Articles tagged "friends"

Lulu Support and Connect Update

As many of you are aware, a couple weeks back we launched a new forum and knowledge base platform, Lithium. Since then, we have been monitoring the feedback from our users, and thus far the new platform has been received quite positively. In fact, we’ve even seen some of our longtime customers return to the forums that we haven’t heard from in quite sometime – praising the new system.

We also launched Lithium with the objective of creating a clear distinction between “Support” and “Connect“. Our intention is to have the Support page be the home for issues requiring direct Lulu team member involvement, while Connect is meant to be focused on “self-service” support with our knowledge base and community of fellow users. We have reinforced that distinction consistently within Connect, and we have our users helping to reinforce it with newer customers. In the past week, we have seen over 500 posts made to the new boards, and we continue to receive positive feedback on the changes we have implemented.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to solicit feedback from our users, and we’ll be setting up polls to help gather that data. Please check the Connect home page to see the active polls on the right-hand side. We’ll also be looking at ways to increase activity and engagement, and we welcome any suggestions you may have.

Congratulations to the Project Team and all who supported the efforts in getting Lithium launched and off to an incredibly successful first couple weeks.

What to Do with All Those Holiday Photos

This year, my grandmother turned 75 and before Christmas, my whole family was exchanging emails back and forth trying to think of a gift we could give her that would really show her how special she has been to us all these years.

My mom suggested we make a list of my grandmother’s sayings and print them out for her. My aunt suggested we take a family photo and put it in a nice frame. My uncle suggested we write a card that tells her what she’s taught us.

These were all nice thoughts, but I wanted to go big. I suggested we take everyone’s ideas and combine them into a Lulu photo book to present to her at Christmas.

At first, my family was a little hesitant because not all of them are super tech savvy or organized. But I set up a Lulu account that we could all share, picked a theme I thought my grandma would like, I made the cover and the first few pages. I even added in captions of my grandma’s sayings like “lord love a duck” (no I don’t know what that means either).

Once my family saw how quick I was able to do this, they gave it a shot. They were amazed that they could just drag and drop pictures into the book from their Facebook accounts and easily write a heart felt message right on the page. After no time, the book was done and we had our special gift for Christmas. My grandmother absolutely loved it, but the best part was we all made it together.

It was great to see and read all those memories that my family had saved all these years, many of which I had forgotten. Hopefully this post has given you some ideas that are sure to spread joy to your loved ones for next year. And we’d love to hear about any remarkable holiday gifts that you’ve made in the comments below. Happy holidays!

Be the Favorite Child This Holiday Season

Becoming the favorite child this holiday is easy!  Here are five great gift ideas that show how much you care, or at least how much more thoughtful you are than your siblings.

Calendar:

Create a family calendar with pictures from the last year.  You can even include special dates, like birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, to keep the focus on what’s most important throughout the whole year.

Family Cookbook:

Compiling a cookbook of all your family’s favorite recipes is a sure way to make mom and grandma proud.  Plus, you get the benefit of having that amazing pumpkin pie recipe right at your fingertips year-round.

Photobook:

One of the easiest ways to thrill the whole family is making a photobook.  It can have pictures from the whole year, or just from a specific vacation or event.  Either way, it will be a great memento for years, and an excellent conversation starter for the family after you have already discussed the food and weather.

Family Yearbook:

Think yearbooks are just for school?  Not with the power of personalization that Lulu offers!  You can make a family yearbook and include pictures from every major event, dedicate a page to each family member, and include fun facts or stats.

Family History:

Writing a family history is the ultimate in “favorite child” gifts!  Published as a book on Lulu, you can capture the generations of your family by writing your family tree, favorite family stories, pictures, and special memories.

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.

Supersize Your Memories

We all have loads of digital images, but how many of you have taken that extra step to take them back a generation and make a book? You probably know by now that you can make a fantastic photo book with Lulu. It’s simple, fun and you end up with a beautiful keepsake for yourself, your family and your friends. Whether you’ve got loads of wedding photos, shots from your vacation last summer, or designs for your professional portfolio — the options are endless.

What you might not know is that Lulu now offers photo books in extra large sizes. We have 12″ x 12″ square and 13″ x 11″ landscape books with premium paper and gorgeous matte covers. Of course we think they’re great, but seriously, they are GREAT. The larger sizes have a majestic feel and harken back to days when people actually had photos printed and took the time to paste them into albums. But you’re not pasting, you’re dragging and dropping. With these books, you can create a seriously professional project with minimal effort on your part. We have plenty of themes and fonts to choose from to give your book the personal touch you desire.

In fact, these large size books aren’t just in the Lulu Studio. If you want a bit more creative liberty, you can design your own book and upload the PDF into the Lulu Wizard, while still taking advantage of premium paper and the classy matte hardcover option.

With the holidays just around the corner,  this is actually the perfect time to start a photo book project and still have plenty of time to tweak your text and add that extra bit of finesse to your photos. The only real decision is whether you flex your creative muscles and upload your own custom created PDF or take advantage of specially designed themes in the Lulu Studio™.

Preserve Thanksgiving Memories with Lulu

Thanksgiving is a holiday of family and friends and of remembering what is important in your life.  If your family is like mine, what is most important on Thanksgiving is food.  Lots and lots of food.
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Thanksgiving is the only time of year that some of my favorite family recipes make an appearance at the table, and all of those dishes are tied to strong memories.  As my family has gotten older and the kids have moved all over the country, I worried that some of the recipes would be lost.  The obvious solution was to write a cookbook.

I made my cookbook a few years ago by just uploading a word file and cover.  Simple!  Once I had my files ready, it only took a few minutes to publish and I had the perfect Christmas gift for my entire family.

All those delectable recipes have now been saved in my book The Midwest Meets the South.  Though grandma absolutely refused to let me print her famous yeast roll recipe in a book, so some secrets remain just that.

With the Lulu Studio it is now easier than ever to turn your Thanksgiving feast into more than a picked-over turkey carcass and memories.   Just choose your binding, type in your recipes, add photos and publish your book.  Easy as pie (which you should definitely include a recipe for in the cookbook).  You can get started here.

If you add family photos and the stories behind your meals, this simple cookbook can become a keepsake for generations.

Lulu Studio will be my first choice, when I make a second edition. (Grandma, I will get that yeast roll recipe one day!)

Happy eating everyone!

Yo-ho-ho! International Talk Like a Pirate Day Is Upon Us.

Avast, me hearties!  X marks the spot on your calendars for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLPD) this Sept. 19th.  It’s your annual opportunity to send your roommate to the galley to fetch more grog or to call your mother a bilge rat.**

ITLPD has gained quite a following in the 15 years since it was started by two

Lulu authors, Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers and John “Ol’Chumbucket” Baur.  What started as a game between a few friends has grown into an international phenomenon.  People look forward all year to the day when they can get away with dressing up in puffy shirts and bloomers while walking around all squinty-eyed and hunched over .  What is the secret to Summers and Baur’s success?  Obviously, everyone loves pirates and the chance to be creative.

Cap’n Slappy and Chumbucket also use savvy to keep their high-seas holiday afloat.  In addition to their website talklikeapirate.com, the duo have a series of books, like “The Maracaibo Caper and “The Sao Paolo Caper,” that’ll answer all your pirate jargon questions.

If you want to join the swashbuckling pirate ranks but don’t know where to start, Lulu can help. Check out these other great pirate inspired tales:

**I seriously do not recommend calling your mother a “bilge rat”.  This did not go well for me last year. Be warned!

“Rejected?! So What.” – Bestsellers That Almost Didn’t Make It.

Sometimes, as we strive to share our remarkable ideas with the world, we have to deal with criticism and often times, rejection. But that is ok.

Criticism and rejection can be used constructively to help you become a better creator. The key is to understand that everyone is always going to have his or her own opinion. But just because someone disagrees with your outlook or your way of being creative doesn’t make you or them wrong. It is important to stay positive and diligent with your work and to always always try. You owe it to yourself for the hard work you’ve accomplished.

With all that in mind, I thought I would share with you a list of bestselling books that were each highly criticized and rejected many times before they finally made their mark on the world. Some of them will probably surprise you.

Take a look and realize that each of these authors was in the same boat as any new author starting out at one point or another. The difference being they didn’t have a cool tool like Lulu.com at the time to give them complete creative control over their work or the freedom to instantly sell their books all over the globe. These authors stuck to it, and you can too. And Lulu is here to help.

“Be the Adventure You Dream.”

I found this incredibly inspiring story while I was poking around Facebook and just had to share it. It is a note by writer J.C. Hutchins about his good friend and fellow writer Zellie Blake.

Blake was a talented young woman who recently passed away due to cancer. Her story is a testament to the passion and tenacity every author must embody in order to see their dreams through and share their remarkable works and ideas with the world.

Knowing her strong desire to have her book published, Blake’s friends all chipped in to make her book a reality by making it available on Lulu.com. Enjoy this amazing story. And be sure to check out Blake’s book Lightning Spliced.

Zellie Blake, a generous and beautiful woman — a fellow writer and dreamer — died two days ago. She was 27 years old.

Zellie was a tireless champion of my work. She once said I was an inspiration for her own writing career goals, but she will always be an inspiration for me. Her friends say that throughout her treatment, Zellie never lost her sense of humor or optimistic verve. She wrote often, and well.
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Her personal mantra was, “Be the adventure you dream.” I am hard-pressed to think of a more inspiring and empowering personal philosophy.

Focus: Author Success Story

At Lulu, we’re all about helping authors find success and providing them with the means to reach more readers all over the globe.  Sometimes success comes in ways they never expect. That was the case for professor William O’Connell, author of the book Homeless in Paradise, Communicating with the Bohemian Venice Beach, CA Subculture.

Actor Russell Brand (of Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame) is using the book for part of an upcoming feature film. O’Connell’s story is such a good one, we just had to share. You can read how this Lulu author went on to full-length feature consultant below.