Articles tagged "Self-Publishing"

High School Writers and Artists Team Up to Publish Anthology

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Foreign Visions, a new anthologyfeatures short stories and artwork from 25 students at Foran High School. The paperback book, published using the free online publishing tools at Lulu.com, contains 17 short stories and accompanying artwork. The stories were penned by students in Rick Raucci’s Creative Writing class. The artwork was created by students in Meghan Hudson’s Advanced Drawing/Painting and AP Studio Art classes.

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Foreign Vision’s writers and artists

 

This is Foran High School’s first published book and Raucci said he couldn’t be prouder of the students who contributed the material and worked tirelessly to publish the book. Students in his creative writing class worked throughout the 2015-16 school year on various types of writing spanning multiple genres.

Raucci pitched the idea of an advanced writing class that would produce a book of short stories. With a grant secured to cover initial costs, Raucci got approval to move forward with the pilot program, working with 11 high school seniors who were recruited for the first year’s class.

“They were students selected based on their writing ability in the hopes of creating an authentic authorship experience,” Raucci said. The class began with students studying the importance of writing techniques such as setting, dialogue and plot development. “Even the smallest of details can change the story,” Raucci said. “How does age, for example, affect how a person will speak?”

Each student wrote three short stories, working with artists from Hudson’s class: In one round the writers had to write a story based on artwork supplied by the illustrators. The stories were then distributed to a panel of judges to rank. The top scoring pieces were selected for publication. “Everyone got a story published and there are a few students with two stories,” Raucci said.

As part of this project, students honed writing, editing and revising skills. They also got a taste of professional life by working on a deadline, receiving constructive criticism and incorporating recommended changes to their project. “They got the full authorship experience,” Raucci said.

For the art students, it was a chance to work as they might on a job.“For my student artists, this book is a unique opportunity to bridge classroom learning to real-life learning,” Hudson said. “Student authors and artists paired up for this collaborative effort, which allowed my artists to work with a ‘client’ rather than making art for themselves.

Hudson said that when another stakeholder’s opinions and input are entwined in the creative process, it changes the game for the artist. “This was an exciting challenge for both the authors and artists,” she added.

Lulu is a self publishing company, but that doesn’t mean the student writers didn’t have to meet tough standards. The manuscript required several revisions to meet distribution requirements, but students didn’t balk. They were eager to put in the extra work with some students even working weekends to get the completed manuscript revised in time.

The original idea was that the class would be self-sustaining. Students developed a marking plan to sell the books for $20. Before the first shipment of books were even delivered, students had sold more than 300 copies. “Not only were we able to replenish the grant funds, we were also able to give away scholarships to students,” Raucci said, noting that three $500 scholarships were awarded at the end of the school year.

Principal Max Berkowitz said he looks forward to the continued success of the class. “Advanced Creative Writing provides students a unique and rigorous experience while allowing them to take ownership over their learning,” Berkowitz said. “The opportunity for our students to become published authors has been an exciting and proud experience for the entire school community.”

foreign-visions-bookcover“This is a huge accomplishment for our students to have published work at this level of their education,” said Hudson. “They are thrilled to see their work in print.”

Foreign Visions’ is available in both paperback and eBook formats and can be purchased in the Lulu bookstore as well as all major online retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

Best Gift 2016

Be a winner.

This year, Lulu wants you to win the trophy for best holiday gift.

I know, I know. I hear you wailing, “One holiday at a time. it’s not even Halloween yet.” I’m with you. Nothing ruins September like walking into a store that is already decked out for Christmas. But, if you want to win that trophy and make everyone green with envy, you need to prepare now.

Let’s start by thinking about what makes a winning holiday gift. Maybe your Christmas morning is like a day on the Oprah set, “You get a new car. You get a new car. Everybody gets a new car!” If so, you have already won.

If not, think about the gifts you have received in the past. Which gifts were most memorable? You would probably remember a free car, but you are also likely to remember gifts that were personal, showed a level of thoughtfulness, effort, and originality.

Here are a few gift ideas that are sure to win you the best gift trophy:

  • Create a personalized friends and family calendar featuring pictures from the past year.
  • Print a cookbook featuring your family’s favorite recipes. Include some stories about where the recipes come from and why they are favorites.
  • Help grandpa publish his memoir. Print copies and ask him to sign them for family members.
  • Download your family history from Ancestry.com and print copies for the family.
  • Ask your children to write and illustrate a story.  Then scan the pages and create a book to give as gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles.
  • Remember those old love letters in the back of your closet? Create a photo book pairing the letters with pictures from your relationship.
  • Create a travel log from this year’s adventures.
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The winner is….. You!

These will all make treasured gifts, unlike the ugly sweater you will only wear when Aunt Martha visits.  These ideas will all take a bit of planning and effort; however, it will all be worth it when you take home the best gift trophy for 2016.

Over the next several weeks we will discuss how to create these winning gifts. If you have additional ideas, share them in the comments below.

Now get back to enjoying your September.

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.

Lulu Custom Calendars: Daily Reminders of Your Best Memories

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The kids have returned to school, which means Summer vacation season is quickly receding into your bank of fond memories. If you are like me, you captured all the best (and most embarrassing) moments on your phone. You probably even shared a few of them with your friends on Facebook where they competed for likes, but were quickly lost in a never ending stream of Summer status updates.

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Disco Dance Party: Officially embarrassing, but a happy memory.

 

Whether you spent time together at home, your favorite vacation spot, traveled someplace new or celebrated a special event, these memories deserve more than just being uploaded to the cloud to gather digital dust.

What if you could transform your pictures into a daily reminder of your adventures? Something that would last a whole year or longer? Perhaps you could create something both sentimental and useful with your photos – like a calendar?

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The most memorable moments

 

Lulu’s calendars not only allow you to choose from a selection of cool themes (I like the Modern theme), but you can also import holidays and personalize the calendar with family events, birthdays, and anniversaries. You may think, ‘Oh, I’m not very creative” or “I’m not very good with the computer,” but we’ve got you covered. Our calendar builder walks you through the steps.

All you have to do is:

When you think about it, for the next year wouldn’t you rather look at a calendar that includes you, your family, friends, cat, dog or pony rather than someone else’s pictures?

Birthday and Holidays

Add holidays, birthdays and special events.

 

Just a reminder: Calendars make great DIY gifts. With gift-giving season just around the corner, you can create gifts your family and friends will treasure everyday. I gave copies of this calendar to all my friends who traveled with me to Greece last year. They loved it.

You can find answers to all your Calendar & Photo Book questions in the Lulu knowledge base.

Make your memories last. Create a Lulu custom calendar today.

Summer Success Summit: Students Publish Guide for All Cool Kids

Tell_Your_Story_NarrowJuly’s Summer Success Summit at Shady Oak included the subtitle “formula for a happy, motivated child.” I have frequently taught high school students a similar program on the secrets of achievement, but this year I thought, “Why make kids wait until high school to learn principles they would need all through life?” So this summer I brought the training to late-elementary and middle-school students.

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2016 Summer Success Summit Attendees

I also wanted to incorporate a hands-on project to instill the principles through practical application, while providing an opportunity for fun learning. Since the love of stories knows no minimum age—and kids this age are highly vulnerable to “everyone knows more than I do” anxieties—I decided to have them create a book as a group project, a book that would give them the opportunity to share their knowledge with others.

The students loved the idea. We started with two questions:

  1. What do successful people think?
  2. What do successful people do?

I wrote down every answer the kids gave. Each day thereafter, I taught a new concept and had everyone share more ideas to incorporate into the book. The students quickly took charge and came up with fifteen success strategies:

  1. Practice, practice, practice to achieve your dreams
  2. Be open-minded and think outside the box
  3. Believe in your own ideas
  4. Be patient, stay focused, and use your time wisely
  5. Stay healthy
  6. Surround yourself with positive people
  7. Set clear goals and make clear plans for moving toward them
  8. Let your mind wander and appreciate where it takes you
  9. Take risks—that’s the only way you’ll find opportunities
  10. What you think about, you bring about
  11. Know your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses
  12. Ask for help when you need it
  13. Remember, enthusiasm and passion are the keys to success
  14. Work smarter, not harder. Whatever you do well, do lots of it
  15. Help others get what they want, which is also the best way to ensure you get what you need. Always be a team player

With the outline complete, students divided into four teams based on individual strengths: Writers, illustrators, layout editors, and final editors / publishers.

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Authors, illustrators, and editors hard at work

Meanwhile, I researched professional self-publishing services to find one that would meet our needs. Lulu.com got the job after the CEO sent a personal response to my LinkedIn inquiry. From the beginning, Lulu was 100 percent behind the project and always ready to support us.

Back at Success Summit, our writers put each concept into an 18 to 36-word summary. One example:

Be enthusiastic and passionate, they are the keys to success. Focus on your goal. You have to want it more than anything because success doesn’t just happen.

After that stage was finished, the whole group reviewed the content and brainstormed illustration ideas for each concept. The illustration team then planned and sketched pictures for each concept and the title page. The resulting pages were distributed among the entire group for coloring.

The completed illustrations and text for the pages were passed to the layout-editing team, who created mock-ups for the final pages by sizing and arranging pictures and wording. They ordered the pages and prepared a collection of contributor bios that were entered into a computer along with the page images.

Lastly, the final editors reviewed the manuscript and wrote up a publishing plan including desired book size, paper type, and cover designs; and uploaded it to our “end publishers” at Lulu.

All the kids whWhat Every Cool Kido completed Success Summit are convinced they are great writers and are ready to continue authoring books. Who knows how many of their names will appear on bookstore shelves over the next twenty years?

What books could your students write as they develop new ideas from your curriculum?

Our book, What Every Cool Kid Deserves to Know!, may be ordered directly from Lulu. Please post a review and watch for our book on Amazon and other online bookstores.

 


About the Author

Debbie Elder co-authored the 2013 best seller Against the Grain. She followed this in 2014 with the bestselling Share Your Message with the World. Over the course of her career she has developed courses for teaching behavior management techniques for classrooms and corporate employees as well as courses to teach life skills students need for success. Upon urging from her student’s parents she opened a school for 6th to 12th graders which eventually lead to the opening of 15 additional schools nationwide. Debbie recently returned to her passion and is now working with elementary students at her school Shady Oak Primary, located in Richmond, Texas. For more information about her after school program, see Set Them Up for Success – The Homework Hangout.

Introducing Lulu Academy: Enroll Today

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At Lulu, we believe education is crucial to successful publishing. Self-publishing is more than just sending your manuscript and cover files to a printer. If a self-published author wants to be in control of their work (rather than ceding control to a big company) they must learn about the process to make informed decisions on publishing and selling their work.

Publishing can be complicated for beginners. From file layout, to cover design, to making your product available on retail sites; there are many lessons to learn and hazards to navigate. To aid authors, Lulu works diligently to produce useful knowledge base articles and instructional videos.

We recently introduced a new series of videos we’ve called Lulu Academy. These short videos focus on a single aspect of the publishing process. Created by Lulu employees, the videos are designed to provide short, easy to understand instructions, including screenshots of the steps in the publishing process.

Lulu firmly believes that knowledge is power and we want to help you not only get your book printed, but also to help you be the best self-published author you can be. We know that publishing can be complex and daunting, but we aim to help you make sense of it all.

You can find these and other video tutorials in the Lulu Knowledge Base, under Video Tutorials. Stay tuned for additional videos in the near future.

Examples of Lulu Academy Videos:

Why Choose Lulu?

Distribution and Your Book

The Price of Success: Not as High as You Think

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We now know that devoting as little as five hours a week to your marketing plan can result in much higher sales. That seems like a minimal investment in time, but how much will it cost? We asked 4000 of our bestselling authors how much they spent marketing their books.

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Not as much as you thought, right? 65% spent less than $500. If you add the authors who spent nothing (7%), the total number of authors who spent less than $500 in marketing is 72%. In other words, nearly three out of four best-selling authors spent less than $500 promoting their book.

How best-selling authors spent their marketing budgets

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As you can see, authors spent the most on advertising. Website and purchasing promotional copies of their book come in second and third, respectively. Below is a detailed breakout of how authors spent their advertising budgets.

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Key Takeaways

$500 or less is enough to promote a book. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars.

Most authors spent 28% of their overall budget on advertising, 15% on their websites and 14% on buying promotional copies as well as copies they sell direct to readers.

Action Items

Determine a marketing budget for promoting your book based on how many copies you think you will sell. Take into consideration annual fluctuations in sells as well as any upcoming holidays.

Examine previous promotional spending and determine what worked and what didn’t. Adjust your marketing plan to more accurately target your intended audience.

Additional Information

What Authors Say Is Most Important for Sales

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

Need Some Help Marketing? Ask a Friend

5-Star Reviews Are Actually Better

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