Last week we looked back at 2018 and how the year treated everyone here at Lulu. It’s been a truly remarkable year for Lulu, with the introduction of our first API-based application for Shopify and the rollout of our new publishing wizard (at Lulu Direct). 2018 is going to be a tough year to top. But don’t worry, we’ve got this. Lulu in 2019 is going to be even more remarkable!
Our API Gets Better
Posts like this can be tricky. I can’t give away everything we’ve got planned for the year. We’re a business. We can’t over-promise and we have to be realistic. So when I say that we have big plans for our API in 2019, I say that as someone who knows what we want to achieve.
Our hopes are high that we’ll introduce an entire range of improvements thanks to our publishing API in 2019. Will we hit all of those goals? I think so. But there are no guarantees.
Here is what I can say:
- We’re going to build on the improvements you see on our Lulu Direct site.
- You might have already noticed our new Calendar creator on Lulu Direct. We’ll continue to build out that calendar tool with new options.
- We’ll introduce several improvements for buying books.
I know, kind of vague. But as these changes roll out in the coming months, we’ll spend plenty of time talking about them.
Ebooks and Endless Reading
If you’ve used Lulu in the past to make an ebook, I’m going to guess that you were thrilled to take advantage of our DOCX converter. This tool makes it easy to format a DOCX file with Heading Styles that our converter can use to lay out your book for eReaders.
And if you use that same converter in the last two months, you might have run into unexpected errors. Like a DOCX file, you’d previously converted failing for no reason.
We don’t much like that. I’ve spent more time helping customers convert to EPUB on their own so they can finish publishing in the last month than in all the years before. And it’s all because our ebook converter is old and written with outdated code.
Did you know that our converter checks for and validates the EPUB files it creates against a standard above the universal EPUB standard? Basically, we go out of our way to over-check the file.
So for Lulu in 2019 we’ll be fixing that. We spent some time working on this old software, but we’ve concluded that it’s a better idea to just replace the converter.
Best of all, nothing will change for our authors. You’ll still create a DOCX with Heading Styles, upload that file, and get an EPUB at the end. The improvements are all happening behind the scenes and could very well include some added benefits, such as better error logs and easier customization of your final EPUB file.
Who Doesn’t Love Prizes?
Lulu’s marketing team loves to run contests and prize giveaways. Seriously, you should see how excited some of us get about giving stuff away.
In 2018 we did a bunch of contests. From our annual Share Your Scare short story contest around Halloween, to our 12 Days of Lulu Book Bundle Giveaway on Instagram during December.
The coming year won’t be any different. In fact, it’s shaping up to be even more awesome. We’ve got a contest in the works for 2019 that’s going to really spark your imagination and offer some amazing prizes. Stay tuned as we work out the details, but I think everyone is going to be really excited about the contests and giveaways we have planned for 2019.
A Refreshed Blog
In the next few weeks, the blog (this blog you’re reading!) will get a refresh. You might remember a little over a year ago, the layout changed to the one we’re using. We made that change because of compatibility issues with the old theme and some WordPress updates.
But after a lot of consideration and planning, we will do a full update to a modern theme. As a blog reader, you won’t notice any major changes other than a slightly different layout and some new fonts. The content will still be the same.
With a new theme, we’ll have better mobile reading (which is already nice using the WordPress App), more control over the content layout, and a unified theme across the different topics Lulu covers.
Bonus: Lulu Brings You Webinars!
Okay, so webinars are maybe nothing crazy and new, but we’re pretty excited to be offering even more self-publishing and print-on-demand content for our users.
Stay tuned near the end of January when we roll out the first of our 2019 Webinar series – From Author to Publisher: Print-on-Demand to Scale your Business
Some Things Change, Some Things Stay the Same
If you’ve been to Lulu xPress or used our Shopify App, you’ve already got a sense of how different our new book creation tool is. We’ve got high hopes and bold goals for Lulu in 2019.
But even with all we hope to do this year, a few things are not changing. Our dedication is to provide our users with the best-printed books in the world. And our commitment to our environmental mission remains. We’re still the only print-on-demand book company that’s been certified as a B Corp. We take that distinction seriously and always look for ways to do better than before.
So that’s a glimpse of what 2019 is looking like for us. Stick around, there’s even more to see in the days to come!
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not 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.