To Lulu or To CreateSpace?

How recently would that question have made no sense at all?

Having played around a bit with Amazon’s CreateSpace service (Those books on the sidebar: They’re mine, I swearsies), I find it functional, intuitive, and free. Zero complaints about how the system works or how Amazon pays out. Yeah, you don’t make tons of money, thanks, everyone who’s ever tried to be an author. If you want to see your name on a book cover, they will take care of that for you and even throw some royalties your way. I haven’t heard that Random House does differently.

But I’m not the kind of guy who never wonders whether that turf on the obverse of the palisade is indeed more verdant. I bought the Wife a Nook HD+ for Mother’s Day, even though we’re an Amazon/Apple family, as much to check out a different platform as because of the sale. Since self-publishing had the Stigma Removed, I have looked about at all manner of publishing sites. Smashwords seems altogether too “YEAH! PUBLISHING!” But Lulu.com and I have had a long online flirtation. I like the aesthetics of the place, the cornocopia of services, the lure of publishing a HARDCOVER BOOK (that’s right, Millenials: Generation X still reads books printed on Paper, because we’re old).

The only thing that’s held me back is the suspicion that to really get anything that looks like a saleable book, I’m going to have to plunk down a not inconsiderable amount of money. One thing CreateSpace does is offer up a free library of images to help you design a cover: I’ve used that, and I’ve used my own images. Lulu only seems to offer a set of Modern Library-esque texture covers for free (and, of course, anything you own the rights too). Which, for certain monographs, wouldn’t be bad, but not for the sort of books I have in mind.

It’s something to wrack the brain about.

Are Blog Books a Thing?

A blogger and essayist named Melissa Camara Wilkins, who writes about her life, family, amusing her children, lack of super-caffeinated tea, etc., has a veritable slew  of self-published books on Amazon. Several of them are short essays, one of them is an essay collection. One of them is a collection of posts from her blog.

 

This is the economic quandary I’ve been pondering. Are people actually willing to pay for material that’s already available online for free? Presumably, an edited selection making up the best of a blog would be worth a Kindle price, if someone’s interested in the subject. But readers of the blog won’t, because they’ll have already read that material.

I don’t know what Wilkins’ sales are like, so I can’t really comment any further. But it’s been at the back of my mind for rather a long time now.

Setting up a Publishing House

I have ambitions beyond this blog, and one of these is to write (another is to start my own Cramps tribute band). I’ve been trying to write since I was 14, and I’ve always been frustrated at the sheer impossibility of making a living at it. The competition daunts the amateur: even if somebody at some house likes your book, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever see it in a book store; and even if it is, you may never turn a profit on it. You’re surrounded by people who know more than you do and who have control of your work: a lamb amid lions.

The hell with all of that.

So I’m putting together the piece of publishing myself (and possibly anyone else I happen to like). With the advent of the Kindle and Nook, e-publishing has gained a good bit of respectability. Sure, marketing is always going to be a hassle, but that’s true in any case. I’ve got scads of stories to tell, and I’m going to start telling them. If people like them, cool. If not, I’m going to keep going. Sooner or later, someting’s bound to stick.

Check this space for further details.