How To

2016 Best Gifts: Family Cookbooks

turkey-feastFood sustains us both physically and spiritually. Food is not just fuel to keep the body going – it’s love, friendship, family, memory, comfort, home – it’s life.

Whether I am preparing something just for me, cooking for my partner, preparing a potluck dish to share or planning a dinner party, I often find myself solely focused on the experience of preparing the dishes. The act of cooking, the chopping, measuring, stirring, and simmering always takes me to my happy place. Then of course, there is the eating….

All cooks have our specialties, the recipes we’ve perfected through trial and error, the dishes people request us to bring to every event. My grandmother kept her recipes on index cards in a box above the stove, while in my kitchen, recipes are “organized” in a binder. Some of my favorite recipes are still on my grandmother’s index cards, others are handwritten by mom on note paper while others are printouts shared by hosts following a dinner party or recipes I’ve found online. It’s obvious which are my favorites, they are the recipes covered in notes with some ingredients being scratched out and others added. All are lovingly protected in plastic sleeves.

pecan-pieThis year, I’m combining my specialties with family favorites and printing an “official” family cookbook to give as Christmas gifts to extended family members. I’ve assembled recipes for our nostalgic favorites like mom’s pecan pie and Nanny’s “secret” turkey stuffing, plus our adult favorites like my sister’s eggnog and my brother’s chicken curry. Of course my “regionally famous” pimento cheese and championship chili recipes will be included among many others. To make it ours, I’m asking family members to contribute stories and anecdotes specific to the dishes and/or the holidays in which they were served.

What could be a better gift than all the tastes, smells and memories that span three generations?

As my nieces head off to college, move into their own homes and start their own families, I hope to one day visit and see dog-eared copies of this book annotated and bulging with the recipes they have discovered and perfected. Then I will know my work is complete.

vegetable-christmas-treeIf you want to create and print a family cookbook, Lulu can help you get started with our cookbook templates. No time to create your own? We’ve selected a few of our favorite cookbooks just in time for the festive holiday season.

Wishing you and your family the very best in 2016.

Other 2016 Gift Ideas

Gifts for Authors and Writers

Memory Books

Custom Journals

Personalized Coloring Books

Happy, Healthy AND Prosperous Holidays

The Christmas holidays are quickly approaching. Here’s a bit of advice to help make them merry.

  • Smile often and laugh loudly – it will increase your happiness.
  • Drink lots of water, wash your hands often, and get lots of sleep to stay healthy.
  • Encourage your readers to purchase your books and calendars in the Lulu bookstore for greater prosperity.

Your book should be available in the online bookstores in which your readers prefer to shop. But, you also want to make the highest profit possible. Help your fans help you by letting them know that your book is available in the Lulu Bookstore and all other online retailers. Always include a link to your Lulu product page when promoting your book on your webpage, social media, and email.

 

Make it personal: Custom Journals

mozilla_firefox

A notebook can serve as a journal, but can a journal serve as a notebook? After all, both are nothing more than a collection of bound pages. What’s the difference?

In my mind, the difference is intention.

When I purchase a notebook, it’s usually for a class or seminar. A journal or diary on the other hand is intended for recording something specific – like my thoughts on a day, my aspirations, travel experiences, the details of my workout, eating habits, dreams, ideas for my next book, etc.

I find there is something really quite relaxing about journaling. Like coloring, it allows us to take a few quiet moments to collect, reflect, and distill our thoughts before committing them to words on paper. It calms us to think of our day anecdotally or as a series of connected scenes. What happened today that is worth recording? Why is it important? How did I react to something unexpected? What actions or interactions were important today? Did I reach my goals?

journal-template

Pre-formatted Journal Pages

No matter what information you record in your journal, it’s your information. It’s personal, so why not create a custom journal?

It’s pretty simple to layout pages with writing prompts, lists of daily exercises, fitness or spiritual goals, appointments, or other experiences or feelings you wish to track. Once you’ve got it right, duplicate the page until you have the desired number of pages. You can also design your own cover from your favorite photos and choose from paperback, hardcover and coil bindings.

Just remember to create the pages in the same dimensions as the journal you wish to print. Also, the total number of pages should be divisible by four.

Why adapt to something you find on a shelf that’s sort of close to what you want when you can easily create something that’s perfect for you?

Here’s a quick tutorial to help you create your custom journal.

Resources

Sample Journals for Inspiration and for Sale

Lulu’s 2016 Best Gifts

Win Christmas with These Great Gift Ideas

Best Gifts 2016: Memory Books

 

The Perfect Gift: Personalized Hardcover Editions

hardcover-books-giftwrappedCome a little closer. I have a confession to make.

I may appear to have it all together during the holidays, but as a “people pleaser” from way back, I stress over every single holiday gift purchase. Do I really know what this person likes? Will it be the right size, style, color, or design? What if they already have one? What if I under spend or worse yet, over spend?

One thing I have found, however, is that everyone loves a gift featuring people they love, a shared experience or delicious consumables, hence the seasonal popularity of custom photo books, calendars and baked goods. People also like to receive unique items and collectable things like signed hardcover editions from their favorite author – who happens to be you.

If you published a paperback book this year, with very little effort, you can create custom hardcover editions to give as gifts this holiday season.

  • If you published in US Trade (6”x9)” or US Letter (8.5”x11”) paperback format, you can simply upload your print-ready PDF file to create a hardcover edition in the same size.
  • If you published in other formats, you will need to resize your manuscript file. Take a moment to review you formatting and page layout before uploading the resized manuscript for conversion.
  • Use our cover designer to create a beautiful dust jacket design. In many cases you can use much of the same imagery from your paperback book.
  • Our selection of colored linens and foil stamping will make your book stand out from all the other books on the shelf.
hardcover-books-bow

Guess what I got you! No, go ahead. Take a guess.

When your books arrive, personalize them for each recipient with a handwritten note. If you want someone to feel extra special, edit your manuscript file to include a special dedication.

Let’s face it, a personalized, collectible edition of your book is a much better gift than an ill-fitting sweater, new socks, or burnt cookies – and they are easy to wrap.

 

Author-preneurs:

With the holidays just around the corner, consider offering signed hardcover editions on your website and social media accounts. Your biggest fans will love them. By taking advantage of Lulu’s pre-holiday sales, you can save big on the stock you need for the best holiday season – ever.

More Tips for Holiday Success

Sell More Books: Easy Christmas Marketing Ideas

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

Best Gifts 2016: Memory Books

untitled_-_13404748_cover_pdf

I won Christmas with this memory book.

I know, I hear you.

“One holiday at a time please.”

“Christmas is still 6 weeks away.”

But, you better start now if you want to win Christmas.

You know what I’m talking about. Everyone wants to be the person who gives the gift someone goes back to after all the other gifts are unwrapped. The one they take with them to parties and dinners later in the day to show their friends. The one that doesn’t get put away and forgotten in the back of a drawer or closet.

You’ve heard me say it a few times now, but the best gifts are the ones created from your best memories. So what could be better this year than creating a memory book for the people you love?

“What’s a memory book?”

It’s like a photo book, but better. A memory book not only collects your pictures, but also your words about a particular time or event such as a vacation, wedding, baby’s first year, 50th anniversary party, etc.

With the Lulu Studio, you can choose from our selection of beautiful hardcover photo books, choose a theme, and upload your images. With our text box and captioning tools, you can also record your thoughts about the event or write about favorite or humorous memories.

untitled_-_13404748_pdf

I created this book using Lulu Studio. It’s about two foodies and their dad eating their way across Asia.

 

It’s a bit like creating an adult picture book – but all the characters in it are people and places you love and the words are yours.

untitled_-_13404748_pdf

Three years later, it’s still prominently displayed on Dad’s coffee table.

 

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Hope you win!

 

Other ideas for winning Christmas

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

Custom Calendars: Daily Reminders of Your Best Memories

Lulu’s 2016 Best Gift Guide

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Featured_Article_Narrow

Repeat after me. “Christmas is coming. Christmas is coming. It’s just around the corner.”

finish-line-aheadNow that we have accepted the inevitable, let’s take a few minutes to think about what we need to do to make this year your most successful sales year yet. Lucky for authors, book sales are up in 2016 with printed books making a huge comeback, so this could be the best year ever for holiday book sales, but only if you are ready.

If you are in the final stages of completing, editing or revising your book and wish to have it ready for holiday gift giving, there is no time for procrastination – particularly if you wish to have your book available for purchase in all online bookstores for the holidays.

As you race to the finish, keep these things in mind:

  • Your print book must meet all distribution requirements before it can be approved for online distribution. To prevent it from being rejected by retailers, take a few minutes to carefully review the requirements and make edits prior to publishing.
  • Before your book can be submitted for distribution, you must first purchase and approve a proof copy. Once you review and approve your proof, Lulu will release it into distribution.
  • Retailers will review your book to ensure it meets distribution requirements. If your book is rejected, you must edit it, then purchase and approve another proof copy before it can be resubmitted to distributors.
  • Once your book is sent to retailers, it will usually be available for purchase from online bookstores in about three weeks. However, due to retailer processing, workloads, and holiday volume it could take 6-8 weeks for your book to be added to all online booksellers.
  • Each retailer has their own process and schedule for reviewing books and updating their online catalogs. There is no means for Lulu to expedite this process for you.

If you are running out of time and think there is no way you will finish in time, don’t worry. You can forego distribution (for now) and publish directly to the Lulu bookstore.

finishline

When you publish to the Lulu bookstore:

  • Your book will be available for purchase within minutes of publication.
  • You can publish without an ISBN, which means there is no required retail markup resulting in higher profits for you and no US income tax withholding.
  • You can take advantage of Lulu discounts to boost holiday sales.
  • You can purchase your book at manufacturing cost.
  • You can even publish a hardcover special edition to sign and give to family and friends as Christmas gifts.

And, don’t forget, you are not alone. The Lulu support team is here to help Monday-Friday during regular office hours. You can also get author-to-author support 24/7 in the Lulu forums.

So get back to work!

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

Best Gift 2016

Be a winner.

This year, Lulu wants you to win the trophy for best holiday gift.

I know, I know. I hear you wailing, “One holiday at a time. it’s not even Halloween yet.” I’m with you. Nothing ruins September like walking into a store that is already decked out for Christmas. But, if you want to win that trophy and make everyone green with envy, you need to prepare now.

Let’s start by thinking about what makes a winning holiday gift. Maybe your Christmas morning is like a day on the Oprah set, “You get a new car. You get a new car. Everybody gets a new car!” If so, you have already won.

If not, think about the gifts you have received in the past. Which gifts were most memorable? You would probably remember a free car, but you are also likely to remember gifts that were personal, showed a level of thoughtfulness, effort, and originality.

Here are a few gift ideas that are sure to win you the best gift trophy:

  • Create a personalized friends and family calendar featuring pictures from the past year.
  • Print a cookbook featuring your family’s favorite recipes. Include some stories about where the recipes come from and why they are favorites.
  • Help grandpa publish his memoir. Print copies and ask him to sign them for family members.
  • Download your family history from Ancestry.com and print copies for the family.
  • Ask your children to write and illustrate a story.  Then scan the pages and create a book to give as gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles.
  • Remember those old love letters in the back of your closet? Create a photo book pairing the letters with pictures from your relationship.
  • Create a travel log from this year’s adventures.
gold-santa-trophy

The winner is….. You!

These will all make treasured gifts, unlike the ugly sweater you will only wear when Aunt Martha visits.  These ideas will all take a bit of planning and effort; however, it will all be worth it when you take home the best gift trophy for 2016.

Over the next several weeks we will discuss how to create these winning gifts. If you have additional ideas, share them in the comments below.

Now get back to enjoying your September.

For More Information

Custom Calendars: Daily Reminders of Your Best Memories

Tutorial: Create a Calendar

Tutorial: Create a Coloring Book

Tutorial: Create a Personalized Journal

 

UA-30214-1