Articles tagged "business"

Lulu as a Business Partner

As you may well know, Lulu has been the go-to print on demand, self-publishing platform since 2002.

Yet there’s one misconception we run into time and again. Many hear terms like ‘self-publish,’ ‘indie-publish,’ or ‘print on demand’ and envision a fraught author, hunched over their laptop, tapping out their masterpiece. That’s a common perception, and its not entirely inaccurate.

The idea that self-publishing is reserved for fiction authors is just plain wrong. People need books for a variety of reasons. Everyone with information they need to solidify and make accessible has use for books. Authors are not just story tellers. They are information entrepreneurs, they are business owners, experts in their fields, educators, trainers, travelers, cooks, entertainers, storytellers, journalists…this list could go on. I’ll stop short and get to the point.

Lulu is more than a publisher for fiction writers. We’re a print partner, ready to help your business, big or small, with a range of printing needs.

Whether you’re a business owner, or work in human resources, or a motivated entrepreneur, or a public speaker, or…I’m listing again. If you’ve got information you need to share to further your career or to make your business run smoothly, we’re ready to be your partner.

Here’s an example: Imagine you’ve developed a product. It’s a new take on an old idea, and something you know adherents of the old idea will love. You’ve got a market for this product, and you’re transitioning from development to entrepreneurial business person. You’re going to sell this product, and as you prepare to go to market, you also have to establish instructions. Customers will not be happy with your amazing product if they receive it and can’t turn it on!

But manuals aren’t cheap either. If you went with a more traditional printing method, you’d have to order a set quantity of the instructions and have them inserted into the packaging for your product. Not only does this cause you to incur another production cost, you’ll have an instruction manual that can only be updated by getting a new print run.

What if you could make the manual available without including it? Users who need or want the manual can order it (even a digital version if you wanted). The investment goes from substantial (making and printing a number of manuals and including them with each product) to negligible (just the cost to create the manual file). In fact, Lulu already has authors who do just this:

Raymarine UK Limited – Lulu Store

Raymarine makes and sells marine electronics for a wide range of nautical and boating uses. Their electronics require set up and training to use correctly. Rather than investing in pre-printed manuals, Raymarine has their manuals on the Lulu Bookstore, and users who need a manual can come to us and have one printed.

Manuals and instructional material can be important for internal use as well. Does your business use a training manual? Imagine being able to update the manual periodically with ease, and printing out only the most recent version for your new employees. Imagine the cost savings of having only the manuals you need at the ready, rather than stocking a number of them on hand.

Our print on demand tools allow Lulu to be an adaptable, quick means of printing exactly what you need when you need it. Here are some of the many ways a book can be useful for a business or entrepreneur:

  • Manuals/Instructions
  • Internal training
  • Reporting material
  • Advertising tool to promote your knowledge/product
  • Product catalog
  • Education material (custom text books, curriculum specific material, work books)

For years now Lulu has been a dependable business partner for professionals and companies with all kinds of printing needs. We’re ready to help you and your business with easy to use, fast, affordable, and high quality printed products.

Expand Your Business with Custom Publishing Solutions

I had an interesting conversation with an up and coming author recently who has a very specific vision.  She wants to cut out any potential for a “middle-man” to distract her readers from finding and buying her works.  She eventually even wants to run her own publishing business directly from her website starting with her own titles.  This would enable her to maximize her profits and directly tap into her fan-base while helping other aspiring authors share their works too.  The problem is she didn’t have an easy means of distribution, eBook creation, or order fulfillment.  She needed someone to help her do all the heavy lifting on the backend, so she could focus on creating a successful business.  That’s where Lulu and our Open Publishing APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) come in.

An API is kind of like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work.  All the “blocks” that make Lulu’s great self-publishing site function are available to the public so that anyone can use them no matter their needs or their market.  With Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike can take whatever pieces they need from Lulu and use them on their own websites to instantly produce, manage, and sell content.  The best part? They are absolutely free.

Suddenly this up and coming author has a completely customized publishing solution to start that business she dreams about.  She can sign up other authors but can relax while she uses Lulu’s global print-on-demand network to cut on shipping costs.  She gets to offer her authors distribution through Lulu’s retail partners like Amazon, iBookstore(SM), and NOOK Bookstore – where many readers already shop. It’s all under her own imprint and designed for her to be more profitable than ever before possible.

Lulu is constantly rolling out new APIs too.  Coming soon Lulu’s eCommerce APIs will be released for general availability, enabling customers to buy directly through an author or business’s own website. Also be on the look out for general availability of our Creator Revenue APIs which allow a business or imprint to easily keep track of an author’s earnings.

Indeed, the Lulu APIs are empowering people and organizationslike our friends at campus bookstores across the nation – to grow and monetize content in exciting new ways while diversifying revenue and expanding their businesses – all under one roof.  Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for some more exciting news about how our APIs are helping to break down even more barriers for authors, for businesses, and for everyone in between.

 

Using Your Book as a Business Card

Thanks to the Internet, the world is getting smaller everyday.  People are more connected now than ever, which means there is more competition to stand out than ever.  In a CNN article titled Why Just Being Good at Your Job is Not Good Enough, journalist Mark Tutton talks about how getting lost in this ocean of noise can even have a direct impact on your career.  With so many people so readily available, proving your relevancy may seem next to hopeless.  But it’s not.

Right now, at this very second, you have at your fingertips all the tools and resources you need to do anything. Really.  We live in an age where you can just wake up one morning and decide to cut an album, make a movie, or publish a book and can unleash your remarkable ideas upon the world in an instant.  Gone are the days where you had to maneuver around the various barriers into these industries.  Now, you just have to have some motivation and know where to start. You’re reading this blog too, so you’re already looking in the right places.

Building a successful career begins with knowing your worth.  Lulu is centered around the idea that everyone is an expert in something – no matter if you’re a model train builder, a prized physicist, a world-class chef, or a dedicated couch potato.  Your unique knowledge and experiences are what make you, you, and what better way to share that knowledge and expertise than through a published book?

“Writing a book…instantly establishes your credibility to potential customers and employers” Dan Schwabel, author of Me 2.0, told Tutton.  “You can self proclaim you’re an expert in your field all day long but the book is…your calling card.”

Whether you’re going for a job interview, meeting colleagues at a conference, or working on a big partnership, imagine how much more memorable you’d be when everyone else puts their cards on the table and you sit down your book. Or think about the lasting impression you’d leave if you said:  “Oh, you can find me in the iBookstore and on Amazon.”

“If you look at two resumes and they look the same, but one person wrote a book on the topic you’re interviewing for, you’re going to show more interest in that person,” Schwabel tells Tutton.  “Whether it’s a blog, an eBook or a published book, you’ve got to have something now, and a book has the most credibility.”

To Schwabel’s point, if writing and publishing a book seems overwhelming right now, try starting a blog or anything else that gets your name and your content out there.  You’re building a brand for yourself though, so remember to treat yourself like a business and be respectful of anyone you’re reaching out to.  For more help on marketing your work once you’ve gotten it out there, check out this recent post.

 

Lulu at Book Expo America 2011

Last week, Lulu attended Book Expo America (BEA), the largest book convention in the nation, where attendees got the chance to meet the new face of publishing – you!

Doors opened bright and early the morning of the 24th to floods of authors, publishers, journalists, librarians, and businesses all clamoring to get the latest scoop on the publishing industry and Lulu didn’t disappoint. With exciting new initiatives such as our Open Publishing APIs, Partner Program, and growing print network, Lulu has an affordable publishing solution for just about everyone – no matter if you’re an author looking to become a publisher, or a publisher wanting to monetize your back catalogue.

We definitely stood out in our bright orange booth too, but what really stole the show were our “author-ego” cutouts (pictured).  All three days of the show people lined up at our booth to have their photos taken behind their favorite author’s body and we’d display them on our wall.  They’d also be entered for a chance to win a new Mini 5303 laptop, courtesy of our partners at HP.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase:  “My friend Blahbity Blah, told me I had to come see the Lulu booth. You’ve gotta take my picture!” And we were happy to oblige.

For those on the go, we also had
mobile author-ego cards (pictured) that folks could use with their camera phones to encourage their friends to publish (or just make them look ridiculous). At Lulu, anyone is empowered to publish and sell their work to customers all over the world and our author-ego cards and cutouts really drove that point home – that and the fact that people love to get their photo taken.

We easily talked to about 2,000 attendees, but with the way boxes of author-ego cards, Lulu hats and tote-bags were flying off our tables, we definitely reached all 30,000+ attendees.  Lulu CEO and Founder, Bob Young, also presented to convention attendees Monday, May 23rd on the future of publishing and the impact of eBooks and e-readers.

While eBooks were a hot topic among the BEA crowd this year, we were surprisingly asked about print-on-demand books even more.  This boils down to what the new generation of authors and content owners really seems to want:  options.  And with Lulu’s open-publishing model we’re providing the freedom to creators that tons of options bring.  At Lulu, you’re free to publish and sell books immediately, electronically or in print. You pick the price.  You pick the market.  You pick the medium.  You are the new face of publishing and you are in control.


 

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