Friday, 8 November 2013

A very quick trip through my publishing journey.


The following is a quick skip through my publishing journey. I will be expanding on it in the coming weeks.
Ever since I could read I have been addicted to the printed word. I don't just mean reading, I would wonder how the words actually on the pages of newspapers, magazines, and most importantly books.
We were too poor to be able to buy books in those days so I used the public library - along the Moseley Road, Balsall Heath. This started my life long love affair with libraries. It was exciting to me as a child to go into this large space and be able to see so many books and be allowed to choose a couple of books, or perhaps we were only allowed one in those days. It was so long ago I can't remember.
My favourite children's books were Enid Blytons books which included the Famous Five and The Secret Seven series. Another major favourite was Johanna Spyris's classic book - Heidi published in 1880. The first film of the book starring Shirley Temple was released in 1937. Heidi is free at the moment of writing this, it's available on Amazon Kindle. None of Enid Blytons books are free. There are boxed sets available. My sister and I were allowed one comic between us - this was The School Friend.
I remember longing for a John Bull printing set when I was a child. I never had one. My husband told me he did (his family were better off than ours). He said you had to pick the tiny parts up with tweezers. I would have enjoyed experimenting with one of those.There are photographs on the website of the original sets. Type it into Amazon and you get taken to today's printing sets.
I've never lost my love of reading or wondering about printing/printers. I couldn't even estimate how many books I must have read during my lifetime. If I had a £1.00 for every book I would be extremely rich.
It wasn't until I wrote my first booklet back in the early 1990s that I actually dealt with a printing company.
It was fascinating to see an enormous printing press working. Of course I was the other side of the counter. 
One day I went into the printing premises and the man who operated the printing press called me across. He told me that he was just setting up the printer for my booklet. He pulled up a stool and allowed me to watch the process. How I wish I had a photograph of that occassion. 
I do not have a photograph of the original booklet but last year was the 21st anniversary of the book publication so I published this anniversary copy.
Publishing my booklet was exciting and to my relief it was successful. I was asked if I would write another booklet, I did, and I wrote another one, swiftly followed by yet another.
Eventually I decided to collate all the stories into one. But how would I publish my book. I had heard of a publishing company called Lulu.com. I gave them a try along with my book Birmingham Girls.
It eventually turned out fine. I did have quite a few hiccups along the way. One major trouble being when the books went online they were very expensive. How would I ever recoup my editorial fees my royalties were almost nil as I tried to keep the price down.
It was only when Kindle entered the market-place giving indie authors control over their pricing that my books finally found the right sales outlet. Everything altered. Being able to upload our work in a jiffy is wonderful.
Although I will always be grateful to Lulu for giving me the opportunity to publish my books there is no comparison sales wise to Kindle. 
I've now left Lulu and recently started changing my books over to CreateSpace. There is no comparison between my previous publisher and C/S.
CreateSpace actually review your work and point out your errors on the preview platform. You are guided through every stage of the publishing process. I did have a few troubles with the cover platform. I worked through it and it slowly dawned on me what I had to do. I hadn't a clue how to make a wraparound cover of my own design. I aim to find out though. C/S do give you a template which you can put your cover photograph in. I designed my cover before uploading it. They provide the spine. They then check that it's okay. Perfect to save you time and money. They do have cover templates if you prefer to use these. The previous publisher hardly bothered with the text file. If your cover does not reach C/S specifications they tell you where your errors are so that you can fix them.
I ordered my proof copy and chose the express service. The proof copy comes from the US, after accepting the copy apparently any orders are printed in the UK.
A Haunted Past Life paperback & Kindle available on this page
My book arrived within a few days. I'm thrilled with it. I had always wanted to publish a novel in the 5 x 8 size. Lulu do not do this size. They do use a 5.5 x 8 size. I'd ordered a couple of proof copies to see what they were like. I was charged £4.00 postage for each item but did not receive a book which I ordered on the 23rd October until today, 8th November. It had been printed in Belgium. I'm still waiting for the other one. I should imagine any customers ordering copies would be disappointed in such a long wait.
My books were uploaded to CreateSpace within 12 hours. 
There is also a help line you can telephone seven days a week. I believe they call you back.
Thank goodness for CreateSpace and farewell Lulu.

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