Articles by Morgan, Lulu

Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Self-Published Book

As self-published authors, we find that it’s often in our own hands to promote our own work. We make daily efforts to find new and innovative ways to spread the word, inspire readers and gain recognition. At Lulu, we are always thrilled to see self-published authors succeed, and we are particularly grateful to the people and organizations that dedicate their efforts to supporting the community of self-published authors.

That said, we are happy to share with you a great new opportunity for self-published authors brought to you by Margaret Brown of Shelf Unbound Magazine. If you don’t know Shelf Unbound, I highly recommend checking it out.

And without further ado… the competition details below in the words of Margaret Brown herself:

Seeking Best Self-Published Book

We launched the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Self-Published Book a couple of weeks ago. Word of mouth. Social media. Modest expectations. I immediately got a rather scathing email from an industry guy questioning my ethical integrity – how can I justify charging $10 entry fee when there are no self-published books worthy of even being read, he asked.

Video: What is Lulu?

We’re very excited to show off our brand new “What is Lulu?” video with special thanks to Vance Reeser, co-director, animator and artist and to Noah Smith for storyboarding.

Vance Reeser, a lulu author himself, says he first heard about Lulu a long time ago when searching the Web for a way to collect some sketches into a printed book. “I gave it a shot,” he says, “and was pretty impressed with the results so I ended up using it again for my kids book Edward the Invincible.”

Lulu: How was your experience publishing on Lulu?

Vance: It was fun and very easy. I wasn’t able to turn making children’s books into a career or anything, but that also wasn’t my goal. There’s something very satisfying about having a tangible, very real copy of your book there for people to check out and buy.

Lulu: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Vance: I’d say keep working and power through those early years of work you know is just flat out busted or maybe not quite up to the hazy image in your mind you can’t seem to get on the page/screen. The only way through those hard HARD days is to keep working at it. There are no shortcuts. Stop looking for them – it’s a waste of time. There’s no magic software that makes it easy, no book of tricks… As the years go by and if you’ve stuck with it, it will get better, and what you see in your mind’s eye will slowly but surely refine and you’ll be achieving it on your screen. This is all basically what Ira Glass has said before, but it’s very true!

Lulu: What motivated you to co-direct the “What is Lulu?” video?

Vance: Immanuel (Lulu’s brilliant graphic designer and sneaky nerf gun aficionado) is a friend from my days in college taking design classes, and he gave me plenty of freedom to creatively approach the ideas that needed to be conveyed in the video. That allowed me to take the reigns quite a bit, which is a nice change of pace for me in regard to client work! He made sure we stayed on message and within the style boundaries he had in mind, and I worked out a lot of the visuals with the help of Noah Smith and directed the pacing and how the transitions and elements would move within the “rules.” The initial idea was to do more of a somewhat simple, flat, paper cutout look, but we ended up going into richer, deeper visuals as the project progressed. We did carry over a slower frame rate from the cutout concept, giving it a handmade crafts-y feel I think.

Check out his latest masterpiece, the brand new, “What is Lulu?” video as well as his children’s book, Edward the Invincible. Tell us what you think!

Enter the Lulu & CanvasPop YELLOW Photo Contest

Ready to have your photography featured in a Lulu photo book? Perhaps even on the cover of the book of winning entries? Now through Aug. 22, submit your high-res, yellow-themed image to our photo contest. Prizes include major giveaways like $500 Lulu gift voucher, a 20×30 canvas print of your photo from CanvasPop and more, so be sure to enter a photo and then come back and vote on for your entry.

Show off your creative side. Let’s see what you’ve got to represent the color of sunshine and smileys!

To enter: Lulu & CanvasPop YELLOW Photo Contest

Official rules: Contest Official Rules

Browse other entries (they look great!): Yellow Photo Entries

Have some fun & win some prizes!

 

Update: Now that the contest has closed,  we are excited to announce the winners! Read about it here: Lulu / CanvasPop YELLOW Photo Contest Winners!

Remarkable Find: A MOO Way to Market Your Book

How do self-published authors get the word out about their work? The same way other professionals get the word out about their businesses – through networking. This is why MOO recommends business cards for authors. In fact, MOO is so confident that your author cards will boost your book sales that they’re giving you your first pack FREE.

MOO allows people to design their own business cards, MiniCards, postcards, stickers and more. How is MOO different? They invented Printfinity, which allows you to have a different image on every single card in a pack. It’s a great way for you to show off your work. Here are some creative ways for authors to use MOO cards to market their work:

 “You can quote me on that.”

As an author, you are selling your ability to write. So, give people a taste of what they’re going to get. Reel them in! Pull choice quotes out of your work and use them on your cards – it’s bound to be a conversation starter.

News and reviews

If you’ve been reviewed (and obviously, only if it’s positive!), why not incorporate the design of your card to include a few of the best lines? The world of professional writing is competitive, so letting people know straight away the good things others have said about your work will help you stand out.

Collectables

Consider making your cards collectors’ items by featuring a different excerpt on each. This works particularly well for poets. When the poems are too long to print on a small card, consider using a QR code to link directly to the poem online.

This is also a great technique for cookbook authors, who can feature different recipes on each card with links to recommendations for what appetizers and drinks to pair with each dish.

Judge my book by its cover

As an author, you obviously value words. But the truth is, in a short period of time – the amount of time, say, that it takes to glance at a business card – most people respond very well to strong images. So if you’ve got a great book cover, why not use it as the front of your cards? Alternatively, you could use classic literary covers throughout the ages or design something that represents your reading taste.

Ready to start making your MOO card now? MOO is offering Lulu customers 100 free MiniCards (excluding shipping). Hurry – this offer is limited to the first 500 customers, one per customer.

Help Lulu Win Social Madness!

Ok, we need your help! Lulu has made it to Round 3 of the Social Madness Social Media Contest, but we need your help beating Burt’s Bees in the next round. We have a long way to go. As we enter into this round, we have 857 points and they have a whooping 6,985.

If you enjoy chatting with us on social media and have connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, our Blog or or Pinterest page, then please help us win! There are four ways to help us win:

  1. Vote for us (click on the image below. Select our city – Raleigh/Durham – and then click “Medium Companies” and vote for Lulu.com!)
  2. Like, comment on and share our posts on Facebook
  3. Like, comment on and share our posts on LinkedIn
  4. Reply to and retweet our tweets on Twitter
    Continue Reading »

4th of July Pinterest Contest

Join Lulu on Pinterest for a bit of 4th of July fun. We’re hosting a Caption Contest. Write a caption, then repin the image for your chance to win.

Prizes

Your choice between a Premium Book Cover Design Service (valued at $450) or $300.00 Lulu bucks.

How to Win

To win, visit Lulu’s Pinterest page and write a caption on this image. Then, repin that image, and you’re entered to win! Valid entries should be submitted by Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 5pm EST. The winner will be selected by Lulu’s team of judges by Friday, July 6, 2012 at 5pm EST. We will alert the winner by posting our congratulations message on your repin and providing further instructions for redeeming your prize. We will also announce the winner by updating this blog post.

 

How my Lulu Books Became Amazon Best-Sellers

By Jackie Barrie, author of Lulu books The Little Fish Guide to DIY Marketing and The Little Fish Guide to Networking.

As you can guess from the titles, both my books are targeted toward small businesses and startups. With such a limited audience, I’d never expect them to be ranked top overall. I’m thrilled and amazed they got ranked at all! But they both reached top ten in Amazon’s Sales & Marketing category.

As you can see from the screenshots below, my first Lulu book The Little Fish Guide to DIY Marketing peaked at number 8 (at the time of writing, it is number 40). My second Lulu book The Little Fish Guide to Networking made it to number 7. It also attained 11th position in the Marketing category of the 2012 #BizBookAwards run by Small Business Trends (at one point it was 4th).

Introducing Lulu Author T-Shirts

Does being an author make you so proud you want to announce it to the world? Do you ever feel like shouting from the rooftops, “Hey, I’m an author! Woooo! Hint: Buy my book!” Well, now you’ve got another way to let the world know about your accomplishments and prompt discussion about your book(s)…

Lulu is very happy to introduce Author T-Shirts. We have a variety of shirts available and each can be customized to your color, size and style preferences. These t-shirts were designed by Lulu authors just like you. We hope you’ll wear yours proudly and that they will help spark conversation with strangers who wonder, “Oh? You’re an author? Do tell me about your book! Where can I buy a copy?”

Buy yours here: Lulu Author T-Shirt Store

So, we hope you like the author t-shirts. Tell us in the comments which design is your favorite. If you buy one, tag us in a pic on Facebook so we can see you sporting your new shirt!

Promote Your Book Sale on Facebook

Dearest Lulu Authors,

We are having a site-wide mystery sale at Lulu.com until Thursday. To help you encourage your readers to take advantage of the sale, we’ve created a Facebook graphic for you to share on your Wall. When it shows up in your friends’ newsfeeds, it will point to your profile pic!

Here is the link to the image on Facebook so that you can share it on your Wall: This author’s book is on sale! Hurry, the sale only lasts until Thursday. Happy savings.

 

 

Infographic: 10 Remarkable Years

Thank you to our authors and readers for making this 10 remarkable years in self-publishing. Check out this awesome info graph to see how we’ve grown.