Articles tagged "book"

20 Fun Facts for National Book Month


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.

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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.



  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.

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.


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.

Bring on the Reviews!

Thank you, Internet for connecting all of us, all the time. I can’t make any decision without consulting the web for reviews. Need new tires? Find some affordable options and compare reviews. A new computer? Same. Dinner out? More of the same.

Books are different. I’m not going to pick a handful of books and make a choice based on the reviews. Buying books is more subjective. I actually decide whether or not to consider buying based on reviews. Those little stars can be the difference between trying out a new author, or passing them over for someone I know and trust.


In this way, getting reviews for your book may well be the most important factor in hooking new readers (a good cover and well crafted description being the other elements). The question becomes: how do I get reviews for my book?

The first thing to do would be to tap resources you have on hand, such as friends, family, coworkers, or fellow writers. These are the folks who are willing to read your book and give reviews initially. It’s a great place to get started, particularly if you have a network of authors and fellow writers who can provide honest feedback.

Remember, not all reviews are going to be glowing. But a specific criticism or suggestion can be more valuable than simple praise. This is self-publishing, so a well crafted critical review could be the impetus to revise the work, in the end landing you an even stronger book!

Once you’ve reached out to your friends, family, and fellow writers for reviews, you might consider sources like Publishers Weekly or Kirkus, who offer paid reviewing services. This is a good way to get a “professional” review, but this may not be the most important element in increasing sales and visibility.

In fact, what might matter the most, are the stars. Invesp is a site dedicated to the commerce of opinion, and they present a nice little info graphic (see below) that highlights how important it is to have stars on those reviews. The main takeaway here is that getting 4+ stars can be as important, if not more important, than having a written review from a paid service like Publisher Weekly. Another crucial point this information brings up is review quantity. Most buyers feel confident with 4 to 6 good reviews. What this means is that you don’t actually need a lot of great reviews to get your book that extra attention. Just a few reviews with 4+ stars can be all it takes to start pulling in new readers!

bookheartEither way, as a self-published author, if you hope to have your worked noticed and picked up by new readers, you’ll want as many stars and reviews as you can get. These reviews are the “word of mouth” you’ll need to help find new readers and get them excited for your book.


It’s a lot of work, arguably more work than writing the book, but in the highly competitive self-publishing world, getting attention is the cornerstone of growing your book’s readership.

Bonus – Lulu has a section in our Forums called “Shameless Promotion” for, well, shamelessly promoting your book. It’s a great way to get the attention of the Lulu community and test the waters for reviews.

The importance of online customer reviews - editable


Infographic by- Invesp

Additional Resources:

Need Some Help Marketing? Ask a Friend

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

Free Access to Author Learning Center


How to Raise Money for Your Next Writing Project

The Kickstarter of books is here, it’s Pubslush

You may have heard the term “crowd funding”, but may not be sure what it’s all about. Crowdfunding is a way that artists and entrepreneurs are raising funds for their projects, so they can take on less of the financial risk. With a successful crowdfunding campaign, you can raise funds – before you publish – rather than paying out of your own pocket.

Authors are already successfully raising money by pitching their book idea to potential readers and future fans, and now Pubslush has built a fund raising platform exclusively for you.

A Crowdfunding Platform for Authors
A number of authors are already finding success raising money for their projects, and gaining access to options they wouldn’t have had before – like investing in professional cover design, marketing campaigns, first run copies of their books and more.

pubslush kickstarter authors crowdfunding

Some of the top projects on Pubslush have raised over $10,000 from readers


Let us know if Pubslush is right for you in the comments

Take a moment to check out Pubslush, check out their successful projects, watch the video embedded below, and let us know what you think in the comments on this blog post.

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Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 11.39.00 AM

Collaborative Storytelling with Kids

When I was little, I took stories my parents told me and added to them as I drifted to sleep. My mind would take a story and turn it into something very different. Bedtime stories becomes so much more than just stories in the imaginative minds of children — they become worlds.

Thanks to independent publishing, children and parents are using teamwork to create polished novels that can be shared with other young readers. A profile in Wired details how a father and his two young sons were able to collaborate on a successful fantasy book for children. Nimpentoad, which the family published independently, has been a success as well as a learning experience for the two young authors, Josh and Harrison. The boys have been selling their book at farmers’ markets, participating in public speaking engagements and agreeing to interviews for profiles in Young Entrepreneur Magazine. They are learning at an early age that publishing is just one step in the process of becoming a successful author.

Josh, Harrison and their father, Henry, are part of a long history of intergenerational writers who have used writing as both a teaching experience and a way to bring generations together by changing storytelling into a more participatory process. Writing groups around the country use intergenerational writing practices to keep seniors and young people interacting with one another.

Intergenerational writing can also help children with learning disabilities by encouraging them to continue to write outside of the classroom setting. Hal and Alex Malchow wrote their fantasy novel, The Sword of Darrow, when Alex, who is dyslexic, needed encouragement to continue his uphill climb toward reading at his own grade level. Alex was able to use the confidence from writing the book to tackle his own disability.

What intergenerational writing have you done? What have you learned from young storytellers, and what is your best advice for them?

Related Services: Children’s Formatting Service

Better Fundraising this Holiday with Lulu wants to help small businesses and non-profit organizations in our home state of North Carolina raise more funds this holiday season, just by making a free calendar. We’re even throwing in a $1,000 cash bonus to the organization that sells the most calendars between Oct. 5th and Dec. 31st. We’re also including participating organizations in Lulu’s holiday marketing and publicity. It’s simple, too.

To participate:

  • Any small business or non-profit in North Carolina can create an account on Lulu, then a calendar project at no cost.
  • Add your favorite pics to the online calendar template. Drag and drop, and then publish your calendar.
  • Once done, just email with a link to your project. That’s it.

Your new calendar is a fun way to engage your fans and supporters and it is free to create. A local food truck could make a calendar of their truck outside different places around town. Or a restaurant could create a calendar with recipes and pics of their favorite dishes. The options are endless.

Lulu will include participating local businesses and non-profits in the following marketing as well:

  • Regular social networking blasts to Lulu fans and followers
  • Direct email campaigns
  • Lulu fundraising marketing and PR campaigns

Start your project today and spread some extra cheer this holiday. We can only feature you if we know about your project so please email a link to your calendar to by the first week of October.

How To Write A Great Book Title

Choosing a clever title can be as hard as writing the book itself. Some writers say their title comes to them first, and the story develops from there, while other writers have folders of documents like, “Untitled, fantasy time travel book, name TBD.”

Your title should do three things: Attract readers you want, distinguish your book from others in its genre, and leave a lasting impression on the reader. Here are Lulu’s tips for giving your masterpiece a great name.

  1. Avoid clichéd nouns like “chronicles,” “tale” and “adventure.” Sure, some of the great classics use them – The Chronicles of Narnia, The Handmaid’s Tale and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn come immediately to mind – but usually these descriptors are unnecessary and over-used. Distinguish your book with an original title, even if it is a chronicle, a tale, or an adventure. John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War could easily be described as a chronicle, but doesn’t rely on that descriptor to be memorable and powerful.
  2. How to choose a clever title? Consider an important object, character or idea from the book and start brainstorming. Perhaps a line from the book during a critical scene would make a good title. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, for example, takes its title from a character’s description of time travel to a child – creating a “wrinkle” in the fabric of time to get to and fro easily. The relevancy of the title may not be immediately apparent, but when the reader finally figures it out within the text, the realization can be just as satisfying as finishing the book.
  3. If your book is non-fiction, consider a subtitle to clarify your clever main title. Readers of non-fiction want to know up-front what they’re going to get from your book. Before it becomes a nationally-known best-seller, a vague title like What Color is Your Parachute? needs a descriptive subtitle (A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers) to appeal to the job-hunters who might need the help this book can provide. The combination of title and subtitle of Deborah Frye and Tracy Mercier’s Our Father Who Aren’t In Heaven: A True Story of a Career Criminal does a great job of telling the reader the subject and tone of the book. (Don’t worry; if you’re using Lulu’s cover design services, we can handle a subtitle, a sub-subtitle and all the authors, illustrators, editors and contributors you want to include on the cover!)
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