Articles by Glenn

Self-Publishing Book Expo Recap

This past weekend, Lulu.com was proud to once again be a sponsor of the Self-Publishing Book Expo (SPBE), which is now in its sixth year and was held in New York City. Originally created for authors considering self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing, the expo has expanded and now features lectures, panels and workshops targeting both novice and experienced independent authors.

This year, two members of our team and a Lulu.com author participated in panel discussions throughout the day. Dan Dillon (Product Marketing) led discussions on Team Building, Advanced Marketing and participated in the Ask an Expert panel. While Dan was sharing his expertise, I manned the exhibition booth and moderated the Formatting panel discussion. Even more exciting, Lulu.com author Pascale Kavanagh, author of Fish Tails & Lady Legs, was a featured speaker in the Romance Authors’ workshop.

Distracted and Unmotivated Authors Never Win the Race

I freely admit to being a ninja-level procrastinator who can think of 100 reasons not to sit down to write. When I finally get in front of a keyboard, I first check Facebook to see what my friends are doing, which leads to viewing a few YouTube videos, reading some news articles, checking my bank account balance, responding to email, putting together a song playlist for inspiration… then I realize an hour has passed. I have not written a single word and, even worse, my mind is now completely distracted.

I don’t think I am alone here, so how do we overcome the daily challenge of simply finding the time and motivation to put fingers to keyboard while balancing work, home and family with sleep and the sweet siren song of the internet?

I posed this question in a LinkedIn self-published author’s group.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.27.12 AMJerry X. Shea, Author / Speaker / Consultant, responded with two suggestions. The first is just to write. If writer’s block strikes, take a break from the manuscript and write something completely unrelated: send an email, write a blog post or article. This will ease the pressure and before you know it, the perfect segue or plot twist will be flowing from your fingers. For serious production, he suggests finding or creating a quiet space away from the distractions of television, radio and internet.

Jerry found his quiet place on a four month escape to Alaska, but most of us are not so fortunate in our quest for a quiet place in which to write. It is more likely that a majority of us are writing in fits and starts resulting in unfocused narratives. To prevent the dreaded meandering plot line, Danielle Fetherson, Editor / Ghostwriter / Publishing Assistant, suggests beginning with a single sentence to clearly articulate the book’s message – like a thesis statement. Use this statement to build a working outline of your plot. (I just flashed back to high school English class.) You may think that an outline is too restrictive, but she anticipates your objection, “The outline may adapt over time and I may even revise the wording of the thesis by the time the book is finished, but having that outline as a starting point can be liberating because it offers context for information and gives me a starting point to let the creativity flow.”

What about those times when the will to struggle through another paragraph has simply abandoned you. When you find yourself hopelessly staring at the screen, Jennifer Mason, Author / Flow Writer, encourages us to re-motivate ourselves by having “a conversation with a friend or client about what you do and why you do it.” Who better to remind us of our passion than we ourselves?

So, now that you have made it to the end of this paean on procrastination, go find a quiet place, review your outline and remember why you do what you do.

Happy writing!

Updates To Your Lulu Account

Lulu is excited to announce the first in a series of releases intended to improve your user experience on the Lulu.com website.

Following the July 24, 2012 release, everything about your Lulu account, including your email preferences, purchases, downloads, and shipping information will be managed from a sleek new My Account & Orders page. This change separates your user account information and purchasing history from the Lulu authoring tools.

What can you expect following this release?

  • The login / registration page has a new streamlined look.
  • When you click on the My Lulu tab, a new My Accounts & Orders button displays in the page header.

 

  • Click the My Accounts & Orders button to access your Order History, My Downloads page, and your saved Shipping & Billing information.
  • On the About Me page you can update your account information, username, and password.
  • On the Preferences page you can manage your email notification settings.

Check out the changes and see for yourself. If you’d like to leave some feedback for us, join the discussions taking place in the Lulu Connect Forums.

Lulu Author Discusses His Successful Marketing Tips

The Lulu community forums are a place for authors to ask questions, share experiences, and meet people with similar interests. Occasionally, a community forum member has expertise in a specific area or an author shares a success story that piques our interest. When this occurs, we invite the writer to contribute an article for the Lulu blog.

Following the announcement in the forums that his cookbook Beyond Soul Food: Modern American Heritage Cuisine was under consideration for an Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award for excellence, I asked the author to share some of his self-publishing experiences with the Lulu community. We hope you enjoy this author-to-author advice.

-Glenn, Lulu Community Forum Manager

How I Rediscovered Myself through Self-Publishing by Richard Petty

Writing a good cookbook can be a daunting endeavor, even for a seasoned pro. My name is Richard Petty. I am a successful chef and now the author of Beyond Soul Food: Modern American Heritage Cuisine, which was recently awarded an honorable mention as a finalist for the 2012 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award for excellence in publishing. This recognition is a high distinction for first-time authors and publishers.

Like most people, writing a book was always a dream of mine. Since I was between jobs I had the time, but the challenge was how to do it. For my book, I chose some of my favorite recipes

Lulu eBooks Just Got Even Better

Tables and columns have been around for so long that we don’t give them much thought – even though our daily lives often rely on them.  One supports our dinner plates, silverware, fruit bowls, lamps, and books while the other literally supports the roof over our heads.  In recognition of all that tables and columns have contributed to civilization, we are returning the favor by supporting their use in document-to-EPUB conversions.

What are the benefits? 

For authors, uploaded Word documents that include tables and columns will now pass conversion.  This is especially good news for educators publishing text books, developers publishing tech manuals, or businesses publishing data-heavy intellectual property – all of which make excellent design use of tables and columns.

For consumers, simply clicking on the table image in an eBook will provide access to the original, raw table data.  This allows readers to interact with the data in various ways such as accessing embedded links or copy and pasting information directly from the table.

The really big news is that Lulu is currently the only platform providing this type of document support – all absolutely free.  Compare this with other services that can cost upwards of $400 per conversion.

What’s Next? 

We’re always looking for ways to make our great self-publishing tools even better and more accessible to everyone.  We love hearing your feedback, and work continues to provide support for all the items that matter to our authors and our readers.  Check back for more Lulu news in the coming weeks.