Articles tagged "Self-Publishing"

Holiday Help: What I Learned at Lulu

Chelsea, Temp, Ninja, Blogger

Ah, the temp. The transient ninja of the business world. Slip in, get the job done, slip out. Leaving behind nothing more than a 95% customer satisfaction score and a legend. Not an easy job, but somebody’s got to do it.

I found myself faced with this task during the holiday season at Lulu. No big deal. I have done customer service before. Phones, emails, chats. I get it. Just show me to my desk so I can do this thing. But at some point – and I’m not sure if it was the multiple puppies I saw around the office or the incredible snacks – I knew Lulu would be different.

I was right. Everyday was pretty awesome. One day I came across a calendar called Peanut Butter Dogs in Lulu’s bookstore, and I don’t think I need to explain that any further. Another perk is everyone at Lulu has a nerf gun, but it’s cool because everyone’s aim is bad, you don’t really have to worry about losing an eye. All that said, what made my experience really awesome was Lulu’s authors, readers and creators.

The support team at Lulu is called Customer Voice, because we hear you and work with you to solve your problem. Prior to this assignment, I had no idea how educational customer service could be. It was an unrivaled opportunity to learn new things. For example, I can now tell you with certainty that male and female Sasquatch smell differently, as well as the best places to visit in Upstate New York during the fall.

On any given day my responsibilities included: recommending a format for a children’s book about rescued Greyhounds; helping a beekeeper find a how-to book on building a top bar hive; or assisting a holocaust survivor in placing another order for his memoir – all published through Lulu. Every day was different. You never knew who would be on the other end of the phone, chat box, or email. But, what you did know, was that you were talking to someone who was doing something that they could not have done without Lulu. And that was pretty neat.

Alas, as is the nature of the temp (and ninja), I eventually had to say goodbye. But, not before getting my very own nerf gun! And all the snacks I could fit in my bag (that was cool, right?).

Thank you to Lulu, the authors, readers and creators.

It was great getting to know you!

Happy Publishing!


Update: We invited Chelsea for a return engagement to help us coordinate upcoming events in the US and Europe. We are delighted she accepted. We wonder what she will learn from this experience?

Stranded by Tate Publishing? We’re Here to Help

Kathy Hensgen, Lulu COO

To all authors formerly affiliated with Tate Publishing, please allow me to introduce myself: I’m Kathy Hensgen, COO of Lulu Press, the world’s first online, independent publishing company.  I consider it a sad day when an outlet for free expression closes or “suspends operations” as Tate Publishing recently announced. Based on what I’m reading online, I understand why many of you are upset and feel your trust has been betrayed.

I implore you, not to give up. We are here to support you through this transition. Lulu was founded in 2002 on the belief that authors and society benefit when the barriers to publishing are removed allowing information and ideas to flow freely. We truly care about our authors and their readers. We have the industry’s best, US-based customer support team. You don’t have to take my word for it, our Facebook reviews speak for themselves.

Also, I have some good news for you: publishing with Lulu is free! We are print-on-demand, so you only pay for the books you choose to purchase. We have a do-it-yourself platform allowing you to publish and distribute your books and ebooks to a worldwide audience. There are no hidden fees, no upfront costs and no need to purchase books for inventory. – everything is transparent and totally up-front.

In the coming days and weeks, we hope you will take a moment and visit us at Lulu.com.  With Lulu you can upload the files and cover designs you already have and distribute your books and ebooks to online bookstores stores around the world including the Amazon bookstore.

If you have any questions about how we can help, send us an email, chat with us online, or give us a call at (844) 212-0689.

We recently read that Tate was charging authors $50 for the return of their files. We will foot half of that bill by giving you $25 off your first order of $50 or more. Just give us a call at the number above to speak to someone on our support team. We are here to help.

Sincerely,

Kathy Hensgen,
Lulu COO

 

Author CL Bennett: Why Choose Indie Publishing?

Today we welcome back CL Bennett, Author of Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key to discuss her choice to self-publish.

Why did you choose self-publishing over a traditional publisher?

It took me six months to write the first book and when I got to the end of my scribbled pages, I sat there with an enormous pile of papers and wondered what do I do next? I still had a long way to go developing the characters, bringing them to life through illustrations and putting the series together from hundreds of muddled up pages, so I decided to work with an indie-publishing company to bring the Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key to life.

Did you enjoy the process?

Publishing a book is very hard work and I now hold great respect for traditional publishing houses and the process a book goes through from manuscript to finished book on a shop’s shelf. I naively thought it would be easy – not! To create twenty-four illustrations for the book I had to go into exquisite detail to animate the Bugglepuff characters. My husband and I managed to miss out on this fun, but my children very kindly dressed up as the Bugglepuff children – with their own pets from the book and acted out Bugglepuff poses until I got the right photos for the first illustrations!

There was a lot of chaos, chasing chickens around the garden and getting our pig to carry a basket without eating it, but it was tremendously entertaining. I sketched out some basic illustrations and sent them off to the illustrators. When I got the first email saying the first few illustrations were ready to view I was so deliriously excited I nearly cried, in fact I think I did. The illustrator at Lulu captured my family and their personalities. I chose black and white sketches for the interior because I love the simplicity of them and they’re so deliciously crisp and timeless.

The editing process was long, complicated and sometimes frustrating, but I was well supported throughout by Lulu Publishing. It took eight months from August 2013 to April 2014 to complete, but I knew it was all worth it when I finally got to hold the first copy of ‘Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key’ on the 10th April 2014 – my animated family was in print – yippee!

As an author is your job done when you finish writing the book?

Goodness me no. There is a slight breather when you feel complete holding the first copy of your first book. A sparkle of pride and something inside shouts, “YES!”, but then the hard work starts. Some writers write for the sheer personal pleasure, but if you want to reach a wide audience you must look at the age and interests of the readers you’re targeting. Make sure you’re up to speed with your social media and marketing skills or have an indie-publisher like Lulu on hand to give you guidance. Share the book in the local community and shops. I have found there is now less bias in the retail world against self-published books. Also, online booksellers, including Lulu’s own online shop, are very fast to deliver your books whether you live in China, Europe or the US.

To be a successful and happy writer you must have a passion for writing, marketing and understand that it takes time and patience to get people to turn the pages of your books. But if you believe in your book’s worth, then so may many other readers – good luck!


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

Guidelines for guest posting.

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.

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.

 

UA-30214-1