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Lulu UK Blog

Welcome to the Lulu UK Blog where we look forward to chatting about our services and the publishing industry and writing in the UK and Ireland.

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News

Indie Publishing continues on the rise in 2017

Taken from the UKSG Article 10th October 2017, Self-Publishing Isbn’s

Since 2011, International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for self-published titles have climbed 218.33%, according to the latest report, ‘Self-Publishing in the United States, 2011-2016’, from ProQuest affiliate Bowker. A total of 786,935 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2016; in 2011, that number was 247,210.

This new study from Bowker highlights the latest self-publishing trends in print and e-book formats. For 2016 vs 2015, the numbers indicate a continuing growth trend for print (+11%), though at a slower rate than a year ago (+34%). E-books show a slight decline in the number of title registrations (-3%), but this is a significantly smaller decrease than the prior year (-11%).

The report also indicates that the self-publishing industry is dominated by three service providers (of which Lulu is ranked in the top three) which, combined, account for over 84% of all print and e-book titles published last year.

Lulu launches novel writing competition with Writing Magazine – your chance to win a publishing deal

Lulu.com has teamed up with Writing Magazine and Authoright to offer a complete publishing package, including marketing and PR, to one lucky reader.

The prize includes:
• copy edit
• cover design
• full interior layout and design
• set of proofs
• 10 author copies of the finished book
• ISBN
• marketing to trade and media
• distribution to the book trade for at least a year

We’re looking for a previously unpublished novel manuscript, in any genre, but which we feel has obvious mass appeal and deserves to reach a wider audience.

Lulu.com will publish the winning book in 2018, with cover design, marketing and PR support from Authoright.

To find out more about the competition and how to enter visit the Writing Magazine website or click here 

Featured post

LULU launches global print and fulfilment API software for all content owners

Lulu is proud to announce the release of our Print API, the first of several API connections we plan to offer the publishing and developer communities.

What exactly does this mean for you?

I’m glad you asked! Are you a content aggregator, publisher, a developer, an entrepreneur, or a business owner? Are you a web-savvy author with your own website who would like to sell directly to your readers? If you fall into any of these categories, the Lulu Print API will allow you to take advantage of our print network directly.

Let’s take a closer look at the Lulu Print API and how this new service might work for you or somebody you know.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the technical aspects of APIs for software, you’ve almost certainly encountered them online without realizing. The acronym API stands for “Application Programming Interface.” Most basically, API is code that allows two unique pieces of software to talk to each other. This, in and of itself, is pretty simple. I say this as someone with only the most rudimentary understanding of coding.

Retailers, individuals, and institutions all make use of APIs to expand their capabilities and offer their users more options, better pricing, faster shipping and much more. Lulu’s Print API serves the same functionality. Once the API is integrated, users can create unique “buy now” options on their SHOP pages within their websites, and all orders placed are channeled into Lulu’s global printing network, to be fulfilled by the same process as any order on Lulu.

But before we dive into the technology aspects of this new tool, let’s take a moment to consider how this impacts the everyday author and the publishing community.

Breaking down Boundaries, Creating Partners

Lulu has always aspired to be a premiere destination for authors, as well as a powerful print and fulfillment partner for businesses, institutions, and publishers. We want to empower everyone to tell their stories and share their knowledge.

From a technical stand point, our Print API service may not seem like an exciting piece of news for the individual author (APIs run in the background and are never seen). API tools are usually meant for web developers, who implement the cross-platform code so the two discrete programs work in harmony. The average author might have little need for an API connection if they don’t want to deal with selling directly from their website.

That being said, publishers and businesses need APIs for many things. And here at Lulu, we understand that need, because we’ve lived in that world for the last fifteen years. We’ve witnessed, year after year, small and independent publishers who start up, bring on a handful of authors, publish a few books, and then eventually fold. Yes, of course, some small publishers succeed, and some even succeed beyond all expectations. We’re more concerned with the publishers who couldn’t keep up.

One of the biggest problems facing many small publishers is the cost associated with printing and fulfilling book orders. The price to print and ship can be prohibitive for small publishers, who likely are operating on a limited budget and need to make the most out of every dollar invested. Print API is an answer to the funding problems these small publishers face. Because the Lulu Print API can be implemented to allow for direct print on demand services at low prices, small publishers can remove the cost of printing and storing books from their budget.

Just like using Lulu’s self-publishing tools, the Print API features all the formats and sizes Lulu has to offer, at the same low prices, and with the same quality and global shipping you’ve come to expect from Lulu. The difference is that publishers the world over can plug into our network while maintaining their brand’s independence.

Harnessing the power of the Web

To further highlight how an API works, here’s an example of how a business might use the Lulu Print API:

Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur with a history in finance and banking for years. You’re taking that experience and offering independent financial advice. You can go out as an individual and meet people, making connections and building up a clientele. Now imagine you wrote your plan for financial success down. You’ve got a valuable document that offers your unique skills but comes at a much lower cost than individual financial planning. With Lulu Print API, you can publish your book, offer it for sale on your website, and print on demand to control costs. Your book becomes a crucial supplement to your income as well as a tool for sharing your expertise. And all of that comes without upfront cost to you, and all the sales are handled on your end, with Lulu only printing and shipping on your behalf.

The API process capitalizes on Internet connectivity to enable collaboration among a variety of companies and individuals, further opening the printing and publishing world to more readers, authors, and publishers.

Pricing is another important aspect to consider with an API connection. Rather than pricing your book on the Lulu site for your profit and our commission, you price it with 100% return of profits. The price you charge on your site is entirely up to you! With the API integrated, the order bills from Lulu to you for the printing and shipping, while the amount you charge a customer is entirely on your end. This expands on the already generous and easy to control profit model Lulu utilizes.

Integration is In

Using API integration is more than just the cool new thing happening across the web. Take a look at this article from TechCrunch last year, “The Rise of APIs”. While the title sounds very Terminator-esque, the point the author makes is clear: third-party APIs are the future, and they are here to shake up the way the Internet works. The opening paragraph of the article sums it up; ” there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality.”

While a clean and easy-to-navigate interface is always going to be important, the ability to quickly implement a new program through API connections is what will keep web based retailers one step ahead. Adding new features, replacing out of date products, and generally being able to work with the range of other programs on the web is a key to staying relevant; using API connections solves all of these problems. All modern software providers are conscious of API connectivity, and the implications of creating software that does not allow for API integration. The way of the future is sharing, through both open and private API connections, and mutually finding success through shared programming.

Lulu embraces this mentality wholly. From the first day, we’ve been a company designed to help content creators better share their stories and knowledge. Enabling API connections with our print network is a logical and necessary step for us.

Looking to the Future

Lulu’s Print API is the first of many steps from Lulu you’ll see in the months and years to come. Our eyes have always been toward the future, toward finding better, cheaper, and more efficient ways to help you share your story.

Whether you’re an individual author with a website you’d like to sell your book directly from or a business with a high volume of printed material you need created and shipped directly to customers, Lulu’s Print API offers the services and versatility you need. Designed with developers in mind, Lulu’s Print API will be a crucial piece of Lulu’s ability to offer the best printing and self-publishing options to everyone, everywhere.

Look for more from Lulu in the future, as we continue to make innovations in the publishing community. For now, you can check out our API/Developer’s Portal site at develpers.lulu.com to learn more about Lulu’s Print API and see if the tool might be right for you.

Featured post

Brighton Festival and nabokov Storytelling Army, sponsored by Lulu, picture gallery

Below are some great pictures of the Storytelling Army (pictures by Adam Weatherley) out and about in Brighton telling their Everyday Epic stories (you can find more pictures on our facebook page LuludotcomUK). We can’t wait to read some of the stories in the Everyday Epic short story anthology we are publishing for them!Storytelling Army-5029Storytelling Army-5057Storytelling Army-5960Storytelling Army-6036Storytelling Army-6406Storytelling Army-6288Storytelling Army-6328Storytelling Army-6381Storytelling Army-6424

Brighton Festival, nabokov and Lulu.com exclusive short story writing competition based on the Brighton Festival 2017 theme of ‘Everyday Epic’. Competition entries extracts.

Behind the Door

The inmates inside were a complete mixed bag of creeds and races. Some guys were pretty big and terrifyingly intimidating. Some were overweight and kept their heads down. A few were old and grey, again, my heart went out to these old men, they looked lost and out of place. Some were like me, average height, skinny and wondering what the hell went wrong with their lives to put them in such a place.

Thankfully, I was amazed to see queuing going on. Queuing I thought, the first sign of mutual respectfulness and courtesy. This was a good sign. It reminded me of a wildlife documentary I watched once where all the animals on the African plain were suffering with a two-year long drought and as they all gathered around the last watering hole no animal was harmed or killed. I prayed this was the case in this watering hole.

Each time a shower became free, the man next in line would quickly undress and jump in, and he’d hurriedly lather up his head with shower gel and then with a flannel use the froth to clean the rest of his body. This whole process took approximately sixty seconds. He was soon, in his track suit, sopping wet and leaving through the door back onto the wing.

Razor looked at me and wordlessly nodded me over to the farthest end of the room. I gathered that being nearer to the end of the shower-room his back would be covered by the wall and he could see anyone and everything that was going down. Men stepped out of the way and let us both pass without so much as a comment or a sneer. The king of the jungle has come to the watering hole and even though there was an unspoken truce, the other animals didn’t push their luck.

(Jai Byrd, East Sussex)

 

The Silver Bracelet

I left the bracelet in the bird’s nest and began my descent which was much more difficult than the climb because you can’t see where you’re going.   After a final undignified slither I was safe on the ground, brushing off the green mould.   Veronica held out her hand.   ‘My bracelet please.’   I shook my head and shrugged.   ‘I told you.   If you want it back you can go up and get it.’   She thought I was joking. ‘Now don’t be stupid Jim. Give it back to me.’   I threw my arms apart.   ‘I haven’t got it.   Search me if you like.’   She still thought I was joking and patted my pockets. ‘Where is it then?’

‘In an old bird’s nest at the top of the tree.’

‘Well you can jolly well climb up again and get it.”   Her eyes were blazing, and her hands were clenched.   I waited for her anger to turn to laughter but it didn’t. So I went back to the tree.   ‘All right then.   Keep your hair on.   I only did it for a joke, like.’   I began climbing when she called out: ‘ no – don’t bother.’   She was smiling now.   ‘I didn’t like the rotten thing anyway.’

‘If you want me to I’ll go up and get it’

She shook her head.

The church clock was striking and it gave me an idea. ‘Today is the twenty seventh of October.   Suppose we come back in twenty years’ time and day at exactly four o’ clock and I’ll climb up and get your bracelet.’”

(Maurice, Horesham)

Nabokov’s Storytelling Army, supported by Lulu.com, hit Brighton Festival 26th-28th May telling their ‘Everyday Epic’ stories.

Storytelling army boardIf you are visiting Brighton this week you are in for a real verbal story telling treat as the  #storytellingarmy will be out in force popping up all over Brighton to tell their everyday epic stories to anyone who will listen. This is an amazing celebration of verbal storytelling and Lulu are delighted to be able to transform some of these stories into the written word as part of the Everyday Epic short story writing competition. You can find a storyteller by looking out for the distinctive board shown above!

social_merchTo celebrate the event we are running a chance to win some great Lulu branded goodies. All you need to do to stand a chance of grabbing one of these great give-aways is look out for one of the storytellers. Once you spot one please tweet a picture, the location you spotted them at, and your feedback on their story on our twitter page @luludotcomUK or visit our facebook page luludotcomUK and message us.

Need a coffee when you are ‘on the spot’ for a member of the storytelling army? Don’t forget to visit the fantastic wall mural on the side of Coffee@33, Trafalgar street and admire the creative handy work of some of the children from local schools. Wall Mural full

Brighton Festival, nabokov and Lulu.com exclusive short story writing competition based on the Brighton Festival 2017 theme of ‘Everyday Epic’. Deadline extended to midnight 24 May 2017

The deadline for entries to the Brighton Festival and Lulu.com short story writing competition has been extended and is now open to entries until Wednesday 24 May.

The quality of the entries so far has been very high and so we have taken the decision to extend the closing deadline to allow more authors the opportunity to submit their work.

Extracts from Everyday Epic stories received so far. Please follow this blog to receive extracts on the story submissions.

Don’t say a word

Starting to work through her ‘to-do’ list, Dani is interrupted by the new starter who had emailed her earlier that morning. She demands to know why Dani won’t meet with her, that her time is important and that she insists that Dani attend the meeting. Dani is unprepared for this and starts to panic. She grabs her whiteboard, writes that she can’t talk now; that she can’t talk at all. The new starter doesn’t go away. The voice becomes more strident. Dani looks for an escape route but her way is blocked by the woman with the loud voice. Dani starts tapping, but it doesn’t calm her this time, and the tapping gets closer and closer to hitting but the voice still continues; Dani can no longer make out the words, only the harsh tone. She needs to run but can’t get away. She starts hitting her head against the wall next to her desk, trying to make it all stop, trying to get herself away from the pain that the voice causes her.

(Julie, West Sussex)

Heartbreak

My husband would be furious if he knew I was here. I’d broken my promise not to see this boy again, but I just had to see him one more time. The choir shuffled onto the stage, not quite the grand entrance that had been rehearsed. A few younger men broke up the ranks of grey-haired chaps fumbling with their song sheets. Most of them were men of my own age, or slightly older, dressed in an assortment of rainbow colours, as requested by the choir director. The early evening sun shone through the stained-glass windows of the old church. Friends and family fanned themselves with the programme of tonight’s show and I caught the scent of decaying lilies placed beside the altar.

(Christopher, West Sussex)

Brighton Festival Hot Seat… Storytelling Army

Stef O’Driscoll, the Artistic Director of nabokov Theatre Company talks to Brighton Festival about working with Kate Tempest, making the arts social and the formation of the Storytelling Army

How and where will the work be staged?

The Storytelling Army are a collective of diverse voices, of people from all walks of life that will pop up all over Brighton during the Festival – be it in the local supermarket, the pub or on the top deck of a bus – and tell their stories which celebrate the theme of Everyday Epic. Everyday Epic looks at us as human beings, at what we do on a daily basis and celebrates those little achievements – whether it is that today I am sober, or I have managed to take my kids to school and I suffer from depression, or whether it’s my first day of paid work – whatever that everyday epic is, it’s the chance to celebrate that and tell that story.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

The idea really came from looking at Kate Tempest’s philosophy of making the arts less exclusive and more social. Kate is an absolute mastermind and I’ve been very fortunate to work with her over the years in terms of directing some of her plays. A couple of years ago, we started to think about other ways that we could work with each other and we could engage new audiences in theatre and storytelling. We started talking about what happens if you have someone just walk in to a pub and start telling a story, but you don’t realise they’re actually telling a story. How would that even function? How would that even work? Could you do that? Could you just be sat at the bar with someone and then they start delivering a poem or telling a story? So, that was the birth of the idea and then when Kate became a Guest Director of the Festival we started to rethink about that idea and whether this would be the right platform to do that. Hence the army of storytellers was born!

How did you begin to research and develop the project?

We started to have a conversation about the different groups that we’d like to work to champion people’s stories. In Brighton, there’s lots of issues in terms of drug use and addition, there’s lots of homelessness and vulnerably-housed people and so we started to identify different organizations and charities that we’d want to work with in partnership to create that army of storytellers.

Why do you think it’s important that these voices are heard?

I think it’s really important that we champion diverse voices in regards to storytelling so that people have stories that they can relate to. Within our theatrical landscape there’s a lot of communities and a lot of voices that are not championed and are not heard. There’s a really important exchange that happens when you see a story where you understand that world, or you identify with that character – you as an audience member are able to understand what your role is within the world. For example, Kate Tempest’s novel, The Bricks that Built the Houses talks about a South London that I know, that I’m a part of. It deals with subcultures that were very much a part of my experience of growing up. There’s a beauty and magic that happens from reading a book that exists for me championing my world, that speaks in a language that I understand. So, we have to champion diverse voices from all walks of life to be able to give that experience to wider communities, for people to actually engage in the arts – people that wouldn’t normally. Otherwise it’s going to remain an elitist thing, which can’t happen.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

The main hope is to engage new audiences in to accessing the arts by breaking down those barriers. So, for someone who wouldn’t normally expect to experience the arts, to just stumble across it. They could be doing their shopping and they come away with a story, with identifying with something or just in part be entertained. It becomes a joyful experience that you haven’t had to pay for.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The beauty of this project is that it is pop up – almost like flash mob-esque. So, as an audience member you could be on your morning commute on your way to work, and you’re on the top deck of a bus and you experience an epic, beautiful poem, or this story that you weren’t really expecting. So, what will they expect? I think the unexpected.

Article reproduced from Brightonfestival.org. Click here to access the Brighton Festival web page.

Brighton Festival, nabokov and Lulu.com spotlight on Everyday Epic writing competition judges: Beth Burgess and Rob Jones of Brighton Festival

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Beth Burgess is the executive producer for the Brighton Festival. As a producer she is responsible for overseeing the programming and overall coordination of all events. Beth has been a stage manager and producer for about 30 years and has worked with artists such as Peter Sellers, Julie Taymore, Bill T Jones and many other wonderful theatre and dance companies. She was one of the original stage managers for the Broadway production of the Lion King and has had the pleasure of working all over the globe.

head shotRob Jones is an emerging producer with extensive experience of working in performing arts production across genre with a particular focus in festivals, large scale cross art form performance and community engagement. Originally from London he has worked for the Roundhouse , World stages London, BAC, the Albany and now currently lives in Brighton and is an Assistant Producer with Brighton Dome and Festival.

 

 

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