Author Guest Posts

Overcoming Adversity: Publishing to Succeed

How do you do it?

This is the most common question I’m asked when people learn my story for the first time.  How do you juggle being an international author and self-promoter, all while traveling for book signings, raising four children; two with disabilities, running a cake business, and homeschooling?

How do you find the time to do it all, they ask. What’s your secret?

No-matter how many times I answer, my response always seems to deliver a certain sense of inadequacy.  The truth somehow falls short of exposing a hidden potion behind my innate ability to fill multiple roles at once.  The illusion is that I am actually a real person with realistic goals.  I just run beside passion and persistence and I never let them win.  I’m not the best writer and I will never proclaim to be.  I simply and wholeheartedly believe in myself enough that my ability to stay focused on achieving never wavers through adversity.  Some might say that being a mother is the hardest job on earth, so the idea of adding other roles seems like straining energy on borrowed time.  But there’s nothing wrong with borrowing as long as you give back; so long as you offer up results.  I simply manage my life one second at a time; one word, one hug, one errand, one interview at a time.

For those who are unsure that it can be done, believe me, it can.  Despite appearances, my path hasn’t always been easy, but writing has constantly remained central to my survival.  When I was younger, I suffered through being raped by four military men, who also videotaped the ordeal, but I bravely made a decision to use what happened to me to help others.  Through the drama novel, The Day it Rained Forever, I have been able to heal, help, and move on.  When my son was suddenly diagnosed with Autism, I felt like he was taken from me and I had to find a way of bringing him back.  I did it through the publication of the children’s book, I Will Always Love You No Matter What.  And from the back seat of a car, at twelve years of age, I recall watching my father grasp his chest with both hands, struggling for air.  I watched as he fought to live for me and, in that moment, I vividly remember thinking to myself; I’m going to lose my dad.  I had to find a way of saying goodbye, and I did that through the novel released last year, entitled, The Night Birds.

Through my adversity, I have come to realize that the struggle is a misconception.  It all just takes time.  Success and dreams are within reach if you just keep writing, while remaining true to yourself.  Good things will eventually come.  Writing is my lifeline and the process of self-publishing has been made all the more enjoyable by Lulu Publishing’s online publishing tool and their tireless support team.

And speaking of good things, I am proud to announce that my novel, The Day It Rained Forever, has been picked up by the talented screenwriter Shaun Jooste.  Shaun and I recently signed a contract allowing Shaun to adapt my novel into film!  Shaun is also managing a Guinness World Record attempt that I am taking part in, to break the world record for the most amount of authors in an anthology.

I also, recently, had the incredible privilege of attending the 2017 Book Expo America in New York City.  While there, I had a chance to thank fans for their dedicated support and encouragement throughout the many years I have been writing.  It was truly the highlight of my year.  So I am elated to also announce that I will be doing it all again in 2018 when I attend the BEA in New York City for another book signing and meet and greet.  You can hear more about my experience at the BEA and all about my journey as a self-publisher, in an author interview I did last week with Paperback Radio.

No matter what happens in my life, I will never stop striving to better my craft, to deliver passionate, exciting stories, to my audience.  My fans have always stood behind me and I refuse to let them down.  I’m exactly where I know I need to be and the view is incredible.  Here, I look up and hope that my father is looking down on me knowing, if nothing else, at least I gave it my all.

 


Lynette Greenfield was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in both Brisbane and Melbourne.  Her love of writing came when tragically, her father passed away at the age of twelve.  It was then that she discovered an intensely personal love for poetry, never once writing for an audience, quickly appreciating the healing qualities words had on her life.  She went on to study creative Arts at the Brian Chandler’s School of Art and Design and creative writing and photography at the University of Technology in Queensland.  Her first publication was a poetry book entitled, Moments with Me.  She has since published many more poetry books and has also gone on to write romance novels, mystery, and children’s books.  Lynette attended to Book Expo America in 2016 in Chicago, signing her debut novel, An Ounce of ExpectationAnd attended the BEA again in 2017 in New York to show her novel, The Night BirdsShe will also be attending the 2018 BEA in New York City to showcase her latest drama novel, The Day it Rained Forever.  ​With 25 years of writing behind her, Lynette is now an established Author, but is always seeking out new challenges in her writing career, enjoying working with other artists including musicians, songwriters and illustrators. When she isn’t writing, she is teaching children with disabilities, specializing in Autism and one of her children’s books entitled, I’ll Always Love You No Matter What, was written for a child with Autism.

Independent Authorship for the Senior Citizen

Individuals over 60 years old have a great deal of experience to impart on others, but sometimes they do not have their “visions” shared because of the complexity writing and publishing their stories.  In most instances, the senior has access to word processing software, and the ability to use the software, but after writing their story has to wait for printers or traditional publishers to review and approve their stories.

Chris (center) with Senior Center directors

 

This is where I come in. I’m an independent author with Lulu for almost 20 years (yep, he has been with Lulu almost from the very beginning!), and I teach at local senior centers in Baltimore Maryland about self-publishing and how to format and publish a person’s works so that they may share with others their knowledge and experience.  The course, entitled “Self-Publishing 101 for Independent Authors,” is taught with help from a study guide that I wrote and published on Lulu!  Using this study guide, along with the many different types of books (children’s, fiction, non-fiction, and education) I also published over the years, I aim to make the publishing process simple and clear.

My first class was given at Parkville Senior Center near Baltimore and had several individuals that wanted to learn more about self-publishing.  The students actually had products in electronic form that they wanted published and Chris accommodated them through a step-by-step approach.  As a result, most students have published works with Lulu.  A sad chapter in this story is that one of the students completed his book, and has it published on Lulu and shortly after publishing his work passed away.  His book of poems is available for sale on Lulu, which has been a great consolation for his relatives, who know that he left something for his future generations.

The gift of knowledge and experience is something that is priceless, and knowing that these individuals in the class have the ability to author a book that focuses on something they want to share is also priceless.  The fact that Lulu provides a platform for these individuals to express themselves makes them feel useful.  This, according to author Elie Wiesel, in his book “Night,” is something that can make the difference between life and death.

With Lulu as part of that platform, I’ve been able to make a great impact on the future independent authors; young heart, old smart.


With a combined 35 years of experience as a military officer, federal civilian and private industry combined, along with periodic teaching at the secondary and undergraduate levels, Chris has the perfect combination for writing everything from fiction to children’s books. Take a look at the many different offerings and see if one of these many titles fits your needs. You can contact Chris at chris@grectech.com if you have any questions or special requests.

 

Check out Chris’s Author Spotlight

Meet Prolific Lulu Author: Linda Taylor

Prolific Lulu Author: Linda Taylor

What do you think served to inspire your writing?

My father was in the Eighth Army – conscripted. My mother was Belgian and lived there during the German occupation in WWII. They met in Belgium and their stories were my first inspiration. My father ran a small guest house, here in this same Sussex seaside town where I have lived all my life. The stories I heard told by our guests have also been an inspiration. I think being brought up among so many elderly people gave me an early insight into human nature, an awareness of time and the fragility of life.

Have you always considered yourself a writer?

I have always been a writer. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was in my troubled teens and wrote my first novel by hand. Then I lost it! I have never found it nor attempted to replicate that first one.

How do you transform an idea into a book?

When I have a novel or an idea in mind, it is like a mental itch.  From whence it comes I do not know… but it comes and goes… and when it itches, I tend to write about 500/1000 words at a time. When I get the “itch” in bed at night, I sit up and make a note, usually a few words that will prompt me the next day to write some more.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

When writing my two thrillers, I found the plots difficult and they taunted me some nights and I would then realise “hey! I left this out”, or “no, she can’t say that because she said this…” – these two novels are absolutely  NOT autobiographical, although when I completed the first one, Dangerous Dolls,  I realized one of the characters was drawn from someone I knew from my working life (I am now retired).

However, of these last two, I knew how I was to end them from the very beginning. (No, I cannot explain why or how, sorry!) Some of the more autobiographical novels are based on truth, or what I believed to be true. I do not read thrillers so my inspiration can only have come from cinema, theatre or the telly.

What’s in the works?

I have not yet felt an urge to write a children’s novel- although I have a few stories about and for them.  Nor, so far, have I wanted to try to write science fiction. But who knows?


About the Author

Linda Taylor is the youngest of six surviving children- there were eight children and Taylor was actually the seventh child of the seventh child.

Psychic phenomena have always been of interest. Although she cannot claim to have had any particularly strange experiences, except for three presentiments of deaths.

 

 

Author CL Bennett: Why Choose Indie Publishing?

Today we welcome back CL Bennett, Author of Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key to discuss her choice to self-publish.

Why did you choose self-publishing over a traditional publisher?

It took me six months to write the first book and when I got to the end of my scribbled pages, I sat there with an enormous pile of papers and wondered what do I do next? I still had a long way to go developing the characters, bringing them to life through illustrations and putting the series together from hundreds of muddled up pages, so I decided to work with an indie-publishing company to bring the Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key to life.

Did you enjoy the process?

Publishing a book is very hard work and I now hold great respect for traditional publishing houses and the process a book goes through from manuscript to finished book on a shop’s shelf. I naively thought it would be easy – not! To create twenty-four illustrations for the book I had to go into exquisite detail to animate the Bugglepuff characters. My husband and I managed to miss out on this fun, but my children very kindly dressed up as the Bugglepuff children – with their own pets from the book and acted out Bugglepuff poses until I got the right photos for the first illustrations!

There was a lot of chaos, chasing chickens around the garden and getting our pig to carry a basket without eating it, but it was tremendously entertaining. I sketched out some basic illustrations and sent them off to the illustrators. When I got the first email saying the first few illustrations were ready to view I was so deliriously excited I nearly cried, in fact I think I did. The illustrator at Lulu captured my family and their personalities. I chose black and white sketches for the interior because I love the simplicity of them and they’re so deliciously crisp and timeless.

The editing process was long, complicated and sometimes frustrating, but I was well supported throughout by Lulu Publishing. It took eight months from August 2013 to April 2014 to complete, but I knew it was all worth it when I finally got to hold the first copy of ‘Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key’ on the 10th April 2014 – my animated family was in print – yippee!

As an author is your job done when you finish writing the book?

Goodness me no. There is a slight breather when you feel complete holding the first copy of your first book. A sparkle of pride and something inside shouts, “YES!”, but then the hard work starts. Some writers write for the sheer personal pleasure, but if you want to reach a wide audience you must look at the age and interests of the readers you’re targeting. Make sure you’re up to speed with your social media and marketing skills or have an indie-publisher like Lulu on hand to give you guidance. Share the book in the local community and shops. I have found there is now less bias in the retail world against self-published books. Also, online booksellers, including Lulu’s own online shop, are very fast to deliver your books whether you live in China, Europe or the US.

To be a successful and happy writer you must have a passion for writing, marketing and understand that it takes time and patience to get people to turn the pages of your books. But if you believe in your book’s worth, then so may many other readers – good luck!


The newest Bugglepuff adventure

About the Author

CL Bennett has sold 1000’s of books online, been on UK book tours, started Bugglepuff ‘fun days’ in 100’s of schools and libraries around the country, made audio recordings of her books with actor Brian Blessed OBE and won children’s books awards in both the USA and Europe. Her books are available for purchase in the Lulu bookstore.

Over the coming weeks, Bennet will share insights and tips on writing and self-publishing. If you have specific questions for her, please post them in the comments section.


Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer? Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors? Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to blog@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

Holiday Wishes from Lulu: Sharing the Romance of the Season

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There’s no time of the year that’s more exciting, more energizing or more demanding than the holidays in the Lulu office. Our parking lot fills up earlier in the morning than usual, our snacks are consumed at a more rapid pace to fuel us through the day and everyone seems to walk just a little faster through the office.

Erika Brooks: V.P. of Marketing

Erika Brooks: V.P. of Marketing

And, it’s my favorite time of year.

For me, there’s a certain romance in the idea of someone opening a present and discovering a book filled with their grandparent’s love letters that had been kept safe for decades. Or, opening a calendar to discover it is filled with their favorite memories from the previous year. Or, an author opening a newly arrived shipment of hardcover copies of the book they’ve worked so hard to complete and dreamed of publishing.

This is my fourth holiday season at Lulu and every year is more exciting than the last. This year, you may have noticed that we’re sharing new ways to bring a feeling of celebration, nostalgia and pride to your doorstep. Whether it’s printing your book cover on a canvas, wearing a shirt that proudly announces your status as “Published Author,” or shipping you one of our new author journals, it is our goal to help you be more successful, however you define success.

At the end of the day, the people at Lulu are here because we are passionate about books. We have a deep understanding and admiration for authors who share information and experiences through the written word. Every day we are delighted to share in the experiences of new authors achieving their goal of publishing as well as the joy of readers discovering a new book and a new favorite author.

I’d like to extend very warm wishes to everyone who is shopping, writing and publishing on Lulu this holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we are happy you choose to share it with us.

 

Human Trafficking Survivor: Marketing a Personal Journey

 

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Marketing your story can be daunting if you are a survivor. You might have been telling your story in a big or small group – to an audience at various conferences where the crowd is moved with compassion to take action to fight human trafficking or domestic violence, but never have thought that that was marketing. You are selling a product or service without realizing it.

This was the case for me when I decided to put my face to my story seven years ago as a victim of human trafficking and domestic violence. According to the Polaris Project, a U.S. based nonprofit operating the National human trafficking hotline, over 20 million people are trafficked around the world. The International Labor Organization (ILO) also states that human trafficking is a $150 billion industry. As a survivor, fighting the crime by helping other survivors is paramount to me because nobody should suffer such an ordeal. Safe Horizon, a nonprofit organization in New York states that one in four women and one in seven men experience domestic violence.

Bukola Oriola-1500p-13I published my first memoir, Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim on Lulu to shed light on a personal experience with the help of a professor at St. Olaf University in Minnesota. He had read my interview in the newspaper and found that I had written a book and was looking for a publisher. Now, seven years after, I am working on another memoir, a sequel to the first book. This book is entitled A Living Label. The goal of the book is to empower survivors, educate the public, and provide practical solutions to government agencies and nonprofit organizations, on how to effectively work with survivors in a way that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

However, I wanted to make this book reach a large audience of up to one million people. So, I decided to put a marketing plan together. I thought about timing and events around the issue of human trafficking and domestic violence, in addition to my own life’s events. First, I realized that my birthday falls during domestic violence awareness month and that I could use the book launch as my birthday party.

I created a marketing plan for a 13-week launch starting from August 1 until October 30, my birthday. Every week for the next 13 weeks, I will be discussing the book and the issue on my social media pages. While discussing each chapter, I will be asking people to subscribe to my mailing list. I call them my Insiders. They get to read more from the book, including full chapters before it is available to the public. They also get to critique the book. Their critique gives me clarity on what I should include or take out of the book. It also helps me to expatiate on certain segments of the book. To expand the number of subscribers, I ask those who want to publish their books to join so that they can learn the tips that I am using to launch my book successfully. This technique has been rewarding. I get questions. And, some of them have started taking steps to writing their books or implementing some of the tips that I shared.

In addition to using the online platform, I have also been tapping into offline contacts and resources to promote the upcoming book. I am sending emails to the contacts who have work related to the issue or are willing to promote the issue. I have also created three hashtags in addition to using the book title as a hashtag to help the launch have more visibility on social media platforms.


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About the Author

Bukola Oriola is a speaker, author, mentor, advocate, entrepreneur, consultant, and member, U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Appointed by President Barack Obama in December 2015, Oriola is also an award winning journalist and a survivor of labor trafficking and domestic violence. She has dedicated her life to helping others by sharing her story, and offering practical solutions to service providers, clinics, community members, and law enforcement on how to help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.

She was awarded Change Maker 2009 by the Minnesota Women’s Press for her courage. Oriola is the founder of The Enitan Story, a nonprofit organization with a mission to advocate for victims and empower survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse. She is also the owner of Bukola Braiding and Beauty Supply, LLC.

Honorable Bukola Love Oriola

Secretary, U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

I am here to inform, educate, and inspire positive change.

Bukola Oriola: Recipient, 2009 Minnesota Women’s Press Change Maker Award

Author, Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim

www.bukolaoriola.com

www.enitan.org

www.imprisonedshow.com


Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer? Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors? Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

 

Lulu Poet wonders, “What took me so long?”

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I have loved poetry for so long and I have loved wordplay perhaps since I learned to read. I should never have stopped writing when I did, but life happens, often when you are making other plans. My career in the banking industry has been exciting and rewarding, but my life has been surprisingly enriched by the satisfaction of being a published author. Nothing is as heart-warming as getting positive feedback from readers, and perhaps the best part of this experience for me is seeing people who connect with a poem or two from my book go out of their way to recommend the book and my poems to their friends. That is the equivalent of a generous performance bonus in the banking industry. No kidding!

Author: Yemi Adesanya

Lulu Poet: Yemi Adesanya

I cannot remember now precisely when I stopped writing or why. It must have been laziness or a dressed-up variant of it – telling myself I did not have enough time to read, to think, and to settle down and write. Those were during the days of my aborted attempt at learning Spanish, while writing professional accounting and IT certifications, getting married and thereafter settling down to family life.

How then did I find extra time to write close to hundred poems? Especially as time has remained adamantly stuck on only two dozen hours per day, one’s workload never stopped growing, and children have claimed some of the time as being rightfully theirs. I was pleasantly surprised at how much one could do with seemingly little time. I had a lot of fun writing and found that reaching for my phone and writing came more easily and naturally than I had expected. Once an idea gripped me like runner’s cramp, words started to line up one after another like soldier ants and there was no stopping the flow until a poem was born.

Technology helped too. Bits and pieces of time spent before meetings, waiting in the car for hubby, waiting for pizza at Dominos or lying down and praying for sleep, were spent writing or thinking of how to pen an idea that wouldn’t let go.

One by one, poems found company among their peers, and the rest of the journey was only a matter of following up with the next logical step.

For anyone aspiring to write, the first step is to start writing. Anything. A poem, a story, a newspaper article, anything to get your thoughts flowing. Then get others to read your work. I have a few reliable friends and my dependable brother, who read whatever I send them and provide thoughtful, useful and candid feedback. It is also very important to read a lot. Read extensively, read every day and write just as often. This will help your imagination, improve your lexicon and knowledge of various styles of storytelling.

I am particularly thankful for online self-publishing platforms, like Lulu.com. They made the final part of the journey smooth and almost effortless. Now that I know I can do this without putting life on hold, I don’t intend to stop, ever!


Musings of a Tangled Tongue

Musings of a Tangled Tongue

About the Author

Yemi Adesanya is the author of Musings of a Tangled Tongue, a collection of poems; an accountant and risk manager in Lagos, Nigeria where she lives with her husband and children.

She loves reading, writing computer programs, and playing Sudoku.


Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer? Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors? Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

 

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