Express Yourself

Since 2002, Lulu has been holding the doors of free expression open for writers, thinkers, storytellers, activists, educators and even political theorists. Whether you celebrated the peaceful transition of power or took to the streets to make sure your voice was heard, Lulu has the tools you need to communicate and engage with your audience – no matter where they are on the political spectrum.

Three US Presidents later, we are 1 million authors strong.

Add your voice. Be heard. Express yourself. It’s your right.

 

You Are Why We Do What We Do

Most days our support team members answer questions about how to publish books and ebooks, track down late deliveries, and help people order books. Occasionally, we receive letters like this one, that remind us we are not just printing and selling books; we are also making a positive difference.

 

 

Dear Ellen,

     I know you have changed jobs at Lulu and I should be talking to the new account manager, but I feel like this note is for you since you are the person I worked with first.  The other day, I Googled information for my son and an advertisement for Lulu popped up and god bless you, there was our cookbook!  Thank you! It was very surprising to see Grits and Groceries in your ad!

     We really enjoy working with y’all and you couldn’t make it any easier for us.  I have been telling all my chef friends about how great your company has been to work with!  One of them cried when she found out what we make on each book.  She went with a traditional publisher and makes only 75 cents per book sold.

     I want you to know what this book does for us as a small business.  The sales from this little cookbook keep two full-time single mothers working, makes it so we can pay for time off when an employee is out sick, helps support one full time farmer and three part-time growers, and is the cornerstone for a new farmer’s market in Greenwood, South Carolina.

We really thank you for taking such good care of us and this little book.                               

Thanks,

Heidi Trull
Grits and Groceries

 

From everyone at Lulu:

Thank you Heidi. You and authors like you are the reason we come to work everyday. Our only goal is to see independent authors and entrepreneurs like you succeed. Keep up the good work. We’ll be looking for you soon on the Food Network.


About the Author:

Heidi and Joe Trull bring a life-long love of home-cooking to their new restaurant, Grits and Groceries. Born and raised in the Carolinas, they have traveled far and wide honing their skills. Now you can try those same recipes in your home.

Introducing the new Grits & Groceries cookbook with over 200 recipes from G&G’s famous tomato pie and praline bacon to southern staples such as angel biscuits and collard greens – and everything in between.

 

Meet CL Bennett: Award-Winning Lulu Author

As 2017 kicks off Lulu is delighted to welcome C.L. Bennett, the international award-winning children’s author of the ‘Bugglepuff’ series. Taking a few minutes from her hectic writing and travel schedule, CL spoke to us about the magical world of the Bugglepuff series.

Hi CL ! Would you mind telling us about the Bugglepuff series?

Jungle bedrooms, pirate treasure maps, a chocolate bath, little people with flying boots, a crazy parrot and a Magic Key can all be found in the first of a series of books about the Bugglepuff family.

Captain Bugglepuff, his mad wife Delirious and their four rascally children Anemone, Compass, Rocky and Seasea live a haphazard day-to-day family life in a little English fishing port in Devon, until the arrival of a mysterious crisp white letter in the mail. After the arrival of this letter, nothing in the Bugglepuff’s lives will ever be the same again.

It takes the Bugglepuff family to a new home by an enchanted creek  leading to a fantastical adventure in a world of magic where dreams can come true. But the family must be careful. Temptations takes the Bugglepuff children and their extraordinary animals on a series of dangerous quests for which the price of failure will break the family apart and the world as we know it!

Why did you start to write?

My family was the inspiration behind my book Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key and newly published through Lulu, Bugglepuffs and the Magic Quest – PART 1. My four hilarious children’s day-to-day dramas growing up gave me so many scrumptious stories, that after several years and a lot of persuasion from friends and family I felt it was time to put pen to paper and bring them to life in an animated adventure.

It’s the drama and excitement I can create as an author putting my family into the world of the Bugglepuffs, which is an absolute joy and delight. What will they do next? Who will play the lead role? Sometimes if one of my children does something naughty at home I make them do something terribly silly in the book to make me laugh!

What inspired you to write a children’s book in particular?

The natural choice was to write a children’s book that my own children could read for six to eleven-year-old boys and girls. But I think the whole family enjoy the series and can laugh at the Bugglepuff family’s daily chaos and escaping to a new life full of magic and wonder! I wanted to write books to create tremendous worldwide fun and to send sparkles into the imaginations of children. If I can achieve a sprinkling of this, that would be gloriously special!

Where did the tremendous word ‘Bugglepuffs’ come from?

I was traveling home from school with the children last spring and I said to them, “Well if I’m going to write a book, I need a name for the family. Our surname is Bennett so I think it should start with a B.” “a B,” they all said then ‘splat’ a bug hit our windscreen. ‘Bug,’ shouted my youngest son, they all laughed, followed by my oldest daughter replying, ‘Buggle’ and then my youngest daughter roared with giggles and screamed, “puff, puff puff.” At that moment, I nearly went into the hedge as I realised the animated family name had been born. That was the start of the ‘Bugglepuffs.

We hear that the character ‘Delirious Bugglepuff’ is based on yourself? What is the silliest thing that has ever happened to you?

Well there are many silly moments but I guess probably the funniest was when my kids were very young. I was very tired with sleepless nights and crying babies and I was ferociously late for school. I’d been folding the washing and then raced out the door with pram in tow and whizzed up to school. I got to school with five minutes to spare in a frazzled state, but happy I’d made it on time. Suddenly I heard a laugh, followed by another laugh and another and I didn’t know what my friends were pointing at. I looked around then realised they were pointing at me, at my hair. In my rush to get to school I had left a fresh pair of twizzled up knickers in my hair. It was my most deliriously silly moment as a mum to date, but one I’ll always happily remember and giggle about!

What makes creative writing so exciting for you and what else inspires you?

Oh, where to begin with this one? Creative writing is like having a canvas in front of me and putting hundreds of colours together through writing. My pen is like a paint brush. I want every child and every adult to see, touch, hear, smell and taste the magical world of the Bugglepuffs and travel excitedly on the adventure series with me.

Children are my inspiration and not in a corny way. They have the most sharp, unreserved minds and come out with such genuine and inspiring suggestions when you least expect it! This has led me to starting ‘Bugglepuff Fun Days’ in primary schools and it’s been like sitting in a bath of delicious ice cream! I love animating the children with creative writing, the joy of reading and the delights of dream bedrooms and chocolate doors. Taking their minds into a world of adventure is so much fun! For older children, I talk about my writing and publishing experiences so far, and in return the children ask me brilliant questions about what it’s like being an author and creating the Bugglepuffs. Fun is not enough of a word it should be ‘Fundeliciouslywonderfullystupendous!’


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 PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

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.

Keep that NaNoWriMo Inspiration Alive

Paul@Lulu

November has come and gone, but what are you planning to do with that manuscript you started for NaNoWriMo 2016?

For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a “competition, challenging writers to buckle down and write 50,000 words in a month. While that might seem ambitious (1667 words a day!), for many of us it’s the perfect motivation to start a new project, complete a book, or finish up an existing project.

The organization (http://nanowrimo.org/) specifically encourages writing a novel in a month. But they’ll also be the first to tell you; writing is writing, and it’s all good! The competition is self-driven. You challenge yourself to achieve your writing goals. Support and encouragement comes from other NaNo writers striving for the same goal. I know I’m a big procrastinator (“I’m not in the right mood to write,” “Its too nice outside to write,” “I’ll just watch an episode of my favorite TV show, then I’ll write”), so the goals, the support, the word sprints (timed writing sessions with smaller word goals), as well as the imposing progress chart help keep me on track.

Eleven months out of the year, I’m happy with 5,000 words in a week. That’s good progress to me. But come November, I crank that up to almost 12,000 a week. For me, its the time of year when I start the novel I’ll be working on for the coming year. In November I aim to create a stripped down, 50,000 word version of my complete story, or to write the first portion of the story. A couple of years ago, I was so happy with my NaNoWriMo piece, I left it as a novella topping out at 55,000 in the final draft!

However you use the motivation, the real point is to be motivated! NaNoWriMo lets you update your word count (I like to check mine daily) and see the progress. Now, if you look at my chart, you’ll see I didn’t hit my goal for the month, finishing more than 10,000 words short. I don’t let this slow me down though. Because the point is just to push out as many words as possible in a month.

And now, with the competition done, its time to print that book and have a look at it. I print my manuscripts as 8.5 x 11 Coil Bound Paperbacks (for around $10.00 you can get your 50,000 word Nano script printed and shipped from Lulu). Then I can review it, make notes, make changes, and move that story to completion.

Last year’s NaNo project is today a 120,ooo word novel, its been through two full revisions, and is going through the last round of reviews before it’s ready to be called complete! All because I challenged myself to hit that 50,000 word goal last November.

That can be you too! Nanowrimo is an awesome way to get started and Lulu is here to help you take that great start and turn it into a published novel!

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!

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