Articles tagged "books"

Nigel Lee: Global Businesses Must Be Locally Relevant

Lulu CEO, Nigel Lee, lives in Brussels, leads a company headquartered on the East Coast of the USA, and travels the world seeking new partners and new markets to better serve authors around the world.

In today’s interview, we chat about Lee’s eight-hour commute and discuss how living outside of the USA affects his corporate leadership and vision for Lulu.

Lee believes companies can only be truly global when they address regional needs. “Internationalization of a business doesn’t just mean making it available in Hungarian, or in French or in Italian. It means understanding regional requirements, country-specific requirements. What do authors in Italy need? What does Italian book distribution look like? What are the bookstores in Italy?”

Lulu works to make the world a better place – one author, one story and one local regulation at a time.

 

Nigel Lee, Lulu CEO: Passion, Partners, Publishing and Profits

Two years ago we cheered in* Nigel Lee as a new team member in our Raleigh office. We welcomed him as Head of International Business – now he’s Lulu’s CEO.

Nigel came to us with a background in international banking focusing on risk, finance, and regulatory issues. Since then, he’s learned quite a bit about the publishing industry as well as the passion that drives Lulu authors.

Last November we took a break from packing for our upcoming move to chat about his time with Lulu and the publishing industry in general.

Publishing really hasn’t changed much since Shakespeare’s time. At its essence publishing is still write, print and sell. Today, there are just a lot more people making a profit from an author’s effort resulting in the creator receiving a smaller and smaller piece of the pie.

That’s why we need Lulu.
Lulu rewards creators, not shareholders.

 

*If you are wondering what is meant by “cheer in,” this is how we welcomed new employees at our previous location. Nigel is the one in the jacket – loving it.

Last Minute Gifts: No Wrapping Required

Miss someone on your shopping list?
Did someone get promoted from naughty to nice?
Worried your order won’t arrive in time?
A little late finishing up your book or calendar?

We’ve got you covered. From now through December 26th you can order your books and calendars from Lulu, then print out the gift receipt to include with a holiday greeting card or to slip into someone’s stocking when they aren’t looking. While you are celebrating, we will print and ship your selections to the addresses you enter.

All you have to do is place your order, enter the shipping address during checkout and print your gift receipt. The receipt is personalized to include the title and cover of the book or calendar you ordered.

Gift receipts take up hardly any room in your luggage and there’s no wrapping required. So, don’t show up empty-handed. There’s still time to give a gift of knowledge from our huge library of independently published books or give a gift of time selected from 1000’s of original calendars.

 

The Season of Discounts: Save on Stuff You Want

on-sale-nowThis time of year, you can’t close your eyes and throw a rock without hitting a discount. Everything is on sale;  you can buy one item at full price and get the other free, or save from an additional markdown taken at checkout, not to mention the ever popular year-end inventory closeout sales.

As we get closer to the holidays, bargain shopping becomes a sport.  Our favorite stores have less to choose from, but if you are super small, super tall, or super persistent you can get the best deals of the year as retailers make room for next year’s new things.

On the other hand, when you shop at Lulu, you never have to worry about the book or calendar you want being sold out. When you place your order, your books and calendars are printed just for you and shipped hot off the press. Yes, it takes a few days to print and ship your order, but when you buy from Lulu, an independent author profits rather than a corporate publisher or huge online retailer.

And chances are, there will also be a discount available so check your email before ordering.

Support the arts.

Make an author happy.

 

Holiday Inventory: If You Don’t Have It, You Can’t Sell It

inventory-giftsIndependently published writers are more than just authors. At trade shows and panel discussions I have often described these writers as being self-employed entrepreneurs – heading a business with only one employee – themselves. As such the author must be adept at both writing and the business of publishing. All decisions are the author’s from developing the concept to publicizing and marketing the finished product to making sure there is product to sell.

The holidays provide more opportunities than any other time of the year to get your product in front of people who are actively seeking to spend their money. Whether you are planning a social media marketing push, have scheduled book signing and speaking events, have booked space at your local winter market, or meet someone on the bus, you need to be ready to make the sell.

Inventory Preparedness Questionnaire:

  • How many events do you have planned for the holidays?
  • How many books do you anticipate selling at each event?
  • Is there enough time between events to order and restock?
  • Will you be selling signed or personalized books from your website or social media pages?
  • How many books do you need as gifts for friends and family?
  • Do you have bookmarks or postcards advertising your book to hand out in the event you sell out of books or someone wishes to purchase an eBook?
  • Do you have a high-quality pen for signing and personalizing books?

One of the benefits of print-on-demand publishing is that there is no costly inventory to maintain. However, this also means that when you or your customers place an order, the books must be printed before they ship. Regardless of the number of books ordered, printing will take from 3-5 business days. This time of year, average printing times are on the shorter side of that range; however, as Christmas approaches, printing times will push towards five days. Add shipping time to that and you can see why it is more important than ever to ensure you have the stock on hand to make the sell.

lulu_com__2016_promotions__october_28th_special_40_10_28-10_31

To help ensure you have a successful holiday sales season, Lulu is running author-only discounts in November so you can save now on the inventory you need for the Christmas holiday season.

You can be among the first to know about these discounts. Simply sign up for Lulu promotional emails on your Lulu Account > Preferences page. Discounts are also listed on the Lulu home page.

We wish you great success, today and everyday.

More Holiday Readiness

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Sell More Books: Easy Christmas Marketing Ideas

Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

 

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

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.

5stars

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

 

UA-30214-1