Articles tagged "success"

Author Success Story: Timber Hawkeye

A longtime student of world religion, Buddhism, and psychology, Timber Hawkeye yearned for a less complicated depiction of the Buddha’s teachings than what the Tibetan temple had to offer, so when the Lama suggested he try Zen instead, Timber took off his maroon robes and moved to a Zen monastery far from home. While he liked the simpler message, he still felt the teachings were full of the same dogma that sent him running from religion in the first place. Believing that people are more interested in positive inspiration and motivation than in ceremonies and rituals, he conceived of a book that would empower readers to not necessarily be a Buddhist, but a Buddha, through gratitude and the consistent message to “be kind.”

“There are many incredible books out there that cover all aspects of religion, philosophy, psychology, and physics, ” he explains, “but I was looking for something less ‘academic’, so to speak. I was looking for something inspirational that people today would not only have the attention span to read all the way through, but actually understand and also implement in their daily lives.”

Thus, Buddhist Boot Camp came to be.

How to Make a Professional Portfolio on Lulu

Whether you’re a writer, a designer, an artist, or any other professional, a knock-out portfolio using Lulu’s publishing wizard can help you stand out from the crowd and land your dream job.

To create a portfolio, first gather all your most remarkable work.  Then, compile it into one PDF or Word document and publish it through our wizard.  That’s it!

What happens if you have something worth adding to your portfolio after you publish? Simply add your new work to the original file, and revise your project.

Things to remember:

  • Include your resume in the front of your portfolio. This way, you don’t risk having two separate pieces accidentally get separated. Future employers can quickly refer to the first page to get your employment history and contact information.

 

  • Personal branding is important! Creating a portfolio with a cohesive design that represents you makes you more memorable.

 

 

  • If you don’t want your portfolio to be sold to anyone but you, set it on private access in your project page.

 

  • Keep a copy with you and extra copies on hand. You never know when you’ll meet someone who’ll want to see your work.

 

Author Success Story: “If I Write It, They Will Come.”

Newly published author Rick Burton has built a career around sports.  Right out of college, he took a job with the Syracuse Post Standard as their sports writer.  He’s worked at the Miller Brewing Company managing public relations for sporting events.  While at ad agency DMB&B, Burton worked with clients such as the NFL and Reebok, and is currently the Professor of Sport Management at Syracuse University.  So Burton is about the last person you’d expect to write a World War II based thriller centered around the exploits of the B-17 100th Bomber Group, much less a great one.

Author Richard H. Burton

“Imagine this unknown sports guy pitching a WWII novel.” Burton says.  “Not only was I 20 years behind the curve of writers like Jack Higgins and Alistair Maclean, but I was entering the publishing industry at a time when the decision to publish an author virtually has to go to the CEO of a publishing company.”

Burton got the idea for his book, The Darkest Mission, while working at Miller Brewing Company after a life-changing chance encounter.  An actual bomber group, wanted Miller Brewing Company’s help staging a 40th anniversary reunion for those serving aboard the bomber appropriately named “High Life.” After meeting the crew, and hearing stories of the supposed “curse” placed on the group, Burton was hooked.

“I started doing a lot of research about World War II bombers and started the process of getting an agent and a publisher,” says Burton. “It became a nice distraction from my day job.  Regular guys golfed – I worked on my book.”

Burton soon realized how quickly the book industry is changing and that if he wanted to go the traditional route, he’d have his work cut out for him.

“If I was writing about vampires, I’d have done fine,” jokes Burton. “Agents and publishers kept telling me:  ‘This is fantastic, but not for us,’ or ‘this is really good, I wish you’d brought it to us 10 years ago.’”

Not to be discouraged, Burton thought back to sports for inspiration, thinking about Michael Jordan and how he got cut from his high school basketball team, only to go on to become one of the greatest players in history.  Burton knew he couldn’t just give up.

“I understand the need for rejection,” Burton says.  “You take the criticism, you make revisions, you get better.  But there comes a point when being rejected doesn’t move you forward anymore.”

So Burton turned to Lulu’s open publishing platform for help and after a year of putting the finishing touches on his work, The Darkest Mission is available to the pubic and is selling quite well – there’s even a production company looking to turn Burton’s work into a movie.  Burton stresses that a large part of his success has come from setting realistic expectations and goals.

“At first I felt kind of like I was selling insurance to family and friends,” Burton laughs.  “But I thought conservatively and set thresholds for myself.  Can I sell 100 copies to people other than family and friends?  200? 500? By meeting these goals a step at at time, you can really feel validated.”

Burton also believes it is important for authors to step away from the “lottery mentality” of publishing, where an author writes a book and just instantly finds a publisher and becomes an overnight sensation.

“The myth surrounding publishers has historically been:  If I write it, they will come,” says Burton. “Great writing will always get picked up, regardless of genre eventually. Luckily places like Lulu exist to make the process easier, and I can move onto book two.”

Be sure to check out Burton’s new book, The Darkest Mission, available on Lulu.com today.

 

Fun Ways to Improve Your Next Book Pt. 2

Last week, we posted some new ways to help you make your next work even more remarkable. Below are two more tips to help inspire you to put pen to paper or start hammering away on your keyboard.

3. Challenge your vocabulary at Knoword.org.

If you’re a word nerd like I am, you will quickly find yourself addicted to this vocabulary game. Unlike some games that have you match words and their meanings, this one gives you the definition and first letter, and you just fill in the word. It’s harder and faster paced than some others I’ve played. You can choose your level, and either Canadian or US dialect. This is really valuable for those studying for SAT and GRE exams, too.

4. Follow your favorite authors on Twitter.
If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably following a number of celebrities–why not authors? Here are some of our favorite tweeting writers from a variety of genres. (Of course, the opinions expressed by these authors do not necessarily reflect those of Lulu, so tweet at your own risk!)

Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow @doctorow
Young Adult writer Adam Selzer
@adamselzer
Fiction writer Chuck Palahniuk
@chuckpalahniuk
Novelist and poet Margaret Atwood
@margaretatwood
Jon Winokour gives daily quotes from famous writers, as well as goings-on from the writing and publishing world.
@AdviceToWriters

If you’re not on Twitter, it’s free to sign up! Check out InkyGirl’s Writer’s Guide to Twitter.

Be sure to check back next week for even more tips.

Fun Ways to Improve Your Next Book Pt. 1

Okay, so you’ve published your first book on Lulu.com. Now what? Keep writing, that’s what! You want to keep exercising that writing muscle, and anyway, what’s cooler than saying you’re working on your second book? Here are some fun ways to get inspired and make your second even better than your first.

1. Join or start a writing group.
Sometimes, you are not your best motivator or your best critic. Finding or starting a writing group is not easy, but it can be very rewarding. Some groups are more like workshops, where everyone critiques one another’s writing, while others are organized simply to set aside time to write, and can be as basic as three or four people clustered around a coffee shop table with laptops, just writing. If you don’t have writer friends who want to join you, I suggest trying Meetup.com to find a group in your area. I found 34 groups within ten miles of the Lulu.com headquarters.

2. Organize your writing with Google Docs.
This free, multi-faceted tool is great for writers who are either constantly moving from home, to office, to laptop, to phone, or for multiple authors collaborating on one project. You create a document that’s stored online, and you and your collaborators can access it from any computer. As a fiction writer, I use this tool to keep track of my characters–each one gets his or her own page, with traits and personal thoughts–and also my personal to-do lists, since I work from three different computers over the course of a day. Be sure to check out
Google’s introduction to Google Docs.

Be sure to check back in next week for more tips in part 2.

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.

Author Success Story: From Salesman to Silver Screen.

Love & Other Drugs in theaters today.

Today, Lulu author Jamie Reidy is getting to see one of the biggest dreams any author can have come true. His autobiography, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, has been made into a movie, Love & Other Drugs, starring breakout actors Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathaway.

If you ask Reidy if he ever expected this level of success, he’ll chuckle and smugly say: “Well, yeah.”

While Reidy jokingly admits to being somewhat of an egomaniac, he believes that any author who has gone so far as to have their work published should be thinking about their potential and at least have an idea of their long term goals for their work. Otherwise, it’s a self-defeating process.

“If you’re determined to be an author, you obviously have a story to tell and characters to share” says Reidy. “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not ready to go to all lengths to make something happen with them.”

Even with Reidy’s newfound success, his follow-up book, Bachelor 101: Cooking + Cleaning = Closing, available on Lulu, was still rejected by traditional means.

“The industry is scared to take a chance right now” says Reidy. “Luckily, tech like Lulu lets me sell my work anyway and I can get on with my writing.”

Reidy is particularly fond of Lulu’s formatting services and the freedom of not having to go back and forth between editors, which can become very expensive and time consuming.

“With Lulu, $400 for formatting was a deal – I know I got my money’s worth,” Reidy says.

Be sure to pick up a copy of both of Reidy’s books in the Lulu Marketplace and head to your local theater to see Love & Other Drugs, opening today. And for those aspiring authors out there, Reidy has a few last sarcastic words of advice: “No matter how good it is, you cannot count on your friends to buy your book.”