Articles by AJ

Better Fundraising this Holiday with Lulu

Lulu.com wants to help small businesses and non-profit organizations in our home state of North Carolina raise more funds this holiday season, just by making a free calendar. We’re even throwing in a $1,000 cash bonus to the organization that sells the most calendars between Oct. 5th and Dec. 31st. We’re also including participating organizations in Lulu’s holiday marketing and publicity. It’s simple, too.

To participate:

  • Any small business or non-profit in North Carolina can create an account on Lulu, then a calendar project at no cost.
  • Add your favorite pics to the online calendar template. Drag and drop, and then publish your calendar.
  • Once done, just email fundraising@lulu.com with a link to your project. That’s it.

Your new calendar is a fun way to engage your fans and supporters and it is free to create. A local food truck could make a calendar of their truck outside different places around town. Or a restaurant could create a calendar with recipes and pics of their favorite dishes. The options are endless.

Lulu will include participating local businesses and non-profits in the following marketing as well:

  • Regular social networking blasts to Lulu fans and followers
  • Direct email campaigns
  • Lulu fundraising marketing and PR campaigns

Start your project today and spread some extra cheer this holiday. We can only feature you if we know about your project so please email a link to your calendar to fundraising@lulu.com by the first week of October.

The Nexus 7: Good News for EPUB Formatted eBooks

The new Google Nexus 7 tablet is making headlines as the “Kindle Killer.”  Early adopters of the device are reporting that the Nexus 7 can open EPUB formatted eBooks, which you can create right here on Lulu, as well as make use of all the e-reader apps in the Google play store.

Folks are even saying they can just upload all their EPUBs to a Dropbox folder and easily access their entire digital library directly from the cloud.  Looks like Lulu customers just got one more device they can enjoy their open-published EPUB titles on.
Some reviewers are stating that the Nexus 7 beats the Kindle Fire on specs and features.  Determine which device is best for your e-reading needs by checking out these sources:

How To Land a Major Publisher

Aspiring author Michael Ennis felt the sting of rejection after submitting drafts of his work, “The Malice of Fortune,” to several publishing houses. Ennis was ready to give up until he received a tip from his agent: Try booksellers first. Ennis and his agent, Daniel Lazar, set out to self-publish the title using Lulu.com, eventually sending 48 copies to top-tier booksellers such as Books & Books in Miami and Tattered Cover in Denver.  23 sellers responded and within days, rights to the book were purchased at six figures by a traditional imprint – ordering a 75,000 copy run.  A representative from the acquiring publisher says the work Ennis did upfront was key in getting the publisher to even look at the new title due to the high volume of submissions they receive. Yet another example of a modern day author giving away their work for free, with successful results.

 

To read the full story in the Wall Street Journal, click here: To Land a Publisher, an Author Prints Sample Copies for Stores

 

Recommended Reading:

Book Expo America 2012: Three Authors and 36 Million Reasons to Meet Them

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:

  • 9:00AM – 9:50AM – Room 1E14 – Break Through & Publish You
  • 1:30PM – 2:20PM – Room 1E13 – Publishing Partners That Put Unknown Authors on the Bookshelf
Lulu’s presence at BEA comes hot on the heels of our 10-year anniversary, which had us celebrating our authors making over $36 million in revenue in our decade-long history.  At over 677,000 published eBooks and over 618,000 published print titles, we’re more excited than ever to show the folks at BEA just how easy it is to publish works in all sorts of markets and formats more profitably than ever before.  See you at the show!

Bestselling Author Kevin Powell Comes to Lulu

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.

Expand Your Business with Custom Publishing Solutions

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 organizationslike 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.

 

CAMEX Recap – Bringing the Power of One-Stop Publishing to College Communities

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.

Fifty Shades of Grey on the Today 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:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From the Vault: More Social Networking Sites for Authors

There are number of other websites and tools besides Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+ that are ideal for establishing relationships online. Many of these sites allow writers to find a highly targeted segment of Internet users to share ideas and get feedback. The sites can also be used to reach people who might be interested in purchasing your books, photobooks and other Lulu.com content.

Plurk is a great site to find people with similar interests. The service is similar to Twitter, but enables conversations to be followed much more easily.

Tumblr is another micro-blogging site to share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.

Pinterest is a digital bulletin board that you can post likes and interests to for seamless sharing with others.  This is a great place to recommend titles you like yourself, and casually mention your work.

StumbleUpon is a perfect site to find sites that match your exact interests. You can surf sites on any topic and easily add your own favorites and your own Lulu content easily. It is not uncommon for StumbleUpon to generate thousands of views of a single web page.

These are just a few of the many sites and tools available to promote your Lulu.com projects. Feel free to add any other ones you like to use, or links to your pages, in the comments section.

Better Education Through Self-Publishing

Lulu Education

 

Apple obviously thinks that teachers could benefit from more self-publishing tools – and they’re right. Educators like Dr. Tony Kemerly, professor of biomechanics at High Point University and Lulu author, often find themselves spending countless hours every semester stapling worksheets together for students – a common problem for the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s recorded 1.7 million post-secondary teachers in the country.

More and more though, better choices are becoming available that give these teachers and professors greater control over the learning experiences they share with their students. The tools now exist to empower educators to publish their own content for free and ensure their students are receiving the most up-to-date classroom materials at an affordable price they set.  Teachers can publish a print book or eBook, offer supplementary materials, or make free revisions at anytime.  They’re then able to sell their works through retailers like the iBookstore(SM), Amazon.com, and the NOOK(TM) Bookstore – not just through student bookstores.  It is by removing the limitations that we’re better able to move knowledge from one generation to the next, so we can all benefit from these works.

Dr. Marianne Bradford, professor for the College of Management at North Carolina State University puts it best:

“Bookstore prices can be so high, and the textbooks used for my classes were so outdated,” says Dr. Bradford.  “I needed content geared towards my students.  Big publishers were interested, but did not seem to understand the market or the content.  The flexibility and control over my work I found when self-publishing let me create materials that suited my personality and style.”

Dr. Bradford’s book, Modern ERP:  Select, Implement & Use Today’s Advanced Business Systems, has gone on to rank in the top 100 of Lulu’s 1.1 million titles and is currently being translated for Korean audiences.  “I feel confident about my decision to go with Lulu and plan on a long working relationship,” Bradford adds.

For more information on academic publishing opportunities, visit Lulu’s education portal at www.lulu.com/education. And sound off in the comments below on clever ways you’ve used self-publishing to teach others.