Articles tagged "create a book"

Q&A: Where and when is your favorite place to write?

Mahdiyah A Window

Mahdiyah’s Window

We asked our author community where they write and what makes that place special. As you can imagine, the responses were as diverse as Lulu authors. Some prefer working at a desk, others in bed. Some prefer music in the background, others prefer silence. Some write by hand while others prefer computers, laptops and tablets. We have selected a few of our favorite responses to share.

Where do you write?

“Sitting at my window just watching nature and reflecting on life’s synchronicities” – Mahdiyah A.

“In my spare bedroom that I redecorated and refurnished as a writing space cum office cum library. It’s more comfortable than hunched on the sofa and the view out the window is nicer this side of the building that on the other side.” Merita K.

“I do all my writing on the Path train.” – Havana G.

Rena's Armchair

Rena’s Armchair

“In my armchair at any time of the day when the words are flowing and my fingers are flying over the keys.” — Rena B.

Currently, at my desk in Afghanistan with my headphones on. My coworkers beg for pages at the end of the day. They’re hooked.” – Guenevere R.

“Outside on the town green.” – Jessika S

“Hmmm, the best place to write is at work because my desire to not be there allows me to escape into my dream job.” Sheena A

When do you write?

Anita O beach

Anita’s Inspiring Photo

“My desk in my room at night because it’s quiet. I’m least distracted and write better at night.” — Moriko F.

“In the front room at 2a.m. to 4a.m. in the morning when the world is asleep!” – Ranis T

“I usually write in the evenings. I like it when the streets are quiet, the people are gone, and everything is dark. And I write at home, in total silence.” James C.

“I do my best writing while cooking dinner and cleaning the house. I love doing both and that relaxes me and gets my mind going. It’s special because writing is my escape and clears the clutter in my head.”

“I write on the go, I write late at night, I write all the time!! I also like to take photos, which also helps me write even more!” – Anita O

Writing aids: coffee, tea, margarita?

“In a bar drinking coffee at a table by the window.” – Laura D.

“Sitting outside a little cafe in my Greek village listening to my mp3 watching the people go by whilst I sip a Fredochino.” – Karina K

Karina's Beverage of Choice

Karina’s Beverage of Choice

“Sitting in my window seat looking out at the countryside scenery with either a pen & pad or my laptop, oh and a HUGE mug of coffee.” — Rebecca H.

“At my 2 foot by 2 foot table in my bedroom! It is the perfect surface for a laptop, iPad, and glass of pop!”– Jan S.

“At home, with coffee at my side, in my PJs. When I’m comfortable, there’s no stopping me from writing. I could sit there for hours and just get it all out on paper. It’s like therapy…”– Jennie C

Most of the time, if I need to do typing, it’s at my desk. I have a huge touch screen and an antique wingback office chair that are perfection. However, if I’m actually *writing,* then I am usually in bed with my lap desk. Either way, there is ample space for a bag of cookies and cream Hershey’s Kisses or a big frozen margarita. – Jaqueline J.

 

Given all of these choices, I think I’ll bring Rena’s armchair to Greece and sip a margarita while I struggle through the next chapter of my masterpiece – or the next article for the Lulu blog.

Happy writing!

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

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.

Our First Reddit AMA

All right, Reddit, we admit it, we have been lurking you longer than we should have.

First you wooed us with memes, viral videos and funny pictures of cats. Then we realized that Reddit has real depth and grit. The front page of the internet has every relevant news article, opinion paper and helpful how-to for whatever your passion is. And you know what? That’s something we can get behind.

Since /r/books became one of the default subreddits you are set up with during account creation, we like to think there’s been a resurgence of interest in what we do best: the printed word. Over three million people subscribe to talk about books they have read, ones they want to read and to exchange ideas on what it really means to be a writer. However, just because /r/books is popular doesn’t mean that’s where our authors go for inspiration.

That’s why we’ve decided to land on /r/selfpublish for Lulu.com’s first-ever AMA. We want to reach out to authors who are doing it on their own, because we know the process is insane and exhausting, but ultimately fulfilling. On December 9, we will be answering your questions about the self-publishing process, how books are made, what “print on demand” really means and so much more.

Hosted by Lulu.com’s global fulfillment team, we will have the entire company at our disposal to get at the nitty gritty details of your roadblocks, the tools you’re missing and the areas where you may need clarification to feel confident in publishing your work.

As a special treat, we will have a coupon code for anyone who comes to participate or even just observe and follow the Q&A session.

At Lulu.com, we believe in authors creating what they love. Let us help you along the way to success as a self-published author. We look forward to your questions!

5 Apps Every Writer Should Check Out

We all know that writing comes with its own set of challenges. Whether you’re a professional full-time author or just writing for pleasure, we want to make your life a little easier. Our team has done some digging on the top five apps that every writer should try. Here’s the list to make your literary endeavors simpler. Drumroll please…

1. iA Writer

Need a little more focus in your writing life? iA Writer for iOS offers an extremely clean interface to cut down on annoying distractions. This app takes overs your screen and fades out the surrounding text so you aren’t easily distracted with the desire to edit. Basic formatting and editing options are available and you have the ability to import and export Word files. Additionally, you can effortlessly sync documents with iCloud and Dropbox.

Available for iPhone, iPad and Mac.

2. Hanx Writer

Hugely popular upon its release in August, Tom Hanks’ app pays homage to that pivotal piece of writing technology… the typewriter. Hanks, who is an avid typewriter collector, decided to translate his love of the mechanical device into a digital world.  This app replicates the noises of a traditional typewriter, including the unmistakeable chime at the end of a line. While you may not want to write your next 500 page novel on it, you can definitely have some fun here. It’s a great app for anyone looking for the experience of a manual typewriter with the ease and speed of an iPad.

Available on iPad.

3. Pocket

The Pocket app allows users to save content from all over the web in a convenient and accessible reader format. Save articles, videos, pictures, etc. in Pocket and you will immediately have access to it across any and all of your devices. This is a great app for the research phase of the writing process, when you are still gathering and organizing ideas.

Available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Kobo and various web browsers.

4. Byword 2

Byword 2 bills itself as, “Simple and efficient text editing for Mac, iPhone and iPad.”

Byword 2 supports rich text and Markdown. You can sync all of your documents on all of your devices, along with iCloud and Dropbox. It also includes complete Markdown support, allows you to preview your documents in the app, export to HTML, PDF, rich text or publish directly to a plethora of web platforms.

Available on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

5. PaperHelper

Does the constant flipping back and forth between browsers and screens drive you nuts? As screens become smaller, space becomes more of a premium. This app allows you do keep your research and writing all within view by splitting your writing and your research into either side of your screen.

Available on iPad.

Using Facebook Timeline to Better Market Your Books

Whether you’re ready to click the “Like” button or you’re secretly wishing for a new “Hate” button to be added over the new Facebook changes, the popular social networking site is getting ready to update…again. On February 2nd, everyone’s profiles will be switched to the new Facebook Timeline layout – like it or not.  It’s ok though, with change comes opportunity and in your case, oh faithful Lulu author, you’ll have new tools to play around with to help market your works.  This post will help you set up your Timeline and give you some ideas on how to best use it to reach your audience.

What is Facebook Timeline?

Facebook Timeline is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Timeline is the story of your life…in a new way to express who you are.”  Your posts (literally all of them) are divided in two and appear on a timeline in chronological order below your profile picture and basic information.  The super cool feature about your Timeline and the most obvious change is the new cover option, which lets you save an image as a banner at the very top of your page. This is your place to shine Lulu author.  I’ve already seen some really fun and innovative uses for this space.  Just check out these cool personal Timelines and these company Timelines for some inspiration.

From Mashable - Note the use of a QR code as the profile pic. You can do this to link to your book's product page on Lulu.

 

As you can see in the links and images above, the more creative you get with your new cover image, the more likely a potential reader might stop and consider reading your works.  Consider placing illustrations from your books in this space if you’re a children’s book author, or perhaps even a passage from your work if you’re a novelist.  Make it fun and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  This is a great chance to brand yourself and your work in an interesting and unique way.  To start setting up your Timeline, check out this handy slideshow from our friends at Mashable for step-by-step instructions.

Lifespan of a Post:

Right now, Facebook posts have an average lifespan of about three hours according to research recently done by Bitly. This is likely to decrease with Timeline, but you can ensure the right people are seeing your posts by trying different times throughout the day to pinpoint your highest traffic hours. It’s a good idea to set up your own personal Facebook page for your works too so you can have access to all of Facebook’s great insight tools, which show you which of your posts trend most and to what demographics. The more virality (the amount it will be shared) your posts have increase the likeliness that your fans will like it or share it, which will extend your posts’ lifespan.

Post more and post often:

Given the ever-decreasing life-span above, what you have to say has more potential to be lost in the sea of other frequent posters in your fans’ news feeds.  I still wouldn’t post things back to back, but once every hour to two hours certainly couldn’t hurt. The vast majority of readers are constantly plugged in now, and are always interested in discovering fresh, easy to digest content. But make sure that content is of quality and value or fans will flag you for spam.

Life Events:

You’ll notice you now have a new option next to your status updates on Facebook Timeline called “Life Event.” This is a great new feature specifically for authors because you can include your books, publications, and blog-type posts here and instantly share it with your readers.  You can include cover-photos along with your posts to really help them stand out – like so:

So there you go, you should be well-equipped to brave the new Facebook Timeline and be a cut-above the rest for marketing your titles through this channel.  Sound off on what you think about the new Facebook in the comments below and feel free to offer your own tips for how you’ve used it too.

 

Author Success Story: “Age of the Indie Author”

Author Greg Prato is a rockstar of journalism, having written articles and reviews for such publications as All Music Guide, Classic Rock Magazine, and Rolling Stone. When the time came for Prato to take his passion for music and writing beyond one-off articles and into the pages of a book, he thought he’d be a shoe-in. Turns out, even as an accomplished journalist, Prato had just as much trouble publishing traditionally as the next guy.

“In my experience, traditional publishers only listen to people with agents,” Prato says. “I’ve been writing for over 13 years, and Lulu was the only company to offer me any options.”

Author Greg Prato

Prato is a shining example of how Lulu empowers authors to profit from their unique knowledge and ideas. His first work, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other, published through Lulu in 2008, is one of the only books available that chronicles the tragic death of Shannon Hoon – frontman for popular 90’s band Blind Melon. The book acts as an oral history of Hoon’s life,  collecting original interviews from over 100 people close to the band.


“I wanted to make my book different” says Prato. “I tried to get more than just one perspective in there because conflict and criticism are key to making an interesting story.”

Prato brought his work to Lulu after being rejected time and time again by traditional publishers and agents, despite his ties to writing. He hired a publicist and was able to build a following by marketing his work and doing a circuit of radio interviews. A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other has gone on to sell thousands of copies.

“This is the age of the indie author” Prato says. “Lulu makes it easy for those with the urge to create because there is no approval process and no worries. Lulu gives the power back to the author and the author gets to make a good chunk of the cash, the way it should be.”

Prato certainly has the urge to create too, having completed six books with three more on the way. In his book, No Schlock…Just Rock!, Prato compiles five years worth of his magazine articles, including the three that ultimately pushed him to writing books. Each work revolves around his expertise on the music industry and offers an in-depth look into bands like Kiss and Deep Purple, and the rise of MTV.

“All my books are things I wanted to read about, but that didn’t exist yet.” says Prato. “It just goes to show you that you have to stick to your guns. If I’d listened to other people, I’d never written a single book.”

Check out Prato’s storefront and all of his remarkable works on Lulu and be on the look out for his upcoming releases.