As 2019 draws to a close, let’s take a moment to look back and review the year. It’s been a busy one here at Lulu.
As an author or reader, you might not see just how much has been going on behind the scenes. Because everything is chugging along like usual and you can still publish like you’ve always done. Our bookstore still has a huge selection of indie titles.
Some things don’t (and shouldn’t) change.
But what you likely don’t know is that Lulu (and you by extension) have had an incredible year. We’ve published a historic number of books in the last twelve months. Paid out a historic sum in author revenue. And more than any years since our first few, we’ve greeted new users to the platform.
More than Just Lulu
For the last few years, Lulu has been slowly ramping up our contests. We’re in the third year of our Share Your Scare Halloween fiction contest and our annual Calendar contest continues. We love doing these events because they offer us an easy and fun way to interact with our authors and to give something back.
But in 2019, we really wanted to step it up a notch. It took a bit of cajoling, but we got approval to run a cash prize contest. Our $5K for 5K contest was born!
I’d say the contest was a success. We received hundreds of excellent stories and after a long judging process, selected one author—Templeton Moss—as our grand prize winner. All the shortlisted entries went into an anthology called Crossing Borders, available on the Lulu Bookstore.
Borders. Boundaries. Limits. Life is a continual process of crossing borders and discovering something new. This anthology includes the shortlisted works and winning story from Lulu’s 2019 $5k for 5k writing contest: Templeton Moss (Winner) | David V Mammina | Matthew Brady | Roger L. Reeves | Dusty Middleton | C.F. Etter | Benjamin M. Weilert | Amelia Archer | Monai the Poet | Christine Hennessey | Adam Martin | Alexius Rex | Shawn Patrick Cooke | David Wilde | Cody Dunnington | Mark Brandon Allen | Mickey Zee | Aral Bereux | P.S. Lutz | Zach Miller
Record Breaking Revenue
Speaking of paying out, Lulu passed an incredible milestone in 2019. Ready for this? We passed $100,000,000.00 in total revenue paid out to authors. You can read the full press release here.
This is a really special achievement for us because we didn’t achieve it. Authors and creators did this; all we did was print your books.
But in all seriousness, hitting such an impressive revenue amount just goes to show how hardworking Lulu authors are. We all know that, with very rare exceptions, books do not sell themselves. You have to go out there and find readers, convince them to check out what you’ve created.
It’s Good to Have a Good Boss
As the year drew to a close, we heard from the Comparably, a company helping highlight the best companies in their industry. Our CEO, Bob Young, was named one of the fifty best CEOs in the country for 2019!
Not that we needed to be told, but it’s great to see Bob getting the recognition he deserves. And it reinforces for everyone at Lulu just how great a place this is to work.
Which we hope reaches you–our authors and readers. Because we do it all for you. From the very beginning, the spirit of Lulu has been to empower creators. It’s why we love what we do and why it’s easy to see that Bob is a great boss.
New Products: Comic Books and Magazines
Back in October, we announced two new product sets: comic books and magazines. You might read that and think “huh?” Creators have made comic books and magazines with Lulu for years.
And you’re right. But we’ve always struggled to offer one of the most important parts of comic book and magazine printing: inside cover printing. So this year we fixed that.
Now you can create our comic book and magazine products with printing on the inside cover! It requires a little careful work to provide a 2-Page Cover File with the pages organized properly so we know how to bind them. But once you get the file organized, you’ll have a comic or magazine that looks just like any you’d find on a newsstand.
Events: BookCon And Beyond
Team Lulu was all about getting out and meeting authors, readers, and publishers this year. Of course that meant going to the biggest book event of the year—Book Expo and BookCon! Check out our full rundown here.
We talked to hundreds of authors, readers, and publishers over the course of those four days. Bob even joined us one afternoon to chat with our two authors in attendance! All in all, a fun event with so many amazing books and authors.
Despite just how much we had going on this year, Lulu is still a B Corp and we strive to always be better. That means composting, using alternative energy, and volunteering. So, as we wrap up this look back on 2019, I want to end by taking a moment to thank everyone at Lulu who gave their time and energy to volunteer.
From Habitat for Humanity to electronic recycling at our local ReStore, team Lulu went above and beyond to give back.
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.