Articles by Glenn@Lulu

Scientists Discover the Secret to Happiness: Adult Coloring Books

crayonsParents and babysitters have long used drawing and coloring as an effective tool to engage and calm anxious, unruly children. After all, there is nothing like a nice selection of crayons, a complicated pattern, and a little free time to distract a child from the troubles of the world.

Recently, this soothing childhood activity has been adopted by a slightly older demographic. What started as a quirky pass time has become an international trend, as evidenced by the number of adult coloring books making their way onto international bestseller lists. This trend may be a throwback to childhood memory, but in actuality it may also be the books’ therapeutic properties that have them flying off shelves.

Based on studies dating back to the early 20th century, coloring generates wellness, quietness and stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. Psychiatrist Carl Jung prescribed coloring complex mandalas for his patients as a means to calm and center their minds.Mandala Coloring Book

Brain scans reveal that when coloring, different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres are activated. Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist who also happens to be the author of his own line of adult coloring books, says that coloring elicits a relaxing mindset, similar to what you would achieve through meditation. Like mediation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment rather than worrying about what did or did not / may or may not happen.

Dr. Joel PeZenarson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia theorizes a different explanation for the therapeutic effect: Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones. “You have to look at the shape and its size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color. These activities occupy the same parts of the brain that stop anxiety-related mental imagery from happening.” In the simplest of terms, coloring has a scientifically recognized de-stressing effect.

So, if you are parenting or “babysitting” an anxious, unruly adult in need of a soothing distraction, grab a few markers and sit them down with a coloring book. It’s scientifically proven to replace the stress of adult life with childlike happiness.

Get started on your path to serenity today with a few of our favorite selections.

Your happiness deserves it.

Masculine AbstractpscychodelicFashionHealing patterns

7 Tips for Keeping Your 2016 Writing Resolutions

new-years-resolutionsBy now, most people have realized their 2016 resolutions were perhaps a little too ambitious. You are not alone. On average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutionaries are successful in reaching their proclaimed goals. But, with resolve and a little encouragement, you may count yourself among the determined 8% at year’s end.

Here are seven tips to help keep your writing resolutions on track for success.

#1 – Define your why

You say you want to lose weight, quit smoking, start / finish writing your novel, devote more time to marketing your book, or find more happiness. But do you know why you want to do those things? Your “why” is your motivation. If you don’t know why, you are more likely to lose your resolve upon encountering the first setback.

#2 – Consider the why-nots

This is the flip side of your whys. As Noah St. Joan explains in his book, The Secret Code of Success, everything you do is caused by your why-tos weighed against your why-not-tos. Your brain is like an infinite weighing machine: It’s always comparing the perceived benefits (why-tos) against the perceived cost (why-not-tos).

Whenever you’re considering an activity — like spending time editing your novel, answering emails, writing press releases, or reading this article — your brain is going, “Why should I do this? How will it benefit me? What’s it going to cost me? I’d rather be watching TV.” Since our brains are always negotiating with us, our “why” must be a greater motivator than the alternative.

#3 – Enlist the help of friends

The easiest way to fail is to try to do something alone. There are not many examples of people who did great things completely alone. Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Michael Jordan had his dad. Paul McCartney had John Lennon.

The way to overcome this mistake is simple: tell your friends what you want and why you want it, and ask them to support you in making positive changes.

#4 – Use positive peer pressure

This is a continuation of #3. Ask your friends to tell you when they see you straying from your goal.

Many people will feel uncomfortable about this one, but what you don’t realize is that your friends already know when you are not making an effort; they are just too nice to say anything. That’s why you must give them permission to tell you when you mess up or fall short of what you said you wanted to do. Just resolve to not get mad or defensive when they tell you.

#5 – Recruit an accountability partner

An accountability partner is someone you communicate with at regular intervals (monthly, once a week, even daily) to check on your progress. The beautiful thing is, you can also be that person’s accountability partner and help THEM make positive changes, too.

#6 – Ask experts for advice

No matter what you are trying to accomplish – write a poem, sell your book, schedule an interview, be nicer — without a solid plan of action, your good intentions will probably fall short. That’s why it’s good to find other people who have succeeded at the thing you’re trying to do and ask how they did it.

There is always someone who likes to talk about him/herself who will share their experience with you if asked politely. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, there are numerous blogs on all subjects that are just a few clicks away. If you can make use of others’ advice, you can avoid the most common pitfalls thereby increasing your chances of success.

#7 – Don’t set yourself up to fail

This is the worst mistake of all. The truth is, everyone knows how to write a book, quit smoking, or be nicer. Most people simply don’t believe they can do it — either because they’ve tried in the past and failed or they just don’t believe they’re capable of doing it.

Most importantly, don’t’ give up. It’s still early in the year and there is plenty of time to get your writing and marketing resolutions on track for success – just don’t wait too long to get started.

If you have any suggestions to share, please add them in the comments section below.

Happy 2016!

Using Lulu Coupon Codes in Your Marketing Emails

Jan 28 JANEND20 Full(This Post will be updated each day when new consumer coupon codes are released, so check back often.)

Let’s try out a few seasonal metaphors for your email marketing efforts…

Stuff your readers’ stockings with email! Deck the halls with deals on eBooks! Pass the turkey and mashed potatoes… and… strategically develop an email marketing plan that takes advantage of Lulu.com’s sales and special offers…

Okay, so that last one doesn’t really flow. But – it’s good advice all the same. Email marketing that coincides with Lulu’s impressive special offers is the next best thing to having your books carried right down your readers’ chimneys.

What’s so great about it? For starters, email marketing works. Social media may seem the savvier approach, but email is roughly six times more effective at bringing in new buyers than Facebook and Twitter. Email gives you a great platform for sharing special offers and introducing new books, without your carefully crafted content getting lost in the endless scroll of tweets and status updates.

Here’s a sample email template you can use:

Email Subject Line:
Get <Book Title> for 20% Off on Print Books and Calendars

Email Body:
Have you ordered your copies of <book title> yet? <Placeholder for one line book description>  If not, order today and save big.

Order today on Lulu.com and save 20% with coupon code JANEND20 thru January 28th.

To place your order, simply click this link: <Placeholder for link to book>, click Add to Cart and apply the code at checkout.

Plus, you can order extra copies at this discounted price to share with friends and family.

Order today and save! <Link to book>

<Author name>

**Don’t forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive.

 

See? Simple. You can highlight the current savings, briefly describe the book, and gives easy instructions. It’s low-pressure, good-natured, informative and brief. You can even provide a link right to your Author Spotlight and save your readers from searching. If you have multiple titles, you may wish to include a link to your Author Spotlight page to encourage shoppers to browse your catalog.

And, though we are currently entering the season of sharing and shopping, this strategy works year-round. At Lulu.com, we’re always looking for ways to promote you and sell your books. Whenever we have a sale — seasonal or otherwise — send out an email blast letting everyone know. After all, ‘tis always the season for reading!

All current discounts, coupon codes, and expiration dates are listed on the Lulu home page: www.lulu.com/home

 

From Blank Page to the Big Screen

The Man on the Grassy Knoll coverI’ve sold a book to a movie studio!

I can’t believe both my good fortune and sheer luck; although, it must be said that LULU played an awfully big role in the serendipitous events leading to this moment.

A long time ago, (last century to be exact — late 1990) I sold a novel to a major New York publisher. Got a check. Put it in the bank and sat back with a Kentucky bourbon in hand and thought, “I’ve got it made.” Then the editor called and wanted me to make significant changes to the manuscript. Changes I did not agree with. Changes that would take my novel in a totally different direction. I fought. They fought back and finally I returned their check and got my letter of rights back.

I was crushed.

At about the same time a friend of mine was getting a book of poetry published and she had met the powers that be at a company from North Carolina called, LULU.com. I had never heard of them, but I went on line, read about how the author can keep control of his or her book and how easy it is to publish. I was sold.

Fifteen novels later, I am still running strong with my team at LULU.

The other day my phone rang and a voice on the other end asked if I, ”…would sell his partner and him the movie rights to my novel, The Man on the Grassy Knoll?” I couldn’t say yes fast enough. They saw my book at a book fair where self-published authors were being featured. And, as they say, the rest is history.

My books have won awards, been featured on radio talk shows and in college courses (how not to write, more than likely) and now the basis for a motion picture; all because I found a company who knew how to publish a book without all the mystery and hidden agendas of the huge, conglomerate publishing houses. Of course, I speak of LULU. The more I work with them, the more I like them and the more we succeed.

Now I can’t promise you a movie deal or even a best seller. But, if you follow LULU’s lead, if you get on board with their author programs, they are going to help you put out a professional book that you will be proud of and that people should want to buy.

See ya’ at the movies.

JCrawley HeadshotAbout the author:
John Crawley is a writer living in Dallas, Texas who has published 15 novels. His latest, The End, deals with the death with dignity movement. John is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, is married and has two dogs and a cat. Oh yeah, and three grown children, too. John’s 2013 novel, Letters From Paris, was named Notable Book of the Year by Shelf Unbound Magazine. You can see his work at johncrawleybooks.com

 

Do you have an author success story you would like to share with the world?  If so, send us an email at blog@lulu.com.

Horrified Press: We Are Legion!

Horror Press BioMy name is Nathan J.D.L. Rowark, and I am the editor-in-chief of Horrified Press, a small indie press. Our press is only a few years old, but it has quickly grown attracting thousands of authors, artists, and of course horror fans.

I returned to writing after a 20 year absence and had to work hard to regain my skills and push myself back into the ranks of ‘Published Author’. It was tough and I was astounded at the lack of industry support for experienced authors like myself. Online I found very few literary groups that could offer me the help I needed and small specialty presses seemed to open one year and close the next.

After years of dedication and struggle, I decided to devote myself to smoothing the path to publication for emerging authors. I wanted to create something lasting and self-sustaining – a place for writers to submit their work, where artists could contribute cover art, and editors could work within the horror genre. It would be a place where everyone could explore and share their visions.We-are-legion-GRH_odt_-_OpenOffice_Writer

The result was Horrified Press. The idea was to create an anthology that allowed first time authors to submit content alongside publishing pros. This format would provide support to those authors who needed it and encourage writers unfamiliar with horror to jump on board. My dream was to create a book that would put the bite back into horror! There would be no teenagers and sparkly vamps here, just good old fashioned gore, chills and unending terror.

The response from writers was so good that we ended up publishing two anthologies: Tales of the Undead – Hell Whore and Tales of the Undead – Suffer Eternal.

We created our first books to shock and to innovate. They did both and I am now pleased to say we have 2,000+ authors who regularly submit content, 10 editors who mentor new writers, seven specialty imprints (Rogue Planet Press – science-fiction, Thirteen O’Clock Press – dark tales, Sinister Saints Press – YA horror, Barbwire Butterfly Books – fantasy, sword & sorcery… to name a few), and over 60 books published!

We-are-legion-GRH_odt_-_OpenOffice_WriterIn the early days, the choice for our print-on-demand supplier was very much a trial and error process. We wanted quality and affordability for our fan base. We also wanted reliable global delivery as well as quick and friendly customer service to handle any problems that emerged. We didn’t want much did we? Lulu.com proved to be best in the areas we felt were important to grow our business and to represent our authors properly. The Lulu platform and its ability to reach other markets has been a major part of our small (now not so small) press and its success. Keep up the great work Lulu.com! You’re inspiring many people and helping them create a smart, more entertained (and scared) world.

It’s been a wild ride and I feel that it is just beginning for us. We’ve now published Bram Stoker award winners, and have inspired and nurtured new authors who have gone on to win accolades (P & E Readers Award winners – anthology category 2014, 2015). Beyond representing new and known voices, Horrified Press serves a great calling. We are carrying the torch for the genre itself, for those who love creating horror and those who love to read our terrifying tales.

For great Halloween reading, please visit: www.horrifiedpress.com
Author site: www.horrifiedpress.wordpress.com

You’ll be frightfully welcome!

_14__Horrified_Press

Q&A: Where and when is your favorite place to write?

Mahdiyah A Window

Mahdiyah’s Window

We asked our author community where they write and what makes that place special. As you can imagine, the responses were as diverse as Lulu authors. Some prefer working at a desk, others in bed. Some prefer music in the background, others prefer silence. Some write by hand while others prefer computers, laptops and tablets. We have selected a few of our favorite responses to share.

Where do you write?

“Sitting at my window just watching nature and reflecting on life’s synchronicities” – Mahdiyah A.

“In my spare bedroom that I redecorated and refurnished as a writing space cum office cum library. It’s more comfortable than hunched on the sofa and the view out the window is nicer this side of the building that on the other side.” Merita K.

“I do all my writing on the Path train.” – Havana G.

Rena's Armchair

Rena’s Armchair

“In my armchair at any time of the day when the words are flowing and my fingers are flying over the keys.” — Rena B.

Currently, at my desk in Afghanistan with my headphones on. My coworkers beg for pages at the end of the day. They’re hooked.” – Guenevere R.

“Outside on the town green.” – Jessika S

“Hmmm, the best place to write is at work because my desire to not be there allows me to escape into my dream job.” Sheena A

When do you write?

Anita O beach

Anita’s Inspiring Photo

“My desk in my room at night because it’s quiet. I’m least distracted and write better at night.” — Moriko F.

“In the front room at 2a.m. to 4a.m. in the morning when the world is asleep!” – Ranis T

“I usually write in the evenings. I like it when the streets are quiet, the people are gone, and everything is dark. And I write at home, in total silence.” James C.

“I do my best writing while cooking dinner and cleaning the house. I love doing both and that relaxes me and gets my mind going. It’s special because writing is my escape and clears the clutter in my head.”

“I write on the go, I write late at night, I write all the time!! I also like to take photos, which also helps me write even more!” – Anita O

Writing aids: coffee, tea, margarita?

“In a bar drinking coffee at a table by the window.” – Laura D.

“Sitting outside a little cafe in my Greek village listening to my mp3 watching the people go by whilst I sip a Fredochino.” – Karina K

Karina's Beverage of Choice

Karina’s Beverage of Choice

“Sitting in my window seat looking out at the countryside scenery with either a pen & pad or my laptop, oh and a HUGE mug of coffee.” — Rebecca H.

“At my 2 foot by 2 foot table in my bedroom! It is the perfect surface for a laptop, iPad, and glass of pop!”– Jan S.

“At home, with coffee at my side, in my PJs. When I’m comfortable, there’s no stopping me from writing. I could sit there for hours and just get it all out on paper. It’s like therapy…”– Jennie C

Most of the time, if I need to do typing, it’s at my desk. I have a huge touch screen and an antique wingback office chair that are perfection. However, if I’m actually *writing,* then I am usually in bed with my lap desk. Either way, there is ample space for a bag of cookies and cream Hershey’s Kisses or a big frozen margarita. – Jaqueline J.

 

Given all of these choices, I think I’ll bring Rena’s armchair to Greece and sip a margarita while I struggle through the next chapter of my masterpiece – or the next article for the Lulu blog.

Happy writing!

How to Write a Killer Author Bio

Insert life story hereYou are a writer. Using your keyboard you can create an entire world, the people who live in it and the circumstances for all sorts of interesting things to occur. At peak production, you are churning out 500 to 1000 words a day. So why is it so difficult to write 100 words about yourself? It is, after all, a topic in which you are intimately familiar.

It is likely that you have not even considered your author bio until you are asked for the information from your cover designer. And, as a reader I don’t recall ever not buying a book due to an uninspired “About the Author” blurb. I have, however, upon completing an enjoyable book returned to the bio to learn more about the author – especially if I am interested in reading more of their work. When considered from this perspective, the author bio is really a marketing tool that allows your newest fans to connect with you, possibly leading to increased sales.

So how do you boil your life experience down to a concise and compelling blurb?

Start Big – Go Small

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. You will need to create three author biographies:

  • Long form version for your website, interview sheets, and press releases that includes your age, location, credentials, background, inspiration, fun facts and contact information.
  • Medium length (approximately 250 words) version for queries, guest blogs, and marketing materials
  • Brief bio (approximately 50-100 words) for your book cover and social media profile

The good news is that once you have the long form version complete, it is much easier to edit it down to include the most relevant information based on the context in which the bio will be presented.

Who is your reader?

What’s relevant for inclusion in your author bio depends on your intended audience. An author bio is much like meeting someone at a party. You need to keep it brief, but memorable. Therefore only share the information your audience will find most interesting. Are you writing for an academic audience, summer beach readers, memoir enthusiasts, young adults, or children? An academic reader is probably not interested that you have four children just as a young adult reader will not fully appreciate the effort required to earn that long list of academic credentials listed behind your name.

Brag Selectively

Speaking of credentials, if your name is followed by a bowl of alphabet soup, choose the credentials most relevant to the work you are publishing. The same applies for multiple degrees, certifications, previous publications, articles, and awards. A PhD in astrophysics is impressive if you are publishing a book about the far reaches of the universe – not so much if you are writing a cookbook.

Imitation is the purest form of flattery

So, how do you know what to include in your author bio? Easy, just go online or to your local bookstore and take a look at a few books in your genre or field of study. When you find an appealing author bio, copy it substituting your information and voila! Author bio complete.

What makes you human?

While researching (see above) author bios, you will notice there is usually something included that differentiates the author from their fellows. They may be avid collectors of porcelain Chihuahuas, share their home with 15 hedgehogs, or live off the grid in the Scandinavian woods. This type of information sets you apart from other writers in your field. Other types of humanizing information include your locale or profession, but only if either plays a part in your work.

A picture is worth…..

You only get 50-100 words to share your life story on a book cover or flap. A good picture can help you tell it with fewer words. If you can afford it, have a professional head shot taken to include with your bio. If you can’t afford it, make sure the picture used is in an appropriate setting for your material, is in high resolution and prominently features your face –not your dog, not your car, not your collection of porcelain figurines. It’s called a head shot for a reason.

And finally

Use third person to refer to yourself and read your bio out loud before you publish it. You may choose to create several versions of your brief bio for use in articles, guest blogs, speaking introductions, interviews, and social media. Don’t forget, just as you would update your professional resume, periodically review and update your author bio to include new publications, awards, areas of expertise, and life changing events.