Articles tagged "Why Choose Lulu"

Lulu Speaker Series: Marketing Specialist Diana M. Needham

In February we introduced a new web series featuring publishing and marketing experts. We kicked off the series by welcoming Diana M. Needham, a local book marketing consultant, to the Lulu office to share her journey on becoming an author. She also shared some great tips on “Getting Started Writing a Book.”

As a book marketing consultant, Needham first asks her clients five questions. “It all starts with your big why. Why are you writing this book? What is it that is inside of you that is compelling you to get this message out? When you can be really clear about your ‘big why,’ you can continue the momentum and actually get the book finished.”

Learn more by clicking below for excerpts from the live interview.


About Diana M. Needham

Needham is the author of The Authority Mindset: Proven Principles For Establishing Yourself as an Expert in Any Industry and chairs the local chapter of the Non Fiction Authors Association in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill NC area


Follow us on Facebook and watch interviews as they happen on Facebook Live.

Please share your feedback in the comments below.  Would you like to see us feature more of these types of videos? Are they helpful and inspirational with your own book project? What topics would you like for us to include in upcoming interviews?

 

Holiday Help: What I Learned at Lulu

Chelsea, Temp, Ninja, Blogger

Ah, the temp. The transient ninja of the business world. Slip in, get the job done, slip out. Leaving behind nothing more than a 95% customer satisfaction score and a legend. Not an easy job, but somebody’s got to do it.

I found myself faced with this task during the holiday season at Lulu. No big deal. I have done customer service before. Phones, emails, chats. I get it. Just show me to my desk so I can do this thing. But at some point – and I’m not sure if it was the multiple puppies I saw around the office or the incredible snacks – I knew Lulu would be different.

I was right. Everyday was pretty awesome. One day I came across a calendar called Peanut Butter Dogs in Lulu’s bookstore, and I don’t think I need to explain that any further. Another perk is everyone at Lulu has a nerf gun, but it’s cool because everyone’s aim is bad, you don’t really have to worry about losing an eye. All that said, what made my experience really awesome was Lulu’s authors, readers and creators.

The support team at Lulu is called Customer Voice, because we hear you and work with you to solve your problem. Prior to this assignment, I had no idea how educational customer service could be. It was an unrivaled opportunity to learn new things. For example, I can now tell you with certainty that male and female Sasquatch smell differently, as well as the best places to visit in Upstate New York during the fall.

On any given day my responsibilities included: recommending a format for a children’s book about rescued Greyhounds; helping a beekeeper find a how-to book on building a top bar hive; or assisting a holocaust survivor in placing another order for his memoir – all published through Lulu. Every day was different. You never knew who would be on the other end of the phone, chat box, or email. But, what you did know, was that you were talking to someone who was doing something that they could not have done without Lulu. And that was pretty neat.

Alas, as is the nature of the temp (and ninja), I eventually had to say goodbye. But, not before getting my very own nerf gun! And all the snacks I could fit in my bag (that was cool, right?).

Thank you to Lulu, the authors, readers and creators.

It was great getting to know you!

Happy Publishing!


Update: We invited Chelsea for a return engagement to help us coordinate upcoming events in the US and Europe. We are delighted she accepted. We wonder what she will learn from this experience?

Keep that NaNoWriMo Inspiration Alive

Paul@Lulu

November has come and gone, but what are you planning to do with that manuscript you started for NaNoWriMo 2016?

For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a “competition, challenging writers to buckle down and write 50,000 words in a month. While that might seem ambitious (1667 words a day!), for many of us it’s the perfect motivation to start a new project, complete a book, or finish up an existing project.

The organization (http://nanowrimo.org/) specifically encourages writing a novel in a month. But they’ll also be the first to tell you; writing is writing, and it’s all good! The competition is self-driven. You challenge yourself to achieve your writing goals. Support and encouragement comes from other NaNo writers striving for the same goal. I know I’m a big procrastinator (“I’m not in the right mood to write,” “Its too nice outside to write,” “I’ll just watch an episode of my favorite TV show, then I’ll write”), so the goals, the support, the word sprints (timed writing sessions with smaller word goals), as well as the imposing progress chart help keep me on track.

Eleven months out of the year, I’m happy with 5,000 words in a week. That’s good progress to me. But come November, I crank that up to almost 12,000 a week. For me, its the time of year when I start the novel I’ll be working on for the coming year. In November I aim to create a stripped down, 50,000 word version of my complete story, or to write the first portion of the story. A couple of years ago, I was so happy with my NaNoWriMo piece, I left it as a novella topping out at 55,000 in the final draft!

However you use the motivation, the real point is to be motivated! NaNoWriMo lets you update your word count (I like to check mine daily) and see the progress. Now, if you look at my chart, you’ll see I didn’t hit my goal for the month, finishing more than 10,000 words short. I don’t let this slow me down though. Because the point is just to push out as many words as possible in a month.

And now, with the competition done, its time to print that book and have a look at it. I print my manuscripts as 8.5 x 11 Coil Bound Paperbacks (for around $10.00 you can get your 50,000 word Nano script printed and shipped from Lulu). Then I can review it, make notes, make changes, and move that story to completion.

Last year’s NaNo project is today a 120,ooo word novel, its been through two full revisions, and is going through the last round of reviews before it’s ready to be called complete! All because I challenged myself to hit that 50,000 word goal last November.

That can be you too! Nanowrimo is an awesome way to get started and Lulu is here to help you take that great start and turn it into a published novel!

Sell More Books: Super Size Seasonal Discounts

inventory-discounts

Let’s try out a few seasonal slogans you could use for holiday marketing efforts…

“Stuff those stockings with books!”

“Put some books on that shelf by the elf!”

“A dreidel AND a book? Best Hanukah ever!”

“Deck the halls with deals on books and while you’re at it strategically develop a marketing plan that takes advantage of Lulu.com’s seasonal sales and discounts.”

Okay, so that last one doesn’t quite flow off the tongue, but it’s good advice all the same. Coordinating your marketing efforts to coincide with Lulu’s impressive holiday discounts is the next best thing to having your books carried right down your readers’ chimneys by Santa himself.

What’s so great about it? For starters, everyone loves books and they love saving money. All you have to do is share the Lulu discount codes in your email and social media marketing. Don’t forget to also share the expiration date and any restrictions.

 

Savvy Marketing Tip

Did you know that when Lulu offers a store-wide discount, you can sweeten the deal by adding another 5, 10, or 15% off? That’s right, a 25% off sale can easily be bumped up to 30 or 40% off for huge savings.

Using this strategy, you can make any day Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or create your own huge sale event.

 

Here’s How to Juice Those Discounts

You can add a discount in the Lulu Bookstore for any printed book or calendar priced above the manufacturing cost.

  • Go to My Projects and click on the project title.
  • Scroll down to Pricing and Creator Revenues and click Edit.
  • Click Pricing Details to view manufacturing and profit splits

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  • Click Set Discount and choose the percentage discount you wish to offer.
  • Click Set Discount to apply the discount.
  • Click Pricing Details to view the discounted price and your revenue.
  • Click Save Changes.

 

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The discount is immediately applied to your book or calendar in the Lulu bookstore.

Note: When applied to purchases, Lulu discounts do not affect author revenue. Author-applied discounts reduce profits and therefore reduce author revenue.

Create a Sales Event

Tell everyone about your super sale.

I’m teaming up with Lulu to offer my book, <book title> at a special discount just for friends/family/fans/readers.

For X days only, Enter code XXXXXXX at checkout and save XX%.

Don’t forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive.

Offer expires: MM/DD/YYYY

Include a link to your book’s product page to make it easy for your buyers to make the purchase. And, though we are currently entering the season of sharing and shopping, this strategy works year-round. At Lulu.com, we’re always looking for ways to promote you and sell your books. Whenever we have a sale — seasonal or otherwise — send out an email or post it on social media letting everyone know. After all, ‘tis always the season for reading!

All current discounts, coupon codes, and expiration dates are listed on the Lulu home page.

 

Holiday Inventory: If You Don’t Have It, You Can’t Sell It

inventory-giftsIndependently published writers are more than just authors. At trade shows and panel discussions I have often described these writers as being self-employed entrepreneurs – heading a business with only one employee – themselves. As such the author must be adept at both writing and the business of publishing. All decisions are the author’s from developing the concept to publicizing and marketing the finished product to making sure there is product to sell.

The holidays provide more opportunities than any other time of the year to get your product in front of people who are actively seeking to spend their money. Whether you are planning a social media marketing push, have scheduled book signing and speaking events, have booked space at your local winter market, or meet someone on the bus, you need to be ready to make the sell.

Inventory Preparedness Questionnaire:

  • How many events do you have planned for the holidays?
  • How many books do you anticipate selling at each event?
  • Is there enough time between events to order and restock?
  • Will you be selling signed or personalized books from your website or social media pages?
  • How many books do you need as gifts for friends and family?
  • Do you have bookmarks or postcards advertising your book to hand out in the event you sell out of books or someone wishes to purchase an eBook?
  • Do you have a high-quality pen for signing and personalizing books?

One of the benefits of print-on-demand publishing is that there is no costly inventory to maintain. However, this also means that when you or your customers place an order, the books must be printed before they ship. Regardless of the number of books ordered, printing will take from 3-5 business days. This time of year, average printing times are on the shorter side of that range; however, as Christmas approaches, printing times will push towards five days. Add shipping time to that and you can see why it is more important than ever to ensure you have the stock on hand to make the sell.

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To help ensure you have a successful holiday sales season, Lulu is running author-only discounts in November so you can save now on the inventory you need for the Christmas holiday season.

You can be among the first to know about these discounts. Simply sign up for Lulu promotional emails on your Lulu Account > Preferences page. Discounts are also listed on the Lulu home page.

We wish you great success, today and everyday.

More Holiday Readiness

Holiday Publishing Checklist for Authors

Sell More Books: Easy Christmas Marketing Ideas

Holiday Success: The Magic of Drop Shipping

The 2016 Best Gift Award Goes to…. You!

 

2016 B Corp Champions Retreat: Working Towards an Inclusive Economy

2016 B Corp Champions Retreat

2016 B Corp Champions Retreat

By: SheridanH@Lulu

Earlier this year, when we learned the 2016 B Corp Champions Retreat was scheduled to take place just down the road in Durham, North Carolina, the Lulu team went into overdrive, feverishly working to earn the 80 points required for certification. We were determined to attend the event and this past Summer we received our certification. Unfortunately for us, the planning committee decided to relocate the retreat in protest of North Carolina’s discriminatory law HB2.

So, instead of a 20 minute drive to Durham, we packed our bags for Philadelphia. Kathy Hensgen, Lulu SVP of Operations, and I flew to Philly to represent Team Lulu and the state of North Carolina as we know it – a community that may be imperfect, but is full of innovation, love, and determined to heal the hurt of HB2 and grow towards a more accepting society.

We made it. Sheridan and Kathy on retreat.

We made it. Sheridan and Kathy on retreat.

 

Because of HB2, I was worried Lulu would be treated like the embarrassing cousin nobody wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving. Instead, we were greeted with open arms and words of encouragement from other B Corps – exemplifying this year’s theme “Towards an Inclusive Economy.”

Here are some lessons we learned during the Retreat:

Business Can be Compassionate

We are not robots. Lulu is a business run by humans to help other humans create and share their content. We can use the humanity of our business to influence communities using a platform that reaches thousands of people each day.

Lulu may not directly cure diseases or end world hunger, but we can amplify the voices of our authors who take on these difficult issues. Whether it’s talking about issues of social justice or raising awareness about problems faced by our stakeholders, businesses should take a stance.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

So far, Lulu has scored 80 out of 200 points on the B Corp Impact Assessment.  That means there are at least 120 points of improvement remaining to tackle. We learned from other B Corporations the best way to guarantee continuous improvement is to create an internal team that holds members accountable.

This is not only a better way to get stuff done, but it also encourages employee engagement. Who doesn’t get fired up about their work when they know they are making the world a little better day by day?

Teamwork - How do we achiever our goals?

Teamwork – How do we achieve our goals?

Inclu$ivty & Diver$ity

We’d all like to say our work environments are inclusive and accepting.

However, if the workforce isn’t diverse, the business may be falling short of proactively reaching out to diverse candidates and using hiring practices like removing names from resumes and posting on a variety of job search engines.

If we wish to better serve our communities, businesses should seek diversity by recruiting employee from groups who are chronically under-employed such as domestic abuse survivors, veterans, returning citizens, and anyone who has been out of the workforce for a substantial period of time. The more perspectives available, the greater the chance we’ll have to resolve business questions and effectively serve our customers.

The best solutions come when everyone contributes.

The best solutions come when everyone contributes.

Telling the B Corp Story

At Lulu we haven’t been shy about our B Corp certification, but we haven’t climbed to the rooftop and shouted for the world to hear.

Authors and readers, we need your help. You are some of our most important stakeholders. The books you create and read with Lulu and our sustainable print-on-demand technology are crucial to our B Corp certification.  Choosing Lulu means that you are an advocate for environmental and social change. You believe in the power of for-profit businesses to do good.

So spread the word that you are part of this great B Corp family! You hang out with the likes of Lulu, Etsy, Dr. Bronner’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and many more. In fact, you probably have some awesome B Corps in your area.

We encourage you to reach out to those businesses and show that you’re in it to win it. The more momentum the B Corp movement gets, the faster we will achieve an inclusive economy.

 

Learn More About Our B Corp Journey

Lulu: Good for Authors, Good for the World

B Corp Update: Sooooo Close!

B Better Than Yesterday: Lulu Achieves B Corporation Certification

 

Better for Authors. Better for the World.

Better for Authors. Better for the World.

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

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