Articles tagged "books"

Great Gifts for Your Frenemy

You might be asking yourself “what the heck is a frenemy?” Basically, it’s one of your closest friends, who also happens to be one of your fiercest rivals. You know, someone you may have an unspoken competition with – like your exercise partner, or maybe even a relative that attended a rival school.

Frenemies are great. They keep you honest, keep you on your toes, and above all make you want to be better. Isn’t competition great?

So, what exactly do you get the frenemies on your gift list? Books of course! Here are few quick suggestions, all under 20 bucks…

Let’s start off with the exercise partner example. In this case, let’s talk about your golf buddy. Sure at the end of the round you compare scores, but there are so many side games played throughout the day. Next time your frenemy golf buddy declares the next tee a longest drive challenge, make them think about images in this book.

Of course there’s “your know-it-all” frenemy. You know, the one that seems to have an answer to everything from the future of the US space program, to the origins of the plastic things on the end of shoelaces. They have the world around them completely figured out. Or do they?

Here’s kind of a mean one – but remember the spirit of this is meant to be fun. Maybe you have a single frenemy. Someone who makes fun of your white picket fence life, complete with 2.5 kids and a practical, but awesome mini van. They brag about late nights out, and all the freedom a person could ask for. They’re single and loving it. But can they cook for one?

Not sure if some of your friends are really frenemies? We’ve got a book about that too. Buy a copy for yourself and start off 2011 with the upper hand!

How To Use Customer Support & Our Online Community Part 2

Back in November, I wrote part one in this series. My objective in writing these posts is to help users better understand the Customer Service process, the Community tools available to you, and how to get the most out of both. In part one, I highlighted creating a case with Customer Service. In part two, I would like to cover some of best ways to use our Knowledge Base.

With hundreds of articles on almost every aspect of Lulu from helping new users to after you publish using our Knowledge Base can be daunting to say the least. There are at least two ways to approach it, by searching or browsing. I will discuss both options as well as suggesting a few tips & tricks for using them to find your answers.

Searching

Typically, I recommend searching our database to find the information you’re looking for. It’s probably the quickest way to find what you’re looking for. That said, you want to make sure you are finding the right information.

For example, if I am trying to find out how long I should expect the Mail shipping option to take, what should I enter into the search box? To begin with, I went to the Support home page, and entered “Mail Shipping Option” into the text box. This returned 155 Knowledge Base Articles, 729 Questions, 1029 Discussions, and 59 Ideas. A lot to go through.

Luckily, our search shows the top five results for each category, so all I have to do is look at Articles and try to find the one that matches what I’m looking for. The first option is “Shipping To Prisons” which isn’t exactly what I want. The second option though, “Shipping Times and Options” is exactly what I want.

In short, to get the most out of searching, you want to make sure you choose search terms that most accurately reflect the topic you’re looking for, and focus on the results that are most likely to give you the response you want. It may take a little trial and error, but you should get there.

Browsing

The second method for locating a particular article is browsing. This method is most effective if you know the general stage of publishing you are in, but you aren’t sure exactly what you need to know. Using the same example as above, I will demonstrate how to find the same article by browsing.

To begin, you’ll want to click on the Knowledge Base link from the Support page. From there, you should see a list of categories for articles. By reviewing the descriptions of the categories, I can narrow down what I’m looking for. While none of the categories themselves are titled “Shipping” the category Shopping on Lulu is described as “Learn how to browse, buy, download, or ship on Lulu”. That sounds about right!

Inside this category, I see a new category for “Shipping FAQ“. I’m clearly on the right track. Clicking into that category takes me to a list of articles, and the first one is Shipping Times and Options. Success!

Summary

  • Get a good idea of what you’re searching or browsing for before you begin looking
  • Try to use as accurate phrasing as you can
  • Don’t be afraid to browse around for the right answer

Great Gift Ideas for “That Guy ”

At one time or another, we’ve all come across “that guy.”  You know, the guy who tries to check out in the 15 items or less lane with at least 30 things in his cart.  Or the guy who tries to beat the read light, only to clog up the intersection – leaving you stuck at a green light.

Of course if you’re anything like me, you may have been “that guy” more times than you care to admit.  You may also be in the position of having “that guy” on your holiday shopping list this year.

You really like “that guy.”  After all, he’s most likely family or a very close friend.  You want to see him shed his misguided ways in time for the New Year.  So this begs the question:  what do you get “that guy” for the holidays?

Here are a few gift ideas I came up with, right here on lulu.com:

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

         

Ho Ho Holy Cow! It's the holidays.

This year, take some of the burden off Santa, but using Lulu shipping.

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Here’s the list of holiday shipping deadlines by region. Click the tab for your region of the globe and compare the deadlines for each ship method and order with the following constraints:

  • Orders from North and South America and for Publisher Grade Books must be placed by 11:59 pm EST, Midnight in the US
  • Orders must be 30 or less to meet the Holiday deadlines listed below. For order quantities over 30, add 3 business days
  • Some items may not be available for certain shipping options in your region. Double check your items in the shopping cart
  • Lulu does not recommend the Mail or Priority Mail shipping method and will not guarantee December 24th delivery

Disclaimer: The dates and information provided are intended to serve as a guideline for order delivery by December 24th, 2010. The dates provided here do not imply a guarantee. Weather and unforeseen circumstances may delay deliveries.

Happy holidays, and since you’re helping Santa out this year, don’t forget to eat the cookies.

30 Days to Be Remarkable

It just so happens to be the first day of December and that means you have exactly 30 days left in the year to be remarkable. This may sound a little daunting, but don’t worry. The great thing about being remarkable is that you get to decide what that means for you. Consider these recent examples:

Just last week, I spoke with a national medical company that figured out they could cut their budget by millions if they consolidated all of their new hire materials into one Lulu book. They had been paying $400 every time they wanted to print 10 copies of their packets at a local store. On Lulu, they figured out they could make the same thing, in a better, more accessible format for a third of the cost. And with Lulu’s fast track printing, they are still able to have their materials in a couple of business days.

Bloggers like Momma in Flip Flops and Frugal Plus are using Lulu to share their interests with their readers while boosting their traffic by throwing Lulu Photo Book Contests.

Others still are thrilled to receive projects they’ve made for their families this holiday season or are just happy to hold their work in their hands for the first time:

“Just got 10 of my large calendars from @luludotcom – they’re even better in person,” says Twitter follower chiotsrun.

“My children’s books came, what a load off. Thank you for effectively saving Christmas Lulu,” says Facebook fan Greg.

So what does being remarkable mean for you as 2010 winds down? Is it saving your company some cash, building up a name for yourself, or making a book of memories for your family? Either way, Lulu is here to help you create just about anything from hardcover books to eBooks, photo books to mini books, calendars to cookbooks, CDs and DVDs, and even your own websites and applications.

So go forth and be remarkable. Happy holidays.

Cyber Monday is Back

Cyber Monday, the first weekday after Thanksgiving, is considered the busiest online shopping day of the year. To mark the occasion and do our part to save you a little time and money, we’ve put together these special offers good for today only.

25% off any order
Save up to $185.
Coupon code:
CYBER25

30% off $750 or more
Save up to $750.
Coupon code:
CYBER30

Coupons cannot be applied to  taxes or shipping and handling charges or previous orders.  Only one valid promotional code may be used per account.  Orders must be in U.S.  Dollar currency. Offer ends today 11/29/09 at 11:59 PM PST.

Lulu at Internet Summit 2010

The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday, with Internet professionals and entrepreneurs from across the United States coming together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young was a keynote panelist and featured speaker discussing the future of both the web and books – no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.

Bob’s featured talk was entitled “There is No Such Thing as a Book” – claiming that “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.” During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that).  Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form, but now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.

Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable,” as a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video, hyperlinks and an Internet connect may actually detract from a book’s narrative – diminishing the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think that in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide, opting to read stories on books – not devices. But of course, that will remain a question of preference and choice, and if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event and enjoy all the interactivity that digital media has to offer, be sure to check out a recap of the lively discussions on Twitter #isum10.

We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit for putting on such an informative and well-organized event, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

Celebrate NaNoWriMo with Lulu

We’re obviously big fans of books here at Lulu and that makes November one of our favorite months. Why? Because it’s National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.

For eleven years NaNoWriMo has brought together thousands of aspiring authors who share a passion for writing and creativity. Each November, more and more authors join in and take a no holds barred approach to pumping out a 50,000 word book in just 30 days. With such a limited time-frame for making a remarkable work, writers often surprise themselves with what they can accomplish and what creative ideas they can come up with – music to the folks at Lulu’s ears.

Some of us Lulus are even getting involved in the action. I am using this year’s NaNoWriMo to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. Well, at least I’m trying to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. So far I’ve spent several days staring at a blank screen hoping to channel Neruda, Hemmingway, Frost or Fitzgerald and then distracting myself with exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping.

Writing is much harder than anyone gives us literary types credit for, and I admire all of you Lulu creators for being able to have the self-discipline to write something and the confidence to put it out in the world.

NaNoWriMo is all about getting motivated. Any book written in 30 days probably won’t be a work of genius, but writing 50,000 words in one month is going to force you to write and take risks. You can edit, take out weak characters, and add sub-plots later. For now, just get writing!

My favorite high school English teacher told me once that writing is easy. You just write about yourself with the life you’ve always wanted. Change your name, give yourself an apartment in Paris and a love interest who got away. Find inspiration in everything and use the mannerisms of interesting strangers to write new characters. Combine it with the search for home, and you’ve got yourself a bestseller.

So, let’s do this together! We’ve got three weeks to write a book. It may not be your most remarkable work, but then again, maybe it will be. You don’t know till you try. And when you’re all done, I encourage you to publish your books on Lulu. What have you got to lose?

Feel free to add your NaNoWriMo experiences in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you’re working on or any tips for NaNoWriMo survival and getting motivated?  Come on NaNoWriMo veterans, I know you’re out there.

From the Vault: Giving it Away – How Previews May Help You Sell

This post was originally put up back in February 2008,  but a lot of the advice rings true today. With so many new e-devices popping up on the market, readers are finding more and more ways to discover and purchase content. Offering a free downloadable preview is a great way to help a reader make the decision to push the “purchase” button. Enjoy the original post below:

I tend to come across a lot of material on the site because of my job. Sometimes, it’s because I’m looking for something to buy, other times I am checking out whether it’s in violation of our membership agreement, and still others I am looking for content to highlight. Regardless of the reason, I am often surprised by how much of it lacks a preview.

According to Chris Anderson, author of the “Long Tail“, on average, 500 copies of a book are sold per year. For a self-published author, selling 500 copies in a year is considered a huge success, but how do you get 500 people to buy your book when most of them haven’t ever heard of you? The simple answer is to let them read it.

What’s in a Name?: Picking Your Book’s Title

Now that you have poured your heart and soul onto every page of your Lulu book, here comes the real dilemma…what about the title? Yes, the title. It’s hard to imagine that those couple of words will be the first to introduce a potential reader to your book and will help them decide whether to pick it up or pass it by. In an effort to provide some aid to this rather daunting task, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Take the Short Road

Take a look at The New York Times Best Seller List and you will notice that, most often than not, today’s most popular titles are 3 words or less. If that isn’t enough to convince you, think of some of the books that you have read in the past. Here are a few of mine – The Help, The Scarlet Letter, What Remains, Pride and Prejudice, etc. Do you see a pattern? If you’re afraid that a couple of words or a short phrase won’t sum up your book, consider using a subtitle to provide further explanation.

Be Original

Since titles aren’t copyrighted, there could be a chance that the title you choose may already be spoken for. In the case that your title (or one very similar) is in use, it may be best to reevaluate what you have chosen to avoid confusion. Not sure if your book title has a twin? Try checking out an online book database or catalog like Project Gutenberg.

Share Your Ideas

Once you have had the chance to brainstorm a few title possibilities, bounce them off of your friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to provide several ideas and poll them for which ones they better. Like your potential readers, they won’t know much about your book and can only judge it based on the title.