Articles tagged "reward"

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™.

How To Use Customer Support & Our Online Community Part 1

How many of us have run into a problem we couldn’t solve? Perhaps it was an unexpected error message, an order that takes too long to arrive, or a question about how to format your book. Regardless, most of us (and yes, I include myself in this) have run into an issue while publishing our projects because as easy as Lulu makes the process, writing and publishing a book is still involves a lot of error checking, revisions, and proofing. I have the advantage of being able to walk over to someone’s desk and ask for help, but obviously not everyone else does. So, what do you do? This is part one of a series on how to get the most out of our customer service.

Creating A Case With Customer Service
This is the easiest and most effective way to get help with an issue that is specific to you. Maybe it’s an issue with your order, or a question about your ISBN or Distribution package. Whatever it is, you need help and you need to talk to someone who works at Lulu.

Step One: it’s pretty obvious, but it bears repeating. Contact Customer Support. You should see the link under the Support tab on the right-hand side of the page.

Step Two: Select the area most appropriate to your issue. If it’s an issue with your order, select My Order, or if it’s about your ISBN/Distribution select that. If you aren’t sure, choose the one closest to what you’re looking for, or select Lulu Website.

Step Three: The more information you can give us, the better. Some of the fields will be required based on which option you chose. For example, email address, order number, “What’s the problem,” and “Describe the problem” are required for My Order. If you have an Existing Ticket id, please provide it. The order status, item id and item name aren’t necessary, but they can help and it’s better for us to have that information than to need to ask you for it or look it up.

Step Four: It can take up to 2 days for us to respond. In the meantime, please respond to the automated email you will be sent with pictures or other information relevant to the case as soon as you can. As previously mentioned the more we have up front from you, the faster we will be able to resolve your issue.

Step Five: Be patient with us. I know this is the hardest step, but we are going to do our best to help you make your work as remarkable as you envision it to be and as polished as it deserves.

We strive to support you as much as we can, and we appreciate your help and patience while we do that. I will post more advice on how to get the most out of our online support and community in upcoming articles. And as always, you can get a look at your support options, like LiveChat, on our customer service page.

Celebrate NaNoWriMo with Lulu

We’re obviously big fans of books here at Lulu and that makes November one of our favorite months. Why? Because it’s National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.

For eleven years NaNoWriMo has brought together thousands of aspiring authors who share a passion for writing and creativity. Each November, more and more authors join in and take a no holds barred approach to pumping out a 50,000 word book in just 30 days. With such a limited time-frame for making a remarkable work, writers often surprise themselves with what they can accomplish and what creative ideas they can come up with – music to the folks at Lulu’s ears.

Some of us Lulus are even getting involved in the action. I am using this year’s NaNoWriMo to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. Well, at least I’m trying to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. So far I’ve spent several days staring at a blank screen hoping to channel Neruda, Hemmingway, Frost or Fitzgerald and then distracting myself with exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping.

Writing is much harder than anyone gives us literary types credit for, and I admire all of you Lulu creators for being able to have the self-discipline to write something and the confidence to put it out in the world.

NaNoWriMo is all about getting motivated. Any book written in 30 days probably won’t be a work of genius, but writing 50,000 words in one month is going to force you to write and take risks. You can edit, take out weak characters, and add sub-plots later. For now, just get writing!

My favorite high school English teacher told me once that writing is easy. You just write about yourself with the life you’ve always wanted. Change your name, give yourself an apartment in Paris and a love interest who got away. Find inspiration in everything and use the mannerisms of interesting strangers to write new characters. Combine it with the search for home, and you’ve got yourself a bestseller.

So, let’s do this together! We’ve got three weeks to write a book. It may not be your most remarkable work, but then again, maybe it will be. You don’t know till you try. And when you’re all done, I encourage you to publish your books on Lulu. What have you got to lose?

Feel free to add your NaNoWriMo experiences in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you’re working on or any tips for NaNoWriMo survival and getting motivated?  Come on NaNoWriMo veterans, I know you’re out there.

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!

From the Vault: Giving it Away – How Previews May Help You Sell

This post was originally put up back in February 2008,  but a lot of the advice rings true today. With so many new e-devices popping up on the market, readers are finding more and more ways to discover and purchase content. Offering a free downloadable preview is a great way to help a reader make the decision to push the “purchase” button. Enjoy the original post below:

I tend to come across a lot of material on the site because of my job. Sometimes, it’s because I’m looking for something to buy, other times I am checking out whether it’s in violation of our membership agreement, and still others I am looking for content to highlight. Regardless of the reason, I am often surprised by how much of it lacks a preview.

According to Chris Anderson, author of the “Long Tail“, on average, 500 copies of a book are sold per year. For a self-published author, selling 500 copies in a year is considered a huge success, but how do you get 500 people to buy your book when most of them haven’t ever heard of you? The simple answer is to let them read it.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #3

Become an Authority in Your Field

Whether your book is an extensive study on quantum physics, or helpful tips on how to raise twins, there’s an online community just waiting to learn from your expertise.  What better way to flex your knowledge muscles, and promote your book, then providing commentary on your favorite forums, blogs and discussion boards?

By providing regular insight and support, you’ll quickly establish credibility and become known as an authority in your field.  This will also provide you with a golden opportunity to promote your book.  Be sure to mention that more information can be found in your book, and provide links for your new readers to purchase.

Once you’ve established yourself, your audience will be more than happy to help promote your book.  Reach out to bloggers and ask if they’ll mention your book in an upcoming post.

Before you know it, people will be buzzing over your book and your hard work!

Trick or Treat? Why Not Both…

Hulkmania!

It’s Halloween in the Lulu office and I thought it’d be fun to share some of the great costumes people have been wearing all day.

Each year, Lulu team members break out their biggest wigs, their goofiest glasses and their scariest masks in an attempt to out do each other in the fierce competition to win the “Best

Right to Left: A Musketeer, Dr. Who, Captain Planet, Barista

Costume Award.” No Lulu holds back and there were some pretty remarkable costumes this year. Some of my favorites were Hulk Hogan and Uncle Fester (with a real light up bulb in his mouth).

But we don’t want to be the only ones having fun, so as a treat for All Hallows’ Eve, we’re offering a couple special deals to all our customers and creators this weekend.

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Uncle Fester

Through November 1st, you can take 20% off any order with coupon code TRICK. And you can take 25% off any order of $500 or more with coupon code TREAT.

While coupons aren’t as tasty as candy, they are better for you and your wallet this Halloween season.

Have a happy and safe holiday everyone.

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What’s in a Name?: Picking Your Book’s Title

Now that you have poured your heart and soul onto every page of your Lulu book, here comes the real dilemma…what about the title? Yes, the title. It’s hard to imagine that those couple of words will be the first to introduce a potential reader to your book and will help them decide whether to pick it up or pass it by. In an effort to provide some aid to this rather daunting task, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Take the Short Road

Take a look at The New York Times Best Seller List and you will notice that, most often than not, today’s most popular titles are 3 words or less. If that isn’t enough to convince you, think of some of the books that you have read in the past. Here are a few of mine – The Help, The Scarlet Letter, What Remains, Pride and Prejudice, etc. Do you see a pattern? If you’re afraid that a couple of words or a short phrase won’t sum up your book, consider using a subtitle to provide further explanation.

Be Original

Since titles aren’t copyrighted, there could be a chance that the title you choose may already be spoken for. In the case that your title (or one very similar) is in use, it may be best to reevaluate what you have chosen to avoid confusion. Not sure if your book title has a twin? Try checking out an online book database or catalog like Project Gutenberg.

Share Your Ideas

Once you have had the chance to brainstorm a few title possibilities, bounce them off of your friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to provide several ideas and poll them for which ones they better. Like your potential readers, they won’t know much about your book and can only judge it based on the title.

How to Market Your Book:Blog #2

Get Your Book Into Influential Hands

We recently asked 1,000 of our bestselling authors to share their secrets to success. While the responses covered everything from taking out radio spots, to promoting at family reunions, there was one universal theme to marketing a book: Build relationships with influential people in your market.

A great way to get your new relationship off on the right foot is to send out complimentary copies of your book.  Target anyone you could think of that might be able to help create a buzz around your book.

  • School administrators
  • Local newspapers & radio stations
  • Community & church leaders
  • Scouting organizations
  • Bloggers

Be sure to include something personal, like a hand written thank you note, or a short memo describing how and why you wrote your book – anything you think will help you connect more strongly with your new audience.

Before you know it, more recommendations for your work will come from good old word of mouth. Happy publishing.

How To Get Your Book Into Libraries

A question that keeps popping up around the Lulu community is “How do I get my book(s) into a library?” Libraries can provide a great way to reach new readers that, otherwise, may not find out about your books. There are a lot of perks to getting your work into the library system. You don’t really have to worry about maintaining inventory or making a huge sales pitch because libraries are in it to share knowledge and help educate people. Many libraries even highlight local authors or will host regular book events like fundraisers that accept donated books. That doesn’t mean that some of the same marketing rules don’t apply when approaching a library however. And there are a lot of misconceptions about the best ways to go about getting a library’s attention.

Quality – Give Them Something to Work With:

A quickly diminishing stereotype of self-published books is that they are of poor quality. Lulu works to erase all of the preconceptions about self-published titles and helps authors create quality products that can sit on a shelf next to any best-seller. As long as an author takes his or her time to create a professional book that is formatted and edited well, then there is no reason a Lulu book can’t make it into a library.

It is important to note that some libraries do prefer certain bindings and can be reluctant to stock others like comb bound and saddle stitched (stapled) books. If you’re thinking about pursuing library distribution, it might be a good idea to call ahead to see what their requirements for submittal are.