Articles tagged "indie authors"

Scientists Discover the Secret to Happiness: Adult Coloring Books

2 min read

crayonsParents and babysitters have long used drawing and coloring as an effective tool to engage and calm anxious, unruly children. After all, there is nothing like a nice selection of crayons, a complicated pattern, and a little free time to distract a child from the troubles of the world.

Recently, this soothing childhood activity has been adopted by a slightly older demographic. What started as a quirky pastime has become a worldwide trend, as evidenced by the number of adult coloring books making their way onto international bestseller lists. This trend may be a throwback to childhood memory, but in actuality it may also be the books’ therapeutic properties that have them flying off shelves.

Based on studies dating back to the early 20th century, coloring generates wellness, quietness and stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. Psychiatrist Carl Jung prescribed coloring complex mandalas for his patients as a means to calm and center their minds.Mandala Coloring Book

Brain scans reveal that when coloring, different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres are activated. Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist who also happens to be the author of his own line of adult coloring books, says that coloring elicits a relaxing mindset, similar to what you would achieve through meditation. Like mediation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment rather than worrying about what did or did not / may or may not happen.

Dr. Joel PeZenarson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia theorizes a different explanation for the therapeutic effect: Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones. “You have to look at the shape and its size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color. These activities occupy the same parts of the brain that stop anxiety-related mental imagery from happening.” In the simplest of terms, coloring has a scientifically recognized de-stressing effect.

So, if you are parenting or “babysitting” an anxious, unruly adult in need of a soothing distraction, grab a few markers and sit them down with a coloring book. It’s scientifically proven to replace the stress of adult life with childlike happiness.

Get started on your path to serenity today with a few of our favorite selections.

Your happiness deserves it.

Masculine AbstractpscychodelicFashionHealing patterns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a Coloring Book on Lulu.com

Coloring with Chakras: Does Your Mood Affect the Colors You Choose?

Authors in the News: Elizabeth Urabe

20 Fun Facts for National Book Month

2 min read

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October is here and with the changing season, many of our thoughts turn to fall leaves, pumpkin-spiced lattes and well… anything and everything pumpkin-spiced.

Here at Lulu, we can’t stop thinking about BOOKS! After all, October is National Book Month. It’s a time to celebrate the joy brought to us by paper, ink, binding and the written word. In honor of National Book Month, we wanted to share some fun book facts you can share with your reading group (it’s also National Reading Group Month) over pumpkin spiced lattes at your local coffee shop.

  1. We all know the smell of old books is glorious, but there’s some interesting science behind it too! Over time the gradual breakdown of the cellulose and lignin contained in paper leads to the production of large amounts of various organic compounds. The odor these compounds produce varies depending on where the book was printed, the paper and ink types and how long the book has been degrading.

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    The Tree Library – Made from Trees

  2. The Alnarp Library in Sweden has a 217 volume collection of wooden books called The Tree Library. Each book describes a specific tree—its binding is bark, moss and lichens found on that species and the book interiors hold more natural surprises. The books were made in Germany during the 19th century.
  3. Of Mice and Men was originally titled Something that Happened.
  4. Abibliophobia – the fear of running out of reading material.
  5. The Neverending Story not only ends, but is estimated to be only around 96,000 words. It was also written by Michael Ende.
  6. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury includes a 600 word section that has no punctuation!
  7. Avid reading over the course of a lifetime may reduce the rate of memory decline by as much as 32%.
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the first book written with a typewriter.
  9. The Harvard University library has four law books bound in human skin.
  10. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan. There was never a recorded Wendy before.
  11. People in Iceland read more books per capita than any other country in the world.
  12. Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks.
  13. Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is the world’s smallest book.

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    Maybe it would be easier to just stop and ask directions.

  14. The largest bound book in the world is The Klencke Atlas. A 1.75 meter tall by 1.9 meter wide tome that is so heavy six people are necessary to lift it. It was presented as a gift to Charles II of England by Johannes Klencke in 1660. The atlas contains 37 printed wall maps.
  15. Ernest Hemingway survived anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, skin cancer, hepatitis, anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, a rupture spleen, a ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull, and more. He ultimately died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  16.  33% of high school graduates in the U.S. never read another book the rest of their lives.
  17.  The Harry Potter books are the most banned books in America.

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    “WENDY!”

  18.  J.R.R. Tolkien typed the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with two fingers.
  19. J.M. Barrie gave the rights of Peter Pan to the Children’s Hospital on Great Ormond Street, London so they could always collect royalties and fund the hospital.
  20. It is rumored that Teddy Roosevelt read, on average, one book a day even when juggling the responsibilities of his presidential office.

PR Part I: Ready, Set, Press Release!

3 min read

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RALEIGH, NC – September 13, 2016 – Lulu, the pioneer and world leader in independent publishing, announced today that all authors should launch their new books with a well-crafted press release. “It’s your story and you should be the person telling it,” said Glenn@Lulu, Content Marketing Manager at Lulu Press.

 

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That’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard all day!

That’s a pretty standard (and frankly boring) opening for a press release: Announce something, follow it by an authoritative, quotable quote, then tell the story. It’s really like writing a one-page essay. All you need to do is write a release that answers who, what, when, where, why and how. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

You may be surprised to learn there are people out there who make hundreds of dollars per press release. That’s right, all that money for writing five paragraphs announcing something someone thinks is newsworthy. In reality, this is something you can do yourself. All you need is a bit of practice and an ear for what will attract the attention of local, national, and global news outlets.

Let’s get started.

One second to fame

Books are published everyday. Another one being published is not news. Therefore, your headline has to jump off the screen and make a reporter want to read more of your story. Since your headline is the first impression you will make, avoid clichés, puns, and gimmicky subject lines. Otherwise your headline may be the last impression you make before a journalist hits the delete key.

Sell the hook, not the book

sell-the-hook

Sell the hook first. Then sell the book.

What makes your book relevant? Does it solve a problem? How does it relate to other books in the genre? Does your book explain or fit neatly into a current news story? Does the action in your book revolve around an upcoming holiday? Are you a coroner writing a crime novel? A mother writing a conspiracy thriller? A life-long city dweller celebrating life off the grid? Your press release is the means to tell your story. The book is almost an afterthought, “If you want to know more, you can find <insert title here> on Lulu and all major online bookstores.”

 

Don’t promote, inform

An effective press release is based on facts, not opinion. Of course you, your mom and your best friend think your book is the best book ever published, but that is only an opinion. A journalist needs facts and when possible quotes. If your book solves a problem, state the problem and the solution it provides. If your characters or plot happen to coincide with something happening in the news, explain why your book will help people better understand the situation. When possible, provide quotes from experts in your field or snippets from reputable reviewers.

The best book in the world – Really?

hyperboleYou want your headline and body text to be original, snappy, and attention grabbing; however, avoid using clichés and hyperbole. Unless you have proof your book will transform lives, leave readers breathless or on their knees begging for more, don’t include these overused tropes in your press release. They show a lack of thought and imagination (see above – facts not opinions).

 

Do your research

Your best bet for getting early publicity for your book will be from local newspapers, libraries, radio programs, and independent bookstores. With that said, make sure you do your homework and address your press release email to a person (name spelled correctly).   No one wants to receive a generic email blast sent to every Sir, Madame, or Whom it May Concern in the business. Make it personal. I spell my name Glenn with two Ns – you should too!

Everybody is busy (and lazy)

busy-lazy-journalists

Content, I need good content!

All journalists are on tight deadlines, so the easier you make it for them to write the story, the more likely it is your story will get their attention. When you send your press release email, include links to your author press kit (About the Author), your book’s retail page, and book excerpts. It is not recommended you send a free copy of your book with the initial contact. Instead, explain that free electronic copies will be provided upon request.

 

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to getting the publicity your book deserves. Remember, start local, be personal, and try different angles until you have perfected your press release. Then go national.

 

Up nextPR Part II: Write the Best Press Release – EVER!

Tips for composing the best book launch press release in the history of the written word in the format of a standard press release.

Additional Resources

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

Crafting an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books

How to Publish a Paperback Book on Lulu.com

 

 

Introducing Lulu Academy: Enroll Today

1 min read

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At Lulu, we believe education is crucial to successful publishing. Self-publishing is more than just sending your manuscript and cover files to a printer. If a self-published author wants to be in control of their work (rather than ceding control to a big company) they must learn about the process to make informed decisions on publishing and selling their work.

Publishing can be complicated for beginners. From file layout, to cover design, to making your product available on retail sites; there are many lessons to learn and hazards to navigate. To aid authors, Lulu works diligently to produce useful knowledge base articles and instructional videos.

We recently introduced a new series of videos we’ve called Lulu Academy. These short videos focus on a single aspect of the publishing process. Created by Lulu employees, the videos are designed to provide short, easy to understand instructions, including screenshots of the steps in the publishing process.

Lulu firmly believes that knowledge is power and we want to help you not only get your book printed, but also to help you be the best self-published author you can be. We know that publishing can be complex and daunting, but we aim to help you make sense of it all.

You can find these and other video tutorials in the Lulu Knowledge Base, under Video Tutorials. Stay tuned for additional videos in the near future.

Examples of Lulu Academy Videos:

Why Choose Lulu?

Distribution and Your Book

Get 90 Days Free Access to the Author Learning Center

2 min read

Author Learning CenterThe Author Learning Center (ALC) is a one-of-kind online author education community designed to help educate, motivate, and support you as you work to become a published author. The center offers educational information about writing, publishing, and marketing from a variety of industry experts, agents, best-selling authors, publicists, and editors.

 

How can the ALC help you?

By combining industry-leading education, exclusive tools, and a supportive community, the ALC provides a one-of-a-kind resource to help you get to your goal of becoming a published author.

By taking advantage of all the ALC has to offer, you can become:

  • better educated on the publishing industry,
  • more equipped to finish your manuscript, and
  • empowered to makes smart choices for your book marketing.

 

90 Days Free

Lulu authors get a free 90 day subscription with access to:

  • Ask The Expert Video Interviews
  • Podcasts on writing, publishing and marketing
  • Live online webinars with industry experts
  • Articles and recorded webinars
  • Exclusive tools to help you get to your goal

ALC Stan Lee

The Author Learning Center also provides a unique set of tools to help you quickly move through your writing and publishing process with confidence:

  • The Book Launch Tool, which helps you identify the tasks you need to complete your book and helps you track your progress
  • The Author Circle, which enables you to invite up to seven people into your private online writers group to provide feedback and encouragement throughout your publishing journey.

Learn from bestselling authors

Among the wide range of interviews on the ALC are a number of best-selling authors share their wisdom and experience. Here are just a few of the names you recogonize.

  • Elmore Leonard, Best-selling writer
  • Victor Villasenor, Best-selling author, Pulitzer winning writer, Rain of Gold
  • Stan Lee, Former head of Marvel Comics
  • Mitch Albom, author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international best-seller Tuesdays with Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time
  • Seth Godin, author of 18 international best-sellers, including Tribes: We Need Your to Lead Us

 

90 Day No-Risk Free Trial!

ALC CommunityYou can access the ALC for 90 days for free.  If  after three months you want to continue your subscription, it is only $9.99 a month. You can cancel at any time.

Join now to be a part of the best online author community available and let us help you get to your goal of becoming a published author!

To claim your FREE 90-day trial, go to the Author Learning Center, click the button to claim your 90 Day Free Trial and enter the promo code lue during registration.

* Your credit card number is required to register with the Author Learning Center. It will only be charged if you do not cancel your Author Learning Center account before the free 90-day subscription expires.

Market Your Book: Knowing Your Audience

2 min read

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You wrote and published a book. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to think about the business of marketing and selling it. The most important challenge you face after publication is getting your book in front of people who want to buy it. Where do you start?

We asked 4,000 of our top selling authors to share some of their secrets to success. Over the next few weeks we will share their insights. While you may find some of their answers to be painfully obvious, others may surprise you. The first question asked why author’s why they thought their book had found success.

Lulu-Marketing-Your-Book-eBook28web-final29_pdfThe top 3 answers are all representative of understanding and providing content for a very specific audience. Again and again the words “niche,” “audience,” and “filled a need” came up in answers to this question. As one author said, “Make it your overriding passion to learn as much as you can about your audience and then give them what they crave.”

Take note of two related answers “Only book of its kind” and “Subject matter / topic.” Many authors stress that successful books require a fresh perspective on a popular topic or that they address a subject that’s never been written about. One author said their book was successful because “it fills a niche with no competition for content, quality or clarity of presentation.”

Also, take a second look at the votes for “Author platform.” Later on, we’ll look at the different elements of an author platform, and which parts of the platform our best-selling authors think helped them the most.

What Should You Do?

Define your audience. What are they interested in? Where do they spend time online and in the real world? How do they satisfy their need for content similar to yours – for example, blogs, magazines, social communities, events, or video? What can your book oƒffer this audience that’s not available anywhere else?

Key Takeaway

The most important step in effectively marketing your product – whether it’s a book, a business or a lemonade stand – is understanding your audience. Successful independently published authors credit knowing their audience and filling a niche as their key to success.

Additional Information:

How Authors Can Build Their Marketing Presence Online
Guest Blogging: Building Your Online Reputation

Spread Happiness: Create Your Own Coloring Book

2 min read

Coloring books have always been a simple, calming way to entertain children. Recently, a new kind of coloring book has found a place in the book world—adult coloring books. The simple act of selecting colors and turning a line drawing into a rich, colorful piece of art, has the ability to soothe our overwrought minds, to help us relax and disconnect from our busy lives.

Here at Lulu we are keenly aware of the growing market for coloring books for all ages. Glenn detailed some of the reasons why coloring books are so popular in this post. Today we will show you how you can make the world a happier place by making your own coloring book on Lulu.com!

Start by creating a Lulu account then go to the Lulu Book Builder. We don’t offer a specific coloring book format, but we strongly recommend selecting the Premium Paperback option > Black & White printing  >  White paper. The paper weight for this option is heavy enough to prevent color bleed. It’s also uncoated, so you don’t have to worry about colors smudging or running.

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Premium paperbacks come in a variety of sizes. For a coloring book, something larger like 8.5” x 11” is usually best, as you want to have a large, detailed image to color. Other sizes will work too—that’s the beauty of self-publishing; it’s up to you!

Premium paperbacks can be bound using any of our three methods (Perfect, Coil, or Saddle Stitch), but for any book that you’d like to sell in online bookstores, you’ll want to use Perfect binding. Coil and Saddle-Stitch work for coloring books meant for personal use or to be sold only in the Lulu.com bookstore.

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Now that you’ve selected the style and binding, you’re going to need to format your file to make a beautiful book. It’s important to be aware that, even with the thicker white paper, some of the color may show through the page. Therefore, you may want to place only one image per sheet of paper rather than printing images back to back. Also, don’t forget the first page of the file will print on the right side of the book, as will all odd numbered pages. Keep this in mind if you have any images that span two pages.

And lastly, to ensure none of your artwork is lost during trimming and binding, make sure your image is at least .25 inches from the edge of the page.

 

            Let’s recap. The recommended specs for a coloring book are:

            Premium Paperback, Perfect Bound, 8.5 x 11

            Black & White ink on White Paper

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By following the guidelines above and creating your own coloring books, you can help the world be a happier place.  Really!

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