Articles by Nick

Lulu Lens: Alternatives To Credit Cards For Payment

We’ve often heard from customers that they would like options other than paying by credit card or Paypal for their books and services. One of our users, dasbruce had an excellent recommendation for chavee3. Chavee3 asked how they could buy books online without using a credit or debit card. Dasbruce pointed out that you could buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card with the amount of your purchase on it so that you didn’t have to use a card with your personal information on it.

Do you have a preferred payment method other than a credit card or Paypal? If so, what is it?

Highlight: Comic Books & Graphic Novels

I’ve been into comic books and graphic novels since I was a kid. My taste has changed a bit, but I will still stay up late to go to the midnight release of the Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour at Chapel Hill Comics. Today is also the first day of San Diego Comic Con, the largest event in comics, and so I wanted to give some focus to some cool indie comics on Lulu.

Wapsi Square

By Paul Taylor

A wrench has been thrown into the comfortable Minneapolis neighborhood of Wapsi Square. Monica Villarreal, a young and skeptical museum anthropologist crosses paths with an Aztec deity and all cards are thrown to the wind. More than questioning her own sanity she slowly begins to question the world around her and the very history books that she holds sacred. Helping keep Monica grounded are her friends; Amanda, a motherly but cynical professional photographer, Shelly, a tough tomboy yet girly-girl mechanic and Daren the sage bartender at the local pub. Through a blend of humor and macabre undertones, enter the world of Wapsi Square and leave the reality you know at the door.
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Lulu Lens: Lulu Video Tutorials

At Lulu, we try to make sure that we create video tutorials for various areas of our site to help walk you through the process. Currently, we have videos on How to Make a Photobook, How to Publish a Book, and a One Minute video on How to Create a Cover. We want to know what else you would like to see a video tutorial for. Please comment and tell us what you’d like to see!

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.