Articles tagged "lulu authors"

Finding Myself Among The Wolves


Book CoverRecently, I published my first novel Wolves of the Shadowlands with Although it hasn’t been the most commercially successful piece of writing ever, the experience taught me a lot about writing and about myself.

I am 17-years old and a junior in high school.  I have been motivated to tell stories since the 4th grade. In elementary school, I would always be writing short narratives in my English journal. They were nothing fancy, complex, or necessarily logical. I was just a kid with a wild imagination.

Fortunately, that wild imagination evolved into something much more complicated and versatile through writing. Before I finished middle school, my drive to tell stories brought me into film making, a path I have been following ever since. But even then, telling cinematic stories was not enough to satisfy my imagination and to calm the myriad ideas bouncing around in my head. I had to do more.

It wasn’t until I tackled the incredible experience of writing a novel that ideas truly began to flow from my head. Before I began writing Wolves, my writing had always been written by me, for me. Now I was telling a story – a real story to a real audience. I locked myself in and began channeling my idea onto paper. An idea that, over the course of about a year and a half, became a story of friendship, understanding, sacrifice, and much more.

It wasn’t until I had completed the draft of Wolves and I was going back through the manuscript to edit and polish it, that I realized the story wasn’t just about a boy, a wolf, or forbidden friendships. Through the process of writing, I had interjected elements of my own personality and experiences that I have had in my own life into the characters themselves. When writing, I was so engaged in telling the story that when I took a step back and actually looked at it from a different perspective, I saw my own reflection in the words that had once only existed in the void of my mind.

Imagination is more than just problem-solution or beginning-middle-end. It’s making characters and events unfold in a universe of your own creation and, to varying extents, injecting your own experiences and personality into it. The hardest part to overcome is making the decision to lock yourself in for the ride.

May you all find happiness in telling your stories!

Headshot_M_Manyak_JPGAbout the Author

Matthew Manyak is a 17 year-old filmmaker, photographer, digital artist, and narrative author. Wolves of the Shadowlands is his first published novel. He currently pursues a career of creativity and imagination at a school of the arts in northern Florida.


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

Guidelines for guest posting.

– See more at:

Tell Your Story: Three Minutes of Awesome

A few months ago, we asked Lulu authors to send us a video about themselves and their books.

From the submissions we received, we created a short film.

This is the extended version – or director’s cut as I like to call it. We hope these authors will inspire you to tell your own story.



How do you judge a book? By its cover, of course.

The following is a guest post courtesy of Ron Miller, see the author’s information below.

Making sure your book has a good cover is like making sure you are neatly dressed and well groomed when going on a job interview.

Although everyone says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this really doesn’t apply to books themselves. In fact, the cover is one of the most important parts of a book. It’s the first thing anyone will ever see and for that reason it needs to make a good impression. If a cover is unreadable, looks amateurish or misrepresents a book, the potential reader may give it a pass and move on to the next book in a catalog or bookshelf.

There are no hard and fast rules in book cover design. Just take a look at some of the superb covers displayed here . They are all creative, effective and no two look alike. Yet, they all follow the same basic guidelines. Even if you are not an artist or designer, you can still make a cover that – while perhaps not as artistic or inventive as some of these covers – can still be attractive and effective. Here are some basic rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • The most important thing on a bookcover is the book’s title.
  • Keep things simple typographically. You may own a thousand fonts, but there is no need to feel compelled to use them all. Especially avoid really fancy, decorative fonts or using a lot of Photoshop effects on the title. If no one can read the title of your book, you may as well not have it on the cover at all.
  • Likewise, keep your artwork simple. Try to limit yourself to just one image that best represents the book’s genre or what it is about. Avoid the temptation to create a “kitchen sink” cover, where you try to cram in everything you think is important.
  • Another reason for simplicity is that a cover needs to work at all sizes—and even in B&W. Most people will first see your cover as a thumbnail image on a webpage. Therefore, it needs to be as readable at postage stamp size as it is on the actual printed book.

Having read these suggestions, go back to the Indie Cover page and see how many of those covers reflect these ideas.

About the Author:

In addition to the books he has published with Lulu, Ron Miller is the author/illustrator of more than fifty commercially published books. These have received numerous commendations and awards, including a Hugo, the IAF Manuscript Award, the Booklist Editor’s Award and the American Institute of Physics Award of Excellence. Several of his books have been Book-of-the-Month Club feature selections. In addition to the artwork he does for his own books, Miller provides illustrations for magazines such as Scientific American, Astronomy and Discover. Specializing in science fiction and fantasy, he has also created several hundred book covers for publishers such as Tor, Baen, Berkley/Ace, Warner, Easton Press, Subterranean Press and many others.

Black Cat Studios

Social media for book lovers

Social networking meets your reading addiction.

The New York Times recently ran an excellent profile of Goodreads, a super popular book-centric social media platform. The site launched in 2006, and as the Times notes, has over the last 7 years become “the largest source of independent reviews on the Web, with 21 million and counting.” Like all successful social media sites, its popularity springs from the relationships and communities it fosters, and if this article is any indication, these ties are booming.

I was also happy to note that the piece paid special attention to Goodreads’ relationship to independent publishing. It notes the wild success of “Wool,” a series self-published sci-fi books by Hugh Howey that received serious attention after being featured by one of Goodreads’ most popular book clubs (later it mentions that Howey’s series was optioned by 20th Century Fox!).

The Times attributes the particular advertising power of sites like Goodreads to the “membership model.” In short, recommendations or reviews written by friends (be they online or off) tend to be more effective motivators because they’re understood to be trustworthy and personal. Could literature-focused social media platforms provide the non-traditional advertising avenue self-publishing authors need to break through to a wide audience?

Though the Readmill’s iPad app has been around for a while, in early February the company launched an (even more mobile) app for the iPhone. Readmill is a digital reading platform with a built-in social media interface. One part digital marketplace, one part bookworm Facebook, the application – now available for both iPhones and iPads – allows users to purchase eBooks from vendors online and read them via a slick, minimalist interface on their mobile devices. It also lets readers share favorite quotes, track reading stats, and get recommendations from friends and followers.

Competitor apps like Wattpad and BookShout point to a growing market (and hopefully a growing demand). We’ll see if apps like this catch the public interest, but I think they could provide excellent opportunities for self-publishers trying to get the word out as well as serious readers looking for their next page-turner.

Are you a part of any of these book-centric social media platforms?  What has been your experience?

Independent Publishing at SXSW

SXSW, the Austin-based conference that features events base around technology, education and music took place last week and I’ve now finally recovered from all the excitement of having all of these insanely talented minds congregating in one place. While I did not attend the interactive presentations on independent publishing (they were packed!), from outside the convention center, I can tell you that independent publishing and eBooks had a huge presence, as the technology continues to evolve and become even more intertwined with other digital platforms like phones, tablets, and videogames.

In the Publisher’s Weekly roundup of events, you can see how the energy around independent publishing has freed up authors t make more interesting publishing decisions:

“Originally published by small press, Hugh Howey quickly decided to go the self-publishing route generating an enormous word of mouth following that turned his books into e-book bestsellers on Amazon. Indeed Howey said at one point he was generating $30,000 to $40,000 a month in sales and selling hundreds of thousands of e-books.”

The move by established authors to selling books on their own was a huge topic of conversation. For established authors to then use their reputation and leverage a successful independent publishing campaign from it has been a huge development, and lent a lot of credibility to independent publishing.

Another new development has been the discussions over whether you should give away content for free to build your credibility. David Carr, of the New York Times, had some choice words at his presentation,

“Don’t give your shit away for free,” he declared to the hall—emphasizing that “exposure” doesn’t work and free doesn’t lead to paying customers. But he also seemed so focused on the newspaper world—unsurprisingly— that his vision for the future of digital content kind of stops at the New York Times website, now revitalized with an innovative pay wall generating a sustainable and growing level of income. 

It seems like the argument over pricing will go on for some time. However, walking along the convention hall, it was easy to see that the rise of eBooks will continue at its staggering pace. New electronics, like Google Glass, will make reading even more accessible. eBooks will continue to grow and the fact that the leaders in technology are even talking about books, unthinkable only a few years ago, is a testament to this wonderful phenomenon.

Any writers out there make it down to SXSW this year? What did you learn? Any plans to go next year?

Reselling eBooks raises questions for authors

Over the past week, debate has intensified over the practice of reselling eBooks. Amazon and Apple both filed patents last week to make reselling eBooks a reality, and the collective reaction by readers and book-buyers across the Internet was ambivalent. Of course, selling and buying used books has long been a practice in the publishing world, but eBooks provide a series of new issues that need to be resolved before the practice can become widespread.

When you would buy a physical version of a book, you would buy the rights to owning one copy of that book. It could be resold to whomever you chose, at whatever price, but at least there was only one copy of it. eBooks are a little more complicated with their ability to be copied as well as the multiple Digital Rights Management choices out there for authors. Every author’s worst nightmare is seeing their book go out there, become a hit, and everyone reading a pirated copy. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case so far for eBook readers. A lot of readers enjoy buying their books, which is good. But at what price do they want to pay for it?

If the book resells for a dime, wouldn’t it cut into the profit margins of the author, especially if it is being resold right next to the original full-priced eBook? Mark-downs are common for used copies of physical books, but that’s because they physically degrade. A “used” eBook would look just like the original one.

David Pogue over at The Times tries to sort through this complication — physical degradation of a book is necessary for its discount.  He goes through the patents filed by Amazon and Apple and doesn’t quite find a solution, but believes that publishers and writers will find a common-ground that allows for used eBooks to help writers make a living, while also making their work more available and affordable.

What do you think about the possibility of used eBooks? As writers, do you want their to be a secondhand marketplace?

Author Success Story, "Fallen Heroes"

by Barry Nugentpicture-7

Fallen Heroes is now on the shelves of several branches of Waterstones, including their flagship branch (where it was labeled a ‘cult hit’), which is regarded as the largest bookshop in Europe. I have, since then, done several book signings both in-store and at various conventions.

Thanks to the success of “Fallen Heroes” I now have an agent and an award winning TV and film production company has optioned the book itself. I am also working with a BBC journalist who will be adapting the story for a graphic novel to be published by Insomnia Publications.
None of this would have been possible without the easy to use and excellent print on demand infrastructure set up by Lulu. One example is the ease by which I was able to release a new edition of the book with a back cover Waterstones review and a front cover quote/recommendation from fantasy author, James Barclay.

Through self-publishing I have pushed myself to do things, in terms of self-promotion and marketing, I would never have done otherwise (signings are not my strong point!). I have learnt a lot about what it takes to not only get your work out there but what to do once it is. It’s been a journey of hard work, disappointment, lesson learning and huge moments of sheer joy.