Articles by admin

Taking it to the Web: Tools for online marketing and promotion

The Lulu “Mini-Storefront” widget and website banners are the unsung heroes for online marketing.  Last month we talked about how press releases are a great way to spread the word about your book.  With the Lulu widget and website banners, you can encourage people to buy your book wherever you are on the web.

The Lulu “Mini-Storefront” widget attracts visitors from your blog, MySpace page, Facebook profile or personal website to your Lulu content.  With the Mini-Storefront, your captive audience can view your book, read the description and – the best part – buy your book(!) all from the comforts of your website.
Let’s try the Facebook Widget – Here are a few tips to keep in mind when setting up your widget with your Facebook profile:

So You Think You Can Write a Book

Anthony S. Policastro is not just the Senior Business Analyst at Lulu.com, he is also an author. He was kind enough to take the time out of his day to write a great post on how to write and market your book using Lulu.com and other great tools.

The Jenkins Group , an independent publishing services company, says four out of five people they surveyed said they believe they have a book to write. Even fewer actually sit down and write a book and even fewer get published. Many established literary agencies in New York and elsewhere get upwards of 500 email and snail mail book queries a week and less than one percent of them are considered for representation.

So how do you get published with those odds?

Gain an Audience Using Twitter

One key to selling your book, photo book or calendar is finding an audience who is interested in your topic. Website forums have been a good way to speak to people who share your same interests, but finding the right websites to post on can take quite a bit of time and effort.

In the past year, another great way to find and communicate with people who share your interests has emerged: Twitter. This web-based communication tool allows you to have conversations with numerous people whether they share your interests or are simply interesting in their own right. If you’re shy, you don’t have to actively engage people in conversation; you can follow people that interest you and sit back and watch the conversations unfold.

Get Fit on Lulu!

September 27th is Family Health and Fitness Day USA (I know, I didn’t have it on my calendar either!).  Good thing I’m here to give you a cool list of books on Lulu on how to get your family out in the fresh air, and well-fed, the healthy way.

A family that’s fit together has fun together – especially if you’re playing one of the fun games in Kathi Wyldeck’s Family Games.  Filled with games like “Robin’s Nest”, “Crusts and Crumbs” “Red Rover” and other outdoor games, you’ll be playing till the streetlights come on and it’s dinnertime.

Speaking of dinner…let’s work on the healthy part of the day.  With organic and health food stores everywhere, slow food movements and even fast food places offering a fruit cup instead of fries, eating healthy is becoming easier. If you’re looking for some new and inventive recipes, try the Runner’s Cookbook (ooo..running and cooking) .

Think health equals a long time to cook?  Au contraire! With Healthy Meals in 30 Minutes you can create a variety of gluten-, dairy-, sugar- and soy-free meals without having to slave over a stove all day.

So with plans in hand for a fun day, go enjoy Health and Fitness Day with friends and family.  The more the merrier and the better the games!

What Makes a Good Press Release? How to get the word out in 5 steps

In the world of blogs, tweets and social networking, creating buzz around your book is easier than ever. But how do you reach reporters from traditional media? The traditional press release is still a great way to let people know of your newest book project.

Wait! How to I achieve fame and fortune with a traditional press release you ask. We can’t guarantee fame and fortune but with these five steps and a little elbow grease, you will be well on your way.

Try these steps when putting together your next release:

1. Keep the editor(s) in mind. Hundreds of releases vie for their attention each week, so make yours relevant and accurate.

2. Write your press release!  Keep these things in mind while crafting your release-

  • Be catchy! Write a headline that grabs attention and summarizes your main point. Then, because the first paragraph is often the only one that’s read, make sure it covers who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • Be brief. Keep your release to one page or 400 words. The end.
  • Be current. Highlight something about your product in your release that’s relevant to current events.
  • Be available. Make sure you put your current contact information (E-mail, phone number, fax…) so that those that are interested can reach you.

3. Create a relationship! With your local lifestyles, arts section, book reviewers, local bookstores and editors. The more they know about you and your book the more willing to read your press release.

4. Send it out! Either to a targeted list of regional and local reporters or an e-press release over a news wire service – choose a list that you can handle when following up.

5. Ask for help. If you’re having trouble, visit Lulu Services and look into a professional press release.

Excited by Lulu.com? Let the world know!

Calling all Lulus! We need you to raise your voice and shout from the rooftops how Lulu energizes you by handing over control of publishing and profiting from creative content like novels, photo books and calendars. Be part of the Lulu Groundswell!

Groundswell, the book written by Forrester Research analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, focuses on how people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like mammoth corporations – a trend and principle on which Lulu.com has built its company.  The book has become the ultimate guide for the Lulu team, as we seek to give YOU the best, most innovative social tools to collaboratively create, market and sell your creative works and interact directly with your audience, whether it is one reader or 10,000.

So naturally, we entered the Second Annual Forrester Groundswell Awards, in the ‘energize’ category and your reviews will help spread the word about how Lulu helps authors through our community.

Here’s how you can review Lulu.com:
1. Go to http://www.forrester.com/Groundswell/energizing.html to see the Lulu entry.
2. Go to the Lulu listing and click ‘Review’.
3. Rate Lulu and write a review of how you think Lulu is doing when it comes to energizing you as an author.
4. Click submit.

It’s that simple!

A widget user? Member of the Facebook Lulu group? Always ready for the next post from the Lulu blog team? Let us (and the judges) know how you connect to your audience and other Lulus through the offerings on the Lulu community page:

People like you, ready to connect with you...

People like you, ready to connect with you...

Flick(r) Your Photos to Lulu

In last week’s post, Adam told us about some new enhancements to Lulu Studio.

I’ve been wanting to join the flickr-nation and with this new Lulu feature, I had nothing stopping me from creating a photo book.  If you haven’t given Lulu Studio a whirl yet, here’s a step-by-step of what to expect when you merge your Flickr account and Lulu Studio to create a photo book.

So I logged into my flickr account.  If you don’t have a flickr or photo bucket account, sign up for one – either or, whichever you are more comfortable with.  Once you’re all set up, start uploading photos to your hearts desire.

So I put my photos on Flickr:

Fighting CF with Bikes and Books

With the awesomeness that is the Olympics going on, there are lots of inspiring hero stories being told.

But not every hero is at the Olympics. There are people out there doing heroic things everyday. One hero we recently discovered at Lulu is Walter van Praag. He might not call himself a hero, but I think he is.

Last year, in order to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis, Walter, his wife and a small crew rode what they called The Great Cystic Orient Fibrosis Express, or COFE. They cycled the route of the Orient Express, from Paris to Istanbul. That’s over 2400 miles! Walter himself has Cystic Fibrosis (CF), and did this ride to inspire healthy people, people living with CF and people with other disabilities.

Since the ride was completed last year, Walter has published two books on Lulu: Coughing the Distance: Paris to Istanbul With Cystic Fibrosis, a book chronicling his adventures on the ride, and Walter and the Mucous Monsters, a children’s version written by his wife.

Walter has lived a life full of adventure and excitement, and shows that living with a disability is far from limiting. His adventurous spirit and athleticism has helped him far exceed the expected lifespan for someone with CF. With COFE and his books, Walter is showing the world how un-limiting disabilities of any type can be.

Tips & Tricks: Book Previews – Entice your Reader without Even Trying

In an earlier blog post, Nick talked about the benefits of having book previews. Here we’re going to talk about how to create and what things to keep in mind for a great book preview.

If you’re anything like me, reading the description of a book isn’t enough for me to buy it. It’s a start, but those first few pages are key. Many times I find myself standing in the bookstore with almost the first chapter read when I start heading to the checkout counter. That’s what a book preview is! When the description isn’t enough, a book preview is a great way to draw people to your book.

A couple of things to consider when setting up your preview:

  • Are you just previewing the first pages of your book (The table of contents, the copyright page, a blank page, etc) or are you previewing enough that the reader can get a feel of what the book (or CD) is about? Don’t waste your time or your reader’s time with the first pages of your book. If they are pages you would skip in the bookstore, pretty sure the reader will do the same for your book. Give them something they want to read!
  • Preview doesn’t equal the whole book… unless you want to. Put up what you are comfortable with. If you do want to put up more than a few pages, think about having a free download of the first few chapters.

Now on to the how-to… Step-By-Step Preview Generation

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s A Lulu Comic Creator!

With the frenzy around Batman’s Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Hellboy II: The Golden Army all gracing the big screen this summer, everyone seems to have comics on the brain, and I’m no exception.

Personally, I’m a fan of Wonder Woman, and am waiting with bated breath for Lynda Carter to don the Lasso of Truth, to pass her trusty bracelets on to her daughter, or well, any kind of Wonder Woman movie really. Unfortunately, there have been holdups in getting one released, so until then, Delilah Dirk is my new ‘shero’.

Who’s Delilah Dirk? She’s the funny, sly, sword-wielding heroine of Delilah Dirk and the Treasure of Constantinople by Tony Cliff. Set in the late 19th century in Constantinople, the story centers on an army captain of the Ottoman Empire who finds his job and life on the line after Delilah Dirk, his most important prisoner mollywops a guard and escapes to freedom. I’m not the only one who is hip to Delilah and her adventures – Tony and his comic heroine have been nominated for an Eisner Award in the category for Best Single Issue. We here at Lulu wish Tony the best of luck, and are crossing our fingers that he walks away with the prize during the ceremony this Friday.

If you are looking for your own ‘shero’ here are a few titles you should look into:
A. Furuichi and S. Yoshinaga – Nemu Nemu
Wapsi Square: 2001-2004 – Paul Taylor
Girls With Slingshots Volume 1 (2nd Edition) – Danielle Corsetto