu Service

What do weddings, camping trips, and Lulu services have in common? They all go much smoother if you are well prepared. Here are a few quick tips for making the most out of your publishing pack experience.

1. Know what you’re buying.

Services are a big investment of time and money into your book, so you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re buying. If you have a question about what services are for you or what a particular service entails, just ask! We have a whole team dedicated to helping you find the right service for your needs and they’ll be happy to work with you to answer any questions you may have before purchasing.

2. Have your manuscript and cover files ready to go.

The publishing process can go quickly and easily if you’ve got everything ready.  If you’re going right to formatting, make sure your manuscript has been edited already.  If you have book reviews for your back cover, have them back before starting on the design. Taking the extra time and doing the right prep work beforehand will make all the difference in getting a quality product out quickly.

Banned Books Week

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!

Every year hundreds of books are threatened with removal from schools and libraries across the country. Since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 11,000 book challenges, including 460 in 2009.

Even though most of these challenges are made with the best of intentions (protecting people or children from difficult ideas), banning books prevents the freedom to choose and express opinions. Challenged books range from Mother Goose stories and the Harry Potter series to classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The ALA’s annual Banned Books Week is going on this Sept. 25 – Oct. 2. Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has served as a reminder that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #1

You’ve done it – you’re a published author! Now it’s time to start reaping the benefits of all your long hours of work.

Who couldn’t use a few ideas on how to sell more books and expand readership? In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing tips, resources and ideas designed to help you sell more books…without having to quit your day job!

Check out these two tips – try to do one of them by the end of the weekend.

Tip 1: Ratings and Reviews

Believe it or not, user ratings and reviews are powerful marketing tools. These 3rd party views of your book will influence other potential readers whether or not your book is right for them. Think of it as word-of-mouth endorsements for your book. How many times have been told by someone “you’ve got to read this book!” Adding ratings and reviews to your book page will send potential readers the same message.

Tip 2: Email Signature

How many emails do you write on a typical day? How many in a week? A month? Your email signature is a great way to promote your book to as wide of an audience as possible…without really trying. All it takes is a few minutes to set up your email signature, include a link to your book, and you’re all set. Try something subtle like “Check out my new book” with a link to your book. For a stronger approach, consider taking a 10-word excerpt from one of your reviews, then link to your book.

The Future of the Book

One of our designers sent around a link to this video this morning. It was put together by IDEO, the global design firm, and shows the possibilities it envisions for the book. Some interesting ideas. Let us know what you think!

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Meet the Furriest Lulus

Recently, the folks at the Lulu office had a contest to determine who owned the most adorable, absolute cuddliest, most remarkable, fuzzy-faced critter out there. We all love a cute animal, but some of us Lulus take our pets very seriously. We had tons of submissions, and I thought I’d share the winners with our blog readers because they’re just too cute to miss. Feel free to post links to your cutest pet pics in the comments section below.

Yo-ho-ho! International Talk Like a Pirate Day Is Upon Us.

Avast, me hearties!  X marks the spot on your calendars for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLPD) this Sept. 19th.  It’s your annual opportunity to send your roommate to the galley to fetch more grog or to call your mother a bilge rat.**

ITLPD has gained quite a following in the 15 years since it was started by two

Lulu authors, Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers and John “Ol’Chumbucket” Baur.  What started as a game between a few friends has grown into an international phenomenon.  People look forward all year to the day when they can get away with dressing up in puffy shirts and bloomers while walking around all squinty-eyed and hunched over .  What is the secret to Summers and Baur’s success?  Obviously, everyone loves pirates and the chance to be creative.

Cap’n Slappy and Chumbucket also use savvy to keep their high-seas holiday afloat.  In addition to their website talklikeapirate.com, the duo have a series of books, like “The Maracaibo Caper and “The Sao Paolo Caper,” that’ll answer all your pirate jargon questions.

If you want to join the swashbuckling pirate ranks but don’t know where to start, Lulu can help. Check out these other great pirate inspired tales:

**I seriously do not recommend calling your mother a “bilge rat”.  This did not go well for me last year. Be warned!

“Rejected?! So What.” – Bestsellers That Almost Didn’t Make It.

Sometimes, as we strive to share our remarkable ideas with the world, we have to deal with criticism and often times, rejection. But that is ok.

Criticism and rejection can be used constructively to help you become a better creator. The key is to understand that everyone is always going to have his or her own opinion. But just because someone disagrees with your outlook or your way of being creative doesn’t make you or them wrong. It is important to stay positive and diligent with your work and to always always try. You owe it to yourself for the hard work you’ve accomplished.

With all that in mind, I thought I would share with you a list of bestselling books that were each highly criticized and rejected many times before they finally made their mark on the world. Some of them will probably surprise you.

Take a look and realize that each of these authors was in the same boat as any new author starting out at one point or another. The difference being they didn’t have a cool tool like Lulu.com at the time to give them complete creative control over their work or the freedom to instantly sell their books all over the globe. These authors stuck to it, and you can too. And Lulu is here to help.

“Be the Adventure You Dream.”

I found this incredibly inspiring story while I was poking around Facebook and just had to share it. It is a note by writer J.C. Hutchins about his good friend and fellow writer Zellie Blake.

Blake was a talented young woman who recently passed away due to cancer. Her story is a testament to the passion and tenacity every author must embody in order to see their dreams through and share their remarkable works and ideas with the world.

Knowing her strong desire to have her book published, Blake’s friends all chipped in to make her book a reality by making it available on Lulu.com. Enjoy this amazing story. And be sure to check out Blake’s book Lightning Spliced.

Zellie Blake, a generous and beautiful woman — a fellow writer and dreamer — died two days ago. She was 27 years old.

Zellie was a tireless champion of my work. She once said I was an inspiration for her own writing career goals, but she will always be an inspiration for me. Her friends say that throughout her treatment, Zellie never lost her sense of humor or optimistic verve. She wrote often, and well.
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Her personal mantra was, “Be the adventure you dream.” I am hard-pressed to think of a more inspiring and empowering personal philosophy.

Focus: Author Success Story

At Lulu, we’re all about helping authors find success and providing them with the means to reach more readers all over the globe.  Sometimes success comes in ways they never expect. That was the case for professor William O’Connell, author of the book Homeless in Paradise, Communicating with the Bohemian Venice Beach, CA Subculture.

Actor Russell Brand (of Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame) is using the book for part of an upcoming feature film. O’Connell’s story is such a good one, we just had to share. You can read how this Lulu author went on to full-length feature consultant below.

Photo books

Lulu photo books are great for two types of people:
1. Professional photographers.
2. Everyone else with a camera.

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I’ll go through a case study of sorts with both types. Firstly, take “Bloke.” He’s a professional photographer in England who’s become a friend of mine. Check out this photo of a little girl at a wedding… Bloke wonders, “do you think she knows it’s a lemon?” I could gush for paragraphs about how much I love this shot. But I’ll let you do your own gushing. The point is, Bloke is a brilliant photographer – and he’s a fan of Lulu photo books. They work for him because they look like “real published ‘coffee table’ books, not chunky heavy albums with bits that fall out when you pick them up”. Great for clients, too.

asdfaf Photo credit: blokewithacamera.co.uk

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Second example: the point-and-shooter (like me). I took this shot in Cape Haitian, Haiti in June 2007. The sign is in Haitian Creole, and reads “Protect the environment- it guarantees life”.  This picture sums up my experience in Haiti pretty nicely- bright colors, joy, hope, and a smidgen of desolation. By no means is it professional grade. The lighting is all wrong, I’m sure my angles are laughable, etcetera (pros don’t hate on me too hard!). But that’s not what matters- it’s a memory. I love this shot for its nostalgic value, not artistic brilliance. I’m putting it into a photo book for the sole sake of remembering. The only person who’d appreciate the photo book as much is my dad- and that’s completely fine.

So – are you a professional (a la Bloke) or a point-and-shooter like me? Maybe a little of both? Either way- check out Lulu photo books and Bloke’s photography website for some eye candy.