Articles tagged "self-publish"

Give Santa a Break and Do It Yourselfie – Photo Books & Calendars [How-To]

8 min read

Photo Books, Calendars

It’s September already! 2017 is going to be over before you know it. And with the end of the year comes holidays; family celebrations, great food, and gift giving.

At Lulu, we’re excited to help you give the best gifts to your loved ones this year. Sure everyone wants that new Nintendo or iPhone, but think about how happy they’ll be with a personalized photo book full of memories from 2017? Or a wall calendar with your pictures on each month?

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Give Something Unique This Year [Holiday Gift Guide]

4 min read

 

The holidays are fast approaching. And I’m sure everyone has their shopping planned and ready for this year, right? Right?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a bunch of cool ideas about gifts, but you’re going to wait too long and end up buying things off the Internet for people.

That’s cool, though why not buy them something a little…different?

I know everyone loves shiny electronics and wool socks (thanks, mom), but you’re a unique, crafty person. And so are your friends and family. You want to be sure the people in your life get gifts as unique as they are.

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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

Overcoming Adversity: Publishing to Succeed

4 min read

How do you do it?

This is the most common question I’m asked when people learn my story for the first time.  How do you juggle being an international author and self-promoter, all while traveling for book signings, raising four children; two with disabilities, running a cake business, and homeschooling?

How do you find the time to do it all, they ask. What’s your secret?

No-matter how many times I answer, my response always seems to deliver a certain sense of inadequacy.  The truth somehow falls short of exposing a hidden potion behind my innate ability to fill multiple roles at once.  The illusion is that I am actually a real person with realistic goals.  I just run beside passion and persistence and I never let them win.  I’m not the best writer and I will never proclaim to be.  I simply and wholeheartedly believe in myself enough that my ability to stay focused on achieving never wavers through adversity.  Some might say that being a mother is the hardest job on earth, so the idea of adding other roles seems like straining energy on borrowed time.  But there’s nothing wrong with borrowing as long as you give back; so long as you offer up results.  I simply manage my life one second at a time; one word, one hug, one errand, one interview at a time.

For those who are unsure that it can be done, believe me, it can.  Despite appearances, my path hasn’t always been easy, but writing has constantly remained central to my survival.  When I was younger, I suffered through being raped by four military men, who also videotaped the ordeal, but I bravely made a decision to use what happened to me to help others.  Through the drama novel, The Day it Rained Forever, I have been able to heal, help, and move on.  When my son was suddenly diagnosed with Autism, I felt like he was taken from me and I had to find a way of bringing him back.  I did it through the publication of the children’s book, I Will Always Love You No Matter What.  And from the back seat of a car, at twelve years of age, I recall watching my father grasp his chest with both hands, struggling for air.  I watched as he fought to live for me and, in that moment, I vividly remember thinking to myself; I’m going to lose my dad.  I had to find a way of saying goodbye, and I did that through the novel released last year, entitled, The Night Birds.

Through my adversity, I have come to realize that the struggle is a misconception.  It all just takes time.  Success and dreams are within reach if you just keep writing, while remaining true to yourself.  Good things will eventually come.  Writing is my lifeline and the process of self-publishing has been made all the more enjoyable by Lulu Publishing’s online publishing tool and their tireless support team.

And speaking of good things, I am proud to announce that my novel, The Day It Rained Forever, has been picked up by the talented screenwriter Shaun Jooste.  Shaun and I recently signed a contract allowing Shaun to adapt my novel into film!  Shaun is also managing a Guinness World Record attempt that I am taking part in, to break the world record for the most amount of authors in an anthology.

I also, recently, had the incredible privilege of attending the 2017 Book Expo America in New York City.  While there, I had a chance to thank fans for their dedicated support and encouragement throughout the many years I have been writing.  It was truly the highlight of my year.  So I am elated to also announce that I will be doing it all again in 2018 when I attend the BEA in New York City for another book signing and meet and greet.  You can hear more about my experience at the BEA and all about my journey as a self-publisher, in an author interview I did last week with Paperback Radio.

No matter what happens in my life, I will never stop striving to better my craft, to deliver passionate, exciting stories, to my audience.  My fans have always stood behind me and I refuse to let them down.  I’m exactly where I know I need to be and the view is incredible.  Here, I look up and hope that my father is looking down on me knowing, if nothing else, at least I gave it my all.

 


Lynette Greenfield was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in both Brisbane and Melbourne.  Her love of writing came when tragically, her father passed away at the age of twelve.  It was then that she discovered an intensely personal love for poetry, never once writing for an audience, quickly appreciating the healing qualities words had on her life.  She went on to study creative Arts at the Brian Chandler’s School of Art and Design and creative writing and photography at the University of Technology in Queensland.  Her first publication was a poetry book entitled, Moments with Me.  She has since published many more poetry books and has also gone on to write romance novels, mystery, and children’s books.  Lynette attended to Book Expo America in 2016 in Chicago, signing her debut novel, An Ounce of ExpectationAnd attended the BEA again in 2017 in New York to show her novel, The Night BirdsShe will also be attending the 2018 BEA in New York City to showcase her latest drama novel, The Day it Rained Forever.  ​With 25 years of writing behind her, Lynette is now an established Author, but is always seeking out new challenges in her writing career, enjoying working with other artists including musicians, songwriters and illustrators. When she isn’t writing, she is teaching children with disabilities, specializing in Autism and one of her children’s books entitled, I’ll Always Love You No Matter What, was written for a child with Autism.

Writing Toolbox: Microsoft Word

3 min read

Microsoft Office is a widely-used tool for creation, design, editing, and formatting. And Microsoft Word in particular is powerful, and being the most common word processor on the market, it is the software the majority of writers will employ. At least at some point during the writing and editing process.

MS Word is a hefty tool, and has a variety of uses for authors, from word processing, to format, to layout, to review and editing. Some authors even use Word to layout their book’s cover! With the huge variety of applications Word has, we’ll focus today on how to best use Word as a self-publishing author, the benefits and challenges of Word, and some important publishing specific tips.

To begin with, the basics. If you are completely new to Word, I encourage you to use Microsoft’s vast support literature to learn about the software. With a rudimentary understanding the tool, you can create a manuscript entirely from scratch, and prep that same file for publishing.

The first phase (writing the manuscript) is the area Word struggles the most. It’s easy to get sidetracked in layout, or to tinker with design, rather than focusing on the project. And with no stripped down focus mode, the risk of distraction is ever present. [Note – Microsoft is introducing a Focus View, and some may already have access to it, depending on their version and updates]

Where Word really shines is after you’ve written the content.

First, you’ll be editing and proofing the book. Word has a function called ‘Track Changes’ under the Review menu.

Track Changes creates a column on the right side of the document, listing any edits performed. This includes deleting or adding text, updating any existing text, new formatting, and provides the opportunity for in document notation. The notes (called ‘Comments’) allow you and your editors/proofreaders to make changes and have a conversation within the document, without making anything permanent. The file will be a true living document, and the flow of ideas can run back and forth until you settle on phrasing, organization, and other elements of the manuscripts design. If you like a change, or have acted on a comment, they can be ‘Accepted’ to remove them from the running list of Track Changes and keep the interface nice and clean.

Once you’ve got the editing done and you’re happy with the text, you’ll move on to the layout and design of the pages. This is the second piece of MS Word that brings a great deal of control and flexibility to your document.

The layout and design options are so vast, we don’t have the time to go over all of them. But really, I could write a book about all the ways you can utilize MS Word to customize and tweak your manuscript. For now, we’ll focus on a couple of necessities for printing.

The first being page size. Your file needs to be sized to match your book size. Use the ‘Layout’ menu in Word to set the page size for the entire document. I recommend doing a Select All (Command/Control + A) prior to resizing. It’s key to note that the standard US Trade size 6 x 9 is not built into Word’s page size presets, so you’ll need to add it as a custom size.

The second piece to be closely aware of are the margins. Word can automatically build in a Gutter margin for you, and align this to the correct side of the page. These controls live under the ‘Layout’ menu. MS Word has a great help section about how to set up and manage Margins.

Along with the critical layout and design tools, Word can be used to manipulate the content on the page. Breaks (both Page and Section) give you control over the positioning of content, and images can be placed in line with text, behind text, or nested with the text through Word’s ‘Picture’ menu.

Here’s a quick list of the elements most relevant to self-publishing you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Page Size
  • Margins/Gutter
  • Styles
  • Font and Line Spacing
  • Header/Footer Control
  • Breaks (Page and Section)
  • Page Numbering and Table of Contents
  • Inserting and Positioning Images

Using the variety of tools within Word, you can control the line spacing, fonts, sizing, space between paragraphs, and so much more!

 

Author Press Kit: How You Market You

3 min read
J_K__Rowling

Example from an author we all know.

Who is your favorite living author? Have you ever visited their website? If you wanted to know more about them, where would you click? What would you expect to see on that page?

Now think about your website or blog. If a journalist, blogger, production manager, or agent wanted to know more about you, where would they find the information? How are you selling yourself as a writer or subject matter expert? How are you telling the story of you?

If you are new to publishing, you may not have even thought about needing an “About” page on your website. If you have one, it probably has a few fun facts about you, some pictures of your family and maybe an homage to your faithful pet. This information may be meaningful to you, but will it get you an interview or a speaking engagement? If not, perhaps it’s time to re-work your “About the Author” page to serve as an author press kit.

“Who has the time for that?” you may ask. In truth, it’s likely you already have most of the information needed to create an effective press kit. You just didn’t know you needed one. An effective press kit includes:

Author Biography and Contact Information

Lulu recommends authors have multiple versions of their bios for use in article submissions, guest posts, and interviews. Your press kit bio should be about 200 words focusing on what makes you interesting and your areas of expertise. Don’t forget to include a head shot and your (or your publicist’s) email, phone, and social media contact info.

Press_Kit_author_photo_jpg

In addition to contact information, always include a clear, professional head shot with your bio.

 

Specific information about your book(s)
List the title, topic, genre and intended audience for your book as well as a succinct summary (no spoilers).  If you are writing nonfiction include your credentials or personal experience relevant to the topic.

Press Coverage
Show your press-worthiness. Include excerpts from reviews, transcripts from interviews, links to press releases, blogs and articles written about your work. List awards, nominations, and recognitions your work has received. Your press kit is not the place for humility.

Press Kit Newsroom1

Busy reporters are always looking for compelling local stories. A well-written press kit makes it easier for them to meet their deadline.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
If your goal is to schedule newspaper, radio, or television interviews, include a list of frequently asked questions and answers about you and your book. The more upfront information you provide, the easier it is for a journalist to prepare a story. Your answers should be personal, conversational, and quotable. FAQs and answers also provide jumping off points for further questions:

  • What lead you to writing?
  • How does your early (or current) life influence your writing?
  • What is your inspiration for developing these characters / writing on this topic?
  • How does the story mirror your own experiences?
  • Why did you choose to self-publish your work?
  • What are you working on now?

    Press Kit Radio Interview

    “You’ve probably answered this question a thousand times, but I just have to ask….”

Excerpts

Fiction authors should include a few meaningful sections that artfully demonstrate their writing style or provide character insight. Nonfiction writers should include a PDF of the first few chapters of their book.

Upcoming Events
Do you have a book signing event scheduled? Are you attending or speaking at a conference? Are you appearing on TV or radio? Let the world know where you will be and how to contact you during the event. If you choose to include an “events” section on your press kit page, it is imperative you keep it up to date. You may also choose to update this section with pictures from the events or links to print articles and interviews (audio / video).

Press Kit Reporter

“I saw you were going to be in town. Will you have time for an interview?”

 

Sell Sheet
If you are selling books directly from your website or through social media, you should also include your product and price lists for hardcover and paperback versions as well as wholesale bulk pricing for bookstores.

Remember, your author press kit does not have to be fancy. Keep the format, font and layout simple and easy to read. Start with material you already have and add to the page as you build your reputation online, in print, and through broadcast media. Remember this content is how you sell yourself and your work, so proofread, proofread, and proofread again to make sure it is error-free. A professional looking press kit page will help get you the publicity you need for publishing success.

Press Kit paparrazi

The publicity you deserve!

Additional Resources

How to Write a Killer Author Bio

Guest Blogging: How to Build Your Online Reputation

Five Hours to Success

 

Like, Follow, Share: What’s in it for me?

2 min read

Every day we are asked by friends, acquaintances, and companies to Like, Follow or Share their page or post. It’s simple enough. It requires only a click. Lulu is no different. Like you, we are always happy to see new Likes, but what’s in it for you when you Like Lulu?

If you are a fan of innovative, independent authors, liking Lulu on Facebook will keep you in the know about new authors and daily discounts. But readers shouldn’t stop there. You should also Like your favorite author’s Facebook page and stay informed about their upcoming events and new releases. By creating a relationship with an author, you may get sneak peaks at future titles, covers or early chapters. Surely that’s worth the investment of a click.

If you are an author who published with Lulu, we recommend you not only Like our page, but also consider Following us as well. When you follow Lulu, you are assured of receiving the daily discount and other news, which you can then Share with your Facebook fans.

Periodically sharing Lulu discounts on Facebook gives you an excuse to reach out to your readers with a personalized message in addition to savings. If you are feeling especially generous, you can further entice new readers by supersizing the daily discount. You can easily change a 20% discount to 30% or offer 15% off your book when Lulu is offering free shipping. Click here to learn how.

 

Your target audience already loves books, discounts and Facebook. However, if you are trying to attract new readers, remember the “Rule of Seven” – on average, a person must see or hear your marketing message seven times before it actually registers. The more a person sees your book mentioned online, the more likely they are to take the next step – clicking to learn more which leads to purchases. So don’t be shy about sharing your story, your book, or those Lulu discounts.

Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask your fans to share with their friends. Word-of-mouth and social media are the two most popular means of discovering new books.

So, Like us today and Share us regularly. It only takes a few clicks to reach a worldwide audience.

I told three friends and they told three friends and so on….