Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Featured_Article_Narrow

Repeat after me. “Christmas is coming. Christmas is coming. It’s just around the corner.”

finish-line-aheadNow that we have accepted the inevitable, let’s take a few minutes to think about what we need to do to make this year your most successful sales year yet. Lucky for authors, book sales are up in 2016 with printed books making a huge comeback, so this could be the best year ever for holiday book sales, but only if you are ready.

If you are in the final stages of completing, editing or revising your book and wish to have it ready for holiday gift giving, there is no time for procrastination – particularly if you wish to have your book available for purchase in all online bookstores for the holidays.

As you race to the finish, keep these things in mind:

  • Your print book must meet all distribution requirements before it can be approved for online distribution. To prevent it from being rejected by retailers, take a few minutes to carefully review the requirements and make edits prior to publishing.
  • Before your book can be submitted for distribution, you must first purchase and approve a proof copy. Once you review and approve your proof, Lulu will release it into distribution.
  • Retailers will review your book to ensure it meets distribution requirements. If your book is rejected, you must edit it, then purchase and approve another proof copy before it can be resubmitted to distributors.
  • Once your book is sent to retailers, it will usually be available for purchase from online bookstores in about three weeks. However, due to retailer processing, workloads, and holiday volume it could take 6-8 weeks for your book to be added to all online booksellers.
  • Each retailer has their own process and schedule for reviewing books and updating their online catalogs. There is no means for Lulu to expedite this process for you.

If you are running out of time and think there is no way you will finish in time, don’t worry. You can forego distribution (for now) and publish directly to the Lulu bookstore.

finishline

When you publish to the Lulu bookstore:

  • Your book will be available for purchase within minutes of publication.
  • You can publish without an ISBN, which means there is no required retail markup resulting in higher profits for you and no US income tax withholding.
  • You can take advantage of Lulu discounts to boost holiday sales.
  • You can purchase your book at manufacturing cost.
  • You can even publish a hardcover special edition to sign and give to family and friends as Christmas gifts.

And, don’t forget, you are not alone. The Lulu support team is here to help Monday-Friday during regular office hours. You can also get author-to-author support 24/7 in the Lulu forums.

So get back to work!

20 Fun Facts for National Book Month

Featured_Article_Narrow

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.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.25.52 PM

    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.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.40.50 PM

    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.

    peter_pan_in_kingdom_hearts

    “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.”
    chillax
  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.
    emotions
  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.

read

Lulu Teams Up with NC State to Fund the World’s Next Big Ideas

Tell_Your_Story_Narrow

RALEIGH, NC – <Oct 4, 2016> – Lulu, the world’s leading independent publishing company, proudly announces a five-year extension of our partnership with North Carolina State University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative to fund the Lulu eGames through 2020.

image2

Entrepalooza kicks off another year of innovation at NCSU

“Lulu was founded by entrepreneur Bob Young to remove the barriers that prevented promising new authors from publishing and sharing their knowledge,” said Nigel Lee, Lulu CEO. “Our partnership with NC State is a natural extension of that mission. Who knows how these brilliant young minds, these knowledge entrepreneurs, will change the world when given the opportunity to share their ideas for new products and innovative solutions to real-world problems?”

Last year’s Lulu eGames competition awarded more than $60,000 in cash prizes across five different categories, including the Daugherty Endowment Challenge for companies who have licensed NC State intellectual property and the B Corp Champions Challenge for students building new ventures that use business as a force for social and environmental change. Past winners include Undercover Colors, a startup developing nail products that change color in the presence of date rape drugs; Bee Downtown, a venture that earned one of only four IDEO-backed global fellowships for climate innovators; and Trakex, a company whose founders were selected to participate in the competitive Y Combinator Fellowship program.

“The Lulu eGames provides participants with the opportunity to gain real-world experience in entrepreneurship; build invaluable relationships regionally, nationally and globally; and receive cash awards to help their ventures move forward in a real way,” said Dr. Tom Miller, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Entrepreneurship and McPherson Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship at NC State. “It’s a pleasure to continue this partnership with Lulu, a company that shares NC State’s commitment to cultivating entrepreneurship because of the tremendous impact it has on our world.”

image1As the eGames sponsor, Lulu will work with teams to develop and present product pitches and written descriptions to more effectively tell their stories and share their ideas with the world. Through our participation, Lulu hopes to further increase awareness and visibility of the eGames.

When asked about Lulu’s continuing relationship with NC State, Lee responded, “Lulu has always been dedicated to making the world a better place, one story at a time. By continuing our sponsorship of the Lulu eGames, we will add to this legacy one innovative idea, one life-changing product, and one entrepreneur at a time.”

 

For more information

NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative, please visit: https://ei.ncsu.edu/

Lulu eGames, please visit: https://ei.ncsu.edu/egames/

Lulu Press, please visit: www.lulu.com

Lulu Receives B-Corporation Certification

PR Part III: Release the Press Release!

Featured_Article_Narrow

For authors seeking that elusive “best-seller” status, self-promotion can be your best tool for generating internet traffic and increasing book sales.

Author signing autograph in own book at wooden table on light blurred background

With an effective press release, you’ll be giving autographs in no time!

Of all the self-promotion options available to independent authors, distributing press releases is probably the most overlooked and affordable method. This is unfortunate because it can be highly effective – especially if your press release is picked-up by a major news outlet, journal or magazine. It could even launch you to stardom.

With all of this said, you are just wasting your time if only launch a press release into the deep space of the internet and hope someone notices. It’s up to you to make sure people are aware it’s out there. So, put it to work on your author platform and start getting some of that sweet, sweet internet love.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a technical term for getting the most from what you put out on the internet. The technicalities are for the engineers to understand. For us, let’s think of it as executing a social media blitz, which sounds much more glamorous.

You may think this is complicated, but it’s easier than you think. First, post the news on your web site, then link to it from everywhere. The more back-links that point to your press release, the more value search engines assign to it. This means you show up higher on the search results page.

Don’t forget to get a little social media help from your friends.

Here’s what to do:

  • Tweet your news with a link to the announcement on your web site (and have friends and family retweet it)
  • Post your news with a link to the announcement on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ (very important for SEO), and everywhere else your audience may be found.
  • Create and post a video on YouTube, with you talking about the announcement and link back to the press release.
  • Embed the YouTube video into a blog post and link back to the announcement pages on other social networks such as Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon.

 

The combined effect of this promotion will be a four to five times increase in interest and traffic to your site  – thanks to the improved search engine rankings of your press release and author news.

Your press release is finished–get ready to ace the interviews!

 

As an independently published author, it’s up to you to get the word out about your work. If you lay the groundwork ahead of time, you will be ready for the attention. As a reminder, when your press release gets picked up by a local, state, or national publication, launch a new social media blitz announcing the announcement.

Additional information:
PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

PR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

Let’s Go Viral: Five Tactics for Boosting Your Clicks, Likes, and Shares

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.

coca-art-book-php

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.

High School Writers and Artists Team Up to Publish Anthology

Tell_Your_Story_Narrow

Foreign Visions, a new anthologyfeatures short stories and artwork from 25 students at Foran High School. The paperback book, published using the free online publishing tools at Lulu.com, contains 17 short stories and accompanying artwork. The stories were penned by students in Rick Raucci’s Creative Writing class. The artwork was created by students in Meghan Hudson’s Advanced Drawing/Painting and AP Studio Art classes.

foran-high-student-writers

Foreign Vision’s writers and artists

 

This is Foran High School’s first published book and Raucci said he couldn’t be prouder of the students who contributed the material and worked tirelessly to publish the book. Students in his creative writing class worked throughout the 2015-16 school year on various types of writing spanning multiple genres.

Raucci pitched the idea of an advanced writing class that would produce a book of short stories. With a grant secured to cover initial costs, Raucci got approval to move forward with the pilot program, working with 11 high school seniors who were recruited for the first year’s class.

“They were students selected based on their writing ability in the hopes of creating an authentic authorship experience,” Raucci said. The class began with students studying the importance of writing techniques such as setting, dialogue and plot development. “Even the smallest of details can change the story,” Raucci said. “How does age, for example, affect how a person will speak?”

Each student wrote three short stories, working with artists from Hudson’s class: In one round the writers had to write a story based on artwork supplied by the illustrators. The stories were then distributed to a panel of judges to rank. The top scoring pieces were selected for publication. “Everyone got a story published and there are a few students with two stories,” Raucci said.

As part of this project, students honed writing, editing and revising skills. They also got a taste of professional life by working on a deadline, receiving constructive criticism and incorporating recommended changes to their project. “They got the full authorship experience,” Raucci said.

For the art students, it was a chance to work as they might on a job.“For my student artists, this book is a unique opportunity to bridge classroom learning to real-life learning,” Hudson said. “Student authors and artists paired up for this collaborative effort, which allowed my artists to work with a ‘client’ rather than making art for themselves.

Hudson said that when another stakeholder’s opinions and input are entwined in the creative process, it changes the game for the artist. “This was an exciting challenge for both the authors and artists,” she added.

Lulu is a self publishing company, but that doesn’t mean the student writers didn’t have to meet tough standards. The manuscript required several revisions to meet distribution requirements, but students didn’t balk. They were eager to put in the extra work with some students even working weekends to get the completed manuscript revised in time.

The original idea was that the class would be self-sustaining. Students developed a marking plan to sell the books for $20. Before the first shipment of books were even delivered, students had sold more than 300 copies. “Not only were we able to replenish the grant funds, we were also able to give away scholarships to students,” Raucci said, noting that three $500 scholarships were awarded at the end of the school year.

Principal Max Berkowitz said he looks forward to the continued success of the class. “Advanced Creative Writing provides students a unique and rigorous experience while allowing them to take ownership over their learning,” Berkowitz said. “The opportunity for our students to become published authors has been an exciting and proud experience for the entire school community.”

foreign-visions-bookcover“This is a huge accomplishment for our students to have published work at this level of their education,” said Hudson. “They are thrilled to see their work in print.”

Foreign Visions’ is available in both paperback and eBook formats and can be purchased in the Lulu bookstore as well as all major online retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

More About Project-based Learning

Student Publishing with Lulu

Students Publish Guide for All Cool Kids

YSHS Students Turn Cookbooks into Scholarships

Lulu Academy: Enroll Today

Video Tutorial: How to Publish a Paperback Book

UA-30214-1