Press Release: Lulu Leaps Ahead of Competitors with Release of Solar-Powered Books

2016 April Fools

 

RALEIGH, NC – <April 1, 2016> – Lulu, the first and largest independent publisher, today announced a breakthrough in reading technology, the solar-powered book.

By incorporating this new technology into FSC Certified, acid and lead-free, premium quality paper, every page of a book ordered on Lulu.com acts as its own solar-powered reading substrate. The paper’s reflective qualities highlight the print in such a way that when a page is exposed to light, black text appears to float in a pool of white and colors seem to vibrantly leap off the page.

“By combining this affordable, cutting-edge technology with our global print-on-demand network, Lulu will once again disrupt the publishing industry,” said Lulu CEO Nigel Lee. “Despite the fact that I knew what our team was developing, I was gobsmacked when I held the final product. When I put it under the light, the page lit up clear as could be. What I didn’t expect was the warm comfort I felt when reading it.”

Following recent advancements in cell sensitivity, Lulu’s solar-powered books are not limited to use in direct sunlight, but are fully functional with LED, incandescent, fluorescent, firelight, candlelight and even moonlight on clear nights. This breakthrough ensures that students and readers everywhere can complete their assignments and even read for pleasure in any lighted space regardless of access to electricity or charging stations.

Beginning today, all printed books purchased from the Lulu.com bookstore will incorporate solar activated pages at no additional cost.

Continued Lee, “Light activation is indeed the future of reading and we are leading the way. I predict that solar-powered books will soon be the norm in every home around the world.”

To learn more or to order light-activated books for your home or business, visit: www.lulu.com.

UPDATE: As you may have figured out by now, this was an April Fools Day prank. The hoax being that all printed books are light-activated – i.e. cannot be read in the absence of light.

About Lulu

Since 2002, Lulu has enabled authors in more than 225 countries and territories to self-publish nearly two million publications. Our industry-leading tools and global community help authors hone their craft and publish printed books or eBooks for free, then sell them around the world via multiple channels. At Lulu, authors are in control, owning the rights to their works, setting their own price and keeping up to 90 percent of their book profits.

Tell Your Story: Three Minutes of Awesome

A few months ago, we asked Lulu authors to send us a video about themselves and their books.

From the submissions we received, we created a short film.

This is the extended version – or director’s cut as I like to call it. We hope these authors will inspire you to tell your own story.

 

 

Pitch Perfect: Pitching a Guest Post

Have I got a Story for youFor authors and writers who are just beginning to build an audience, guest posting an article on an established, related blog is an excellent means to expand your reach. Your post will be seen by a completely new audience who may then decide to follow your blog or maybe even purchase a book or two. The challenge for new writers is in finding sites with a dedicated readership related to your area of expertise that are also willing to accept unsolicited articles from an unknown writer. Therefore your pitch letter must be near perfect to catch the editor’s attention.

 

What is a Pitch?

In its purest form, a pitch includes:

  • An introduction: Who are you?
  • Relevance: How does your proposal fit with the existing audience?
  • Topics: What do you propose to write about?
  • Value: What benefit will readers get from the article?

Your pitch should not be a bulleted list, nor should it be an epic love poem in long form. Keep it brief, to the point, and grammatically correct. This is the one piece of your writing an editor is guaranteed to read. A convoluted, poorly composed, error-filled pitch does not make a good first impression.

Do Your Research

Spend some time reading, yes actually reading, the blog to which you intend to pitch your article. Look for existing topics you think can be expanded upon by your expertise or fresh outlook. While researching, take note of not only the subjects, but also the typical article length, their structure, tone, and use of imagery.

Also, a little investigative work on your part goes a long way in making sure your pitch is welcomed. Addressing an editor by the wrong name, wrong gender, or the generic “to whom it may concern” makes a terrible first impression. Find out as much as you can about the editor and their interests, then incorporate that information into your introduction to make a connection.

Get Their Attention

Based on these subject lines, which email would you open first?

Posting Inquiry

E-Reader Covers: What They Say About What You Read

Enough said.

Show Them What You’ve Got

Nothing gets a reader’s attention like effective imagery. You will get more notice with original work than from stock photos.

Be Patient

Depending on the blog’s popularity and posting scheduled, there may be a publishing calendar that is planned out for the next 10 days to two months. There is no need to follow up every day to see if the editor received the follow up you sent yesterday. If your article was accepted, the editor will let you know when it will go live.

While You Wait

It’s acceptable to write articles ahead of time while you wait for responses, but we recommend you do not publish them. If you plan to submit an article as a guest post, it should be an original post.

Don’t forget to compose an author bio that is accurate, succinct, and relevant to the audience. Include a link back to your blog or a link to your book page so that your potential new fans can find you.

share share shareCongratulations!

If your article is accepted, tell all your friends, post about it on your blog and link to it from your social media sites – all of which boost your article’s search results and your online reputation. And, don’t forget to send a thank you note.

 

Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation Using Someone Else’s Platform

Author Platform 1Since joining the Lulu team, I have attended publishing trade shows around the country in an effort to keep up with industry trends. After a few years, I noticed a distinct pattern. Each year it seemed the industry latched onto a particular theme or buzzword around which all shows were organized. One of the first of these themes focused on the need for creating an author platform.

Once I learned what an author platform was, it seemed like a rather simple and logical approach to publicizing your work. All you need to do is set up a website, start a blog and interact with your fans on social media. Easy right? According to the experts, an author platform makes current fans feel connected to the author while at the same time attracting new readers thereby ensuring a steady flow of money into an authors’ bank account.

The thinking here is solid.  If we conduct a quick online study we will find most successful, independently published authors already have an author platform in place – likely built by a member of their publishing team (another year’s theme). If you conduct a search for these authors on the internet, not only would their books be returned in the search results, but also links to their social media pages, discussion boards, blog posts, and articles – all of which contribute to their online reputation.Guest Bloggers Welcome

For new authors the question then becomes, “How can I get some of this search engine goodness for myself?” If you don’t have access to a social media team or a neighborhood kid to build your website, the easiest option is join a few discussion groups or to make use of another person’s platform by guest blogging. Both of which give you an opportunity to reach new audiences.

You may respond “I don’t write for free.” Well, yes you do. You write for free until someone buys your book. Once enough people have bought your book you can set your own price for articles. Until then, your best bet is to find a site that appeals to your target audience and pitch them an article. Most bloggers are constantly on the lookout for new material. So much so they will even let you plug your book in return for free, compelling content..

This strategy is a win/win for everyone. The site owner gets content to fill their pages.  You get more search hits, a new audience for your work, free advertising, and a bump in your online reputation score.

Coming up: Tips on Pitching a Guest Blog

Tell Your Story: My Last Birthday Wish

On January 9, 2016, a doctor told me: “This will be your last Birthday”

You see, I Vortexwoke up January 5, 2016 and I was totally blind. I called another doctor when the first told me I was diabetic. He said, “I have been around a long time and I know Diabetic retinopathy when I see it.” A blood test was ordered. They found I had High cholesterol, high blood pressure, the starting of kidney disease, and blood sugar of 183. “I told you so” said the doctor.

My brother and Uncle died just two weeks earlier so I advised my family and began getting my affairs in order. While doing so, I stumbled over something I wrote in high school. Forty years earlier, when I graduated high school, my father told me to put childish things aside, but now seemed like the time to resurrect that long forgotten story. A friend staked his journalistic career to help me out.

I began working on my book. As it neared completion, I contacted Lulu and spoke with Thomas. During our conversation, it came out that I wasn’t in good shape and would not likely see my book published. Friends set up a book signing event and funded an order of my books. Time was short, and I worried I might not get the books in time for the signing. Once again, I contacted Lulu to see when they would arrive, and if any accommodations could be made for shipping them more quickly. Thomas agreed to look into it and do what he could.

On my birthday, March 8, 2016, I called for his supervisor (her name is Rachel), and told her how exceptional he was over the last few days. Just to hear his voice lifted my spirits. I was afraid that I might have been a pain and wanted her to know what he did for a stranger and I didn’t want to get him trouble for looking into upgrading my shipping. I needed her to know that he was one hell of a representative for Lulu.

I got the books at 10:00 AM the next day!

I planned this to be my last Hurrah. And because of Lulu and Thomas’ personal assistance, I could achieve it.

That’s not even the end of the story; I told Thomas that someone else would probably complete the series, now it seems he may have to put up with me from time to time; at least for a while! I met with my Doctor this past Monday, she began by saying that on my first visit she needed me to know how serious the problems were and she needed to “scare the hell” out of me if I did not take action.

She sat with me and went through all the frightening signs the initial round of blood tests reveals; my weight, my blood sugar, my blood pressure. And after a month and a half, the improvements were tremendous. I told her that I did what she and the nutritionist told me to do. Cut out sodas, eat fruits and vegetables, cut starch, and eat appropriate servings.

I went through the scariest part of my life in the past month and half, not knowing if I would even see tomorrow, much less see the book published. Now it may be the first of many!

I am very happy to have worked with Lulu to achieve my dream.

Michael DeFranco

The Vortex at Thompson Park

Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your 250-500 word story to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Coloring with Chakras: Does Your Mood Affect the Colors You Choose?

It seems adult coloring books are everywhere this year!  Did you know that 10 out of 20 books on the bestseller list are currently coloring books?  Who would have thought we could find such bliss in such a simple, yet unique form of expression.

Due to coloring’s health and happiness benefits, it’s no surprise the trend is taking over.  In our recent blog post: Scientists Discover The Secret To Happiness: Adult Coloring Books, Glenn gave us a glimpse into the positive psychological elements of the art.

Now that we know the act of coloring has capabilities to reduce stress, let’s take a  deeper look.  The field, color psychology, is devoted to analyzing the emotional and behavioral effects produced by colors and color combinations.   How does each color make you feel? Do you connect with certain colors?

Yoga and meditation enthusiasts are probably already familiar with Chakras.  For those who aren’t, the study of chakras is traced back to ancient Hindu studies. Chakras are associated with the seven centers of the human body where each center is associated with a color related to the general function or characteristics of the center.

0116_7Chakra-Social

The choice of color is a reflection of our emotions, and possibly the language expressed in adult coloring.  Do you emotionally connect with certain colors?  Most adults may not realize the subconscious connection between emotion and color.  The act of coloring provides a mirror of our emotions.  Pick up an adult coloring book today and connect the colors of your world.

Entwined: A Coloring Book to Help You Unwind and Relax

Color is a universal language – it is simple and at the same time very profound.

Spread Happiness: Create Your Own Coloring Book

Coloring books have always been a simple, calming way to entertain children. Recently, a new kind of coloring book has found a place in the book world—adult coloring books. The simple act of selecting colors and turning a line drawing into a rich, colorful piece of art, has the ability to soothe our overwrought minds, to help us relax and disconnect from our busy lives.

Here at Lulu we are keenly aware of the growing market for coloring books for all ages. Glenn detailed some of the reasons why coloring books are so popular in this post. Today we will show you how you can make the world a happier place by making your own coloring book on Lulu.com!

Start by creating a Lulu account then go to the Lulu Book Builder. We don’t offer a specific coloring book format, but we strongly recommend selecting the Premium Paperback option > Black & White printing  >  White paper. The paper weight for this option is heavy enough to prevent color bleed. It’s also uncoated, so you don’t have to worry about colors smudging or running.

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Premium paperbacks come in a variety of sizes. For a coloring book, something larger like 8.5” x 11” is usually best, as you want to have a large, detailed image to color. Other sizes will work too—that’s the beauty of self-publishing; it’s up to you!

Premium paperbacks can be bound using any of our three methods (Perfect, Coil, or Saddle Stitch), but for any book that you’d like to sell in online bookstores, you’ll want to use Perfect binding. Coil and Saddle-Stitch work for coloring books meant for personal use or to be sold only in the Lulu.com bookstore.

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Now that you’ve selected the style and binding, you’re going to need to format your file to make a beautiful book. It’s important to be aware that, even with the thicker white paper, some of the color may show through the page. Therefore, you may want to place only one image per sheet of paper rather than printing images back to back. Also, don’t forget the first page of the file will print on the right side of the book, as will all odd numbered pages. Keep this in mind if you have any images that span two pages.

And lastly, to ensure none of your artwork is lost during trimming and binding, make sure your image is at least .25 inches from the edge of the page.

 

            Let’s recap. The recommended specs for a coloring book are:

            Premium Paperback, Perfect Bound, 8.5 x 11

            Black & White ink on White Paper

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By following the guidelines above and creating your own coloring books, you can help the world be a happier place.  Really!