Yearly Archives: 2012

Congratulations to the “What Are You Thankful For?” Contest Winner Tasha Scott

Sometimes a few simple words can make all the difference. That’s what your “What are you thankful for?” comments did for us today. As an office we want to thank you for your comments because they invigorate us and remind us of how important our work here is. We are so proud to support each of you on your personal journeys and through your personal struggles. Thank you for sharing such thoughtful and candid messages about what you’re thankful for. Each of your comments touched us and inspired us.

We’d like to congratulate Tasha Scott, who we have selected to win $100 to spend on Lulu.com for her comment that is featured below:

“I am thankful for the mental fortitude to go out and pursue my dreams. The self-awareness to measure what is attainable and what is not attainable for me. I am then doubly thankful that I have found true happiness in whatever circumstances that I find when I wake up the next morning. It makes life so interesting to know that I get only what is meant or me. It keeps me deliriously happy and content.”

And, of course, every day is a good day to reflect on what you’re thankful for, so feel free to post more comments on that theme at any time in the year.

EPUBs Made Even Easier with Lulu Ebook Enhancements

Getting your eBook ready for the world to see can be a learning experience – for authors and for Lulu. We always want to give you the best, easiest tools possible to get your eBook out there, and part of reaching that goal is making changes to the process to make it as painless as possible. Case in point: the new multi-file upload and table of contents preview features that help you to make sure you’re well on your way to having a distribution-ready EPUB file.

Making your EPUB file was already pretty easy. You can upload Microsoft DOC and DOCX, RTF, and ODF files, and we’ll take care of converting them into an EPUB for you. For print books you could always upload multiple files and we’d stitch them together into one coherent, print-ready PDF. Now you have the same convenience for your eBook. Maybe you’ve been serializing your work or maybe you’re just taking it one chapter at a time; either way, it’s simple to move forward. Just get  your individual files ready with the first line formatted as Heading 1, upload all of the files and move them around so they’re in the order you want, and you’re done! You’ll have a finished EPUB in no time.

(For more info on our recent enhancements, click on the image above.)

Speaking of those headings, if you’ve ever created an eBook on Lulu you might have received an error message regarding your NCX – the eBook’s table of contents that lets the reader jump instantly to any chapter or section. After all, it’s one of the top ten reasons why eBooks are rejected for retail distribution. Creating a proper NCX requires a pretty straightforward but very specific use of styles and headings so that all of your chapters, sections, and subsections line up appropriately. Not sure if you’ve done yours correctly? After you upload your eBook files you’ll now find a table of contents preview that will let you see how everything will be ordered in your NCX. If you’ve used the method above to upload multiple files for your EPUB, this preview is a simple way to make sure everything was put together just the way you wanted.

You’ve already got the Lulu eBook Creator Guide with all the information you could ever want about eBooks right at your fingertips, and these new additions to the Lulu site will help you out even more along the way. Plus, we still have our great paid services available if you want everything taken care of for you with no hassle. There’s never been a better time to create your eBook, and it’s never been easier to do it with Lulu.

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

Skip the tie & cufflink set. Create a unique gift in less time than it takes to make a mall haul.

In his latest New Yorker essay, “Understanding Owls: What does a gift say about the giver?” humorist and fellow Raleigh-native David Sedaris reflects on the friend and family imposed owl collection that gets bigger each year.

Does there come a day in every man’s life when he looks around and says to himself, ‘I’ve got to weed out some of these owls’?… Just when you think you’re making progress, you remember the owl tobacco tin, and the owl tea cozy. Then there are the plates, the coasters, the Christmas ornaments. This is what happens when you tell people you like something.

So how can you ensure that you get a gift that your loved ones will really appreciate? We realize we’re biased, but we recommend that instead of reaching for the last-minute, pre-wrapped, hand-cranked flashlight-radio-tire pressure gauge, go the sentimental route and create a unique, personalized and meaningful gift this year – a gift that really says I care about you.

In half the time it takes you to find a parking space, create a unique gift they’ll cherish forever — a personalized calendar or photo book. Through Nov. 27 our special holiday deal means creating one has never been more enticing.

Rather than wrapping up the umpteenth necktie in the tis-the-seasons-series for grandpa this year, create a photo book featuring all the ties you’ve gotten gramps throughout the years with corresponding photos of you and him. He may not have something to begrudgingly wear when you come to visit, but at least he’ll enjoy a genuine smile every time he reaches for that book.

Got kids? Then you’ve got photos. Pictures have a special power to make fellow family members happy. Need gifts for your kids’ coaches and teachers? What about a way to remember your latest family reunion or family vacation? The list of possibilities is endless when you bring your imagination to the project.

Happy Holidays and cheers to cherishing back the memories.

 

What Are You Thankful For?

I’ll keep this short and sweet so that you can get back to your family, food and festivities. We’re asking a simple, but important question: WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?

In five sentences, answer this question in the comments below for the chance to win $100 to spend at Lulu.com. A team of Lulu judges will select our favorite entry and award the winner at our sole discretion. We will accept entries until 11:59 pm EST on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. We will announce the winner on our blog by 6 pm EST on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.

We hope you will enjoy writing your entry and reflecting what you are thankful for. For what it counts, we are incredibly thankful for you, the creators of the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Lulu is Saving Your Sanity this Black Friday

The cure for Mall Madness and Cyber Psychosis: Shop the place where imagination is never out of stock… with up to 51% Off*, Nov. 23-27.

If there’s anything more frustrating than endlessly circling a mall for parking, it’s surfing the Web, clicking ‘buy now’ and then discovering that your prize present is ‘out of stock.’ It’ll drive you jingle-bell-bonkers as sure as treacly ‘big box’ muzak.

Avoid mall madness and cyber psychosis by spending Black Friday and Cyber Monday with us. At Lulu, you ALWAYS get what you want because imagination is NEVER out of stock.

Starting on Black Friday and running right through Cyber Monday and into Tuesday (Nov. 23-27), Lulu offers 51% off Calendars and 30% off everything else site-wide* including print books, eBooks, photo books and professional publishing services.

When you create a calendar or photo book, you’re not hoping and praying that another shopper didn’t get to it first. No, you’re creating something beautiful and unique. Something you KNOW will spark smiles year round. And something you can create from the comfort of your own home.

It’s easy, it’s high quality and you can be done in less time than it takes to drive to the mall and back. You know you’ve got photos that’ll make someone’s day, week, month and year. Studies tell us that people are snapping more pictures than ever. Now’s the time to liberate them from your computer hard drive. If you can post a pic on Facebook or include an attachment in an email, you can create a Lulu calendar or photo book — it’s that simple.

So, skip mall madness. Spare yourself the frustration of the dreaded ‘out of stock’ cyber deadstop. Let us help you celebrate he holidays by celebrating your experiences and imagination. They’re never out of stock.

*Offer available in the US Only

The Author Who Brought Coach Kay Yow’s Inspiring Story To Life

North Carolina State women’s basketball fans know the name Kay Yow. As the team’s coach, she achieved more than 700 wins over her 34-year career, became a Hall of Fame inductee, and coached the 1988 women’s Olympic team to their gold medal win. In 2009, Yow passed away from breast cancer after battling the disease for two-plus decades. To residents of the Tar Heel state, Yow is a true legend whose story MaryEllen Williams wanted to tell:

Living here in Raleigh, NC, everyone knew the name Kay Yow but what made me want to know more about her was the fact that she was said to be a very special person, someone who was at a higher spiritual level than most of us. As I looked into her more I realized she was known worldwide. I wanted to find out her roots and what made her stand out among the best.

Before she could write Kay’s story, which would ultimately be released as her nonfiction book Triumph, MaryEllen spent a considerable amount of time doing research. She watched videos online, read all the newspaper articles she could get her hands on, and contacted the person in charge of Kay’s estate to get consents and releases as well as to option the story to the beloved coach’s life. Once she identified the key figures in Kay’s life, MaryEllen sought them out. Kay’s friends, family, and former staff members answered MaryEllen’s questions and thus the narrative was born.

Once she completed her manuscript, MaryEllen decided to skip traditional publishing altogether and go independent for one reason alone: timing. When told it could take years to get an agent and a book contract, she turned to Lulu, which ended up being, “the best thing I ever did because they have bent over backwards in their support for this inspiring project,” MaryEllen said.

Now Triumph: Inspired by the true life story of legendary Coach Kay Yow can be purchased through Lulu.com as well as both Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s websites.

To promote Triumph, MaryEllen hired a publicity firm to do a six-week PR campaign. But MaryEllen isn’t only relying on them; she knows that an author must also be her own biggest advocate and so she’s been hitting the pavement in her hometown of Raleigh. Recently, Quail Ridge Book Store and the N.C. State Bookstores agreed to take copies of Truimph, which MaryEllen knows is a triumph in and of itself.

Next up for MaryEllen is a screenplay of Kay’s story, which she’s been dreaming about even before she started the book. It’s been an incredible journey she admits — and she’s learned quite a few things along the way.

My tips to any author are to work hard, ask anything and everything about your subject. Persevere and never give up.  Every hurdle you meet can be overcome.  Believe in yourself and your project.  You are, as I said, your biggest advocate.  Get excited. It’s contagious.

Mark your calendar with inspiration for 2013

Alert! There’s only one more page on my calendar. I’ve already hit the dilemma that there’s no page in my calendar for me to scribble down exciting things that I have planned for 2013, which means that it’s high time for me to create my 2013 calendar.

For me – someone who lives and dies by her calendar – creating my calendar is a very important process for me. It’s a chance for me to reflect on what my goals are for the coming year and to select pictures that will keep me motivated and remind me of what’s important to me.

So, what’s important to me? Travel, family, fun, charitable giving and my local community. So, these are what I highlight in the pictures I select for my calendar. Seeing these pictures each day beside my desk keeps me motivated and brings a smile to my face as I recall each memory.

Earlier this season we invited local North Carolina groups to create calendars that reflect the things that will motivate them in 2013. Below we’ve highlighted four participants who are in the running to win $1000 based on most calendar sales by the end of the year. What I love about these examples is how they reflect the same things that I hold dear: supporting local food and communities, having fun, supporting charitable causes, promoting good health and celebrating a love of reading.

The Freebooksy Bookish Quirks Calendar celebrates readers by pointing out funny things that we readers do or think. In short, it’s a collection of quirks from bookish people!

This 2013 calendar showcases some of the many talents our amazing instructors here at Cirque de Vol have and love to share with the community!

Calendar featuring selected images from Cafe Helios in Raleigh, NC.

Mental Image is giving 20% of all profits to the Help April Breathe Easy Foundation. Body Painters include Tiffany Bickler, Emily Wagner, Emilio Jeffries, and Lisa Snead. We are using our healthy body’s to stop this disease.

 

These are just four great examples of calendar ideas. We hope you found some inspiration here. Calendars make great holiday gifts and they are also a way for your company, group, organization or charity to raise some money. If you do decide to create a calendar in order to raise some money, here are a few tips for marketing and selling your calendar:

1. Announce it on your Facebook page. Be sure to include a link to your calendar.
2. Write a blog post about your organization’s goals, motivations and commitments for 2013 and explain how your calendar reflects those. Be sure to include a link to your calendar.
3. Link to the calendar from your website.
4. Order some copies of your own calendar and sell them at the register or at events.
5. Link to your calendar in your newsletter

What are your motivations for 2013? Have you created your calendar yet?

Author Interview: Troy M. Cusson

What are your books about & what message are you trying to share through your children’s books?
Dawn The Deer & Dawn The Deer Enjoys The Fall are glimpses into what a quiet, peaceful little doe experiences in her day in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY. Colors, creatures, sights, sounds and smells are all around her, and she stops to enjoy them all. If I could convey any message with my children’s books it would be to do as our friend Dawn does: to stop, if only for a moment, and enjoy your day. Take in all the wonderful things around you. The way the sky looks at the moment the sun hits the horizon during a sunset, the way wet leaves smell on a wooded trail in October, the crunch of fresh fallen snow under your feet in the winter. There is so much to enjoy in every new day.

What inspired you to write?
I guess you could say it was Dawn herself. Everyday my family and I would see her out and about in our neighborhood and on one particularly beautiful July morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee on my porch with my wife, I said,”Ya know, that deer is around so much we should probably name her.” My wife then said, “I’ve been calling her Dawn as I always see her around in the morning.” I said, “Dawn The Deer, that sounds like a perfect name for a children’s book!” After a few more minutes of watching her it hit me, . . . I could write a children’s book about all of the things that Dawn sees or does in any given summer day. From there, the story pretty much wrote itself as I just put to rhyme all that I saw her experiencing. The birds, the squirrels, the children playing nearby, the ravens, all of them were going about their day and Dawn was taking it all in.


What have been the challenges you’ve faced with writing / self-publishing?
My first challenge was finding the right artist to illustrate my stories. In an effort to keep it simple I tried modifying photos I had taken in PhotoShop but was not able to get them dialed in. I asked a friend who had done some cartoons in the past if he would be interested but he wasn’t able to get me what I wanted either. It was then I thought about approaching the art department at the college I work at to see if maybe there was a student who was proficient in watercolor artwork who needed a project to work on for classwork. The director of our art department put me in contact with Crystal Cochell,

Tips for NaNoWriMo Success

It’s late. Your heart-rate is elevated. The coffee is still percolating. Your hair, unwashed, is now reaching skyward as you tug on it almost every minute. You look over at your wall calendar, but you don’t need to be told what month it is: it is November. It is National Novel Writing Month. 

Started in 1999 by Chris Baty and “20 other overcaffeinated yahoos,” the write-50,000-words-of-a-novel-in-a-month challenge started with 21 participants and 6 winners. In 12 years it’s grown exponentially. By 2011, 256,618 writers attempted the feat and 36,843 finished.

The word count threshold, 50,000 words, means that a writer must commit to writing just a little under 2,000 words a day, or, to us writers, A LOT OF STINKIN’ WORDS. While some established authors take months or years to craft a narrative, writers participating in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), have just one month to commit to a draft. Several best-sellers have emerged from NaNoWriMo including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

We totally understand that finding the time and creative energy for this 30-day challenge is a huge feat, so here are a few ways to make the words flow!

Mozilla Popcorn for Online Video

As Mozilla’s Ryan Merkley points out in his TED talk, the nature of video on the web hasn’t changed much over the past few years. Besides a higher resolution and faster streaming times, videos remain static and non-interactive. Even books, with the advent of interactive eBooks, have found ways to become interactive and use the full resources of the Internet. But with a new product called Mozilla Popcorn, that might all change. Popcorn allows content creators to adorn videos with links, and other media, like maps or a photo stream, to create a full-content experience. The interface is simple, and the product itself, in keeping with Mozilla’s open-source principles, is free.

As content creators, writers are constantly looking for ways to promote their own work. While book trailers are popular, they often fail to capture the artifice of the novel they are producing or match the quality that other media outlets offer. Popcorn allows writers to promote their books by interlacing an online video with links to text, illustrations, and even the link to buy the book itself.