Lulu in London – self-publishing a children’s book in the UK.

Now as someone who wants to be a writer I suppose I should put some effort into using beautiful prose for this blog. If you don’t mind, I won’t. I’m here to talk about my Lulu experience for anyone else who might want to publish their own book. Lulu, in case you don’t know is a POD site, That means publish on demand. So if your book is on Lulu people can go in, buy one copy and go away without you, the author, having to fill your spare bedroom with boxes full of mildewed paper. Who designs the book? You do it yourself. Or in my case I got my very talented and generous sister to do it. The Lulu printing is fab and i love my book.

So what next? Selling it. Here’s where I got confused so I’ll go through how it is working for me so far. And I’ll explain a little setback that you might avoid. To publish on Lulu you have to use certain sizes, numbers of pages, an ISBN number etc etc. My sister and I spent months studying the specs and it was a great day when the book turned up on the Lulu site. The first glitch is that the book is expensive. A Fairy in the Family is well over a tenner but you can’t chase every hare in the field so that is just that for now.

The next phase was to get the book listed on Amazon. And here is where it got interesting. About six weeks after opting into Amazon my book appeared. I ordered one straightaway. A few weeks later I got a message from Amazon saying they did not have the book and it was ‘Discontinued’. Lulu offered to make it available in the UK if I bought a distribution package for around £40. Ok.

Meanwhile was claiming my book was ‘Out of Print’. However, a company called BookSurge offered to make it available if I bought a distribution package for $299. So two packages to buy. But – the glitch. It turned out the book was the wrong size for the UK Lulu distribution package. They asked if I could redesign it. As if! Who’s gonna pay for that? While I fizzed with rage they gave me back my money and apologised profusely. Just one of those things. Lulu has been great, personal emails and genuine concern.

Meanwhile at home the book is being translated into Irish. (I got some funding to distribute it to the bilingual schools.) Coincidentally the translator made a good argument for redesigning the book in a different shape. Something to do with small kids needing to learn to go left to right. So the redesign is looking inevitable.

Tomorrow I will try the BookSurge people. Will I ever sell a book for actual real money?? I’ll tell you when I do.

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