Articles tagged "readers"

Lulu.com: Publishing for the Future

 

The only way to predict the future is to invent it.

Only seven short years ago Lulu launched what was one of the very first, if not the first, self-publishing sites on the Internet.   Since then, we’ve served millions of authors by helping sell tens of millions of their books.

But what was a great idea then is only a good idea today.  Our success has spawned a myriad of imitators some of whom, I am forced to admit, are almost as good at what we do as we are.   Competition is the least of our concerns.  The bigger trend we are embracing to better serve our customers is, of course, the explosion of eBook readers and digital marketplaces, which are changing the very nature of what a book is.

As you no doubt expect, we’ve been working hard to re-invent Lulu to offer features our competitors have yet to even dream about.   We are moving from a concept of self-publishing to one of open-publishing.   In very broad terms self-publishing is what it sounds like:  we give you the tools and you get to publish your book yourself.    The concept of open-publishing is one where we give you the platform and you are empowered to innovate the tools and solutions that best fit your needs and help you sell more books.  The Lulu platform will be of particular benefit to a new generation of publishers who can create new tools to help authors reach more readers, monetize out-of-print or back-catalogued titles, and grow their customer-base.  We will have several more major announcements coming throughout this year, the first being our exciting new Open Publishing APIs (Application Programming Interface), recently made available to the public.

With our APIs, which you can download and play with over at developer.lulu.com, Lulu is helping a new generation of creators profit by enabling them to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers more easily than ever before. For those of you who don’t know, an API is like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work. And with Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike, are able to create a new breed of web applications, powered by Lulu, and marketed under their own brand names – absolutely free.

So far, we’ve been blown away by the creativity and innovation we’ve seen in the sites and applications people have come up with. Some of our favorite examples are twournal.com, that lets turn your tweets into a book, and beforeigrewup.com, where you can capture your children’s life into a book and seamlessly share it with friends and family. Since its launch in late 2010, developer.lulu.com has grown to 150 registered developers, 45 applications and is live on 10 sites.

By releasing all of the great features found on Lulu.com such as document conversion, order fulfillment, and ecommerce through a series of APIs, Lulu is redefining the future for all publishers and providing our creators with even more freedom.  Now a new generation of publisher can now offer unique and innovative publishing services to their authors and the audiences those authors serve by using Lulu’s global print and retail networks, our commerce engine that can calculate royalties in a range of currencies all in real time, and our publishing tools that can help those authors turn their ideas into valuable books.

To learn more, or to tell your techie friends about it without having to learn more, visit:  developer.lulu.com

Cheers,

Bob

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.


 

Everybody Needs an Editor

Happy Editing Month, everyone. Didn’t know May was Editing Month? Well it is, because Lulu says it is! And we all have our virtual red pens poised and ready to edit some great books!

“I was an English major, so I don’t need editing.” “My professor already edited it.” “My mother was a teacher for 27 years; she can proofread it.”

We here at Lulu have heard every rationalization authors have for not investing in professional copy editing. It’s completely understandable—editing can be costly, especially if you have a very long manuscript. And for some, it may seem preposterous to pay someone else to do what your professor or a relative has already done.

So why should you consider a professional copy edit?

First, remember that, while it is great that you have friends or family that will closely read your book (trust me, not everyone is that lucky!), more than likely, these people are not editors by trade. A teacher is not an editor. An English major, while he or she may have a better grasp on the English language than most, probably isn’t up-to-date on the changing style rules. (The Chicago Manual of Style is on its 16th edition—which edition is that dusty copy of yours?) Not to mention, your friend knows how hard you’ve worked on your book and may be afraid to tell you that your dialogue is dry and unrealistic, or that Chapters 9 through 14 go off on a tangent they didn’t understand. An editor doesn’t know you from Adam, and isn’t concerned with hurting your feelings—they want your book to be as good as it possibly can be.

Second, a proofread is not a copy edit. What your friends are probably doing for you is checking for typos and grammar mistakes. While these are, of course, very important, they only scratch the surface of what a true editor looks at in a manuscript. A professional editor is also looking at syntax, word choice, organization, plot and character development, text flow, inconsistencies in tense, among other issues.

Third, consider the value that a copy edit will add to your book. You wouldn’t go out the door without looking in the mirror to make sure your shirt is buttoned correctly, right? Now imagine if you had a stylist from Vogue stopping you at the door each morning to tell you if your shoes are inappropriate for the interview/wedding/wrestling match you’re headed to. That’s what editing does for your book. It adds credibility—you obviously think so much of your book, and of the information you are relaying, that you won’t settle with only one pair of eyes going over it. Yes, the cost of editing might be higher than what you’d planned to spend on the whole pre-publishing process, but it’s really an investment in your book’s future.  You’ve worked on this book for months, or maybe years—you certainly don’t want your reviews to start, “Great message overall, but couldn’t get past the glaring typos and strange sentence structure.”

How can Lulu help with editing?

An Editorial Quality Review is a great place to start. This service is included in our three main Pre-Publishing Packages, and is also available on its own. This review not only provides helpful feedback that you might use in your own revisions, but also recommends one of our three levels of copy editing. And to celebrate Editing Month, we are offering the Editorial Quality Review itself, normally $199, for $149, plus 15% off the price of whichever copy edit we suggest. And if you decide to take that polished manuscript all the way to the finish line with one our publishing packages, we’ll reduce the cost of the Review from the package price. To get started, just click “Add to Cart” here.  This promotion, along with Editing Month festivities, will end on June 1, 2011.

Fun Ways to Improve Your Next Book Pt. 2

Last week, we posted some new ways to help you make your next work even more remarkable. Below are two more tips to help inspire you to put pen to paper or start hammering away on your keyboard.

3. Challenge your vocabulary at Knoword.org.

If you’re a word nerd like I am, you will quickly find yourself addicted to this vocabulary game. Unlike some games that have you match words and their meanings, this one gives you the definition and first letter, and you just fill in the word. It’s harder and faster paced than some others I’ve played. You can choose your level, and either Canadian or US dialect. This is really valuable for those studying for SAT and GRE exams, too.

4. Follow your favorite authors on Twitter.
If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably following a number of celebrities–why not authors? Here are some of our favorite tweeting writers from a variety of genres. (Of course, the opinions expressed by these authors do not necessarily reflect those of Lulu, so tweet at your own risk!)

Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow @doctorow
Young Adult writer Adam Selzer
@adamselzer
Fiction writer Chuck Palahniuk
@chuckpalahniuk
Novelist and poet Margaret Atwood
@margaretatwood
Jon Winokour gives daily quotes from famous writers, as well as goings-on from the writing and publishing world.
@AdviceToWriters

If you’re not on Twitter, it’s free to sign up! Check out InkyGirl’s Writer’s Guide to Twitter.

Be sure to check back next week for even more tips.

Lulu to Create a New Standard in Publishing Commerce

At Lulu, we stop at nothing to help you bring your knowledge and ideas to your readers more easily than ever before.  For us the formula is simple:  the better the tools and resources that power Lulu, the quicker you can publish and sell your remarkable works. It’s rare, but when we find other companies that focus on ease of use for customers like we do, we get very excited. Just like we did when we partnered with eCommerce platform provider Elastic Path.


By working with Elastic Path, we’ll be able to add new capabilities such as registration-less checkout and customized sales campaigns that will benefit all of our customers whether you come to Lulu to buy or to sell.  In fact, our unique online community of 2.5 million customers, made up of great folks just like you, has been the primary inspiration behind this partnership as we work to provide creators with more freedom and buyers with more savings.

This new eCommerce strategy is just one more element of the open-publishing market that Lulu is building. Through our growing network of retail partners and open publication APIs, Lulu is empowering you to sell your works anywhere, anytime. Be on the look out for Lulu and Elastic Path at two upcoming events. Our CEO, Bob Young, will be presenting along with Elastic Path CSO, Cliff Conneighton, about the future of publishing at the World e-Reading Congress in London, May 9-11, and at Book Expo America in New York May 24-26.

What is a Book?

In the past, publishing was a closed system with countless barriers of entry an author had to overcome before they could see their work made public.

Lulu empowers a new generation of authors to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers easier than ever before. With the advent of eBooks and print on demand technology, the question begging to be answered is: “What is a book?”

Watch our video below to find out:

iPad 2 Means More Readers for You

We love technology at Lulu, especially technology that helps our authors reach more readers.

Today, Apple is set to unveil the new iPad after the first version shattered sales records (15 million units sold in 2010) and introduced a new retail channel, the iBookstore, for authors to distribute their eBooks through.

Last year, eBooks accounted for $263 million of total trade book sales, which represents a 193% increase from 2009 according to the Association of American Publishers. As readers continue to find new ways to discover and purchase content, any author would do well to provide their work in as many formats and on as many devices as possible because you never know how your next biggest fan may discover your work.  As speculation builds over new iPad features, more eyes are turning towards the device, which opens up even greater opportunities for authors to expand their readership across millions of people.

In recent posts, we’ve shown you how to get your Lulu published eBook into the iBookstore and onto the iPad and we know how eager you are to see your books out in the world. That’s why we’re happy to help you distribute your remarkable works through our growing network of retail partners. Keep in mind too, that authors are always able to publish and sell their books immediately to the 2.5 million unique customers in the Lulu Marketplace for free, either electronically or in print. Lulu continues to help you bring your knowledge and expertise to your customers more easily than every before. We look forward to your continued success with Lulu and our retail partners.

Guest Author Blog: “In My Eyes, Lulu is the Best”

I’m honored to have Lorraine Holloway-White guest blog today. Lorraine has done well in establishing not only herself, but other authors as well through her website Authors on Show. Lorraine is a leader in the Lulu community and can often be found helping others on our Facebook page. Lorraine feels so strongly about her Lulu experience, that she has asked to write a post for our blog.

Author Lorraine Holloway-White

“In My Eyes, Lulu is the Best”
By Lorraine Holloway-White
Author of A Sceptical Medium

Just over a year ago I was a housewife who was pretty unfulfilled. Today, I am an author, public speaker and natural medium/healer who is well respected the world over.  A lot of this is thanks to Lulu as I am also now a published author.

When I started writing, I was seen on a writing site and signed within a month by an agent, who has sadly turned out to have done nothing much for me. My agents told me to get “well-known” so I set up a site called, Authors on Show (AOS) where I would promote authors and they would promote the site. In less than seven months, we have been voted one of the best sites for writers in the world and reached the final top twenty. Sadly we didn’t win, but what an achievement in such a short space of time. I was also voted for and came 19th in the innovation category in the Twitter Shorty Awards for AOS. I also have a private blog called, A Sceptical Medium, which is also the name of my two self published books. The first book was nominated in the books section of the Shorty Awards and came first.

During the year I have been with my agents, I had lots of people asking where they could buy my books. I had nowhere to send them though as they weren’t published and then I heard of Lulu. In order to give something to people asking, I produced two books from my blog, which also contain excerpts from three other books that my agents are meant to be trying to sell to publishing houses. What an amazing find Lulu was – I cannot praise them highly enough.

“…And You Look Like One Too.” Celebrate Lulu’s Birthday!

Close your eyes and make a wish, because today is Lulu’s birthday!

That’s right, Lulu is officially nine years old and we want you to help us celebrate.

I’m sure you’ve seen the banners around the site for 20% off any order (Coupon code: HAPPY) and for 25% off a bulk order of 500 books or more (Coupon code: BIRTHDAY), but while we were pulling out the party hats and putting up the streamers, we decided to extend the sale – just for our big day.

Lulu started back in 2002, after our CEO and Founder Bob Young experienced his own frustrations with publishing his book Under the Radar. Having founded open-source software company Red Hat in the past, Bob thought of ways he could apply to the open-source mentality to publishing, thus Lulu, and our our new model of open-publishing, was born.

Nine years later, we’ve helped over 1 million creators in over 200 countries and territories publish their works and gain equal footing in the industry.

So take a big breath and help us blow out our candles because it wouldn’t be a Lulu birthday without you – our remarkable customers.

What Do St. Valentine and Book Publicity Have in Common?

In a nutshell they are both misunderstood. Poor St. Valentine–there is actually no historical evidence that his sentiments were intentionally romantic. It is reported that he healed the blind daughter of his jailor and then wrote her a note signed: “From Your Valentine.” That was his name after all; how else would he have signed it?

Just like the St. Valentine story, perceptions of the best way to promote your book are not always true. You might want to dump the idea of promoting your book and start courting the notion of promoting yourself. Let’s remember whose idea the book was: yours!

You are the best publicity tool, not the book.

It was never the Valentine’s Day card that did it for me; it was the message in the card that made me smile thinking of the sender. For fun, let’s say your book is the card and its contents are the message. The most compelling part of that idea is the author behind it, you. Think about the last few books you’ve loved. You should be able to tell me something about the authors: their history, credentials, education. Those are the things your readers will need to absorb to make the same connection with you. Once that connection is bridged, you might have a relationship that surpasses a first date, your readers will know you as the expert on the topic or a leading resource in your genre.

How does this happen? For example, if you’re an expert on ancient Rome, and have written a book about Roman saints, now would be a great time to be promoting your expertise. Think of all the newspapers, magazines, and TV shows that want to talk about the origin of Valentine’s Day! You could be their go-to person to explain the myths and little-known facts about poor misunderstood St. Valentine.

We’ll never know if St. Valentine’s intentions of romance in his note were real or not. What IS real, however, is the impact that a great publicity campaign can have on your book sales!