Writing with Purpose

Here at Lulu we talk daily about how every person has a story to tell. About the role of publishing in knowledge sharing. About the importance of text in education and business. About how critical it is that we as a culture write down and retain the world around us.

We write for a lot of reasons, but one thing we don’t think about as much is just how crucial writing is for us as individuals. The simple act of writing is in and of itself a special release,  whether we write fiction for pleasure, non-fiction for memories, or manuals to share knowledge, writing unburdens us of something stored inside of us. And in doing so, we offer that something up to the world. We give a little piece of ourselves so that others might enjoy it or learn from it.

Recently, we were reminded of this by someone who persevered through a difficult time thanks to writing. Here is his story:

About a year ago a lot of intense things happened in my life, and I fell into deep depression, and it caused a lot of problems for me and my family. I was really struggling to get out of it. I started to journal things each day, but it wasn’t the same. And my wife would say how she missed the “old me” before I got really depressed for about 9 months. I decided to do both, write something to help myself, but also write something to help her see the me that she married, not the depressed me. I spent the next 6-7 months writing a little bit each day, as much as I could even if it was just a paragraph. It helped me crawl out of the hole that I was in, and it gave me something to look forward to. I finally finished my book a couple of weeks ago, about 7 months after starting it. I’m not sure how to classify the book that I wrote, as it is more of a “this is me in every important way”, and I only intend for my wife to read it.

Thanks to you, and everyone supporting you, I was able to accomplish my goal, and just this week my book arrived at my house and I presented it to her. She spent the evening reading it, laughing and crying (good cries), and it really had a profound effect on me and her. And I couldn’t have done it without you.

This kind of story inspires us and reminds us how important offering self-publishing tools can be. We must not lose sight of the therapeutic benefit of writing regularly, of unloading our problems, our joys, and our fears onto the page.

The world of publishing is ever changing, and in this near-constant upheaval, it is easy to lose sight of the things that really matter. This matters.

We’d like to thank this author for sharing their story, and extend our gratitude to them and all of our authors for doing us the honor of choosing our service to print your books.

 

Lulu as a Business Partner

As you may well know, Lulu has been the go-to print on demand, self-publishing platform since 2002.

Yet there’s one misconception we run into time and again. Many hear terms like ‘self-publish,’ ‘indie-publish,’ or ‘print on demand’ and envision a fraught author, hunched over their laptop, tapping out their masterpiece. That’s a common perception, and its not entirely inaccurate.

The idea that self-publishing is reserved for fiction authors is just plain wrong. People need books for a variety of reasons. Everyone with information they need to solidify and make accessible has use for books. Authors are not just story tellers. They are information entrepreneurs, they are business owners, experts in their fields, educators, trainers, travelers, cooks, entertainers, storytellers, journalists…this list could go on. I’ll stop short and get to the point.

Lulu is more than a publisher for fiction writers. We’re a print partner, ready to help your business, big or small, with a range of printing needs.

Whether you’re a business owner, or work in human resources, or a motivated entrepreneur, or a public speaker, or…I’m listing again. If you’ve got information you need to share to further your career or to make your business run smoothly, we’re ready to be your partner.

Here’s an example: Imagine you’ve developed a product. It’s a new take on an old idea, and something you know adherents of the old idea will love. You’ve got a market for this product, and you’re transitioning from development to entrepreneurial business person. You’re going to sell this product, and as you prepare to go to market, you also have to establish instructions. Customers will not be happy with your amazing product if they receive it and can’t turn it on!

But manuals aren’t cheap either. If you went with a more traditional printing method, you’d have to order a set quantity of the instructions and have them inserted into the packaging for your product. Not only does this cause you to incur another production cost, you’ll have an instruction manual that can only be updated by getting a new print run.

What if you could make the manual available without including it? Users who need or want the manual can order it (even a digital version if you wanted). The investment goes from substantial (making and printing a number of manuals and including them with each product) to negligible (just the cost to create the manual file). In fact, Lulu already has authors who do just this:

Raymarine UK Limited – Lulu Store

Raymarine makes and sells marine electronics for a wide range of nautical and boating uses. Their electronics require set up and training to use correctly. Rather than investing in pre-printed manuals, Raymarine has their manuals on the Lulu Bookstore, and users who need a manual can come to us and have one printed.

Manuals and instructional material can be important for internal use as well. Does your business use a training manual? Imagine being able to update the manual periodically with ease, and printing out only the most recent version for your new employees. Imagine the cost savings of having only the manuals you need at the ready, rather than stocking a number of them on hand.

Our print on demand tools allow Lulu to be an adaptable, quick means of printing exactly what you need when you need it. Here are some of the many ways a book can be useful for a business or entrepreneur:

  • Manuals/Instructions
  • Internal training
  • Reporting material
  • Advertising tool to promote your knowledge/product
  • Product catalog
  • Education material (custom text books, curriculum specific material, work books)

For years now Lulu has been a dependable business partner for professionals and companies with all kinds of printing needs. We’re ready to help you and your business with easy to use, fast, affordable, and high quality printed products.

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

J_K__Rowling

Example from an author we all know.

Who is your favorite living author? Have you ever visited their website? If you wanted to know more about them, where would you click? What would you expect to see on that page?

Now think about your website or blog. If a journalist, blogger, production manager, or agent wanted to know more about you, where would they find the information? How are you selling yourself as a writer or subject matter expert? How are you telling the story of you?

If you are new to publishing, you may not have even thought about needing an “About” page on your website. If you have one, it probably has a few fun facts about you, some pictures of your family and maybe an homage to your faithful pet. This information may be meaningful to you, but will it get you an interview or a speaking engagement? If not, perhaps it’s time to re-work your “About the Author” page to serve as an author press kit.

“Who has the time for that?” you may ask. In truth, it’s likely you already have most of the information needed to create an effective press kit. You just didn’t know you needed one. An effective press kit includes:

Author Biography and Contact Information

Lulu recommends authors have multiple versions of their bios for use in article submissions, guest posts, and interviews. Your press kit bio should be about 200 words focusing on what makes you interesting and your areas of expertise. Don’t forget to include a head shot and your (or your publicist’s) email, phone, and social media contact info.

Press_Kit_author_photo_jpg

In addition to contact information, always include a clear, professional head shot with your bio.

 

Specific information about your book(s)
List the title, topic, genre and intended audience for your book as well as a succinct summary (no spoilers).  If you are writing nonfiction include your credentials or personal experience relevant to the topic.

Press Coverage
Show your press-worthiness. Include excerpts from reviews, transcripts from interviews, links to press releases, blogs and articles written about your work. List awards, nominations, and recognitions your work has received. Your press kit is not the place for humility.

Press Kit Newsroom1

Busy reporters are always looking for compelling local stories. A well-written press kit makes it easier for them to meet their deadline.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
If your goal is to schedule newspaper, radio, or television interviews, include a list of frequently asked questions and answers about you and your book. The more upfront information you provide, the easier it is for a journalist to prepare a story. Your answers should be personal, conversational, and quotable. FAQs and answers also provide jumping off points for further questions:

  • What lead you to writing?
  • How does your early (or current) life influence your writing?
  • What is your inspiration for developing these characters / writing on this topic?
  • How does the story mirror your own experiences?
  • Why did you choose to self-publish your work?
  • What are you working on now?

    Press Kit Radio Interview

    “You’ve probably answered this question a thousand times, but I just have to ask….”

Excerpts

Fiction authors should include a few meaningful sections that artfully demonstrate their writing style or provide character insight. Nonfiction writers should include a PDF of the first few chapters of their book.

Upcoming Events
Do you have a book signing event scheduled? Are you attending or speaking at a conference? Are you appearing on TV or radio? Let the world know where you will be and how to contact you during the event. If you choose to include an “events” section on your press kit page, it is imperative you keep it up to date. You may also choose to update this section with pictures from the events or links to print articles and interviews (audio / video).

Press Kit Reporter

“I saw you were going to be in town. Will you have time for an interview?”

 

Sell Sheet
If you are selling books directly from your website or through social media, you should also include your product and price lists for hardcover and paperback versions as well as wholesale bulk pricing for bookstores.

Remember, your author press kit does not have to be fancy. Keep the format, font and layout simple and easy to read. Start with material you already have and add to the page as you build your reputation online, in print, and through broadcast media. Remember this content is how you sell yourself and your work, so proofread, proofread, and proofread again to make sure it is error-free. A professional looking press kit page will help get you the publicity you need for publishing success.

Press Kit paparrazi

The publicity you deserve!

Additional Resources

How to Write a Killer Author Bio

Guest Blogging: How to Build Your Online Reputation

Five Hours to Success

 

Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas

In case you forgot, Mother’s Day is this weekend!

Don’t fret if you’ve let it slip your mind. We won’t tell your mom. And with our great last minute, home made gift ideas, you can surprise her with a unique gift you can put together with haste.

So the first idea is…drum roll…you guessed it! A Book!

Now, you should absolutely make your mom a book. Fill it with childhood photos and memories, little things that will remind her why she’s important. This is an absolute must. But if you’re reading this, its too late to make that book for a mother’s day gift. The upside is, if you get started now, you’ve got plenty of time to have it ready for next year.

At the moment, what you can do is make your mom a hand-held book from a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. It’s incredibly easy, quick, and creative.

There’s a few different ways you can make a One Sheet Book:

My personal favorite is the eight page design (first in the above list). It requires the minimum cutting, and makes a simple, well sized book for writing or drawing in.

Here’s a more detailed set of instructions with additional images – One Sheet Book

Grab your pens, colored pencils, and artistic talents to add some heartfelt mother’s day content!

Another simple idea for a heartfelt and creative gift is folded flowers. Less expensive than a dozen roses, and they won’t wilt over time!

You’ll need some colored paper for these. Here’s a link to my favorite folded flower design – an Iris with stem. The instructions even have tips for using full sheet paper, and a design for the stem. Make a few of these and you’ve got a beautiful boutique for your mom!

If you’re not into crafts so much, or could always consider buying your mom an ebook! Lulu offers a wide variety of ebooks on our site. Does you mom like to cook? Check out our nearly 2000 ebook titles under cookbooks! How about crafts your mom might like to make herself? Lulu has over 1000 ebooks on crochet and more than 500 ebooks  on knitting.  Ebooks are the perfect last minute gifts, since you can buy the book (usually at a lower price than a print book too) and send the file over to your mom’s tablet, eReader, or handheld device with ease.

Whatever you do, don’t let Mother’s Day slip by without thanking your mom!

 

 

 

Learn more about Lulu – Videos

Our talented videographer has been hard at work creating videos to help illustrate what Lulu offers and how you can take advantage of our services to publish.

Today, I’d like to highlight the series we’ve recently released, designed to help knew authors begin the complex process of navigating the world of Self-Publishing! We call this series “Why Choose Lulu?” We have a lot to offer self-publishers of every kind, and I hope these videos will help you make informed decisions about how to publish your work.

Without further ado…

Resources and Tools:

Lulu is a resource above all else. Our tools are free to use, and provide access to a Global distribution network.

 

Print Quality and Network:

Quality is king. We offer the highest quality printing at competitive prices.

 

Free Publishing with highest author Royalties:

Did we mention Lulu’s tools are free to use? Well, we also offer 80% revenue returns to our authors, the highest percent in the industry!

 

Check out our complete library of information videos, along with author interviews (and an adorable commercial with a puppy!). Be sure to look back regularly too, we’re updating with new content as fast as we can!

Lulu Video Library

Proofreading: What Makes a Great Reader?

Taking an idea and turning it into a written work is no easy task. The process is long, arduous, and riddled with interconnected steps. It can be easy to overlook proofreading. You’ve written a book after all! The excitement to get it into print and out there for the world to see is tremendous.

But don’t put the cart before the chicken!

Or something like that. Anyway, don’t get ahead of yourself.

Its vital that you get some eyes on your work before you publish. Proofreaders serve a variety of critical purposes:

  1. Spelling and gramatical errors
    This one might seem obvious, but you shouldn’t let anything go without notice. Get as many trusted readers as you can to give feedback regarding spelling, grammar, word choice, and syntax.
  2. Plot, pacing, and organizational feedback
    A topic or story you’re passionate about might hold your interest indefinitely, but if the pace is crawling, the plot languishing, or the content organized in a counter-intuitive way, readers are not encouraged to stick with the book.
  3. Overall opinions about the work
    Presumably, you had a goal in mind when you started the book. An endpoint for your characters. A piece of information you want to convey to readers. A bit of historical data you want to commit to writing. Whatever the content’s purpose, you need a holistic opinion about how what you’ve created works as a book.

With the above roles in mind, you’ll want to seek out individuals you can trust to give honest opinions. I cannot stress enough how important diversity is here. As an example, my ideal proofreading group would include:

  • 2 or 3 people familiar with you and your writing
  • 2 or 3 people unfamiliar with your writing (friend of a friend, member of a local writing group, etc.)
  • Someone with a strong editorial and/or publishing background (this might require paying someone)

Local writing groups are a great place to start. You’ll find like minded writers, and in most cases eager proofreaders. Family and friends work too, though there is a good chance they’ll be more supportive and less critical than you need. But you should absolutely get the opinions of BOTH. You need a variety of voices, with all the associated motivations, to truly get the most from your book.

There’s a few specific attributes to look for in your proofreader:

  1. Patience
    Reading a rough draft, no matter how well written, is a lot of work. Your proofreader needs to have the patience to stick with your work from start to finish, without wavering or losing interest.
  2. Avid reader
    It is not necessary, but is quite beneficial, if your proofreader is familiar with the type of writing your are doing. If you’ve written a fictional tale, you might not want to engage someone who primarily reads non-fiction to proofread.
  3. Thorough
    Alongside patience, your ideal proofreader will be thorough and detail oriented. Someone who always seeings a thing through to the end, and puts in the same effort from start to finish. Proofreading a book is no easy task, and your proofreader is going to be a critical player in helping you  create a book readers will want to pick up.

Proofreaders are crucial to perfecting your manuscript prior to publishing. Don’t overlook the value of unbiased observes.

 

Author: Edie Summers – The Memory of Health

Lulu author Edie Summers has more than a decade of experience in health and wellness. Her book draws from personal experiences to highlight the benefits of mindful living in conjunction with more traditional health care options.

Recently, Lulu sat down with Edie to hear how she approached self-publishing her memoir, and what mattered most to her in finding a company to work with her on this project.

 


Get the Book

The Memory of Health

A memoir and guide to living well. The Memory of Health is a meditation and conversation on well-being. What makes you thrive, even in the face of great odds? What makes you come alive? At the age of 22, Edie developed chronic fatigue after having surgery for a ski accident. While physical therapy was helpful, she had to seek alternative treatment to regain full use of her knee. In the course of seeking answers to her health challenges, she discovered the power of mindful living and became a conscious consumer in her quest for true well-being. Whether you like mainstream, alternative, or integrative medicine as your solution for health and well-being, be conscious of the choices you make, because they matter.

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