2015 Writing Resolutions: 7 Tips for Staying on Track

new-years-resolutionsBy now, most people have realized their 2015 resolutions are in serious danger of falling to the wayside. You are not alone. On average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutionists 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 get your writing resolutions back on the road to 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 your 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.” Because 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 the 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 they 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 be 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’re trying to do – 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 you can peruse. 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 back on track.

Your friends at Lulu.com

7 Questions to Ask When Converting Your Blog to a Print Book

After writing a teblog to bookchnology blog for a UK-based magazine for about three years and notching up hundreds of blog entries, I approached the magazine editor and suggested this interesting collection of articles was worthy of a book.

He immediately began asking questions, including, “Why on earth might anyone be interested in a series of blog posts collected together into a book?” He was also concerned about the complexities of publishing, but having already published with Lulu, I knew this was the least of our worries – I published the book in 2009.

Can anyone turn his or her blog into a book?

In theory yes, but there are some questions worth considering before you initiate that big WordPress download.

Is there an audience for the book?

You don’t need to do a lot of market research on this. You can publish with Lulu even if you anticipate a limited or specialized audience.

How much effort is required?

If you are doing this because you want to see your name on the spine of a book, you should consider that selecting your best posts and formatting them for the printed page will be quite a bit of work.

Will your blog work as a book?

The blog I converted to book format was mainly journalism and commentary, so I could easily imagine it on the printed page. On the other hand, turning your years of Tumblr posts into a book may be a futile exercise – and may even infringe copyright unless you personally own every image you shared. Remember, your posts may work well in the context of a blog where you might feature video clips, Instagram photos and other media that looks great when viewed on an iPad, but is not going to translate to the printed page.

Are the blog posts relevant now and in the future?

Blog content almost always features a date-stamp, which can translate to book content in an epistolary format – dated blogs in sequence – but there is an important time distinction between blogs and books.

Blogs are written and published in the now, usually referencing the exact time they were written. As time goes on, new posts may update or supersede earlier ones. As such, some of your blog entries will be completely unsuitable for use in a book because they are comments on a moment, rather than less time-bound thoughts or comments.

A book needs to be planned with a much longer shelf life than an individual blog post. When you publish a book, it is published at a moment in time and cannot be quickly updated except through new editions. In general, book content needs to be planned so that it will not become quickly dated.

Will the structure of my blog translate to a book?

It is worth viewing your blog in the round. You may have a hundred thousand words of great content, but you may end up stripping away half of that content to preserve your best posts. It is worth thinking about whether you want a literal version of your blogs in book format or whether you can do more with the text when planning how it might be read on the page. For example, you may be able to connect several blogs together and present them as longer essays.

Why should I do it?

If you are already blogging then you are a writer. Many writers have used short publications that were eventually collected together into a longer book format – The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens is one of the most famous examples. In fact, there is little to distinguish the way Dickens wrote then from a blogger today who releases short articles then collects them together into a longer book.

Posterity is as good a reason as any to take a close look at your blog to see if it might be worth publishing as a book. Even if your blog posts are individual and cannot be collected together into a coherent story, there may still be value in collecting them together. In my case, my articles from 2006-2009 that went into my “book-of-the-blog” have now been deleted from the magazine website. Now my book is the only place where they continue to live!

Mark Hillary

Author BIO

Mark Hillary is a British author, blogger and advisor on technology and globalization based in São Paulo, Brazil. He is a regular contributor to journals including The Huffington Post, Reuters, The Guardian, and Computer Weekly.

Mark live-blogged the 2010 UK General Election for Reuters. He was an official blogger at the 2012 London Olympics. He was shortlisted as blogger of the year in 2009 and 2011 by Computer Weekly magazine.

Contact Mark: www.markhillary.com (@markhillary)

Mark on Lulu: http://j.mp/lulumarkhillary

Thank You for Your Support!

NOMORE

Together we’re saying NO MORE to domestic abuse.

The recent efforts of the Joyful Heart Foundation’s NO MORE campaign inspired us to help spread the word about domestic abuse and to raise money for a local agency with which we have an existing relationship. Due to our amazing community’s support, we exceeded our fundraising goal by $5,000 – meaning InterAct of Wake County will receive a $25,000 donation from Lulu.com.

We encourage you to continue to discover brave and powerful voices speaking out about domestic violence and sexual assault. You can find personal stories from our authors about their experiences with domestic violence on Lulu.com.

To learn more about Interact of Wake County, visit: http://www.interactofwake.org/
To find a shelter near you in need of support, visit: https://www.domesticshelters.org/

Thank you again for your generosity!

Your friends at Lulu.com

Help Us Say #NOMORE to Domestic Violence

We’re joining the effort to make this Sunday’s big game about more than just football. To raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, we’re donating a portion of all our profits through Monday to InterAct, our local nonprofit agency that provides safety and support to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. We’re setting out to raise $20,000 and you can help us get there!

We’ve been inspired by the recent efforts of the Joyful Heart Foundation’s NO MORE campaign and an existing relationship with InterAct— and we hope to leverage a growing national conversation into greater local awareness and promote the stories of independent authors who have survived and written about their experiences of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

With as little as 25% of domestic abuse and 32% of sexual assaults reported in the U.S., encouraging open dialogue and embracing the voices of victims and survivors is crucial to bringing about positive change. Lulu.com is privileged to serve as a platform for courageous independent voices and hopes to transform the energy around Sunday’s big game into positive action off the field.

To discover brave and powerful voices speaking out about domestic violence and sexual assault around the world, visit Lulu.com.

You can help say #NOMORE to domestic abuse when you get a print book through Monday, February 2 with code NOMORE. Be sure to share the deal with your friends so we can reach our goal donation.

Grab a book to help say NO MORE

Thank you for your support!

A Little Thursday Fun!

meme-january

Release Notes: 2015.03

As part of our 2015 resolutions, we are making it easier than ever for you to keep up with new site features, enhancements and bug fixes by sharing release information in both our community forums and our blog. To start off the new year, we are freshening up a page in the publishing wizard, update iBookstore revenue calculations, enhancing bookstore search, and advising users to upgrade their browsers.

Congratulations! Page Redesign

The Congratulations page of the publishing wizard previously included lots of text, 10 links, and five buttons. Some of the text was helpful and some was a little confusing or out of date.

To remove any doubts about the next steps you should take, we are introducing a redesigned version of this page with a delineated list of actions specific to your project. For example, if you created a printed book with an ISBN, there will be options to manage distribution, order a proof copy, create a spotlight page, create an eBook, etc.

2015.03 Congrats page new

iBookstore Revenue Calculator VAT Update

Author revenues for eBooks sold in the EU iBookstore are calculated on the amount remaining after VAT and the iBookstore’s commission is paid. Beginning January 20, 2015 VAT rates for eBooks will be based on the buyer’s country of residence rather than the blanket 3% rate previously charged. Since VAT rates now vary from 3-27%, authors selling eBooks in the EU iBookstore will see variations in the reported revenue based on the country in which the buyer lives.

To help authors better understand how these new tax rates affect revenues, we have updated the iBookstore revenue calculator to include the VAT rates for each EU country.

To view the iBookstore calculator, go to My Projects, click Manage next to your eBook project, and click the information button next to the iBookstore price.

2015.03 iBookstore VAT

Lulu Bookstore Search

To make it even easier for shoppers to find your book in the Lulu Bookstore, we have implemented exact match searching. When you place your search terms inside parentheses, only those books with titles containing the words in parentheses, in the same order, will be returned in the search results.

2015.03 Exact Match Searching

Supported Browser Alert

Lulu.com strives to make free, do-it-yourself publishing available to as many authors as possible by developing tools compatible for use on multiple devices and platforms. Our designers and engineers must therefore balance the functionality they wish to provide with the capabilities of the browsers and devices used by Lulu authors and their fans.

With this in mind, we designed our most recent site update to be equally accessible on desktops, laptops, and tablets. To ensure you can access all features and functions on Lulu.com, we recommend accessing our site using the current versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer 9 (or higher).

If you are using an older version of a browser, we will let you know by displaying an alert suggesting you switch browsers or upgrade to the latest version.

Facebook CEO resolves to read 26 books in 2015

Could yours be one of them?

 

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is known for his ambitious New Year’s resolutions. Last year he learned to speak Mandarin. In past years he became a vegetarian (except for animals he killed himself), made an effort to meet a new person everyday (who was not a Facebook employee), wrote a thank you note everyday, and wore a tie every day (well, this one isn’t as extraordinary).

This year’s resolution, announced on January 2nd, is as equally impressive. “My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week — with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies”

He is also challenging all Facebook users who like his A Year of Books page to read the same books in the same time period. The page invites everyone to “read a new book every two weeks and discuss it here…. Suggestions for new books to read are always welcome.”

As of this writing, A Year of Books has received over 225,000 likes and Amazon announced that the first title to be read, The End of Power by Moisés Naím has already sold out. Lucky for us, print-on-demand books never sell out!

We are encouraging all Lulu.com non-fiction authors who specialize in cultural writing, belief systems, history, or technology, to tell Mr. Zuckerberg about your book.

It’s easy to do

  • Visit the Facebook page, A Year of Books and click the Like button to join the group.
  • Pitch your book on the page. Tell Mr. Zuckerberg how your book will help him learn about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies. Think of this as your 30-second elevator speech and don’t forget to include a link to your book to make it easy to find.
  • Tell your fans, friends and family that you’ve nominated your book to be read so they can like your post.
  • And, finally be sure to let us know you submitted your book for consideration. Simply tag us in your pitch by including Lulu.com in the post or using the hashtag #Lulu.

We wish you the best of luck and hope to see your book on Mr. Zuckerberg’s 2015 reading list.