Articles by Nick

Lulu Lens: Highlighted Discussion – Pre-Publication Marketing

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Recently in the forums, mark_sheldon1221 made a post about Pre-Publication Marketing that generated some interesting discussion. Mark asked:

“Since I’m not going to be publishing the first book for another nine months, is there any way to set up some sort of marketing here on Lulu that I can refer users to between now and publication?”

Several of our forum mainstays like Keith Dixon and veinglory have chimed in with suggestions for Mark. What are your thoughts? Should you market your book before it’s released? What are the pros and cons?

Lulu Lens: Order History

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We’re looking at revising the “My Order History” section of My Lulu and we would like your feedback on what additional information you would like about your orders. Please let us know what you’d like to see. The more feedback you can give us the better changes we can implement.

From the Vault: How Previews May Help You Sell

Picture 10A while back, I explained why previews and reviews are crucial to sales. Seeing as more and more people are publishing every day, I thought it would be helpful to share this post again. Please enjoy this post “From the Vault.”

I tend to come across a lot of material on the site because of my job. Sometimes, it’s because I’m looking for something to buy for content to highlight. Regardless of the reason, I am often surprised by how many books lack a preview. According to Chris Anderson, author of the “Long Tail,” on average, 500 copies of a book are sold per year. For a self-published author, selling 500 copies in a year is considered a huge success, but how do you get 500 people to buy your book when most of them haven’t ever heard of you? The simple answer is to let them read it.

If I have never heard of a writer before, three things help me decide to take a chance on a book. First, does the summary grab me? If a book has a good description and it sounds interesting, I will take a closer look at it. I can’t tell you how many books I come across with descriptions that don’t tell me enough about what the book is about. So, that’s step 1 – think about your description and try to tell people what your book (or CD or whatever) is about, why they should give it a shot. Show it to people you trust to give you constructive criticism and get their advice. Remember, if you don’t draw people in, they probably won’t take a chance on your book.

Lulu Lens: What Do You Want Out Of Forums?

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When we released our new forums back in February, we were excited. The old forums had been implemented when the Lulu.com site first went up and they had a lot of issues. Most of them were behind the scenes (admin features that were broken or added on), but they were difficult to work with. We thought Helpstream was the solution. Through a number of issues (slowness, being logged out) as well as concerns about navigation, many of our users told us they aren’t happy with the new system. We listened and have spent a lot of time trying to create a structure that will serve both our community and our internal needs. That’s where you come in.

We want your opinion. What do you want out of a world-class forum? What features do you like? What do you never want to see? We value your feedback and need your help as we figure out our next steps.

Lulu Lens: What do you think of the Lulu Storefronts?

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We want your feedback on the Lulu storefronts. What do you love? What do you hate? What would you like to see? Do the current storefronts help you sell more books? Stop by the forums and let us know what you think!

Lulu Lens: Featured Idea – Save Trees, Mail Books In Envelopes

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Earth Day was last week, and so I wanted to feature an idea to help with the environment. Dmaddalena suggests that instead of sending books in boxes, we could mail them in smaller padded envelopes. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to the idea (for example, there is a higher risk of damage in mailing a book in an envelope), but it’s worth discussing. What are some other ways we could reduce our impact on the environment?

Please follow the link and comment on the idea, and if you like the idea be sure to click the “I like this idea” thumbs up next to it. If you have other ideas for how Lulu can improve, post it to the Ideas & Feedback section.

Focus: Celebrating Earth Day With eBooks!

Today is Earth Day and one great way to celebrate is to order an eBook instead of a print copy. You’ll save paper and still enjoy a great reading experience! To help you find some great content, we’ve selected a few picks from our catalog.
Rain: A Graphic Novella
By Ami Blackwelder
Rain is a highly advanced genetically engineered human designed by the future corrupt government and used to keep control and order. When dreams remind her who she really is, she goes rogue and takes the government down.
The Basic Art of Pizza
By Maria Liberati
Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati gives you step by step instructions on making different types of pizza.
Cheating Death: Life On The Highway
By Keith May
For most folks, spending a month on a Harley-Davidson exploring rural America, is at best, only a dream. In the Spring of 2001, however, photojournalist Keith May did exactly that. On assignment for an Adventure magazine, his mission was to go where the wind blew him and let pictures tell the story. 6,500 miles later, Cheating Death: Life On The Highway was the result.

Today is Earth Day and one great way to celebrate is to order an eBook instead of a print copy. You’ll save paper and still enjoy a great reading experience! To help you find some great content, we’ve selected a few picks from our catalog.
How to Take Care of Your Share of the Planet
How to Take Care of Your Share of the Planet
By Betsy Franz
Hybrid automobiles and reusable shopping bags are great ways to go green. But the best way to have a positive effect on the environment is to start outside by learning to Take Care of Your Share of the planet. If you are a property owner, you own a share of the planet. If you are a renter, you rent a share. Do your part for the planet. Learn to Take Care of Your Share.

Go Green, Live Rich
Go Green, Live Rich
By Hillary Rosner, By David Bach
David Bach is the author of seven consecutive national bestsellers, including the number-one New York Times bestsellers The Automatic Millionaire and Start Late, Finish Rich and, most recently, the number-one bestseller The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner. There are over five million copies of his books in print, and they have been translated into fifteen languages. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show six times and is a featured columnist on Yahoo! Finance.

Lulu Lens: Featured Idea – Flexible Pricing

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One of the more popular ideas in our Ideas & Feedback section is Julie Dawson’s recommendation that we allow “Flexible Pricing.“ This is somewhat related to Belinda’s idea last week of allowing Lulu creators to generate their own coupon codes. However, Julie’s idea takes this a slightly different direction and branches out into allowing users to create discount bundles (if someone buys two books they get X amount off), having a sale price on your storefront, and giving the eBook version away for free if you purchase the print copy.

Please follow the link and comment on the idea, and if you like the idea be sure to click the “I like this idea” thumbs up next to it. If you have other ideas for how Lulu can improve, post it to the Ideas & Feedback section. I can’t promise that they’ll all get done, but I can promise that all the right people are paying attention.

Lulu Lens: Featured Idea – Customer Generated Coupons

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The most popular idea in the Lulu community right now is Belinda D’Alessandro’s suggestion that we ”allow Lulu creators to generate their own coupons, discount codes and gift certificates to offer their customers.” I have taken this idea to our product managers, who are eager to explore it further. We’d like to hear more — and from more of you — about the specific features and functionality you would like to see.

Please follow the link and comment on the idea, and if you like the idea be sure to click the “I like this idea” thumbs up next to it. If you have other ideas for how Lulu can improve, post it to the Ideas & Feedback section. I will be regularly highlighting ideas and making sure our product managers know which ideas are important to the community. I can’t promise that they’ll get done, but I can promise that I will do everything I can to get them promoted.

Ideas & Feedback

Picture 16As many of you are likely aware, last month we introduced a new section in our Community & Support area called Ideas & Feedback. The purpose of this area is simple – we want to hear from you. We want to know what you think would improve the Lulu experience. You can post your ideas and vote on existing ones. We’ll be constantly reviewing ideas and seeing what people suggest. We’re listening.

Two of the recent ideas that have received the most votes are things like improving the visibility of templates and allowing Lulu Creators to give out coupons & gift certificates to buyers. Be sure to check out the ideas that are already posted and share your own ideas with us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.