Articles tagged "reward"

Improving Your Experience

It’s fair to assume you’re reading this blog on a computer, but have you ever stopped to think about the steps you took to get here, or if it was easy or not? As the head of User Interface & Experience at Lulu, it’s my job to think about these kinds of processes and design an experience incorporating myriad requirements and constraints while improving the way you interact with Lulu. The only good way to do this is to focus on you, our customers, and how you use Lulu everyday.

For example, when a car manufacturer wants to design a better dashboard, they need to watch people drive. When a cookware manufacturer wants to design a better saucepan, they watch people cook. And when Lulu wants to design a better interface, we need to watch how you interact with our site. If I pull design decisions out of thin air, then I’ve done a poor job – design is driven by data. To get that data, we need your participation. In the UX business, we call this “User Testing,” but I’ve never liked that phrase – you are not the ones being tested, you are the testers and the results of your testing drives the design of new features, new products, and improvements on Lulu.com.

With that in mind, we’ve designed a simple activity to give us some fundamental data we’ll use to enhance the publishing experience for you and other creators just like you. It’ll only take a few minutes and the information you provide will help us to help you become even more successful.

Participate in our study: https://lulu.optimalworkshop.com/optimalsort/wr_ut_ia_1a?i=lb

Services, The Perfect Gift for an Author

Lulu offers a wide variety of services to help you, and your loved ones, sell more books.  For the creator who has everything, give the gift that keeps on giving! Our professional services team is here to help you give a memorable and meaningful gift.

For a new author

A good book starts with a strong foundation, and a strong foundation means a professional edit. With our editorial quality review service, you’ll be able to get your loved one the opinion of a professional editor.

For the kids in your life

Use our children’s imagination pack to publish a customized book for the little ones. Write a story for them about the day they were born, give them life advice, or publish a collection of their favorite artwork.

You can also work with them to write a story that you can publish using the pack.

It will be a treasured memory and a beloved book that they’ll hold on to forever.

For  a published Lulu author

Our ePub conversion service will help your loved one get his or her book in more places.  The ePub service will guarantee a ePub file that passes validation requirements.  With an ePub, your loved one’s book can be read on a large variety of eBook readers and may be eligible to be sent to the Apple iBookstore.


How To Use Customer Support & Our Online Community Part 2

Back in November, I wrote part one in this series. My objective in writing these posts is to help users better understand the Customer Service process, the Community tools available to you, and how to get the most out of both. In part one, I highlighted creating a case with Customer Service. In part two, I would like to cover some of best ways to use our Knowledge Base.

With hundreds of articles on almost every aspect of Lulu from helping new users to after you publish using our Knowledge Base can be daunting to say the least. There are at least two ways to approach it, by searching or browsing. I will discuss both options as well as suggesting a few tips & tricks for using them to find your answers.

Searching

Typically, I recommend searching our database to find the information you’re looking for. It’s probably the quickest way to find what you’re looking for. That said, you want to make sure you are finding the right information.

For example, if I am trying to find out how long I should expect the Mail shipping option to take, what should I enter into the search box? To begin with, I went to the Support home page, and entered “Mail Shipping Option” into the text box. This returned 155 Knowledge Base Articles, 729 Questions, 1029 Discussions, and 59 Ideas. A lot to go through.

Luckily, our search shows the top five results for each category, so all I have to do is look at Articles and try to find the one that matches what I’m looking for. The first option is “Shipping To Prisons” which isn’t exactly what I want. The second option though, “Shipping Times and Options” is exactly what I want.

In short, to get the most out of searching, you want to make sure you choose search terms that most accurately reflect the topic you’re looking for, and focus on the results that are most likely to give you the response you want. It may take a little trial and error, but you should get there.

Browsing

The second method for locating a particular article is browsing. This method is most effective if you know the general stage of publishing you are in, but you aren’t sure exactly what you need to know. Using the same example as above, I will demonstrate how to find the same article by browsing.

To begin, you’ll want to click on the Knowledge Base link from the Support page. From there, you should see a list of categories for articles. By reviewing the descriptions of the categories, I can narrow down what I’m looking for. While none of the categories themselves are titled “Shipping” the category Shopping on Lulu is described as “Learn how to browse, buy, download, or ship on Lulu”. That sounds about right!

Inside this category, I see a new category for “Shipping FAQ“. I’m clearly on the right track. Clicking into that category takes me to a list of articles, and the first one is Shipping Times and Options. Success!

Summary

  • Get a good idea of what you’re searching or browsing for before you begin looking
  • Try to use as accurate phrasing as you can
  • Don’t be afraid to browse around for the right answer

Great Gift Ideas for “That Guy ”

At one time or another, we’ve all come across “that guy.”  You know, the guy who tries to check out in the 15 items or less lane with at least 30 things in his cart.  Or the guy who tries to beat the read light, only to clog up the intersection – leaving you stuck at a green light.

Of course if you’re anything like me, you may have been “that guy” more times than you care to admit.  You may also be in the position of having “that guy” on your holiday shopping list this year.

You really like “that guy.”  After all, he’s most likely family or a very close friend.  You want to see him shed his misguided ways in time for the New Year.  So this begs the question:  what do you get “that guy” for the holidays?

Here are a few gift ideas I came up with, right here on lulu.com:

eBook Distribution Guidelines

It is an exciting time to be an author. Everyday customers find new ways to discover and purchase your remarkable works and Lulu has been proud to offer authors the ability to reach more readers and sell more books through our growing network of retail partners.

For us, the formula is simple: more channels equal more opportunities for your work to be discovered.

For authors selecting distribution, it is important to remember that many retail channels maintain strict policies on acceptable content. In an effort to ensure a lasting relationship with existing retail channels and to continue to cultivate even more options and opportunities for our authors, Lulu must uphold these policies and validation procedures. Lulu reviews all content marked for distribution and reserves the right to re- categorize and/or decline to submit books, which violate a retailer’s content policies.

One of the most popular retail channels is the iBookstore. Authors selecting this particular distribution method will need to keep these basic guidelines in mind:

  • To ensure an author’s work appears for sale, in the quality it deserves, iBookstore distribution takes at least 30 days.
  • Adult and/or sexually explicit content is de-prioritized and may be rejected if inappropriately categorized by the author.
  • eBooks in non-English languages and/or offered for free will be listed on lulu.com, but will not be distributed to the iBookstore or other retail channels.
  • Public domain content will only be submitted to the U.S. version of the iBookstore.

We know how eager you are to see your books out in the world and we want to assure you that Lulu processes your works with the utmost care. All authors are still able to publish and sell their eBooks immediately to the 2.5 million unique monthly visitors in the Lulu Marketplace for free. Lulu continues to strive to bring you the best service possible to empower you to sell more content to more readers more profitably than ever before and we look forward to your continued success on Lulu and all of our retail partners.

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.

Cyber Monday is Back

Cyber Monday, the first weekday after Thanksgiving, is considered the busiest online shopping day of the year. To mark the occasion and do our part to save you a little time and money, we’ve put together these special offers good for today only.

25% off any order
Save up to $185.
Coupon code:
CYBER25

30% off $750 or more
Save up to $750.
Coupon code:
CYBER30

Coupons cannot be applied to  taxes or shipping and handling charges or previous orders.  Only one valid promotional code may be used per account.  Orders must be in U.S.  Dollar currency. Offer ends today 11/29/09 at 11:59 PM PST.

Author Success Story: From Salesman to Silver Screen.

Love & Other Drugs in theaters today.

Today, Lulu author Jamie Reidy is getting to see one of the biggest dreams any author can have come true. His autobiography, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, has been made into a movie, Love & Other Drugs, starring breakout actors Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathaway.

If you ask Reidy if he ever expected this level of success, he’ll chuckle and smugly say: “Well, yeah.”

While Reidy jokingly admits to being somewhat of an egomaniac, he believes that any author who has gone so far as to have their work published should be thinking about their potential and at least have an idea of their long term goals for their work. Otherwise, it’s a self-defeating process.

“If you’re determined to be an author, you obviously have a story to tell and characters to share” says Reidy. “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not ready to go to all lengths to make something happen with them.”

Even with Reidy’s newfound success, his follow-up book, Bachelor 101: Cooking + Cleaning = Closing, available on Lulu, was still rejected by traditional means.

“The industry is scared to take a chance right now” says Reidy. “Luckily, tech like Lulu lets me sell my work anyway and I can get on with my writing.”

Reidy is particularly fond of Lulu’s formatting services and the freedom of not having to go back and forth between editors, which can become very expensive and time consuming.

“With Lulu, $400 for formatting was a deal – I know I got my money’s worth,” Reidy says.

Be sure to pick up a copy of both of Reidy’s books in the Lulu Marketplace and head to your local theater to see Love & Other Drugs, opening today. And for those aspiring authors out there, Reidy has a few last sarcastic words of advice: “No matter how good it is, you cannot count on your friends to buy your book.”

Getting Your Book on a Retail Shelf

Sometimes there is nothing more gratifying for an author than to walk into their neighborhood bookstore and see their own blood, sweat, and tears resting on the shelf. While there is no guarantee that your book will appear in “brick and mortar” bookstores, these tips and suggestions will certainly put your book on the right track for consideration.

ISBN

First things first, your book needs an ISBN. Whether you decide to register for one on your own through an ISBN agency such as Bowker (http://www.bowker.com/) or opt for a free Lulu-owned ISBN, this number will be the key identifier for your book and is also a requirement for the next tip.

globalREACH Distribution

globalReach distribution is essential for any author looking to increase their readership in stores because it enables your book to be available through the wholesaler, Ingram Book Company, which is the preferred go-between of most big-name retailers.

Go Local

Try visiting your local, independent bookstore (like Quail Ridge Books here in Raleigh) to see if there would be any interest in carrying your book. Typically, these retailers feel more open to supporting the work of homegrown authors. It may even sweeten the deal if you already have buyers lined up.

If you’ve tried and tried and still haven’t made the leap into bookstores, don’t feel discouraged. According to Book Industry Study Group, less than 40% of books are purchased in actual stores versus online. And the Lulu Marketplace is home to over 2.5 million unique visitors – that’s a lot of folks just itching to discover your remarkable work.

Lulu at Internet Summit 2010

The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday, with Internet professionals and entrepreneurs from across the United States coming together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young was a keynote panelist and featured speaker discussing the future of both the web and books – no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.

Bob’s featured talk was entitled “There is No Such Thing as a Book” – claiming that “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.” During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that).  Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form, but now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.

Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable,” as a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video, hyperlinks and an Internet connect may actually detract from a book’s narrative – diminishing the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think that in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide, opting to read stories on books – not devices. But of course, that will remain a question of preference and choice, and if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event and enjoy all the interactivity that digital media has to offer, be sure to check out a recap of the lively discussions on Twitter #isum10.

We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit for putting on such an informative and well-organized event, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.