Farewell to the Lulu Forums

Hey everyone,

I’ve got an announcement today that brings me no pleasure so I won’t beat around the bush: After December 31, 2019, we’ll be closing the Lulu Forums. 

We can’t thank you enough for all the insights, conversations and support you’ve given to existing and aspiring authors. 

From now until the end of the month, the Forums will remain open for users to post and comment. After December 31, 2019, they’ll shift to a ‘view only’ state so old posts can be seen, but new ones will not be available. Nor will comments.

Over the next 90 days (so the first part of 2020), you’ll see some exciting and major changes to the Lulu platform. The kinds of things we have talked about and hinted at for years now. Many of your suggestions, coupled with hours of development work on Lulu, are finally coming to fruition. 

It was a tough decision, but we know that numerous other places exist where writers can congregate online. Lulu’s best investment is continuing to improve the platform and the overall publishing and buying experiences for our customers. 

The Forums will remain open until December 31st and will remain visible until we finalize our plans to phase out the user Forum entirely. After that, Lulu will no longer host a user Forum. As always, you can engage with our Customer Voice team through email, chat, and phone for your Lulu inquiries. 

Thank you again for those who so enthusiastically supported the Lulu Forums over the years.


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Comments

  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    Paul, thank you for everything.

  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
          Image result for drawings of sadness       I too thank Paul for all his help. 
  • I can’t say that it comes as a surprise.

    For the most part – with the exception of one notorious troll – the Lulu forum has been a much more genteel experience than other online forums. All good things come to an end, I guess.

    I would like to offer a word of encouragement to anyone who might be struggling to make progress: I started off seeing a blank sales report, month after month, for a very long time; I have sold 50 books over the last two days.


  • I suppose it was inevitable.
    Before I no longer can, I want to thank you, Paul, for all your efforts and assistance to we, the Lulu writers over the years. That goes for you too, Maggie, JesusNinja, skoob and Ron. I suspect I speak for many who are unable to log on.
    It has been enjoyable and educational and, in fact, indispensable to have the experience and insight of the participants here at the time I first got my feet wet - and since. Thank you!

    P.S. Tell Team Lulu 'Thank You' for the awsome Lulu swag too! It totally made my day!
  • P.P.S. I guess I can park this old Android now.  ;)
  • Thank you BlueandGold that means so much. After three months of trying I finally got logged on. I disagree with the removal of the forum. First since most can't log on how can we get together another place to communicate? Second can we really contact support and ask for advice or inspiration for a cover or text? No. That's what the forum is. We are losing our Lulu "family." I know many like myself who logged on each night just to see what others were writing and offer help. We won't get this from support. It's not what they do. I personally hate it and disagree with it. But some of you who I have grown to know are more than welcome to write me care of email. I'm sending it to you in messenger in case I can't log back in. Wish you guys all the best and have a Merry Christmas!  In case I don't get back I'd like to thank Maggie, Oncewas, Skoob, Ron, BlueandGold, and even Kevin sometimes who helped and gave us inspiration. 
  • But Paul lulu support won't answer questions on covers or give advice or opinions many of us ask for of our friends here. Sorry but support doesn't and can't replace our family of friends here. And as I mentioned above since most haven't been able to log in, how can we get together and decide where to meet? Sad day for lulu. Not your decision I'm sure of but just my two cents. 
  • This seems like a completely pointless exercise. Especially if Lulu's supposed goal is to "to improve the platform and the overall publishing and buying experiences for our customers." Saying that Lulu authors have "numerous other places...where writers can congregate online" is disingenuous. Lulu author/publishers are a community and the forums allowed Lulu authors to discuss Lulu books, Lulu problems and Lulu solutions among themselves. Yes, there are numerous other online forums, but they involve authors working with any number of other publishing resources. I think that rather than "improving" the Lulu publishing experience this decision has instead diluted it.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Ron, I totally agree. This decision is one of the worst I've seen at Lulu.com. First how will it help Customer experience? What helps the customer is the ability to buy which many haven't because the site is unsecured in many places. Second quality of books will bring more customers. This happens over time with the forum members giving and sharing experiences and or advice. Third without the community here , there are no books to sell, which is how Lulu.com makes it money. As we do also. As I mentioned to someone in private, this is removing our "family" and many of us have gotten to know each other and gain trust. Suggesting we go elsewhere to communicate is absurd. Most can't even log on so how would they know where to meet us if did find a place. 
    This decision is making the site just a plain no personality site no better than shopping on Ebay. The website should make things better for the authors, it's us that make lulu and our books that make the money no matter how little some of us make. It all adds up and pays the bills here. As I said before contacting support is pointless. They aren't going give advice on covers , story-lines, etc. Many here will be helpless after the forum is gone. And the friendly atmosphere we have come to know will be replaced with an empty space that once was a great place to sell our books. 
  • Just to add I agree Ron, the forum was great to discuss "lulu' problems. Which can't be done on other sites. 
  • This whole thing sounds just like whenever any other company "improves" things for the customer by doing something that no customer has ever wanted or asked for.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • One more thing...

    When someone has a problem and queries Lulu support directly, they are the only ones who see the answer. When a problem is expressed in a forum not only does the original poster receive an answer but so do any number of other people with the same or similar problem.

    The real solution would be to improve the forum itself. The only complaints I have ever heard are not about its existence, but difficulties with access.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    I think just restore the old forums, even if all the work and help articles disappear. It was hugely successful, despite its problems. When visitors see real people interacting, they are more prone to sign up and publish.

    There are so many publishing places out there and they have tried to emulate these forums, unsuccessfully. And then they took them down. No people there. To quote The Walking Dead, people are the currency.

    So, to bring the people back, the forums must be easy to use and easy to enter. I am using the Opera browser now, to get in here, and still it was exhausting. I had to shuffle back and forth and sign in twice. Paul probably doesn't have the support of the programming team, as he has been trying to fix this for years.

  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    edited December 2019
    To prove this point, I recently wrote to Lulu on Facebook, and I also corresponded with Live Chat in an attempt to sign in here. I also read the Help article. Nothing helped. But Oncewas, a lulu user, a real person who had also struggled to enter, was able to help. They said try other browsers, he said try Opera and click on the blocked notification. 

    People Helping People, that's what I would title the old forums should they be restored.



  • I agree with Maggie all the way. Instead of taking down the forums, streamline them and make them more user-friendly. Fix the forums...don't throw them out.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I agree. When people sign up and see there are others here that have gone through the whole process and have written advice or ask for it they will be more tempted to publish here. Knowing that they can ask these people for help might make them feel more at home. 
  • Perhaps a simple phpbb could be set up on a Lulu server? It wouldn't have to be directly linked to the Lulu system and could perhaps be moderated by volunteers?

    Just a thought...
  • Hey all,
    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this. I'm not surprised at the disagreements with this decision. In a lot of ways, I agree. To me, the Lulu forums shuttering is a personal failure. I understand the feeling of community that is lost with the removal of our public forums as much as anyone here.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    To me, the Lulu forums shutt(er)ing is a personal failure. Not a failure on your part Paul. You helped so many of us and we are very grateful to you. THANK YOU so much for all your help and advice.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    "No other bulletin board software offers a greater complement of features, while maintaining efficiency and ease of use. Best of all, phpBB is completely free. We welcome you to test it for yourself today. If you have any questions please visit our Community Forum where our staff and members of the community will be happy to assist you with anything from configuring the software to modifying the code for individual needs."(https://www.phpbb.com/) I don't know much about bulletin boards BlueAndGold (i had to look up what phpbb meant) However maybe that's one solution.
  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    Paul, it's not a personal failure. You had no support. It would have taken one hour from the developers to fix the sign in issue. 

    Anyway, what's done is done. I doubt Lulu wants to invest any more money and time on this. Let us go with our heads held high, all of us, Paul included. You did a great job. The forums are meticulous and well organized and useful. 

  • TheJesusNinjaTheJesusNinja Teacher
    edited December 2019
    Just heard from support that even the private messaging will be gone soon. So now we no longer can communicate with each other. What's next? Such a terrible decision to make us lose all of this. 
  • Just heard from support that even the private messaging will be gone soon. So now we no longer can communicate with each other. What's next? Such a terrible decision to make us lose all of this. 

    It makes absolutely not one whit of sense.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I have been in contact with Lulu Support many times do to with the forum log in problem almost since it started to happen. It was only very recently that they told me that the forum was to close, anyway. It's hardly a decision taken by Lulu on impulse, so why was I, and us, not told previously?
    I asked why will it close, but remain open for a while as read only.
    The bottom line seems to be that they do not have the time for mods to keep coming here to correct inaccurate help all the time … that it will remain open read only so that people may read useful threads (not sure how they will log on to do so!) I questioned the apparently constant need to correct us, that many of the threads soon become out of date (with no one to now tell them) that if we had not requested mods some years back to help deal with the many trolls there used to be here, there would not be any mods in here.
    None of those points were replied to.

    I also suggested that closing the forums, which more or less stops us aiding people to DIY their books, and how to DIY create a decent saleable book often for free or peanuts, could turn Lulu in to a Vanity Publishing site. Again not directly replied to, apart from, they will be improving the knowledge base (again.)

    I suggested volunteer mods if they don't want the expense of any. No response.

    If this forum, (which is a 3rd party site) costs them more than they wish to pay, then there are many free (and better) forum tools. (I gave a link to an exceptional one years ago when the one they were using kept breaking (as all the ones Lulu use seem to eventually do.)

    As to the suggestion that there are alternative places we can gather and offer help, and generally chat about putting a book and story together, etc., is peculiar. This is Lulu, we publish on Lulu, those who come here (or used to do!) publish on Lulu, or want to know how to. This is where they will be looking.

    The best place therefore to do it is surely on Lulu?
  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    Our posts of complaining and calling out Lulu publicly, I believe, is one of the reasons they are shutting this place down. Instead of continuing in that line of action, let us pull a DT. 100 postings here a day each, until it closes. He has even reached a record 124 tweets in one day ;) .

  • Hi Everyone (and Maggie!),

    I hope you are all doing well. It's been a while since I posted. I've continued to follow and be a big fan of Lulu's Forum posters regardless of my role here. As Paul stated, we value and appreciate all the contributions over the years. 

    I wanted to take a moment and reply to your comments on the deprecation of the Lulu Forums. I joined Lulu in 2011 and the forums have definitely changed. As we move forward to replace the original Lulu platform in 2020, we evaluated the various parts of our offering. Here are a few thoughts on the decision:
    • Since introducing chat and phone support, there is a lack of engagement from a larger audience. We routinely see dwindling numbers of new posts and overall views.
    • The new platform launch will results in most solutions becoming obsolete, with many hurdles programmed out of existence based on the feedback of 10+ years of self-publishing.
    • The cost of hosting a forum isn't human, it's software. We want to invest elsewhere for the time being. This decision shall be revisited at a later date.

    Reasons not accurate on closing the forums:

    • Being called out and held accountable as a company to our customers. We like that, actually. All your great ideas can be shared at https://feedback.lulu.com/
    • Trolls and negative behavior by posters. I got called Gaddafi back in the day and survived, it's not fear

    If you haven't checked out https://www.reddit.com/r/selfpublish/, this is a good alternative to continue dialog with not only Lulu, but a 37.2M audience of self-published interested parties.

    Again, thank you for your time, your commitment, and your support.

    Rachel Braynin


  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    Wow. Rachel. What a gift to see your posting. I was waiting outside of Metro for my friend while he shopped and thought to check these forums, which I have done frequently over the years. And there you were, a gift. My second this Christmas season. I suppose since this forum will be deleted I can write freely. I thought you were no longer here. Wow. Nice, only two things missing now. A cheers to Ken, who wrote to me daily with British insults I had to look up. Cheers, Ken! wherever you are. And a super cheers to that hunky former moderator who blushed when I called him that.

    Here's a great song Memories by Adam Levine. I thought I wouldn't care at all if the forums disappeared. Now I'm all mushy inside. Delayed reactions.





  • TheJesusNinjaTheJesusNinja Teacher
    edited December 2019
    We publish on lulu, we sell on lulu, our forum should be here not elsewhere. It was more useful to us than many will ever realize. I learned more here than anywhere else about how to improve my books. I am sure if more could log in they would say the same. I know saying this won't change anything but it is true. The site is going to lose a lot of personality, it's life. I'm afraid what more might be gone in the future. Trying not to be negative here but there always is a chance of losing even more down the road. 
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    The cost of hosting a forum isn't human, it's software. We want to invest elsewhere for the time being. This decision shall be revisited at a later date. So Rachel the reason the forums are closing is money which is to be spent elsewhere. That's a shame. Like TheJesusNinja said "Our forum should be here not elsewhere. It was more useful to us than many will ever realize. I learned more here than anywhere else about how to improve my books.I am sure if more could log in they would say the same. As for me I wouldn't have been able to make my first few books without the help of the forum. Also at one stage I was going to give up, but was persuaded not to by one of our forum members. I'm so glad I did continue and although I'm not a brilliant writer I have improved and really enjoy coming here, making books and visiting the forums. I do hope when Lulu revisits this issue they decide to bring back the forums.
  • When I read in Rachel’s post that the Reddit site had 37.2 million self-publishers I thought ‘no wonder it is so hard to sell books’. Fortunately, the site only has 37.2 thousand users, not that that makes any difference.


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