How To

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

Charlie Minds His Manners: Lulu Thank You Notes

Charlie is an indie author who recently self-published his book on Lulu.com. He wants to expand his marketing options by building a mailing list to communicate with his readers. He discovers Lulu Thank You Notes and puts them to good use.

For more information on developing your author platform, See:

Building Your Online Marketing Presence

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation

 

eBook Distribution: Understanding Your NCX or eBook Table of Contents

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Distribution Henry

As I perused  the Lulu mailbag this morning I was struck by the number of queries regarding NCX errors in eBook submissions. Some excerpts:

My eBook was recently rejected from retail distribution due to an NCX error. What does that mean? What do I do?

I Googled NCX and was directed to articles on sodium-calcium exchangers? Do I have to know chemistry to make an eBook?

Great questions that unfortunately come as no surprise. NCX errors are among the top three reasons independent eBook authors are rejected from retail distribution. Setting up a fully functional NCX requires some working knowledge of heading styles in MS Word—a feature that a lot of otherwise savvy writers ignore. But never fear, it’s not difficult. And once you’ve applied the proper styles to your document, Lulu’s Epub Converter will convert them into a fully functional NCX for you.

It’s exactly this simple:

  1. Apply Heading 1 style to the Title and to each line containing a Section name (copyright, prologue, etc.) or section (Part 1, Section II, etc.). Heading 1 style will always appear at the top of the next page.
  2. Apply Heading 2 style to each line containing a Chapter name or number
  3. Apply Heading 3 style to each line containing a sub chapter or subsection.
ebook-creator-guide

Create an eBook from your MS Word document.

 

Still confused? Click here to dip into Lulu’s Knowledge Base and learn more about formatting these headings.

One more thing. I foresee tomorrow’s mailbag asking:

But why?

Do I really need an NCX?

What purpose does it serve?

 

 

So. In a nutshell:

NCX is short for Navigation Control file for XML. (XML is a set of rules for formatting that both humans and computers can read.) It’s that first word in NCX—Navigation—that reveals its purpose. Like a table of contents in a printed book, an NCX helps your readers navigate your work.

But unlike a traditional table of contents, an NCX can’t simply list page numbers. The text in your eBook is scalable (meaning, the size can be changed), and just tilting an iPad 90 degrees can completely change the layout of eBook pages and how many words fit on them. So the number of pages in your eBook is variable from one reader—and even one moment—to the next. A table of contents built on static page numbers is useless, even a little misleading. Navigation has to be connected to something other than page numbers.

Enter the NCX. It contains links to your chapters, sections, and subsections. It lets readers jump from place to place in your eBook without thumbing or scrolling endlessly. You want your readers to have a good experience. So do we, and so do our retail distribution partners. It’s why we collectively urge you to have a fully functional, fully-enjoyable eBook.

Need help with something else? No worries — here’s a link to our insanely thorough Knowledge Base.

Go forth and learn, then publish.

The Dead Are Rising

About the Author

Distribution Henry is a member of the Lulu eBook Quality Review team.

He is also a Lulu author.

You can view his work here: It’s Going to Be Okay. I Promise.

Memoirs: If You Don’t Tell Your Story, Who Will?

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Memoirs of WWII

Memoirs of WWII

Here in the USA, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. This day is a national holiday dedicated to the remembrance of our soldiers who died in war. It should also be a day in which we take a moment to remember the events and people who shaped our lives. We may enjoy or dread looking back on these memories, but when we reminisce, we should consider whether our story is one that will be helpful to others and if so, how it will be shared and preserved.

It’s likely that 99% of us think we lead exceedingly boring lives and that our story would be of little interest to others. But, we all have one thing in common, we are all trying to make sense of and find meaning in our lives. Hence the value in writing your memoir. Not only is writing often therapeutic for the writer, but it also preserves your story as you remember it.

All on Account of You

All on Account of You

“Memoir is about handing over a portion of your life to someone and saying, This is what I went through, this is who I am, and maybe you can learn something from it,” says Jeannette Walls, author of the bestseller The Glass Castle. “It’s honestly sharing what you think, feel, and have gone through. If you can do that effectively, then somebody gets the wisdom and benefit of your experience without having to live it.”

So, how do you get started?

10 Tips for Writing a Memoir

  1. A memoir is not an autobiography: An autobiography is a book-length depiction of your life from birth to present time. A memoir depicts a specific period or event from your life.
  2. Detail, detail, detail: Your readers want to know how you felt, what you saw, the color of the umbrella, the smell of the ocean, the taste of the wine, how the wine glass got chipped.
  3. You be you: Your readers want to know about you, how you think, speak, and feel. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not.
  4. Write like your Grandmother tells a story: We don’t know how people are connected or related. We don’t know the color of your hair. Include the backstory that makes the person relevant to your story.
  5. Believe it or not, your memoir is not about you.: A good book is built around a theme – survival, redemption, personal journey, reunion, coming of age, etc. You and your story serve to illustrate the theme.
  6. Don’t lie: Someone will know the truth and they will be more than happy to share it. Remember James Frey?
  7. What is memoir be about? How something happened is not nearly as important as why it happened, how it made you feel and what you learned from it.
  8. Your memoir is not a collection of your best stories: A memoir is about a specific event or time. If you have had an exceedingly interesting life, you probably have enough material for several memoirs so be selective.
  9. Check your facts. Who was the King of Spain when you moved there in 1983? Don’t guess, be accurate (See #6 above).
  10. Beginning is half done. Write your first draft. Then re-write, and re-write, and re-write until your theme is clear and you are ready to share your story with your family, friends, and the world.
Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker

 

Isn’t it time you told your story? If you don’t, who will tell it for you?

To further inspire you, we have selected a few memoirs specifically for Memorial Day reading.

 

Learn with Charlie: Make More Money

After publishing his book on Lulu, Charlie learns a very “valuable” lesson.

For more author tips, visit the Lulu.com Learn with Charlie channel on Vimeo.

Helpful Hints for eBook Distribution: Revise!

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“Distribution Henry”

There are a lot of issues that can keep eBook submissions out of retail distribution channels. We regularly see a multitude of issues with capitalization, metadata, NCX files, and so forth. But the number one reason for rejection is The Dreaded Repeat Offender: A title is rejected for X. A day later it shows up with X still an issue. It’s rejected again. A day later it shows up again with X still an issue… you get the idea.

To be honest, we’re not always sure what’s happening with these submissions. Have the users tried to resolve the issue and missed the mark? Are they unsure what to do, so they’re just resubmitting and hoping the error fixes itself? It’s frustrating for everyone involved.

In hopes of reigning in the Repeat Offender, Lulu.com has a ridiculously robust Knowledge Base to walk you through virtually any problem you might have. And rejections—at least 99% of them—come with explanations of what’s wrong and links to an associated Knowledge Base article. These lined articles are a good place to start in resolving a problem, but if you’re still puzzled, contact our support team.

Many years ago, I taught creative writing. On the first day of class, I’d scrawl on the whiteboard in ginormous letters: REVISION IS NOT FAILURE. The same is true here. Revising your submission and giving it another go is the best—in fact, the only—way to get your book into distribution and in front of readers eager for your work.

Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. A hiccup in your metadata or formatting is easily fixed. You’ve written a book! That’s the hard part. Everything else is easy—and we’re always here to help.

AbThe Dead Are Risingout the Author

Distribution Henry is a member of the Lulu eBook Quality Review team.

He is also a Lulu author.

You can view his work here: It’s Going to Be Okay. I Promise.

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