Remarkable Finds

What is Lulu?

One of the most common questions we get at trade shows and events is “What, exactly, is Lulu?”

For us, that’s a bit of an odd question. But we eat, sleep, and breath Lulu, so answering the seems obvious to us – We’re your free to use, self-publishing solution!

But new users, making their first forays into the publishing world may not fully understand how self-publishing works, and the many benefits of using Lulu as your publisher and printer.

So with that in mind, our top-notch videographer put together a short video explaining how self-publishing with Lulu works:


For more detailed information, see our extensive Knowledge Base

You can also see our entire video catalog online

If you’re ready to get started, head on over to our Create Page!

Lulu has a Can-Do Attitude 

Join Team Lulu on a tour of the Sonoco Reclamation Center to celebrate Earth Month and expand our knowledge of the waste stream!

On a crisp, Carolina blue Thursday, we embarked on a journey alongside our LaCroix cans, yogurt cups, and other recyclables. Our eco-excitement electrified the air. Or, it may have been the rumblings of trucks and giant machinery sorting paper from cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals.

Recycling Truck

For some of us, the thought of recycling and environmentalism may conjure images of crunchy folks in Birkenstocks asking if you have a minute for the environment as you nervously pick up your pace and avoid all eye contact.

However, there’s another aspect of recycling that many people don’t consider – JOBS!

The Sonoco Reclamation Center in Raleigh, NC processes around 350 tons per day in two 10-hour shifts, with 4 hours for cleaning. At the time of our tour, the Sonoco team was processing items at a rate of 11.9 tons per hour.

A recent article from The News & Observer pointed to statistics showing that recycling plastic bottles employs around 1,700 people in the Carolinas. Likewise, if each household recycled just two additional plastic bottles a week, we could create 300 brand-spankin’ new jobs.

Currently, 3 billion bottles, or about a third of all plastic bottles, are thrown away in North and South Carolina. We’re tossing out jobs left and right!

According to the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council, we currently only produce 25% of the recycled plastic from bottles need to make new products. The other 75% is purchased from other states in the US and abroad. The more Carolinians recycle, the more we can cut costs, create jobs, and keep it local, y’all.

Recycling machine

That said, not all items are accepted by recycling centers. It’s important to keep in mind that plastic grocery bags should not be added to commingled recycling. Facilities like Sonoco are unable to process plastic bags, and when they find them among recycling, the bags end up in a landfill. Instead, consumers should bring back plastic grocery bags to grocers who can properly recycle the bags .

You can find a recycle location near you: http://www.abagslife.com/find-a-recycle-center/

Can’t remember which bin to toss your bottles, food scraps, and other trash? Lulu’s got your back! Download these free recycling and composting infographics.

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Check with your municipality to learn the specifics of what can and cannot be recycled.

Together, we can all be like Jake the trash truck and become recycling heroes.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/yvonne-osborne-and-scott-osborne/jake-the-happy-trash-truck/paperback/product-22765637.html

Go get ‘em, you recycling superstar!

Lulu Team Recycling

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article143301594.html#storylink=cpy

Your bottle means jobs: https://yourbottlemeansjobs.com/pledge/


About the Author

Sheridan is Lulu’s Coordinator of Sustainability and Outreach. She is also an author advocate, a friend to all cats everywhere, a clog aficionado, and an art maker.

Holiday Help: What I Learned at Lulu

Chelsea, Temp, Ninja, Blogger

Ah, the temp. The transient ninja of the business world. Slip in, get the job done, slip out. Leaving behind nothing more than a 95% customer satisfaction score and a legend. Not an easy job, but somebody’s got to do it.

I found myself faced with this task during the holiday season at Lulu. No big deal. I have done customer service before. Phones, emails, chats. I get it. Just show me to my desk so I can do this thing. But at some point – and I’m not sure if it was the multiple puppies I saw around the office or the incredible snacks – I knew Lulu would be different.

I was right. Everyday was pretty awesome. One day I came across a calendar called Peanut Butter Dogs in Lulu’s bookstore, and I don’t think I need to explain that any further. Another perk is everyone at Lulu has a nerf gun, but it’s cool because everyone’s aim is bad, you don’t really have to worry about losing an eye. All that said, what made my experience really awesome was Lulu’s authors, readers and creators.

The support team at Lulu is called Customer Voice, because we hear you and work with you to solve your problem. Prior to this assignment, I had no idea how educational customer service could be. It was an unrivaled opportunity to learn new things. For example, I can now tell you with certainty that male and female Sasquatch smell differently, as well as the best places to visit in Upstate New York during the fall.

On any given day my responsibilities included: recommending a format for a children’s book about rescued Greyhounds; helping a beekeeper find a how-to book on building a top bar hive; or assisting a holocaust survivor in placing another order for his memoir – all published through Lulu. Every day was different. You never knew who would be on the other end of the phone, chat box, or email. But, what you did know, was that you were talking to someone who was doing something that they could not have done without Lulu. And that was pretty neat.

Alas, as is the nature of the temp (and ninja), I eventually had to say goodbye. But, not before getting my very own nerf gun! And all the snacks I could fit in my bag (that was cool, right?).

Thank you to Lulu, the authors, readers and creators.

It was great getting to know you!

Happy Publishing!


Update: We invited Chelsea for a return engagement to help us coordinate upcoming events in the US and Europe. We are delighted she accepted. We wonder what she will learn from this experience?

8 Tips for Keeping Your 2017 Writing Resolutions

By now, some people may 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 eight 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 costs (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, and not always to our best interest, 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 few 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. Then ask them to support you in making progress on your writing goals.

#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 -Keep a writer’s journal

If you are like me, moments of genius slip away nearly as quickly as the occur. So, keep a journal handy at all times for making notes, capturing brilliant new ideas, jotting down ideas for characters or recording interesting quotes and turns of phrase.

#7 – Ask experts for advice

No matter what you are trying to accomplish – write a poem, sell your book, schedule an interview, be nicer to others — 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.

#8 – 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 with your fellow authors, please add them in the comments section below.

Happy 2017!

 

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.

Happy Holidays from Lulu!

Following our holiday potluck, we had a little fun with drones, mannequins and light sabers. The entire Lulu team wishes you the happiest of holidays, a very merry Christmas, and a most successful New Year.

 

New Family Traditions: Sweat Pants, Movies, and Skype

Paul and Susie: New Traditions

From fellow Lulu and blog contributor Paul@Lulu.
You may also recognize him from our Learn with Charlie series.

My wife and I live about 15 hours from our families. To get there requires a substantial drive or a couple of short flights, but the distance still poses a challenge when the holidays roll around. Add to this that both of our families  reside in the northeastern area of the US (cold, snowy, generally unpleasant in December) and you can see why we’re not so keen on traveling home for Christmas. Over the last few years, we’ve learned how to cope with Christmas away from the family, and in the process, created a few new traditions.

One upside of a simple Christmas is that we don’t have to go anywhere. All day. This means there is no need to change out of our sweat pants or do anything really. There’s no hurry to get out of bed. It’s our easiest, laziest day. Just us, our dogs, a nice warm fire, and no responsibilities. A Christmas gift we both appreciate.

To stay in the spirit, we’ve been learning how to make eggnog (to moderate success) and we warm up some spiced cider (if this years ‘nog isn’t up to expectation) and watch Christmas movies. Last year we did the classics (Miracle on 34th, Rudolph, Frosty). The year before we went a little darker, with Nightmare Before Christmas and Gremlins. We’re thinking comedy for this year (maybe Jingle all the Way, Santa Clause, and Elf).

… and the dogs.

Now, it wouldn’t be a holiday if we just relaxed all day. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we can Skype with our families for a little holiday togetherness. One problem with Skype though; if you don’t have something to do, you end up just watching a screen while others enjoy the holiday.

We worked that one out too though. What could be more fun than a good holiday reading? Our families dial us up on Skype, and my wife and I do a reading from a holiday themed book. Last year was an entry from David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries.” This year is still up in the air, though we may go back to Santaland because it was such a hit last year.

As far as traditions go, we haven’t done anything new or remarkable. We just try to make the most with what we have, and give ourselves the gift of a stress free Christmas. Wishing you the same!

A Christmas Wish: Make It Memorable

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Glenn@Lulu: Content Marketing Manager

When I look back at the Christmas holidays throughout my life – I see a progression from childhood excitement, to teenage apathy, to young adult enthusiasm, to my current midlife contentment. I did not grow up in a particularly religious home. As such, in my childhood Christmas was a secular, American celebration complete with trees, decorations, cooking, baking, and an abundance of gifts from Santa.

In my post-Santa adulthood, the holidays have come to be a time to reconnect with family I see only during holidays, weddings or funerals. More recently the holidays have become a time to share food and drink with dear friends, a time to reach out to friends in far away places, and a time to remember those no longer among us who made the holidays memorable with their smiles, their hugs and their love.

I have to admit, even now clinging to the last days of my 53rd year, when I drive by a home that brightens the night with twinkling lights and decorations, both tacky and tasteful, I flash back to that excited Christmas morning feeling of eager anticipation. There is something special about this time of year, even for those of us who have chosen different spiritual paths.

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My home, mixed traditions

So, no matter how you choose to celebrate, whether with the family into which you were born or the family you have created for yourself along the way, I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a wonderful Winter Solstice, a satiating Saturnalia, a fun-filled Festivus, a Kwanzaa full of love, Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year.

Regardless of your tradition, make it memorable because in the end, our memories are all we get to take with us.

Peace and Love
Glenn@Lulu

 

 

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