Articles tagged "Lulu.com"

Creativity Strikes! Interview with Children’s Writer Sandra Arthur

As the social media manager here at Lulu, I have the lucky task of monitoring our Facebook Page. I can’t tell you what a delight it is to communicate directly with so many of our authors and to get a chance to see the creative ways you all have to reach your readers. I’m constantly impressed. The other day I saw a post from an author named Sandra Arthur and wanted to share with you about an ingenious workshop she created to get kids excited about reading and to teach them about endangered orangutans and the rainforest of Borneo. She kindly agreed to an interview (shown below), so I hope you will enjoy getting to read a bit about one of your fellow Lulu authors.

Can you please share a few words about the Jungle Workshop you organized?

I ran a “Jungle Workshop” to provide a fun storytelling experience for children. I was lucky to get support from a local, independent bookshop/café/toy shop. I created a Rainforest Room with a tent and decorations.

The Nexus 7: Good News for EPUB Formatted eBooks

The new Google Nexus 7 tablet is making headlines as the “Kindle Killer.”  Early adopters of the device are reporting that the Nexus 7 can open EPUB formatted eBooks, which you can create right here on Lulu, as well as make use of all the e-reader apps in the Google play store.

Folks are even saying they can just upload all their EPUBs to a Dropbox folder and easily access their entire digital library directly from the cloud.  Looks like Lulu customers just got one more device they can enjoy their open-published EPUB titles on.
Some reviewers are stating that the Nexus 7 beats the Kindle Fire on specs and features.  Determine which device is best for your e-reading needs by checking out these sources:

Author Success Story: The Walk-On by Matt Stewart

Matt Stewart knows what it feels like to be the underdog. As a freshman at Northwestern he walked on to the school’s football field and earned a position as the fifth-string free safety. But that didn’t deter him: through hard work and dedication he rose to second-string his sophomore year and in the process earned a full-ride scholarship. Stewart’s rise to success mirrored the team’s. In 1995, after 20-plus years of losing seasons, Northwestern’s footballers won 10 games as well as the Big Ten, and even played in the Rose Bowl.

Life changing for Stewart and his teammates, the school’s breakthrough season was a story he felt he had to tell, and after years of research based on his coach’s own book, the games Stewart’s mother taped, and the programs he saved, he finally finished. The Walk-On was released in May.

“I wrote this book to inspire others, to let them know that no matter what the odds, no matter what the obstacles, anything is possible as long as you work hard, believe in your abilities and approach your goals with a good attitude.”

From the get-go Stewart knew that publishing the book was only one of his goals. Making sure it got into the hands of the right readers was another—and to date his approach has worked. The Walk-On is sold on Lulu, Amazon, BN.com, the iBookstore and a number of brick-and-mortar stores. He secured indie placement by visiting the stores in person and asking them to consign his book — a deal that gives the retailer 40% of the profits and the author guaranteed shelf placement for at least three months.

Video: What is Lulu?

We’re very excited to show off our brand new “What is Lulu?” video with special thanks to Vance Reeser, co-director, animator and artist and to Noah Smith for storyboarding.

Vance Reeser, a lulu author himself, says he first heard about Lulu a long time ago when searching the Web for a way to collect some sketches into a printed book. “I gave it a shot,” he says, “and was pretty impressed with the results so I ended up using it again for my kids book Edward the Invincible.”

Lulu: How was your experience publishing on Lulu?

Vance: It was fun and very easy. I wasn’t able to turn making children’s books into a career or anything, but that also wasn’t my goal. There’s something very satisfying about having a tangible, very real copy of your book there for people to check out and buy.

Lulu: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Vance: I’d say keep working and power through those early years of work you know is just flat out busted or maybe not quite up to the hazy image in your mind you can’t seem to get on the page/screen. The only way through those hard HARD days is to keep working at it. There are no shortcuts. Stop looking for them – it’s a waste of time. There’s no magic software that makes it easy, no book of tricks… As the years go by and if you’ve stuck with it, it will get better, and what you see in your mind’s eye will slowly but surely refine and you’ll be achieving it on your screen. This is all basically what Ira Glass has said before, but it’s very true!

Lulu: What motivated you to co-direct the “What is Lulu?” video?

Vance: Immanuel (Lulu’s brilliant graphic designer and sneaky nerf gun aficionado) is a friend from my days in college taking design classes, and he gave me plenty of freedom to creatively approach the ideas that needed to be conveyed in the video. That allowed me to take the reigns quite a bit, which is a nice change of pace for me in regard to client work! He made sure we stayed on message and within the style boundaries he had in mind, and I worked out a lot of the visuals with the help of Noah Smith and directed the pacing and how the transitions and elements would move within the “rules.” The initial idea was to do more of a somewhat simple, flat, paper cutout look, but we ended up going into richer, deeper visuals as the project progressed. We did carry over a slower frame rate from the cutout concept, giving it a handmade crafts-y feel I think.

Check out his latest masterpiece, the brand new, “What is Lulu?” video as well as his children’s book, Edward the Invincible. Tell us what you think!

Author Success Story: Ruth Anne Kocour

Trek to K2 and Pakistan’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, Kashmir, Tajikistan, and China. See topography that has led to isolation–physical and cultural–of tribes blocked for centuries by natural barriers, lack of infrastructure and communication. Ruth Anne Kocour’s tale of travel and adversity lends a face to today’s news and a glimpse into what we all have in common–our humanity.

When it came time to publish her new book, Walking the War Zones of Pakistan: One Woman’s Journey Into the Shadow of the Taliban, Ruth Anne Kocour planned to bypass traditional publishers because she wanted to “enjoy more control over the final product.”

Despite having had an “excellent” experience working with St. Martin’s Press on her first book, Facing the Extreme, Kocour didn’t want to go through extensive re-writes and wait years to see Walking the War Zones of Pakistan in the hands of readers especially since Kocour believes independent publishing is the future of the industry:

“I believe traditional publishing will focus more on subjects with broad market appeal, sensational subjects, timely events, and/or celebrity-type bios, and I see self-publishing as an excellent option for subjects with niche markets or those of regional interest, that wouldn’t capture the attention of a mainstream publisher.”

So Kocour turned to Lulu who evaluated her manuscript as part of the Editorial Quality Review package. Together they worked on a mechanical edit that improved grammar and punctuation, and which she called “the most technical and comprehensive edit I’ve ever had.” For the cover Kocour provided Lulu with photos she thought would “lend to a good design” and received two mock-ups back, both “top notch.” Overall Kocour is quick to praise Lulu, which she says “exceeded her expectations.” Even the process itself was “fun.”

Having a successful media tour for Facing the Extreme already under her belt, Kocour was at an advantage in terms of marketing. She drew from her network of journalists and bloggers, among others, and was even contacted by new media via her website, through referrals, or from her talks. Additionally the timeliness of her story helped — and now hardly a week goes by when she’s not asked to speak or do a TV interview. Still, she learned a lot about publicity this time around:

“Media loves media.  Once you have a successful track record with the media, you become a known entity–one they can count on. We have several of my TV interviews posted on my website where media people and others can access them.”

Now Kocour is an independent publishing convert, and sees the route as not only viable, but preferable for new and veteran authors. Currently conceptualizing a new story, Kocour plans to once again publish through Lulu. She also intends to bring Facing the Extreme back in print—in hardcover, paperback, and as an eBook. This, too, will be through Lulu.

Her advice to new authors is very simple.

“If you think you have a book in you, and you want to get it out there, then do it! And definitely take advantage of the vast array of services Lulu has to offer, and its great staff who are more than willing to walk you through the process.”

Enter the Lulu & CanvasPop YELLOW Photo Contest

Ready to have your photography featured in a Lulu photo book? Perhaps even on the cover of the book of winning entries? Now through Aug. 22, submit your high-res, yellow-themed image to our photo contest. Prizes include major giveaways like $500 Lulu gift voucher, a 20×30 canvas print of your photo from CanvasPop and more, so be sure to enter a photo and then come back and vote on for your entry.

Show off your creative side. Let’s see what you’ve got to represent the color of sunshine and smileys!

To enter: Lulu & CanvasPop YELLOW Photo Contest

Official rules: Contest Official Rules

Browse other entries (they look great!): Yellow Photo Entries

Have some fun & win some prizes!

 

Update: Now that the contest has closed,  we are excited to announce the winners! Read about it here: Lulu / CanvasPop YELLOW Photo Contest Winners!

Would you let readers price your book?

Piracy is rampant. Music, eBooks, and films are all susceptible to being illegally downloaded for free, which deprives creators of compensation for their art. In the digital age, one way to combat piracy has been to use a “pay what you want” pricing model.

Ever since the band Radiohead released its highly anticipated 2007 album In Rainbows with a “pay what you want” scheme, it’s been viewed as a profitable way for large, highly successful bands to earn money in the era of internet piracy. But what about for smaller artists? And what about for books?

StoryBundle offers a “pay what you want” payment method for bundles of DRM-free eBooks, with each bundle comprised of a group of excellently reviewed eBooks from a specific genre. Readers decide how much of the money will go to the author, and how much will go StoryBundle.

This kind of innovative pricing leaves authors at a crossroads, choosing between making a surefire profit on their work (if priced at a consistent level and counting on good sales) or leaving it up to the goodwill of readers. If you’re beloved (like Radiohead) you stand a good chance of making a considerable amount of money. Still, this is a big risk to take.

The genius part of the StoryBundle project isn’t the pricing, though — it’s the bundling. By bundling your work with other authors, particularly if they are in the same genre, you stand a greater chance of reaching new readers, as well as a better chance of making money in a “pay what you want” model. When consumers buy a single book, they might be inclined to only cough up a dollar or so. But if they are buying five, well, that seems more like something that should cost $10. Of course, you’re still at the mercy of your readers.

Innovative pricing and bundling are just among the options writers get when they publish an eBook. By avoiding the overhead cost associated with print, they can experiment and become more entrepreneurial with selling their work. Not only that, but if a certain pricing model doesn’t work — then chuck it. If you find that a DRM model isn’t working for you, then maybe try being DRM-free for a while to see how sales go. Or even reach out to other, similar authors, and see if a bundle is something they’d be interested in.

The key thing is to keep trying new ways of selling your book. Remember, you have to be just as creative while marketing your book as you are when writing it.

Author Success Story: Valerie Baadh Garrett

While working as a movement specialist at the San Francisco Waldorf School, Valerie Baadh Garrett decided she wanted to write a book that would “support the movements of a kind of modern ‘circus’ for 200 children.” So she and her husband created a character that readers young and old would love: Uffe the Gnome. Nestled deep in the woods, his tall tales are designed to get kids’ minds and bodies moving in The Adventures of Uffe the Gnome.

Once Valerie landed an illustrator she approached traditional publishers but was rejected. No one was interested in a children’s story about gnomes and fairies in rhythm and rhyme. Valerie was not deterred. As she explains:

“Although that was disappointing, we knew there was an audience for our Uffe stories because we saw it every time I did a class or circus program.  Parents and children would clamor for a copy of the story.”

So she turned to Lulu.com, a decision she is very happy with—calling the company and its services “easy to use.”

“We were thrilled to see our little book look so professional so fast.”

Already the book has sold well. Outside of being sold on Lulu’s site, The Adventures of Uffe the Gnome is available as an iBook, through iTunes, and can be found on the website Valerie and her husband own and manage, The Movement Academy Project.

Recently, Valerie took copies to China on a trip that grew out of her movement work. There to lead a workshop, she knew she’d be working closely with teachers and parents and that Uffe would be a great resource for them. So to better serve that market, she updated her book by adding the title in Mandarin and changing it a bit to The Adventures of Uffe the Earth Fairy since gnomes aren’t part of Chinese culture. Additionally, Valerie included a CD she and her husband created narrating the stories in English so that her overseas customers would find added value in this bilingual package. These efforts paid off: By the end of the trip she’d secured a Chinese publisher for Uffe’s current and future books.

“One of my hosts set up a meeting for me with a local publishing house, and right away they loved Uffe. We are still working out the details, but it looks like they will publish six different books, to start, with six individual stories, bilingual in Mandarin and English, in a larger-scale format so the illustrations can be colored like a coloring book.”

Stateside, Valerie mainly promotes the book by hand and on Twitter, through her account that is tied into her movement work, as well as her website. Outside of her online efforts she ordered postcards offered by Lulu after Uffe was published and sent them to select bookstores. A few ordered copies right away!

Her advice to new authors is simple: “Give Lulu.com a try, but try not to rush.” Valerie admits she made a costly mistake by ordering copies with a typo in the title. Although funny now, it was a frustrating lesson that required a reprint and more money.

There are a lot more adventures on the horizon for Valerie, who has several projects in production.  Lulu.com, she insists, will be “a vital part of the process.”

Send Your Book to the Frankfurt Book Fair

Road Trip! – For your book

Remember Book Fair Day in elementary school? If you’re anything like the rest of us Lulus, it was your favorite day of the year. You perused shelf after shelf in the Media Center, leafing through the books and marking your favorites on the order form, and if you were very lucky, your parents would send a check the next day to order the books.

Well, book fairs have grown up! The Lulu Book Fairs, like the 2012 Frankfurt International Book Fair, are a great way to showcase your book, providing the opportunity for it to be noticed by book and publishing industry professionals. Like the book fairs of your youth, the books are not available for sale at the actual Fair, but they are there for anyone interested in viewing and sampling new independent titles.  The same professionals flipping through your books are also provided a catalog of all of the books in the showcase, along with the information necessary to contact you and purchase the book at a later time.

HURRY, THE DEADLINE TO PURCHASE THIS SERVICE IS AUG. 10 AND THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT YOUR REGISTRATION AND A COPY OF YOUR BOOK IS AUG. 15.

The magic questions are, what do you get, and will someone notice your book? Like any publicity service, what we can guarantee is exposure, not direct sales. We guarantee that your book will be included on the Lulu.com shelves at the fair, and that editors, agents, librarians, journalists, and other industry professionals will be in attendance (depending on the type of fair, the types of attendees may be more narrow). Whether they purchase the book depends on a great number of factors. In addition, there are other ways you can use the road trip experience to showcase your book.  Having your book at the Frankfurt Book Fair is a great credential to add to you back cover, saying, “Showcased at the Frankfurt Book Fair.”

Think about the most successful authors and the pride they exude for their books; there is an unwavering certainty that inside the book is something they think is worth reading. So often, we hear, “My book could be a best-seller, if only the right people knew about it.” If you have the same feelings for your book, a Book Fair is a great place to start with your book’s marketing campaign.

What’s required?

  • Buying the event service by Aug. 10
  • Completing the registration form by Aug. 15, and
  • Sending a copy of one book to the exhibitor office located in the US by Aug. 15. (You may ship your book directly from Lulu if you’d like.)

A full list of Book Fairs can be found here, by clicking on the “Book Fairs” button: Lulu’s Book Fair Events and a full list of FAQs for events can be found here: Book Fair Marketing FAQs.

Updates To Your Lulu Account

Lulu is excited to announce the first in a series of releases intended to improve your user experience on the Lulu.com website.

Following the July 24, 2012 release, everything about your Lulu account, including your email preferences, purchases, downloads, and shipping information will be managed from a sleek new My Account & Orders page. This change separates your user account information and purchasing history from the Lulu authoring tools.

What can you expect following this release?

  • The login / registration page has a new streamlined look.
  • When you click on the My Lulu tab, a new My Accounts & Orders button displays in the page header.

 

  • Click the My Accounts & Orders button to access your Order History, My Downloads page, and your saved Shipping & Billing information.
  • On the About Me page you can update your account information, username, and password.
  • On the Preferences page you can manage your email notification settings.

Check out the changes and see for yourself. If you’d like to leave some feedback for us, join the discussions taking place in the Lulu Connect Forums.