How To

Make it personal: Custom Journals

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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?

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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.
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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.
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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

 

Lulu Custom Calendars: Daily Reminders of Your Best Memories

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The kids have returned to school, which means Summer vacation season is quickly receding into your bank of fond memories. If you are like me, you captured all the best (and most embarrassing) moments on your phone. You probably even shared a few of them with your friends on Facebook where they competed for likes, but were quickly lost in a never ending stream of Summer status updates.

Embarssing

Disco Dance Party: Officially embarrassing, but a happy memory.

 

Whether you spent time together at home, your favorite vacation spot, traveled someplace new or celebrated a special event, these memories deserve more than just being uploaded to the cloud to gather digital dust.

What if you could transform your pictures into a daily reminder of your adventures? Something that would last a whole year or longer? Perhaps you could create something both sentimental and useful with your photos – like a calendar?

Memorable

The most memorable moments

 

Lulu’s calendars not only allow you to choose from a selection of cool themes (I like the Modern theme), but you can also import holidays and personalize the calendar with family events, birthdays, and anniversaries. You may think, ‘Oh, I’m not very creative” or “I’m not very good with the computer,” but we’ve got you covered. Our calendar builder walks you through the steps.

All you have to do is:

When you think about it, for the next year wouldn’t you rather look at a calendar that includes you, your family, friends, cat, dog or pony rather than someone else’s pictures?

Birthday and Holidays

Add holidays, birthdays and special events.

 

Just a reminder: Calendars make great DIY gifts. With gift-giving season just around the corner, you can create gifts your family and friends will treasure everyday. I gave copies of this calendar to all my friends who traveled with me to Greece last year. They loved it.

You can find answers to all your Calendar & Photo Book questions in the Lulu knowledge base.

Make your memories last. Create a Lulu custom calendar today.

Introducing Lulu Academy: Enroll Today

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At Lulu, we believe education is crucial to successful publishing. Self-publishing is more than just sending your manuscript and cover files to a printer. If a self-published author wants to be in control of their work (rather than ceding control to a big company) they must learn about the process to make informed decisions on publishing and selling their work.

Publishing can be complicated for beginners. From file layout, to cover design, to making your product available on retail sites; there are many lessons to learn and hazards to navigate. To aid authors, Lulu works diligently to produce useful knowledge base articles and instructional videos.

We recently introduced a new series of videos we’ve called Lulu Academy. These short videos focus on a single aspect of the publishing process. Created by Lulu employees, the videos are designed to provide short, easy to understand instructions, including screenshots of the steps in the publishing process.

Lulu firmly believes that knowledge is power and we want to help you not only get your book printed, but also to help you be the best self-published author you can be. We know that publishing can be complex and daunting, but we aim to help you make sense of it all.

You can find these and other video tutorials in the Lulu Knowledge Base, under Video Tutorials. Stay tuned for additional videos in the near future.

Examples of Lulu Academy Videos:

Why Choose Lulu?

Distribution and Your Book

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