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Finally I am published.

In 2009 I wrote a book that I felt fitted nicely into the then trendy category of narrative non-fiction. In the summer of that year I sent it to a few agents. One agent at the reputable company Jenny Brown Associates requested to see the full manuscript. I sent it to him in May of that year. In September he rejected it - not through any fault in my writing style, he hastened to add, but he had recently taken on another work similar to mine - a quirky memoir - and had been reading the 'glowing' rejection slips that week, and based on that, felt he had to reject mine.

In late November of that year I left my home town of 38 years in South Wales and moved to Wiltshire. I got a new job due to my new partner living down that way. I forgot about my book, spending the subsequent ten months moving from house share to house share until I finally settled in a small town, deep in the heart of Wiltshire. We moved into a cottage, we got a kitten, I had no more worries so I dug out my manuscript again.

Did I have the time to do the agent thing again and spend half a year waiting while they sat on the manuscript? I have a full time job that I love and have taken on commitments in that job that eat into my leisure time. And yet, I also love writing.

Then, a friend of mine on Facebook suddenly announced they were publishing a book via Lulu. After visiting their website I discovered they were a print on demand company. Furthermore they wanted NO upfront fees at all. Yes, their site is populated by adverts for their 'premium' services (editing, proofreading etc) but as long as you followed their guidelines regarding formatting, they would host your book for free on their site, with you being in charge of the quality of the book, the price etc. Yes, they take a higher percentage of the sales off you. Yes, you don't have the benefit of a retail distribution network but...something about it appealed to me.

So, in early November I put it for sale on Lulu. Again, work commitments have so far prevented me promoting it to the extent I have wanted to. I haven't got around to sending it to any magazines (or websites) for review. I've no adverts for it in the press and haven't even had time to put a poster up in the corner shop.

All I have done is put it on my Facebook page (I only have 50 contacts on there, and only 20 of them actually 'know' me) and I have had the book promoted for free briefly on the LULU home page.

So how come I am selling two a day? TWO a day? Of MY book?

The very first book I wrote. The book that started when I was nine years old and I raised my hand in that junior school class and said "Miss, I'd like to write a book" and was finished when I was thirty-seven years old. When my proof copy arrived from Lulu, I held it in my hands for a long time, finding it hard to believe that for the small sum of four pounds (my 'author's rates) I could be holding a proper book, with proper binding, a proper ISBN number with my name properly on it.

That book is 'My Life With Kate Bush'



  • Well done, Wilts' Wizz! Nice to read a success story as humble as this - encouraging for all, methinks!
  • Good stuff! Great title.
  • Well done! It sounds like a great book.
  • edited November 2011
    That's brilliant - well done!
  • Well done you... Congrats..xx
  • Thank you for your kind words everyone. :-)
  • How wonderful!
  • Brilliant story-Good luck with it :)
  • Well done WW.
  • Good for you! WIshing you lots more sales :)
  • Congratulations!
  • Congratulations WW! Kate Bush is releasing a new album called 50 Words for Snow - think the release date is today, 21st Nov - so this would be an ideal opportunity to promote your book.
  • Yep nice album it is too. Probably needs a few good listens if you're not a die hard Kate fan but it will be worth it. Unique, strange and beautiful. Just how we like her music. Every time she releases something new I seem to fall in love all over again.
  • [quote=midia]so this would be an ideal opportunity to promote your book. [/quote]

    I think that is the idea of this thread, midia.
  • Agree, Tony. Kate has the most magical, haunting voice I have ever heard. I'm not sure but is the music on the NSPCC TV advert Kate Bush?
  • Many congratulations WW!

    I see you have put the Kindle version on Amazon; are you going to put the print version on there too?
  • edited November 2011
    Good luck :)
    I hope your sales improve day on day :)
  • Thank for all the comments. Yes LilyC - I will be able to put my book on Amazon very soon - there is an official distribution process that Lulu use as far as informing online retailers ISBN numbers and all the stuff about new books etc.

    I am copying and pasting a post I have written on Authonomy as it may be of help to readers of this forum.

    (following originally posted at Authonomy)

    Lulu offer supportive packages varying from $100 to a few thousand dollars - but these are focused on the promotion of your book. None of them guarantee sales or that a mainstream high street book shop chain will stock your book. Of course, you can buy a few hundred copies of your book at author's rates if you want and embark on negotiations with your local WH Smith's or The Works to stock your book. As long as your book has an ISBN number, it can be 'officially' stocked (that is my understanding of the process). Of course, the manager of your local shop will make a quality assessment of the book too to see if, in his estimation, there would be local interest in it.

    So, the whole promoting, marketing aspect of it is hard work and can be complicated. But it all depends if your in it for the money or not. I'm not. At the moment anyway

    At the moment, the sheer pleasure of holding a paperback copy of my book is enough. My total outlay - and there are no hidden expenses here - the total outlay for me for a single 'US Trade Paperback' sized copy of my book, with high resolution images on the front and back, complete with ISBN number etc, was just under £9. That is split into £5.50 author's rates and the remainder is postage costs. If you buy 25 copies you get a slight discount (1%). That discount goes up, slightly, when you talk about hundreds or thousands of copies.

    Okay - margins. Well, that's up to you. The stats of my book are -

    ISBN 978-1-4709-6167-1
    Copyright Riaz Ali (Standard Copyright License)
    Edition Second Edition
    Publisher Riaz Ali
    Published November 19, 2011
    Language English
    Pages 303

    Binding Perfect-bound Paperback
    Interior Ink Black & white
    Dimensions (cm) 15.2 wide × 22.9 tall

    Based on that, Lulu suggested a retail price of £14.99. I didn't think, in this economic climate, that £14.99 PLUS the £2.99 postage was realistic. I priced it at £9.99. That give me approximately £4 profit. I can apply a discount on my book at any time. I did in fact apply a 20% discount last week, so it retailed for £7.99. I sold 7 last week compared to three this week at £9.99.
    At the £7.99 price point I make about £2.50 profit.
    (I say 'profit' but that's misleading really I guess if there was no initial expenditure by myself).

    If you prefer payment by cheque, Lulu will pay you quarterly. If you have a Paypal account you can link to Lulu, then you will get your royalties monthly.

    There is a large number of formats you can choose - US Paperback, Graphic Novel, Hardback, Paperback - at each step of the way Lulu's custom software will guide you easily through the process. Format your manuscript to Lulu's guidelines, upload it, Lulu will create a 'print ready' copy for you to download. PROOF READ THAT PRINT READY COPY!!! That is the only advice I will give you. No matter how much confidence you had in the formatting of your PDF or WORD document before uploading it, you MUST proof read your print ready copy.

    Otherwise, you will end up like me - working on the third edition of your book within a month...
  • edited November 2011

  • Congratulations, WW. I hope it does really well for you.
  • Congratulations, WW!
  • Well done!
  • Well done Riaz,
    I have published with Lulu and wonder if you can answer a couple of questions.
    LilyC asked if you are going to put a Kindle version on Amazon. I have my book, Dark Secrets, on Amazon as a paperback but I was under the impression that you can't put Lulu books on there as ebooks as Lulu have no contract with Amazon for that.
    Secondly I published Dark Secrets with Lulu back in 2007 and have only sold books that I've sold myself as paperbacks. None have sold on Amazon or Lulu as pods. Maybe I'm unlucky, although i am now trying to push it through my web site and blog at
    So I was wondering if you have a secret as to how you are selling yours online and what you think about getting Lulu ebooks on Amazon
  • Hi Sheencrofter,

    I would check in with http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk/controller.php?page=158 in regards to producing eBooks and regular print books. I thought as long as you had a different ISBN number listed to each, you were okay. The issue is the book. It is yours and so does not belong directly to Lulu. I think they assign an ISBN listing / number but you can simply buy more and use a different one for the other release. Check with nielsen. However, they only sell in blocks of 10 which can be a bit pricey. But if I were to release my eBook as a print version I would definitely get ISBNs for them.

    S H Hughes

    eBook: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hotel-Carousel-ebook/dp/B0063LN9W6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1320489898&sr=1-1

    Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VemxKyKrX3g

    Blog: http://shhugheswords.blogspot.com/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/?utm_campaign=welcome20100914phx&utm_medium=email&utm_source=welcome#!/SHHChat7
  • That's a great writing tale. Well done.
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