Remarkable Finds

Best Gifts 2016: From Your Child’s Imagination to Your Mailbox

illustoryjuniorLulu Jr. book-making kits include everything your child needs to write and illustrate his or her own story book or comic books, including templates, markers, and a getting started guide. Using the postage paid envelope included in the kit, parents send the handwritten and illustrated “manuscript” along with the “author’s” photo and biography, and in a few short weeks, a professionally printed and bound book arrives by post. Children are delighted when they receive the book they created in the mail, with their bio picture on the back cover and their name and book title printed on the spine.

“I ordered this kit for my granddaughter who is 8 years old. She wrote her book and we mailed it in. The day it arrived she so was so excited. She was doing the happy dance and saying she is an author!!”

Parents and grandparents love the kits to give as gifts. They can also use the kits to write books for their children. They also make great family projects for recording family trips, events and other memories.

“Since he can’t write yet, I’ve let him draw the pictures and tell me the story and I write out the words for him. We’re having so much fun together creating his book.”

According to the 2015 Toy Industry Association’s Trends, Lulu Jr. kits meet three of the top four areas considered by parents when shopping for toys:

  • The Maker Movement, where children build and create
  • Open-Ended Playtime, where creativity and resourcefulness are encouraged, and
  • “Smart” Play where academically focused toys develop cognitive and social skills.

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“This is such a great way to freeze time and remember your child’s precious writings and drawings. As a teacher, I love how this adorable kit promotes literacy even in the youngest kids.”

In the USA, Lulu Jr. kits are available in department stores, bookstores, toy stores and online at LuluJr.com and Amazon.com.

“Wait until you see the young author’s face when the original story they wrote and illustrated comes back in the mail as a real, 20-pg. full color, hardcover book! And look on the back cover. There’s your child in the “About the Author” feature.”

— Good Toy Guide 2015 Holiday Gift Catalog

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Lulu Jr. kits have received over 25 awards, such as Mom’s Choice Award, National Parenting Publications Awards, Dr. Toy’s Best Classic Award, SheKnows Parents’ Choice Awards, Creative Child Magazine Play of the Year Award, Academic’s Choice Brain Toy Award, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and the Tillywig Toy Award Best Creative Fun.
Lulu Jr. is the children’s division of Lulu Press, the world’s first and premier online self-publishing company.

Sell More Books: Super Size Seasonal Discounts

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Let’s try out a few seasonal slogans you could use for holiday marketing efforts…

“Stuff those stockings with books!”

“Put some books on that shelf by the elf!”

“A dreidel AND a book? Best Hanukah ever!”

“Deck the halls with deals on books and while you’re at it strategically develop a marketing plan that takes advantage of Lulu.com’s seasonal sales and discounts.”

Okay, so that last one doesn’t quite flow off the tongue, but it’s good advice all the same. Coordinating your marketing efforts to coincide with Lulu’s impressive holiday discounts is the next best thing to having your books carried right down your readers’ chimneys by Santa himself.

What’s so great about it? For starters, everyone loves books and they love saving money. All you have to do is share the Lulu discount codes in your email and social media marketing. Don’t forget to also share the expiration date and any restrictions.

 

Savvy Marketing Tip

Did you know that when Lulu offers a store-wide discount, you can sweeten the deal by adding another 5, 10, or 15% off? That’s right, a 25% off sale can easily be bumped up to 30 or 40% off for huge savings.

Using this strategy, you can make any day Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or create your own huge sale event.

 

Here’s How to Juice Those Discounts

You can add a discount in the Lulu Bookstore for any printed book or calendar priced above the manufacturing cost.

  • Go to My Projects and click on the project title.
  • Scroll down to Pricing and Creator Revenues and click Edit.
  • Click Pricing Details to view manufacturing and profit splits

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  • Click Set Discount and choose the percentage discount you wish to offer.
  • Click Set Discount to apply the discount.
  • Click Pricing Details to view the discounted price and your revenue.
  • Click Save Changes.

 

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The discount is immediately applied to your book or calendar in the Lulu bookstore.

Note: When applied to purchases, Lulu discounts do not affect author revenue. Author-applied discounts reduce profits and therefore reduce author revenue.

Create a Sales Event

Tell everyone about your super sale.

I’m teaming up with Lulu to offer my book, <book title> at a special discount just for friends/family/fans/readers.

For X days only, Enter code XXXXXXX at checkout and save XX%.

Don’t forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive.

Offer expires: MM/DD/YYYY

Include a link to your book’s product page to make it easy for your buyers to make the purchase. And, though we are currently entering the season of sharing and shopping, this strategy works year-round. At Lulu.com, we’re always looking for ways to promote you and sell your books. Whenever we have a sale — seasonal or otherwise — send out an email or post it on social media letting everyone know. After all, ‘tis always the season for reading!

All current discounts, coupon codes, and expiration dates are listed on the Lulu home page.

 

Best Gifts 2016: Create a Custom Coloring Book. It’s Easy

Coloring books are among this year’s hottest quirky trends. When I first wrote about them in January, I truly thought adult coloring would be a quickly passing fad. Boy was I wrong. Apparently the relaxing pastime is just what we all need to take our minds off the everyday stresses of our adult lives.

Adult coloring book themes trend towards imagery such as mandalas, stained glass windows and other complex patterns. They are, in themselves, works of art.

I hear you thinking, “The title says it’s easy. With the holidays quickly approaching, who has time to plan, draw, and publish a coloring book? I’m not an artist.”

Well, my darling, you do and you are – with a little help from technology.

A search of the app store returns several free and inexpensive apps that will convert your photos to line drawings. There are also several tutorials on YouTube for converting images into line drawings using Photo Shop. Check out these examples created with the free version of QuickSketch.

Image converted using the free version of the QuickSketch App.

Image converted using the free version of the QuickSketch App.

 

Myanmar 2015

Myanmar 2015

Myanmar 2015

Myanmar 2015

To Create Custom Coloring Books:

  • For best results, convert pictures to line drawings at their original sizes.
  • If you are using an app, save the converted images to your phone, email them to yourself and save them to your computer.
  • Insert the images into an MS Word file.
  • Resize the images to fit the page.
  • Insert captions if desired.
  • Save the manuscript.

Here’s a quick tutorial for creating, uploading and printing your custom coloring book.

With these apps and the free online tools at Lulu, you can create coloring books using the images from your summer vacation, weddings, baby’s first year, your favorite dining out adventures, local sights, nights out with your friends, or any other theme. Can you imagine a better gift than a coloring book starring you, your friends, and the things you love best?

Color me surprised! QuickSketch also allows to you take photos as line drawings.

Color me surprised! QuickSketch also allows to you take photos as line drawings.

Additional Information

The Secret to Happiness: Adult Coloring Books

Spread Happiness: Create Your Own Coloring Book

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Fun Facts for National Book Month

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October is here and with the changing season, many of our thoughts turn to fall leaves, pumpkin-spiced lattes and well… anything and everything pumpkin-spiced.

Here at Lulu, we can’t stop thinking about BOOKS! After all, October is National Book Month. It’s a time to celebrate the joy brought to us by paper, ink, binding and the written word. In honor of National Book Month, we wanted to share some fun book facts you can share with your reading group (it’s also National Reading Group Month) over pumpkin spiced lattes at your local coffee shop.

  1. We all know the smell of old books is glorious, but there’s some interesting science behind it too! Over time the gradual breakdown of the cellulose and lignin contained in paper leads to the production of large amounts of various organic compounds. The odor these compounds produce varies depending on where the book was printed, the paper and ink types and how long the book has been degrading.

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    The Tree Library – Made from Trees

  2. The Alnarp Library in Sweden has a 217 volume collection of wooden books called The Tree Library. Each book describes a specific tree—its binding is bark, moss and lichens found on that species and the book interiors hold more natural surprises. The books were made in Germany during the 19th century.
  3. Of Mice and Men was originally titled Something that Happened.
  4. Abibliophobia – the fear of running out of reading material.
  5. The Neverending Story not only ends, but is estimated to be only around 96,000 words. It was also written by Michael Ende.
  6. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury includes a 600 word section that has no punctuation!
  7. Avid reading over the course of a lifetime may reduce the rate of memory decline by as much as 32%.
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the first book written with a typewriter.
  9. The Harvard University library has four law books bound in human skin.
  10. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan. There was never a recorded Wendy before.
  11. People in Iceland read more books per capita than any other country in the world.
  12. Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks.
  13. Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is the world’s smallest book.

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    Maybe it would be easier to just stop and ask directions.

  14. The largest bound book in the world is The Klencke Atlas. A 1.75 meter tall by 1.9 meter wide tome that is so heavy six people are necessary to lift it. It was presented as a gift to Charles II of England by Johannes Klencke in 1660. The atlas contains 37 printed wall maps.
  15. Ernest Hemingway survived anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, skin cancer, hepatitis, anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, a rupture spleen, a ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull, and more. He ultimately died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  16.  33% of high school graduates in the U.S. never read another book the rest of their lives.
  17.  The Harry Potter books are the most banned books in America.

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    “WENDY!”

  18.  J.R.R. Tolkien typed the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with two fingers.
  19. J.M. Barrie gave the rights of Peter Pan to the Children’s Hospital on Great Ormond Street, London so they could always collect royalties and fund the hospital.
  20. It is rumored that Teddy Roosevelt read, on average, one book a day even when juggling the responsibilities of his presidential office.

6 Ways Reading Will Improve Your Life

Students Youth Adult Reading Education Knowledge Concept

Did you know it’s #WorldSmileDay? To celebrate, why not pick up your favorite book and immerse yourself in a story that makes you beam. Reading can definitely improve your mood and make you happy, but we have 6 solid ways it can also impact your life and make every aspect of it happy and healthy.

  1. Reading improves your memory
    Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your body. One of the major health benefits is that your memory is strengthened by reading. People who read consistently over their lifetime have healthier and more active brains in old age. The Alzheimer’s Research Foundation found that reading significantly slowed cognitive decline and individuals who read more preserved valuable memory and thinking skills.
  2. Reading reduces stress (and anxiety!)
    A group of researchers at Mindlab International, University of Sussex discovered that reading worked best to reduce stress — better than exercise or a cup of tea or coffee — lowering stress levels by 68 per cent. They described losing yourself in a book as the “ultimate relaxation.”
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  3. Reading helps you live longer
    Even a half-hour of reading a day can add to your lifespan, a study in Social Science & Medicine shows. Simply put, reading more can help you live longer (and learn more!). Compared to those who didn’t read at all, the study showed that readers live an average of 2 years longer. That’s a lot of extra time to read more books!
  4. Reading increases your attention span
    Humans currently have an attention span that is one second shorter than that of a goldfish. Even so, millions of people still read — and it increases their attention span by leaps and bounds, well beyond the goldfish. Simply reading regularly has shown to be beneficial to increasing attention span, but the University of Leicester lists a number of ways to get the most out of a text and how to process what you’ve read.
  5. Reading increases your emotional intelligence
    Emotional intelligence? That’s a fancy way of describing how reading can broaden your emotions and understanding of them — as well as the world around you. Readers have been found to be more empathetic, and social skills are developed and improved by reading. Reading, particularly fiction, allows a reader to step into the shoes of different people and also stimulates the brain. Researchers in Spain found that metaphors and texture-based word imagery had a profound impact on participants’ brains and stimulated the mind in a positive way.
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  6. Reading helps you understand other cultures better
    Increasing empathy and understanding (see #5) also leads to better understanding of other cultures. Even if you can’t travel far or often, reading a book is an incredible way to learn more about the unknown. Writer Ann Morgan challenged herself to read one book from every country and she mentions that instead of just armchair travel, her experience took her so far as to “inhabit the mental space of the storytellers.” She was also struck by the power of diverse stories: “More powerful than a thousand news reports, these stories not only opened my mind to the nuts and bolts of life in other places, but opened my heart to the way people there might feel.”

From strengthening your mind to opening yourself up to different cultures, the positive benefits of reading are limitless.

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Lulu Publishes Augmented Reality Art Book

arbook_2Do you remember being fascinated by pop-up books as a child? Or, maybe you discovered them as an adult and wondered where they’d been all your life. Pop-up books have a long, historical tradition going back several hundred years. The best ones feature elaborate artwork combined with clever paper cutouts to lift a story beyond the printed page.

Recently, the Center for Contemporary Art (CoCA) in Seattle, WA, took pop-ups a step further by applying augmented reality to print books. Yes, you heard that right: print and digital work hand-in-hand to create a new visual experience in the CoCA Pop-Up (AR)t book, a 48-page book published with Lulu. The book features beautiful contemporary art, and with the aid of a smartphone or tablet, the artwork jumps from the page into virtual reality.

CoCA aar_book1rtists displayed their original works in a gallery in the museum, where visitors could scan their devices over the pieces themselves and experience the magic of the 3D popup. The printed book reproduces the contemporary  art gallery’s ima ges allowing you to view both the printed artwork and experience it in 3D. Using an app found in the Apple and Google Play stores, users scan their device over the page, and a 3D image springs to life. On one page, a ghost floats eerily above the page; on another, a tree appears to grow straight out of the book. The Pop-Up AR(t) book is a fantastic example of augmented reality, and CoCA found a unique way to combine printed art and language traditions with technology to create an immersive user experience.

CoCA specializes in the development and advancement of contemporary art, and their innovative projects take art beyond the canvas and page. Their wide range of books, published with Lulu, expand on this idea and present new concepts to the world. The Pop-Up AR(t) book takes recent contemporary works from a variety of artists and presents them in a way that no other published art book has done.

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Available in the Lulu bookstore

Publishing with Lulu gave CoCA a platform for reaching artists around the world with their innovative artwork and project. As a platform for publishing freedom, Lulu gave CoCA the tools to create one of the first AR art books. With Lulu, your creativity knows no limits: from a coloring book to a 3D reality book, you can create projects that are only as limited as your imagination.

Also available in hardcover.

Get 90 Days Free Access to the Author Learning Center

Author Learning CenterThe Author Learning Center (ALC) is a one-of-kind online author education community designed to help educate, motivate, and support you as you work to become a published author. The center offers educational information about writing, publishing, and marketing from a variety of industry experts, agents, best-selling authors, publicists, and editors.

 

How can the ALC help you?

By combining industry-leading education, exclusive tools, and a supportive community, the ALC provides a one-of-a-kind resource to help you get to your goal of becoming a published author.

By taking advantage of all the ALC has to offer, you can become:

  • better educated on the publishing industry,
  • more equipped to finish your manuscript, and
  • empowered to makes smart choices for your book marketing.

 

90 Days Free

Lulu authors get a free 90 day subscription with access to:

  • Ask The Expert Video Interviews
  • Podcasts on writing, publishing and marketing
  • Live online webinars with industry experts
  • Articles and recorded webinars
  • Exclusive tools to help you get to your goal

ALC Stan Lee

The Author Learning Center also provides a unique set of tools to help you quickly move through your writing and publishing process with confidence:

  • The Book Launch Tool, which helps you identify the tasks you need to complete your book and helps you track your progress
  • The Author Circle, which enables you to invite up to seven people into your private online writers group to provide feedback and encouragement throughout your publishing journey.

Learn from bestselling authors

Among the wide range of interviews on the ALC are a number of best-selling authors share their wisdom and experience. Here are just a few of the names you recogonize.

  • Elmore Leonard, Best-selling writer
  • Victor Villasenor, Best-selling author, Pulitzer winning writer, Rain of Gold
  • Stan Lee, Former head of Marvel Comics
  • Mitch Albom, author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international best-seller Tuesdays with Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time
  • Seth Godin, author of 18 international best-sellers, including Tribes: We Need Your to Lead Us

 

90 Day No-Risk Free Trial!

ALC CommunityYou can access the ALC for 90 days for free.  If  after three months you want to continue your subscription, it is only $9.99 a month. You can cancel at any time.

Join now to be a part of the best online author community available and let us help you get to your goal of becoming a published author!

To claim your FREE 90-day trial, go to the Author Learning Center, click the button to claim your 90 Day Free Trial and enter the promo code lue during registration.

* Your credit card number is required to register with the Author Learning Center. It will only be charged if you do not cancel your Author Learning Center account before the free 90-day subscription expires.

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