Articles tagged "independent publishing"

Getting to Know Lulu CEO Nigel Lee

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“This is a truly amazing team and a truly amazing company. When I look at Lulu, I believe that it’s time to stop referring to what we do as self-publishing. It’s really independent publishing for independent authors and creators. The real difference is in who reaps the reward for creating. At Lulu, creators benefit, not the corporation. We are on the right side of history and we are setting out to prove it.” – Nigel Lee

Nigel Head ShotNigel Lee, Lulu CEO recently spoke at the Book Manufacturers’ Institute (BMI) Management Conference in Wild Dunes, South Carolina. These excerpts are from a follow-up interview that appeared in ShelfLife, the Book Manufacturers’ Institute newsletter (Vol 11, Issue 2).

BMI:  Your team wants to make content creation and consumption a simpler and more rewarding experience for people around the world. Lulu.com is available in six languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch. How did you so successfully get the word out about how Lulu.com could help writers and authors?

Nigel Lee: The key to the success of any business idea is that it has to solve a problem. Lulu.com solved a problem and was the first to bring the solution to a global audience. The problem was a simple one. It was traditionally very difficult to get a book published. Most publishers operated (and still do!) based on a profit censorship model. They  would only show interest in titles they felt would make them money. This resulted in millions of voices not being heard, millions of books not being published. Given the inherent costs of publishing, traditionally publishers would then take the lion’s share of all profits generated by a title.

Lulu.com reversed this model entirely. Lulu.com accepts all titles, within the boundaries of the law. The author retains all ownership and control and keeps up to 90% of all profits. Lulu.com proliferated this model via the Internet. Given the disruptive and much needed model Lulu.com offered and the fact that Lulu was first to market allowing authors to engage directly and simply with just a web browser, Lulu.com grew very quickly. Lulu continues to be successful based on the core principles of the original business idea.

Key to Lulu.com’s success is the continued ability to understand its customers and react accordingly. The launch of Glasstree Academic Publishing later this year is a clear example of listening to our customers and developing a business to serve their needs directly.

BMI: What role has your comfort with technology played in your professional success?

Lee: Technology is simply a tool, like a shovel or a fork. Using the latest tools available has been a constant in the evolution of our species and I’m born of a generation that is perfectly comfortable with the increased pace of such developments. My personal success has come from an ability to articulate the value of a technology to the audience who can benefit from it.

BMI: You are known for welcoming disruption and challenging the status quo. Why do you think this is necessary and important for businesses seeking transformation?

Lee: I prefer the term ‘breaking orthodoxy’ rather than disruption. Breaking orthodoxy is critical to building businesses that solve problems. You have to think about doing things in a different way, a better way. The bigger the problem, or the more exploitative the existing model, the greater your likelihood of being disruptive will be when breaking that orthodoxy

BMI: We very much admire Lulu Jr., the program that allows children to become published authors, encouraging creativity, strengthening literacy and building self-esteem. Tell us more about this initiative.

Lee: Lulu Junior is based on a simple premise that children learn most while writing and not while reading. Fostering creativity and writing in young children is a powerful way of growing their cognitive abilities across all disciplines. That we are able to provide ways in which to stimulate child development is just a very worthwhile thing to do.

BMI: Why is Lulu’s sponsorship and involvement in the Lulu eGames at North Carolina State University so important to you and your team? How do they promote entrepreneurship and innovation?

Lee: Lulu is an entrepreneurial company. Entrepreneurship is the life source of any economy and therefore society; however, the development of these skills is often overlooked in higher education. NC State is a very forward thinking university that recognized the value of developing entrepreneurial skills. Being part of this initiative gives Lulu the opportunity to contribute to society and promote entrepreneurship beyond the walls of its own organization. As a certified B-Corp company, we are deeply committed to doing everything we can to make the world a better place and this is a key part of that endeavor.

BMI: Speaking of innovation, if time and money were no object, what “invention” or change do you think could make the most difference for two of your passions – children and their opportunities for a quality education?

Lee: We need to see ourselves as a single society. To understand that the key to addressing all of our challenges and inequalities is the ability to act in unison. Technology is accelerating this evolution. The internet is making the world a smaller place everyday. We are no longer blind to the inequities of our society and the damage caused by tribal instincts for power and control and the fight over regional scarcity of resources. Every child has a right to basic human necessities; health, clean water, food, shelter, education and love. At a certain moment in time we will recognize that this is the key to our future as a race. The day we recognize it isn’t acceptable for more than 60 million children to have no schooling will be the day my dream starts to come true. This number has halved in the last 16 years, but will take an estimated 70 more years before the number is even close to zero. Technology has an incredibly important role to play, if companies are willing to play their part in making the world a better place.

Want to know more?

Follow Nigel on LinkedIn and Twitter (@blindfoldzebra)

Have a question for Nigel?

Is there something you would like to know about Lulu or Glasstree Academic Publishing?  Submit your questions to pr@lulu.com. Enter Question for Nigel in the subject line. Your question could be answered in a future article.

Calling All Authors: NY Book Show Cover Design Competition

Thursday Calling All Authors GenericThe staying power of printed books have always been evident, even as new technologies emerged to woo the masses. There are countless individuals who never questioned the value of physical books. In fact, the importance of the printed book, as physical object, as cherished possession, as work of art, has increased in the eyes of the public.

Entering its thirtieth year, the New York Book Show continues to recognize the best in book design, production, and manufacturing. Hundreds of books are submitted each year, their content spanning everything from academic topics to picture books to prize-winning fiction and nonfiction for all age groups. Every aspect of each submitted book—from artwork to paper quality, from binding to special features, and more—are taken into consideration to determine which books exhibit true artistry, craftsmanship, and an understanding of the printed book’s potential.

Another recent evolution within the publishing industry is the proliferation of self-publishing. While there may be some who denigrate this avenue as “vanity publishing,” the truth is that self-publishing has become an undeniable part of the publishing industry and has brought forth many fantastic works that may not have otherwise been able to find their audiences. Authors, designers, printers, service providers, and freelancers have benefited from self-publishing—not to mention countless readers. All of this is why The New York Book Show is thrilled to announce the addition of a new category for its 30th year—self-published covers. This new category recognizes New-York-Book-Show_2016-posterthe best in cover design for self-published books that appear in either or both print and electronic format. Books in this category will be judged solely on cover design.

All traditional publishers, suppliers, publishing professionals, and self-publishers are welcome to enter their books via the New York Book Show website, www.newyorkbookshow.com  through the submission deadline of Thursday, May 5th, 2016. All books originally published during the 2015 calendar year are eligible for entry, upon fulfillment of the online submission form and payment of associated submission fees. Those who submit traditionally-published books will also submit physical copies of their entries during the final week of submissions (May 2, 2016 through May 5, 2016), while those who submit self-published works will upload a PDF of the cover designs at time of submission via the online form. Submission details are available on our site: www.newyorkbookshow.com.

Judging of entries will occur in early May, publishing professionals from all aspects of the industry–editorial, design, production, etc. Winners will be notified by email soon afterwards.

The book show itself will be held Thursday, October 13, 2016 at Battery Gardens in New York City (tickets available for purchase in September). All winning titles will be on display to review, handle, and fall in love with in a free-form, social forum that encourages mingling among the hundreds of book lovers in attendance. Dinner, dessert, and an open bar will be provided. It is a truly uplifting celebration of the wisdom, innovation, and ambition behind the book as a physical object.

To learn more about the New York Book Show, hosted by the Book Industry Guild of New York, please visit www.newyorkbookshow.com or www.bigny.org.

 

book-industry-guild-logoJacob Seifert
The New York Book Show
The Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY)

They Called Me the “The Kid Who Typed Things”

Guest Blogger

 

Guest Blogger: Ryan P. C. Trimble

Author: Ryan P. C. Trimble

There has never been a time in my life when I have not considered myself a writer. However, making the jump from “kid who types things” to “published author” was always my goal. Lulu helped me realize that goal in a way that wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago.

When I was in middle school, there were very few print-on-demand companies. The ones that did exist required a lot of money upfront, most of which went toward ordering copies of your book in bulk. Either you distributed all of them by hand or you let the extra copies waste away in some warehouse. As a 14-year-old with no income, this was not a viable option. So, for me self-publishing meant printing a copy of my fantasy novel The Country of Eoforwicke at Kinko’s, getting it bound for about $15, then selling copies at a $2 mark-up to my friends —a fee which I often waived in order to get anyone to read my work.

Fast forward to 2014: I have finally completed my first novel, Fragments from 5th Ave, a Gastby-esque adventure of finding your friends and your future following college graduation. As I explored my options for getting this novel published, my past experiences with Kinko’s kept coming to mind and I assumed I would be doing something similar this time around.

While perusing printing possibilities, I happened upon Lulu. I have no idea what directed me to the site, but as I researched the company, my mind was ignited with the possibilities it could bring (as well as excited by the fact that it was based in North Carolina, my home state). No more would I have to worry about boxes of books sitting, ignored, in some warehouse, nor would I have to painstakingly create a book by hand and lose money in the process. I thought of my friends in the independent filmmaking scene and realized then that I was looking at the YouTube of book publishing. Just like in middle school, nothing would stop me from doing what I loved, even if I had to invent solutions—but now, I had a myriad of customizable solutions to choose from.

At 24, I am by no means an old man, but I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to see the Internet bring to the fore things which were previously unattainable to the vast majority of people. Among them: the vibrant self-publishing industry which I am proud to count myself a member of as a Lulu writer.

I am no Fragments from 5th Ave longer just a kid who types things. I am a published author, and there’s nothing left for me to do but conquer the world—and with Lulu, I know I can.


 

Ryan P. C. Trimble has been writing since he first found (and promptly broke) his great-grandmother’s typewriter as a toddler. Since then, Ryan has gone on to write sketch comedy, newscasts and now, a novel (Fragments from 5th Ave. in 2014). He is currently at work on his second book, What We Turned on 23rd, which he hopes to publish later this year. Raised in North Carolina, he now lives in Chicago with one of his best friends and his cat, Roger Hux Trimble.

 

Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

– See more at: http://www.lulu.com/blog/#sthash.ItPX61ND.dpuf

Scientists Discover the Secret to Happiness: Adult Coloring Books

crayonsParents and babysitters have long used drawing and coloring as an effective tool to engage and calm anxious, unruly children. After all, there is nothing like a nice selection of crayons, a complicated pattern, and a little free time to distract a child from the troubles of the world.

Recently, this soothing childhood activity has been adopted by a slightly older demographic. What started as a quirky pastime has become a worldwide trend, as evidenced by the number of adult coloring books making their way onto international bestseller lists. This trend may be a throwback to childhood memory, but in actuality it may also be the books’ therapeutic properties that have them flying off shelves.

Based on studies dating back to the early 20th century, coloring generates wellness, quietness and stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. Psychiatrist Carl Jung prescribed coloring complex mandalas for his patients as a means to calm and center their minds.Mandala Coloring Book

Brain scans reveal that when coloring, different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres are activated. Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist who also happens to be the author of his own line of adult coloring books, says that coloring elicits a relaxing mindset, similar to what you would achieve through meditation. Like mediation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment rather than worrying about what did or did not / may or may not happen.

Dr. Joel PeZenarson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia theorizes a different explanation for the therapeutic effect: Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones. “You have to look at the shape and its size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color. These activities occupy the same parts of the brain that stop anxiety-related mental imagery from happening.” In the simplest of terms, coloring has a scientifically recognized de-stressing effect.

So, if you are parenting or “babysitting” an anxious, unruly adult in need of a soothing distraction, grab a few markers and sit them down with a coloring book. It’s scientifically proven to replace the stress of adult life with childlike happiness.

Get started on your path to serenity today with a few of our favorite selections.

Your happiness deserves it.

Masculine AbstractpscychodelicFashionHealing patterns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a Coloring Book on Lulu.com

Coloring with Chakras: Does Your Mood Affect the Colors You Choose?

Authors in the News: Elizabeth Urabe

Using Lulu Coupon Codes in Your Marketing Emails

Jan 28 JANEND20 Full(This Post will be updated each day when new consumer coupon codes are released, so check back often.)

Let’s try out a few seasonal metaphors for your email marketing efforts…

Stuff your readers’ stockings with email! Deck the halls with deals on eBooks! Pass the turkey and mashed potatoes… and… strategically develop an email marketing plan that takes advantage of Lulu.com’s sales and special offers…

Okay, so that last one doesn’t really flow. But – it’s good advice all the same. Email marketing that coincides with Lulu’s impressive special offers is the next best thing to having your books carried right down your readers’ chimneys.

What’s so great about it? For starters, email marketing works. Social media may seem the savvier approach, but email is roughly six times more effective at bringing in new buyers than Facebook and Twitter. Email gives you a great platform for sharing special offers and introducing new books, without your carefully crafted content getting lost in the endless scroll of tweets and status updates.

Here’s a sample email template you can use:

Email Subject Line:
Get <Book Title> for 20% Off on Print Books and Calendars

Email Body:
Have you ordered your copies of <book title> yet? <Placeholder for one line book description>  If not, order today and save big.

Order today on Lulu.com and save 20% with coupon code JANEND20 thru January 28th.

To place your order, simply click this link: <Placeholder for link to book>, click Add to Cart and apply the code at checkout.

Plus, you can order extra copies at this discounted price to share with friends and family.

Order today and save! <Link to book>

<Author name>

**Don’t forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive.

 

See? Simple. You can highlight the current savings, briefly describe the book, and gives easy instructions. It’s low-pressure, good-natured, informative and brief. You can even provide a link right to your Author Spotlight and save your readers from searching. If you have multiple titles, you may wish to include a link to your Author Spotlight page to encourage shoppers to browse your catalog.

And, though we are currently entering the season of sharing and shopping, this strategy works year-round. At Lulu.com, we’re always looking for ways to promote you and sell your books. Whenever we have a sale — seasonal or otherwise — send out an email blast letting everyone know. After all, ‘tis always the season for reading!

All current discounts, coupon codes, and expiration dates are listed on the Lulu home page: www.lulu.com/home

 

Mythbusting: Traditional Publishing vs. DIY Publishing

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 1.32.51 PM“The only reason I’m here is to support and do whatever is possible for an editor to do to support a writer” is how Roy M. Carlisle started his presentation at the Writer’s Digest Conference.  This was refreshing…especially since it was being said by a man who lived in traditional publishing for years. Carlisle is currently the Acquisitions Director for the Independent Institute and gave us the inside scoop about traditional publishing and the myths associated with the industry.

A few things that are myths in traditional publishing:

  • Traditional publishers will always tell you that the self-publishing marketplace don’t exist.  Truth: that is completely false and your market is out there. Editors are often going to small publishers now to find authors.  Independent small publishers have grown by 5,000% in the last few years and there are 40,000 independent publishers now publishing really interesting, creative things.
  • You can’t do this on your own.  Truth, you CAN publish individually! You need to know what your strengths and your weaknesses are…in other words, know yourself. Reach out to experts from editors to cover designers and listen to their advice.
  • Only the GOOD books are published by traditional publishers. This is a blatant lie! There are numerous examples of amazing books done by DIY publishers. Refer 50 Shades of Grey sales figures. Don’t believe the hype!
  • Minor myth: Authors get rejected for specious reasons. Often times, traditional publishers are limited in their ability to respond in detail because of legal reasons. Get strong editorial critique from a qualified editor and don’t be afraid of it.

Final word: you are the future of publishing.

Yes, we are!

Independent Publishing at SXSW

SXSW, the Austin-based conference that features events base around technology, education and music took place last week and I’ve now finally recovered from all the excitement of having all of these insanely talented minds congregating in one place. While I did not attend the interactive presentations on independent publishing (they were packed!), from outside the convention center, I can tell you that independent publishing and eBooks had a huge presence, as the technology continues to evolve and become even more intertwined with other digital platforms like phones, tablets, and videogames.

In the Publisher’s Weekly roundup of events, you can see how the energy around independent publishing has freed up authors t make more interesting publishing decisions:

“Originally published by small press, Hugh Howey quickly decided to go the self-publishing route generating an enormous word of mouth following that turned his books into e-book bestsellers on Amazon. Indeed Howey said at one point he was generating $30,000 to $40,000 a month in sales and selling hundreds of thousands of e-books.”

The move by established authors to selling books on their own was a huge topic of conversation. For established authors to then use their reputation and leverage a successful independent publishing campaign from it has been a huge development, and lent a lot of credibility to independent publishing.

Another new development has been the discussions over whether you should give away content for free to build your credibility. David Carr, of the New York Times, had some choice words at his presentation,

“Don’t give your shit away for free,” he declared to the hall—emphasizing that “exposure” doesn’t work and free doesn’t lead to paying customers. But he also seemed so focused on the newspaper world—unsurprisingly— that his vision for the future of digital content kind of stops at the New York Times website, now revitalized with an innovative pay wall generating a sustainable and growing level of income. 

It seems like the argument over pricing will go on for some time. However, walking along the convention hall, it was easy to see that the rise of eBooks will continue at its staggering pace. New electronics, like Google Glass, will make reading even more accessible. eBooks will continue to grow and the fact that the leaders in technology are even talking about books, unthinkable only a few years ago, is a testament to this wonderful phenomenon.

Any writers out there make it down to SXSW this year? What did you learn? Any plans to go next year?

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