Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s time for us all to reflect on what we’re grateful for in our lives. Yes, we all appreciate the turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and more, and we all enjoy taking the day to feast surrounded by the ones we love the most. But Thanksgiving is a special day because it prompts us to slow down and take the time to think and be grateful for what touches our hearts the most. At Lulu.com, we’re thankful for many things, but mostly we’re thankful for you, our authors with your creativity and desire to share good stories with the world. We have an amazing team here at Lulu.com, and we’re also thankful for each and every one of them. Below are a few of the things the Lulu.com team is thankful for:

  • “I am grateful for every day that allows me to explore the beauty of this world, enjoy good company, relish great entertainments, embrace the people I love, taste the deliciousness of food and drink, and fall asleep contentedly anticipating tomorrow.” – Glenn H., Sr. Technical Writer
  • “I’m thankful to have escaped the freezing Illinois winters after having relocated with my family to North Carolina. I’m also grateful to work with a team of great people that make it fun.” – Erika M., Graphic Designer
  • “I’m thankful for a few days of cooking, eating, eating some more, and spending time with my family.” – Caitlin M., Strategic Business Analyst

What are you thankful for? We want to hear from you! Share what means the most to you in the comments section below. Also, be sure to stock up on extra copies of your book to share with family and friends for the holiday, while we have our Thanksgiving sale happening. Until November 27, you can save 15% on all print books with code GIVETHANKS.

We’re wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends

Authors: Make your voice heard!

Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest are doing their third annual Author Survey. The results of the survey help guide the direction of the industry and the survey takes 15 minutes or less to complete. Be sure to make your voice heard and complete the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6XM6N7D.

“Participants in the survey will get a sneak preview of results. The full results will be presented at the Digital Book World Conference and Expo in January 2015 and published as a series of blog posts on the Digital Book World website, offering free analysis and commentary on a range of subjects captured by the data. In-depth analysis will also be available for purchase both in a comprehensive technical report as well as in a series of shorter briefs designed for authors and their partners.”

Read more about the survey here: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/digital-book-world-seeks-input-from-authors-on-publishing-experiences/.

You Find It, We Make It Better

We love when we get feedback from our customers on how to make their experience with Lulu.com even more awesome!

Today we made two important new changes: we’ve made it easier for potential readers to find your book in our bookstore and we have made it easier for you to contact customer support to get answers to your questions. The navigational links in the top right have been improved across the site to make it even easier to find the answers you need. Help is now called Support, and lives at a new URL: www.lulu.com/support. Additionally, your customers will now find your book faster if it begins or contains an article like “a,” “an” or “the.”

Have an idea you’d like to share on how Lulu.com can be even better? Share a comment and let us know!

To read more about the changes we’ve been working hard on to make you love Lulu.com more than you do today, you can visit: http://connect.lulu.com/t5/Lulu-Announcements/Release-Notes-2014-47/td-p/322010.

Self-Publishing Book Expo Recap

This past weekend, Lulu.com was proud to once again be a sponsor of the Self-Publishing Book Expo (SPBE), which is now in its sixth year and was held in New York City. Originally created for authors considering self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing, the expo has expanded and now features lectures, panels and workshops targeting both novice and experienced independent authors.

This year, two members of our team and a Lulu.com author participated in panel discussions throughout the day. Dan Dillon (Product Marketing) led discussions on Team Building, Advanced Marketing and participated in the Ask an Expert panel. While Dan was sharing his expertise, I manned the exhibition booth and moderated the Formatting panel discussion. Even more exciting, Lulu.com author Pascale Kavanagh, author of Fish Tails & Lady Legs, was a featured speaker in the Romance Authors’ workshop.

World Diabetes Day

Did you know that roughly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes? It is the seventh leading cause of death in the country, with the total number of deaths from diabetes projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years. Needless to say it is an epidemic that effects more people on a daily basis than we realize. In fact, the medical community projects that by the year 2050, one in three Americans will have some form of diabetes.

World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes poses. For some people the disease is unavoidable, while others can take strategic steps, like controlling diet and exercise, to prevent the disease. Yes, the statistics are scary. But the good news is that there are many foundations, blogs, and, of course, books out there dedicated to keeping people informed and to providing support for those who suffer directly from the disease.

At Lulu.com, we are lucky enough to have some great titles right at our fingertips. Whether you have been personally touched by diabetes or if you are just looking for a way to learn more, here are a few books that may be just what you’re looking for.

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Diabetic Recipes
by Mark Duffy

Millions of people have diabetes and have to maintain a special diet. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the things you like, you just have to make them a little differently.

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The Truth about Type 1 Diabetes: The Myths Exposed
by Caitlynn Oberhausen

Children with type 1 diabetes, T1DM, live with a widely misunderstood, chronic disease. The daily management regimens and psychosocial aspect of TIDM bring attention to the child with diabetes. Myths and misconceptions of diabetes management abound. The intent of this book is to address these myths and misconceptions as well as provide a basic understanding of what life with T1DM is like.

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“The Bitter Sweet Life”- A teenagers journey with Diabetes by Ruhi Kumar

15 Year old Ruhi has had diabetes since she was nine years old. This book illustrates the challenges and obstacles Type 1 diabetes brings to ones life, and how with motivation, dedication and proper treatment, it is in fact possible to lead a completely active and healthy life with diabetes.

For additional titles on Diabetes, check out our bookstore here.

Distracted and Unmotivated Authors Never Win the Race

I freely admit to being a ninja-level procrastinator who can think of 100 reasons not to sit down to write. When I finally get in front of a keyboard, I first check Facebook to see what my friends are doing, which leads to viewing a few YouTube videos, reading some news articles, checking my bank account balance, responding to email, putting together a song playlist for inspiration… then I realize an hour has passed. I have not written a single word and, even worse, my mind is now completely distracted.

I don’t think I am alone here, so how do we overcome the daily challenge of simply finding the time and motivation to put fingers to keyboard while balancing work, home and family with sleep and the sweet siren song of the internet?

I posed this question in a LinkedIn self-published author’s group.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.27.12 AMJerry X. Shea, Author / Speaker / Consultant, responded with two suggestions. The first is just to write. If writer’s block strikes, take a break from the manuscript and write something completely unrelated: send an email, write a blog post or article. This will ease the pressure and before you know it, the perfect segue or plot twist will be flowing from your fingers. For serious production, he suggests finding or creating a quiet space away from the distractions of television, radio and internet.

Jerry found his quiet place on a four month escape to Alaska, but most of us are not so fortunate in our quest for a quiet place in which to write. It is more likely that a majority of us are writing in fits and starts resulting in unfocused narratives. To prevent the dreaded meandering plot line, Danielle Fetherson, Editor / Ghostwriter / Publishing Assistant, suggests beginning with a single sentence to clearly articulate the book’s message – like a thesis statement. Use this statement to build a working outline of your plot. (I just flashed back to high school English class.) You may think that an outline is too restrictive, but she anticipates your objection, “The outline may adapt over time and I may even revise the wording of the thesis by the time the book is finished, but having that outline as a starting point can be liberating because it offers context for information and gives me a starting point to let the creativity flow.”

What about those times when the will to struggle through another paragraph has simply abandoned you. When you find yourself hopelessly staring at the screen, Jennifer Mason, Author / Flow Writer, encourages us to re-motivate ourselves by having “a conversation with a friend or client about what you do and why you do it.” Who better to remind us of our passion than we ourselves?

So, now that you have made it to the end of this paean on procrastination, go find a quiet place, review your outline and remember why you do what you do.

Happy writing!

The State of Self-Publishing

Recently, Bowker issued a report on the state of self-publishing, analyzing ISBN data year over year to identify changes in the number of print and eBooks published by the top self-publishing platforms. And guess what? Self-publishing isn’t going anywhere.

“Our general conclusion is that self-publishing is beginning to mature. While it continues to be a force to reckon with, it is evolving from a frantic, wild-west style space to a more serious business,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services. “The market is stabilizing as the trend of self-publisher as business-owner, rather than writer only, continues.”

A few key takeaways from the report:

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    Bowker Report

    Self-published titles jumped to more than 458,564 in 2013, increasing by 17 percent over 2012 and 437 percent over 2008.

  • Printed titles were up, as well. Specifically, increasing by 29 percent over 2012, indicating the format remains popular amongst authors and readers, alike.
  • The industry continues to be led by a handful of self-publishing service companies, with over 75 percent of self-published titles being brought to market with support from just three companies: Lulu.com, Smashwords and CreateSpace.

Plus, not to toot our own horn, but Lulu.com was the only self-publishing company to remain ranked in the top three when you compare ISBN output from 2008-2013 across total print and eBooks, just print books and just eBooks. Alright, maybe we’re tooting our own horn just a little bit.

The picture this data paints is very exciting for the future of the self-publishing industry and the team at Lulu.com is thrilled to be on the leading edge of the direction the industry is moving.