Lulu is headed to Book Expo America (BEA), one of the largest publishing events in the world, next week, but we’re not going alone. Three of our very own authors will be on site June 5th – 7th signing free copies of their bestsellers and, more importantly, sharing tips on how to make it in this lucrative new world of open-publishing.
The line-up of bestselling authors at BEA includes New York Times Bestseller David Thorne, former congressional candidate and political author Kevin Powell, and marketing/tech guru Scott Steinberg. This is a can’t miss for everyone attending BEA, so stop by to see us at book #3476!
Lulu Founder and CEO, Bob Young, will also be there presenting on two panels Sunday, June 3rd. Bob will be calling on his years of salesmanship and expertise to share valuable tips and insights for publishing success. Both panels take place this Sunday at the Javits Convention Center in New York. Bob’s speaking schedule below:
Author your vision, Live your purpose with Kevin Powell
Author Kevin Powell stepped off the stage into a packed room of over 700 people after finishing his keynote speech in Raleigh, North Carolina last February. He didn’t leave until he had personally spoken to every single attendee who had come to hear him speak.
Powell knows how to command a room, but will leave you feeling like the star. That’s because to Powell, you are the star. We all are.
Former MTV reality show personality, turned journalist, turned activist, turned congressional candidate, turned riveting political author, Powell has lived a life not unlike a real-life Forrest Gump (or so his friends say). His uncanny ambition, open-mind, and big heart have taken him all over the world and allowed him to experience diverse people and perspectives – uniting them all under the simple concept of helping your fellow man.
“Life isn’t a straight line,” Powell says. “It is an all over adventure.”
Powell remains grounded through it all, though – truthful to his humble beginnings in New Jersey and Brooklyn and the life lessons his southern single mother provided him as a boy. It is this amazing balance between where Powell came from and where he is today that makes him more personable and more real than anyone else you could encounter – even while standing up on a stage in front of hundreds of people.
“There was a point in my life when I needed to step back and figure out what was important to me. It wasn’t fame or attention; it was making the world better – helping people. I love people. If you can remember where you came from – be proud of where you came from – and love yourself, then you can start to love others, too.”
Powell’s 11th book, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King is available today on Lulu.com. It echoes many of these fundamental concepts and how they fit into a rapidly changing American society and culture in the modern day.
Powell’s love for writing started when he was just a child. He remembers his mother taking him to the library every Saturday and Sunday and being fascinated by books and their authors.
“At 11 years old I was reading For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway,” Powell recalls. “I didn’t necessarily understand it all, but I was hooked. I researched Hemingway, learned he ran with the bulls in Europe, lived in Key West, and thought: ‘Wow, this is what you get to do as a writer.’ Reading had a profound impact on me. It took me places and filled my imagination.”
One of the first things Powell did once he found his stride as a writer was travel to Hemingway’s home in Key West as a “thank you” to his idol and to just be in the same place as where Hemingway had worked and lived.
Growing up, Powell’s mother didn’t exactly see his artistic vision quite as clearly as he did, however.
“My mom came from farm life,” Powell says. “That was working to her – not writing. At first, my mom thought I was out of my mind.”
Powell went to college at Rutgers in New Jersey where he fell in love with journalism and discovered activism. A nearby friend happened to have started an indie newspaper and hired Powell to write for 20 bucks an article.
“I was just happy to have a byline,” Powell says. “I started to find my voice. It was the most liberating time of my life. I spent the entire summer of 1987 sitting on the steps of the New York Public Library writing in my journal. I couldn’t stop.”
Powell continued writing, oddly found himself on a popular MTV reality show, then landed a spot writing articles for Vibe Magazine working for another childhood idol Quincy Jones.
“Now my mom started to come around,” Powell laughs. “People in the neighborhood started talking about me. Now my mom is the first person to tell people about my book. Whenever I release one, she’ll call and say: ‘Did you say anything about me?’”
So how, then, does a successful author and speaker who has run for congress find self-publishing?
“If you’re ever in the world of media, you inevitably think to yourself: ‘There has got to be a better way,’” Powell says. “I’ve had agents and publishers turn to me and simply say: ‘We’re not gonna represent you anymore.’ They try to force you to make choices like ‘are you an artist or an activist?’ A person can be both. The people at Lulu have been some of the coolest to work with, and there is something to be said for feeling like you’re dealing with real people, where the CEO will actually reach out to you if you need him. Lulu really practices what I personally believe in how you should treat people.”
Be sure to check out Kevin Powell’s new book Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King on Lulu.com today. To learn more about Powell and his upcoming speaking engagements visit www.kevinpowell.net.
I had an interesting conversation with an up and coming author recently who has a very specific vision. She wants to cut out any potential for a “middle-man” to distract her readers from finding and buying her works. She eventually even wants to run her own publishing business directly from her website starting with her own titles. This would enable her to maximize her profits and directly tap into her fan-base while helping other aspiring authors share their works too. The problem is she didn’t have an easy means of distribution, eBook creation, or order fulfillment. She needed someone to help her do all the heavy lifting on the backend, so she could focus on creating a successful business. That’s where Lulu and our Open Publishing APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) come in.
An API is kind of like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work. All the “blocks” that make Lulu’s great self-publishing site function are available to the public so that anyone can use them no matter their needs or their market. With Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike can take whatever pieces they need from Lulu and use them on their own websites to instantly produce, manage, and sell content. The best part? They are absolutely free.
Suddenly this up and coming author has a completely customized publishing solution to start that business she dreams about. She can sign up other authors but can relax while she uses Lulu’s global print-on-demand network to cut on shipping costs. She gets to offer her authors distribution through Lulu’s retail partners like Amazon, iBookstore(SM), and NOOK Bookstore – where many readers already shop. It’s all under her own imprint and designed for her to be more profitable than ever before possible.
Lulu is constantly rolling out new APIs too. Coming soon Lulu’s eCommerce APIs will be released for general availability, enabling customers to buy directly through an author or business’s own website. Also be on the look out for general availability of our Creator Revenue APIs which allow a business or imprint to easily keep track of an author’s earnings.
Indeed, the Lulu APIs are empowering people and organizations – like our friends at campus bookstores across the nation – to grow and monetize content in exciting new ways while diversifying revenue and expanding their businesses – all under one roof. Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for some more exciting news about how our APIs are helping to break down even more barriers for authors, for businesses, and for everyone in between.
Lulu was at the Campus Market Expo (CAMEX) March 2-6th this week and boy did we have a great time. It was our first year at the event and since we were partnered with the National Association of College Stores (NACS), the guys responsible for CAMEX, attendees were anxious to see what we had to offer. We did not disappoint.
Lulu got to show off our fancy new beta platform for college stores. What the heck does that mean? Well, we’re providing stores with the tools they need to effectively become their own publishing hubs. This is great for everyone including faculty and staff, students, and the stores themselves. The platform puts the power back in the hands of the community. Educators are able to create customized course materials and text books at prices they set. Students get more up-to-date and affordable content, and can publish works of their own. Stores get to diversify their revenue, take advantage of Lulu’s distribution partners, and look like the good guys they are to their customers – all while Lulu does all the heavy lifting on the backend. Cool huh? So far, the pilot program has sign-ups from Montezuma Publishing at San Diego State University, Jayhawk Ink at the University of Kansas, and Odin Ink at Portland State University.
You can learn more about Lulu’s partnership with NACS on the Lulu Press Center. In the meantime, check out these fun pictures from the show.
Success in publishing happens everyday, but what about for small to medium publishers? Even they are empowered to expand their brands and imprints with the new tools and innovations self-publishing brings. Why just this morning Fifty Shades of Grey was featured on the Today Show. Check out the full segment below: