Remarkable Finds

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 PR@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

 

 

Writer’s Journal: Capture Lightning

journalingLook around your favorite coffee house and it’s likely you’ll see an earnest young person huddled over a notebook, diligently scribbling away. Have you ever wondered what they are writing? Are they simply focused on homework, keeping a food diary, or creating a shopping list? Are they capturing the thrill of new love or committing to words the sadness of romance’s end? Perhaps they just had a “Eureka!” moment about a character or plot twist for a story or novel they are writing.

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A page from Kurt Cobain’s journal

While we all have our favored methods for composing, we also often struggle with keeping our ideas and the details about our numerous characters and locations straight in our minds – not to mention the intricate plot details that keep our story logically moving forward. How many times a day do we have that “Eureka!” moment only to lose the thought a few minutes (or sentences) later? Instead of losing the sparks of brilliance, we should learn from the coffee house journalists and capture these fresh thoughts in our writer’s journal.

All writers should have a writer’s journal close at hand. You never know when inspiration will strike or you will hear a catchy turn of phrase you wish to remember or you witness a situation you can re-purpose. Your journal may consist of a binder filled with thoughts recorded on bits of paper, a meticulously maintained bound notebook, or your favorite electronic device. It may be highly organized by characters, scenes, and plot elements or it may be a stream of consciousness jumble of ideas. Your journaling method is as personal as your writing process.

 

Guided Authors Journal (A5, coil bound)

Guided Author’s Journal (A5, coil bound)

If you have a story bouncing around in your head, if you are constantly thinking about writing a book, or you are already deep into your writing, we have a writing journal you (or your favorite writer) may find useful. It’s small enough to tuck into your purse or backpack, is divided into sections to record details about character, plot, and scene development, includes goal tracking to keep you on track, and helpful information about publishing and cover design as well as a special surprise, but I don’t want to ruin it.

Whether you choose to get a Lulu journal or create one more suited to your process, be sure to keep it handy. You never know when lightning will strike. Be ready to capture it.

2016 Gift Ideas

Lulu Jr Book-making Kits

Family Cookbooks

Custom Coloring Books

Memory Books

Best Gifts 2016: From Your Child’s Imagination to Your Mailbox

illustoryjuniorLulu Jr. book-making kits include everything your child needs to write and illustrate his or her own story book or comic books, including templates, markers, and a getting started guide. Using the postage paid envelope included in the kit, parents send the handwritten and illustrated “manuscript” along with the “author’s” photo and biography, and in a few short weeks, a professionally printed and bound book arrives by post. Children are delighted when they receive the book they created in the mail, with their bio picture on the back cover and their name and book title printed on the spine.

“I ordered this kit for my granddaughter who is 8 years old. She wrote her book and we mailed it in. The day it arrived she so was so excited. She was doing the happy dance and saying she is an author!!”

Parents and grandparents love the kits to give as gifts. They can also use the kits to write books for their children. They also make great family projects for recording family trips, events and other memories.

“Since he can’t write yet, I’ve let him draw the pictures and tell me the story and I write out the words for him. We’re having so much fun together creating his book.”

According to the 2015 Toy Industry Association’s Trends, Lulu Jr. kits meet three of the top four areas considered by parents when shopping for toys:

  • The Maker Movement, where children build and create
  • Open-Ended Playtime, where creativity and resourcefulness are encouraged, and
  • “Smart” Play where academically focused toys develop cognitive and social skills.

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“This is such a great way to freeze time and remember your child’s precious writings and drawings. As a teacher, I love how this adorable kit promotes literacy even in the youngest kids.”

In the USA, Lulu Jr. kits are available in department stores, bookstores, toy stores and online at LuluJr.com and Amazon.com.

“Wait until you see the young author’s face when the original story they wrote and illustrated comes back in the mail as a real, 20-pg. full color, hardcover book! And look on the back cover. There’s your child in the “About the Author” feature.”

— Good Toy Guide 2015 Holiday Gift Catalog

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Lulu Jr. kits have received over 25 awards, such as Mom’s Choice Award, National Parenting Publications Awards, Dr. Toy’s Best Classic Award, SheKnows Parents’ Choice Awards, Creative Child Magazine Play of the Year Award, Academic’s Choice Brain Toy Award, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and the Tillywig Toy Award Best Creative Fun.
Lulu Jr. is the children’s division of Lulu Press, the world’s first and premier online self-publishing company.

Sell More Books: Super Size Seasonal Discounts

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Let’s try out a few seasonal slogans you could use for holiday marketing efforts…

“Stuff those stockings with books!”

“Put some books on that shelf by the elf!”

“A dreidel AND a book? Best Hanukah ever!”

“Deck the halls with deals on books and while you’re at it strategically develop a marketing plan that takes advantage of Lulu.com’s seasonal sales and discounts.”

Okay, so that last one doesn’t quite flow off the tongue, but it’s good advice all the same. Coordinating your marketing efforts to coincide with Lulu’s impressive holiday discounts is the next best thing to having your books carried right down your readers’ chimneys by Santa himself.

What’s so great about it? For starters, everyone loves books and they love saving money. All you have to do is share the Lulu discount codes in your email and social media marketing. Don’t forget to also share the expiration date and any restrictions.

 

Savvy Marketing Tip

Did you know that when Lulu offers a store-wide discount, you can sweeten the deal by adding another 5, 10, or 15% off? That’s right, a 25% off sale can easily be bumped up to 30 or 40% off for huge savings.

Using this strategy, you can make any day Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or create your own huge sale event.

 

Here’s How to Juice Those Discounts

You can add a discount in the Lulu Bookstore for any printed book or calendar priced above the manufacturing cost.

  • Go to My Projects and click on the project title.
  • Scroll down to Pricing and Creator Revenues and click Edit.
  • Click Pricing Details to view manufacturing and profit splits

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  • Click Set Discount and choose the percentage discount you wish to offer.
  • Click Set Discount to apply the discount.
  • Click Pricing Details to view the discounted price and your revenue.
  • Click Save Changes.

 

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The discount is immediately applied to your book or calendar in the Lulu bookstore.

Note: When applied to purchases, Lulu discounts do not affect author revenue. Author-applied discounts reduce profits and therefore reduce author revenue.

Create a Sales Event

Tell everyone about your super sale.

I’m teaming up with Lulu to offer my book, <book title> at a special discount just for friends/family/fans/readers.

For X days only, Enter code XXXXXXX at checkout and save XX%.

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

Offer expires: MM/DD/YYYY

Include a link to your book’s product page to make it easy for your buyers to make the purchase. 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 or post it on social media 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.

 

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