In honor of World Book Day, we have created an infographic that shows the value of a book when you go through the traditional publishing process vs. the self-publishing route.
Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming three MBA students from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School to Lulu for a day of hands-on, out of the classroom learning. Elisa Lin, Caspar Xu and Zach Shapiro spent the day with us learning all about Lulu, how we’re structured and how the company is run day in and day out.
At Lulu, we’re passionate about serving the local community and helping to inspire the budding entrepreneurs in the area. So when UNC Kenan-Flagler asked us to participate in their program and open our doors for their students, we were thrilled to join in. UNC Kenan-Flagler has a reputation for knowing exactly what defines true business success and helping their students learn and put that understanding into practice. Elisa, Caspar and Zach will be a few of the exceptional leaders the school has shaped, that will go on to make a positive impact on the companies they lead and the communities they serve.
We sat Elisa, Caspar and Zach down with various members of our executive team and other key team members throughout the day to give them varying perspectives on Lulu, self-publishing and how we stay innovative in an ever-changing industry. At the end of the day, they shared their impressions of what they learned from us and identified opportunities they saw for the company based on the information they had.
In their own words:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to show us around. We really appreciated the exposure to so many different aspects of the company and the ability to meet everyone. We are impressed by Lulu’s driven culture and innovative business model. We have spoken with many nimble people, influenced by their persistence for customers and quality. Our biggest take away is always keep curiosity to serve customers better. The other lesson we have learned is to find a company which culture is a great fit is extremely important, because it can put you with others and achieve the goal together.”
By now, most people have realized their 2015 resolutions are in serious danger of falling to the wayside. You are not alone. On average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutionists are successful in reaching their proclaimed goals. But, with resolve and a little encouragement, you may count yourself among the determined 8% at year’s end.
Here are seven tips to help get your writing resolutions back on the road to success.
#1 – Define your why
You say you want to lose weight, quit smoking, start / finish writing your novel, devote more time to marketing your book, or find more happiness. But do you know why you want to do those things? Your “why” is your motivation. If you don’t know why, you are more likely to lose your resolve upon encountering the first setback.
#2 – Consider the why-nots
This is the flip side of your whys. As Noah St. Joan explains in his book, The Secret Code of Success, everything you do is caused by your why-tos weighed against your why-not-tos. Your brain is like an infinite weighing machine: It’s always comparing your perceived benefits (why-tos) against the perceived cost (why-not-tos).
Whenever you’re considering an activity — like spending time editing your novel, answering emails, writing press releases, or reading this article — your brain is going, “Why should I do this? How will it benefit me? What’s it going to cost me? I’d rather be watching TV.” Because our brains are always negotiating with us, our why must be a greater motivator than the alternative.
#3 – Enlist the help of friends
The easiest way to fail is to try to do something alone. There are not many examples of people who did great things completely alone. Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Michael Jordan had his dad. Paul McCartney had John Lennon.
The way to overcome this mistake is simple: tell your friends what you want and why you want it, and ask them to support you in making positive changes.
#4 – Use positive peer pressure
This is the continuation of #3. Ask your friends to tell you when they see you straying from your goal.
Many people will feel uncomfortable about this one, but what they don’t realize is that your friends already know when you are not making an effort; they are just too nice to say anything. That’s why you must give them permission to tell you when you mess up or fall short of what you said you wanted to do. Just resolve to not get mad or be defensive when they tell you.
#5 – Recruit an accountability partner
An accountability partner is someone you communicate with at regular intervals (monthly, once a week, even daily) to check on your progress. The beautiful thing is, you can also be that person’s accountability partner and help THEM make positive changes, too.
#6 – Ask experts for advice
No matter what you’re trying to do – write a poem, sell your book, schedule an interview, be nicer — without a solid plan of action, your good intentions will probably fall short. That’s why it’s good to find other people who have succeeded at the thing you’re trying to do and ask how they did it.
There is always someone who likes to talk about him/herself who will share their experience with you if asked politely. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, there are numerous blogs on all subjects that you can peruse. If you can make use of others’ advice, you can avoid the most common pitfalls thereby increasing your chances of success.
#7 – Don’t set yourself up to fail
This is the worst mistake of all. The truth is, everyone knows how to write a book, quit smoking, or be nicer. Most people simply don’t believe they can do it — either because they’ve tried in the past and failed, or they just don’t believe they’re capable of doing it.
Most importantly, don’t’ give up. It’s still early in the year and there is plenty of time to get your writing and marketing resolutions back on track.
Your friends at Lulu.com
After writing a technology blog for a UK-based magazine for about three years and notching up hundreds of blog entries, I approached the magazine editor and suggested this interesting collection of articles was worthy of a book.
He immediately began asking questions, including, “Why on earth might anyone be interested in a series of blog posts collected together into a book?” He was also concerned about the complexities of publishing, but having already published with Lulu, I knew this was the least of our worries – I published the book in 2009.
In theory yes, but there are some questions worth considering before you initiate that big WordPress download.
You don’t need to do a lot of market research on this. You can publish with Lulu even if you anticipate a limited or specialized audience.
If you are doing this because you want to see your name on the spine of a book, you should consider that selecting your best posts and formatting them for the printed page will be quite a bit of work.
The blog I converted to book format was mainly journalism and commentary, so I could easily imagine it on the printed page. On the other hand, turning your years of Tumblr posts into a book may be a futile exercise – and may even infringe copyright unless you personally own every image you shared. Remember, your posts may work well in the context of a blog where you might feature video clips, Instagram photos and other media that looks great when viewed on an iPad, but is not going to translate to the printed page.
Blog content almost always features a date-stamp, which can translate to book content in an epistolary format – dated blogs in sequence – but there is an important time distinction between blogs and books.
Blogs are written and published in the now, usually referencing the exact time they were written. As time goes on, new posts may update or supersede earlier ones. As such, some of your blog entries will be completely unsuitable for use in a book because they are comments on a moment, rather than less time-bound thoughts or comments.
A book needs to be planned with a much longer shelf life than an individual blog post. When you publish a book, it is published at a moment in time and cannot be quickly updated except through new editions. In general, book content needs to be planned so that it will not become quickly dated.
It is worth viewing your blog in the round. You may have a hundred thousand words of great content, but you may end up stripping away half of that content to preserve your best posts. It is worth thinking about whether you want a literal version of your blogs in book format or whether you can do more with the text when planning how it might be read on the page. For example, you may be able to connect several blogs together and present them as longer essays.
If you are already blogging then you are a writer. Many writers have used short publications that were eventually collected together into a longer book format – The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens is one of the most famous examples. In fact, there is little to distinguish the way Dickens wrote then from a blogger today who releases short articles then collects them together into a longer book.
Posterity is as good a reason as any to take a close look at your blog to see if it might be worth publishing as a book. Even if your blog posts are individual and cannot be collected together into a coherent story, there may still be value in collecting them together. In my case, my articles from 2006-2009 that went into my “book-of-the-blog” have now been deleted from the magazine website. Now my book is the only place where they continue to live!
Mark Hillary is a British author, blogger and advisor on technology and globalization based in São Paulo, Brazil. He is a regular contributor to journals including The Huffington Post, Reuters, The Guardian, and Computer Weekly.
Mark live-blogged the 2010 UK General Election for Reuters. He was an official blogger at the 2012 London Olympics. He was shortlisted as blogger of the year in 2009 and 2011 by Computer Weekly magazine.
Contact Mark: www.markhillary.com (@markhillary)
Mark on Lulu: http://j.mp/lulumarkhillary
The recent efforts of the Joyful Heart Foundation’s NO MORE campaign inspired us to help spread the word about domestic abuse and to raise money for a local agency with which we have an existing relationship. Due to our amazing community’s support, we exceeded our fundraising goal by $5,000 – meaning InterAct of Wake County will receive a $25,000 donation from Lulu.com.
We encourage you to continue to discover brave and powerful voices speaking out about domestic violence and sexual assault. You can find personal stories from our authors about their experiences with domestic violence on Lulu.com.
Thank you again for your generosity!
Your friends at Lulu.com
We’re joining the effort to make this Sunday’s big game about more than just football. To raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, we’re donating a portion of all our profits through Monday to InterAct, our local nonprofit agency that provides safety and support to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. We’re setting out to raise $20,000 and you can help us get there!
We’ve been inspired by the recent efforts of the Joyful Heart Foundation’s NO MORE campaign and an existing relationship with InterAct— and we hope to leverage a growing national conversation into greater local awareness and promote the stories of independent authors who have survived and written about their experiences of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
With as little as 25% of domestic abuse and 32% of sexual assaults reported in the U.S., encouraging open dialogue and embracing the voices of victims and survivors is crucial to bringing about positive change. Lulu.com is privileged to serve as a platform for courageous independent voices and hopes to transform the energy around Sunday’s big game into positive action off the field.
To discover brave and powerful voices speaking out about domestic violence and sexual assault around the world, visit Lulu.com.
You can help say #NOMORE to domestic abuse when you get a print book through Monday, February 2 with code NOMORE. Be sure to share the deal with your friends so we can reach our goal donation.
Thank you for your support!