Monday, 7 May 2012

Playing around with Lulu

Lulu is a self publisher. Now, I grew up in the era when 'self publishing' was vanity publishing, when someone told you your book was marvellous and with a little injection of cash (thousands) from you, would sell by the bucket. Or you paid a small printer to print off 500 copies of your book which were almost impossible to promote or sell. How things have changed!

I wanted to get a feel for the actual book, as a book. Early last week Rachel Carter, who had put together a peer reviewed anthology of flash fiction (including two of mine) had uploaded the whole thing to Lulu and copies were available for sale. I sent off for mine. The publishing project of the MA had also used Lulu so I wasn't completely ignorant. The anthology was cute, well organised, and cheap. It occurred to me I could run off a copy of my novel in paperback for less than it would cost me to print 386 pages of A4, just for my own use. So I did. It came in at £5.75 and £2.99 p&p.

It's only a mock up but I wanted to see a real book, partly because I am acutely aware of mistakes in proof copies that look perfectly OK in Word. I also need to celebrate the fact that I have never got this far with a book, that I actually fuss over indents and formatting, that I'm largely down to tidying up typos and repetitions, and occasional bits of clunky language.

This book isn't for sale - Lulu allows you to have the book 'just for you', in a private print rather than for sale. But if it doesn't get a publisher, I wouldn't mind bunging it out there. But I'm hopeful. Meanwhile, I have a copy for my kids to pass around and a copy to mangle with edits and tidying. I'm certainly thinking I could have some fun with the poetry if I don't get anywhere with the pamphlet...

9 comments:

  1. This looks like a good idea. I've read a few bits of self-published... a bloke had a stand at last year's Devon County Show and I bought his books, but they were unreadable. The Arts Council were resposible for lots of poetry books such as those by the Devon River Poets which take up quite a lot of charity shop shelf room. I desk-top published my short story Devil's Cherries, and it feels good to have it in my hands. So it's going to be very motivating for you. Good luck with this
    Mon xx

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    1. Thanks for visiting! The big problem with self publishing and with vanity publishing is the lack of editing, I've seen some real stinkers in charity shops too. But I've also seen some lovely stuff that wouldn't have found a commercial publisher perhaps, but is good to have out there. I'm a new follower of your blog.

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  2. Ah, that is lovely to be able to print off a hard copy of your book. With self-publishing (e-pubs), I think you still want to feel a book in your hand, I know I do. Good luck with your writing and well done on getting your dissertation novel shortlisted with the Mslexia competition! And getting an agent, that is fabulous! ;-)

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    1. Thank you. That curly haired moppet I mentioned on your blog is now my snippy editor - I sometimes wish he hadn't got so good at reading!

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  3. Great idea. I did the same with my novel, via Pen Press who did a great job, and it was thrilling seeing it in book form, even if no one else ever does!

    I also noticed one or two errors I hadn't picked up on before, despite numerous edits.

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    1. I'm astonished how many little mistakes I see when I print bits out, so I'm hoping the paper version shows up a few more!

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  4. Have decided to follow your blog! Looks like a really interesting book you have there? Just fill me in...what's it about?

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    1. Sixteenth century sorcery. The blurb reads: Borrowed Time is a supernatural mystery centred around Jackdaw Hammond, who lives on ‘Borrowed Time’; she has extended her natural life by sorcery designed in the sixteenth century. Jack has rescued another borrowed timer, fourteen year old Sadie, who barely has time to come to terms with her magical state before she comes under attack. Jack and Sadie call on Professor Felix Guichard to deal with the threats of a drug company, the Inquisition and the Devon and Cornwall police. Threaded through the events of the present, are the adventures of John Dee and Edward Kelley in 1585, as they attempt to push back death itself, under the sword of King Istvan Bathory. There's more on my other blog!

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    2. WOW! I really want to read it! That sounds like such a good adventure! Update us when it's on the shelves!
      M. x

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