Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cyber Monday is Back

Cyber Monday, the first weekday after Thanksgiving, is considered the busiest online shopping day of the year. To mark the occasion and do our part to save you a little time and money, we’ve put together these special offers good for today only.

25% off any order
Save up to $185.
Coupon code:
CYBER25

30% off $750 or more
Save up to $750.
Coupon code:
CYBER30

Coupons cannot be applied to  taxes or shipping and handling charges or previous orders.  Only one valid promotional code may be used per account.  Orders must be in U.S.  Dollar currency. Offer ends today 11/29/09 at 11:59 PM PST.

48 Hours Only – Free Ground Shipping on Orders $50 or More

Still feeling a bit lazy after preparing that turkey?  Dreading the crowds of people at the stores and traffic on the roads? How does free delivery of your next book order sound?

From now through Friday, November 26th:
  • Add $50 worth of books, photo books or calendars to your cart
  • Select ground shipping
  • Enter code GROUNDFREE at checkout
  • We’ll pick up the shipping charge - up to $100!
Sorry, offer only valid for US shipping destinations

Remember, this is a two day only offer – so don’t miss out!

Author Success Story: From Salesman to Silver Screen.

Love & Other Drugs in theaters today.

Today, Lulu author Jamie Reidy is getting to see one of the biggest dreams any author can have come true. His autobiography, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, has been made into a movie, Love & Other Drugs, starring breakout actors Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathaway.

If you ask Reidy if he ever expected this level of success, he’ll chuckle and smugly say: “Well, yeah.”

While Reidy jokingly admits to being somewhat of an egomaniac, he believes that any author who has gone so far as to have their work published should be thinking about their potential and at least have an idea of their long term goals for their work. Otherwise, it’s a self-defeating process.

“If you’re determined to be an author, you obviously have a story to tell and characters to share” says Reidy. “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not ready to go to all lengths to make something happen with them.”

Even with Reidy’s newfound success, his follow-up book, Bachelor 101: Cooking + Cleaning = Closing, available on Lulu, was still rejected by traditional means.

“The industry is scared to take a chance right now” says Reidy. “Luckily, tech like Lulu lets me sell my work anyway and I can get on with my writing.”

Reidy is particularly fond of Lulu’s formatting services and the freedom of not having to go back and forth between editors, which can become very expensive and time consuming.

“With Lulu, $400 for formatting was a deal – I know I got my money’s worth,” Reidy says.

Be sure to pick up a copy of both of Reidy’s books in the Lulu Marketplace and head to your local theater to see Love & Other Drugs, opening today. And for those aspiring authors out there, Reidy has a few last sarcastic words of advice: “No matter how good it is, you cannot count on your friends to buy your book.”

Getting Your Book on a Retail Shelf

Sometimes there is nothing more gratifying for an author than to walk into their neighborhood bookstore and see their own blood, sweat, and tears resting on the shelf. While there is no guarantee that your book will appear in “brick and mortar” bookstores, these tips and suggestions will certainly put your book on the right track for consideration.

ISBN

First things first, your book needs an ISBN. Whether you decide to register for one on your own through an ISBN agency such as Bowker (http://www.bowker.com/) or opt for a free Lulu-owned ISBN, this number will be the key identifier for your book and is also a requirement for the next tip.

globalREACH Distribution

globalReach distribution is essential for any author looking to increase their readership in stores because it enables your book to be available through the wholesaler, Ingram Book Company, which is the preferred go-between of most big-name retailers.

Go Local

Try visiting your local, independent bookstore (like Quail Ridge Books here in Raleigh) to see if there would be any interest in carrying your book. Typically, these retailers feel more open to supporting the work of homegrown authors. It may even sweeten the deal if you already have buyers lined up.

If you’ve tried and tried and still haven’t made the leap into bookstores, don’t feel discouraged. According to Book Industry Study Group, less than 40% of books are purchased in actual stores versus online. And the Lulu Marketplace is home to over 2.5 million unique visitors – that’s a lot of folks just itching to discover your remarkable work.

Lulu at Internet Summit 2010

The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday, with Internet professionals and entrepreneurs from across the United States coming together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young was a keynote panelist and featured speaker discussing the future of both the web and books – no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.

Bob’s featured talk was entitled “There is No Such Thing as a Book” – claiming that “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.” During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that).  Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form, but now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.

Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable,” as a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video, hyperlinks and an Internet connect may actually detract from a book’s narrative – diminishing the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think that in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide, opting to read stories on books – not devices. But of course, that will remain a question of preference and choice, and if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event and enjoy all the interactivity that digital media has to offer, be sure to check out a recap of the lively discussions on Twitter #isum10.

We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit for putting on such an informative and well-organized event, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

Lulu APIs are Ready for the Big Leagues

Hello faithful blog readers. I just wanted to highlight a new, ongoing blog series happening over at our developer portal.

For the more tech savvy readers out there, or for fans of all things Lulu, our new API developer blog will provide first hand information on what exciting projects Lulu is working on, as well as how you can use our APIs to further your own projects – like getting your books into the iBookstore. We will also highlight what Lulu is doing with the developer portal and which APIs you should definitely be watching, like twournal that lets you instantly publish your twitter updates into a book (neat huh?).

Lastly, but most importantly, this new blog is another opportunity for you to talk back to us. So please feel free to offer suggestions, join in the conversation, or start one of your own. Enjoy.

Supersize Your Memories

We all have loads of digital images, but how many of you have taken that extra step to take them back a generation and make a book? You probably know by now that you can make a fantastic photo book with Lulu. It’s simple, fun and you end up with a beautiful keepsake for yourself, your family and your friends. Whether you’ve got loads of wedding photos, shots from your vacation last summer, or designs for your professional portfolio — the options are endless.

What you might not know is that Lulu now offers photo books in extra large sizes. We have 12″ x 12″ square and 13″ x 11″ landscape books with premium paper and gorgeous matte covers. Of course we think they’re great, but seriously, they are GREAT. The larger sizes have a majestic feel and harken back to days when people actually had photos printed and took the time to paste them into albums. But you’re not pasting, you’re dragging and dropping. With these books, you can create a seriously professional project with minimal effort on your part. We have plenty of themes and fonts to choose from to give your book the personal touch you desire.

In fact, these large size books aren’t just in the Lulu Studio. If you want a bit more creative liberty, you can design your own book and upload the PDF into the Lulu Wizard, while still taking advantage of premium paper and the classy matte hardcover option.

With the holidays just around the corner,  this is actually the perfect time to start a photo book project and still have plenty of time to tweak your text and add that extra bit of finesse to your photos. The only real decision is whether you flex your creative muscles and upload your own custom created PDF or take advantage of specially designed themes in the Lulu Studio™.

How To Use Customer Support & Our Online Community Part 1

How many of us have run into a problem we couldn’t solve? Perhaps it was an unexpected error message, an order that takes too long to arrive, or a question about how to format your book. Regardless, most of us (and yes, I include myself in this) have run into an issue while publishing our projects because as easy as Lulu makes the process, writing and publishing a book is still involves a lot of error checking, revisions, and proofing. I have the advantage of being able to walk over to someone’s desk and ask for help, but obviously not everyone else does. So, what do you do? This is part one of a series on how to get the most out of our customer service.

Creating A Case With Customer Service
This is the easiest and most effective way to get help with an issue that is specific to you. Maybe it’s an issue with your order, or a question about your ISBN or Distribution package. Whatever it is, you need help and you need to talk to someone who works at Lulu.

Step One: it’s pretty obvious, but it bears repeating. Contact Customer Support. You should see the link under the Support tab on the right-hand side of the page.

Step Two: Select the area most appropriate to your issue. If it’s an issue with your order, select My Order, or if it’s about your ISBN/Distribution select that. If you aren’t sure, choose the one closest to what you’re looking for, or select Lulu Website.

Step Three: The more information you can give us, the better. Some of the fields will be required based on which option you chose. For example, email address, order number, “What’s the problem,” and “Describe the problem” are required for My Order. If you have an Existing Ticket id, please provide it. The order status, item id and item name aren’t necessary, but they can help and it’s better for us to have that information than to need to ask you for it or look it up.

Step Four: It can take up to 2 days for us to respond. In the meantime, please respond to the automated email you will be sent with pictures or other information relevant to the case as soon as you can. As previously mentioned the more we have up front from you, the faster we will be able to resolve your issue.

Step Five: Be patient with us. I know this is the hardest step, but we are going to do our best to help you make your work as remarkable as you envision it to be and as polished as it deserves.

We strive to support you as much as we can, and we appreciate your help and patience while we do that. I will post more advice on how to get the most out of our online support and community in upcoming articles. And as always, you can get a look at your support options, like LiveChat, on our customer service page.

Celebrate NaNoWriMo with Lulu

We’re obviously big fans of books here at Lulu and that makes November one of our favorite months. Why? Because it’s National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.

For eleven years NaNoWriMo has brought together thousands of aspiring authors who share a passion for writing and creativity. Each November, more and more authors join in and take a no holds barred approach to pumping out a 50,000 word book in just 30 days. With such a limited time-frame for making a remarkable work, writers often surprise themselves with what they can accomplish and what creative ideas they can come up with – music to the folks at Lulu’s ears.

Some of us Lulus are even getting involved in the action. I am using this year’s NaNoWriMo to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. Well, at least I’m trying to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. So far I’ve spent several days staring at a blank screen hoping to channel Neruda, Hemmingway, Frost or Fitzgerald and then distracting myself with exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping.

Writing is much harder than anyone gives us literary types credit for, and I admire all of you Lulu creators for being able to have the self-discipline to write something and the confidence to put it out in the world.

NaNoWriMo is all about getting motivated. Any book written in 30 days probably won’t be a work of genius, but writing 50,000 words in one month is going to force you to write and take risks. You can edit, take out weak characters, and add sub-plots later. For now, just get writing!

My favorite high school English teacher told me once that writing is easy. You just write about yourself with the life you’ve always wanted. Change your name, give yourself an apartment in Paris and a love interest who got away. Find inspiration in everything and use the mannerisms of interesting strangers to write new characters. Combine it with the search for home, and you’ve got yourself a bestseller.

So, let’s do this together! We’ve got three weeks to write a book. It may not be your most remarkable work, but then again, maybe it will be. You don’t know till you try. And when you’re all done, I encourage you to publish your books on Lulu. What have you got to lose?

Feel free to add your NaNoWriMo experiences in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you’re working on or any tips for NaNoWriMo survival and getting motivated?  Come on NaNoWriMo veterans, I know you’re out there.

Preserve Thanksgiving Memories with Lulu

Thanksgiving is a holiday of family and friends and of remembering what is important in your life.  If your family is like mine, what is most important on Thanksgiving is food.  Lots and lots of food.
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Thanksgiving is the only time of year that some of my favorite family recipes make an appearance at the table, and all of those dishes are tied to strong memories.  As my family has gotten older and the kids have moved all over the country, I worried that some of the recipes would be lost.  The obvious solution was to write a cookbook.

I made my cookbook a few years ago by just uploading a word file and cover.  Simple!  Once I had my files ready, it only took a few minutes to publish and I had the perfect Christmas gift for my entire family.

All those delectable recipes have now been saved in my book The Midwest Meets the South.  Though grandma absolutely refused to let me print her famous yeast roll recipe in a book, so some secrets remain just that.

With the Lulu Studio it is now easier than ever to turn your Thanksgiving feast into more than a picked-over turkey carcass and memories.   Just choose your binding, type in your recipes, add photos and publish your book.  Easy as pie (which you should definitely include a recipe for in the cookbook).  You can get started here.

If you add family photos and the stories behind your meals, this simple cookbook can become a keepsake for generations.

Lulu Studio will be my first choice, when I make a second edition. (Grandma, I will get that yeast roll recipe one day!)

Happy eating everyone!