Thursday, December 10, 2009

The New World of Self-Publishing

There’s been a quiet revolution out there in the world of publishing. I remember attending a one-day seminar a little over ten years ago explaining all the ins and outs of finding an agent and getting published. “Never,” the presenter told us, “never use a vanity publishing house”. It would cost money, a great deal of money in fact, and we were wasting our time. Our work would not be taken seriously and would not be marketed.

Take a giant leap forward to the internet age and now anyone can publish their own work practically free of charge on the internet, all thanks to Lulu is now an established and recognized way to publish. Books originally published on Lulu can, if successful enough, get picked up by the major publishing houses and republished. With Lulu you, the author, do all the work: design your own layout and cover and do your own marketing. It costs nothing – although Lulu does provide publishing “packs” for a fee that will guide you through the process and ensure a more professional looking end product. How is this possible?

Potential buyers of your product are guided to your product page at and when a product is ordered a copy is then printed and shipped to the purchaser; i.e. print on demand. On individual copies the author makes almost nothing. If, however, an author is confident of large sales and has a marketing outlet (a book shop or stationers, for example), the author can order large quantities at a reduced price and sell them him or herself, thus making a little more money in the process.

Personally I think it’s brilliant. We are freed from the tyranny of publishers and no longer need to even consider forking out vast sums of money to those rather shady vanity publishers. One good friend of mine has published his memoirs of working in the Sudan – “Even the Dead are Coming”, which you can find here:

I’ve had a shot at making some of my favorite photographs into calendars for 2010. I love my cats and have been taking dozens of photographs of them ever since they moved in with me. The best dozen are to be found on this cat calendar:

I also put together a selection of my favorite photographs from Africa (many difficult choices with this!), and the calendar includes pictures from Rwanda, DR Congo, Kenya, and Senegal. You can find the calendar here:

All the photos can be previewed before you purchase. Both calendars have US holidays. If you would like one with UK holidays please let me know and I’ll put it together. Much to my annoyance an Australian version is not an option. Sorry!

No comments: