Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The history

First there were the rainbows in the breaking waves at Shelley Beach, at 4pm in the afternoon.

The crew of the Solar Wind invaded my home not much later. They hung about my lounge, completely disorganized, insubordinate. The main character was sidelined by the comic relief character; several serious sailors turned into comic relief; the tragic heroine became a magic heroine. And then there was chemistry!!! I never gave them permission for that! Aargh! (anna bottle!)

A year and 13 draft sequels later I got the internet. Yes that is a bit like getting a disease. And it's contagious too, my soulmate got the internet worse than I did.

So we scoured - literally scoured for agents, and publishers. Stepped into every conceivable doodle. There are more voices advising on how to write a submissions letter than should be listened to! I tried it all (and probably stuffed up any chances with several honourable agents)! After following every eejit's headvice, I came to a conclusion of my own (finally). It's this:

Valuable lili insight

They probably don't give a rip about who this new vamped up writer dude thinks she is! Pertinent CV background (such as, having been a scientist) only matters in factual publications (which for some obscure reason seem to be favoured higher than fiction by the Big Boys). Previous writing background is an iffy thing unless you have a previously published book. If you're a newby... it's about the book and all about the book, who cares about the author? It's only when they LIKE it that they want to know more.

Anyone care to correct me on this?

So the next step was online, self-publishing.

My books are available on Lulu.com. Click the rainbow mast on the left to take you there.
The first one is also available on Amazon.
Surprise number next: Neither of these deliver to South Africa.

So here I sat with my draft of a marketing plan, and a whole lot of friends and fam clamouring for a paperback copy, and no way of getting my hands on the book.

A friend believed in me and helped me get the small print run together.

I learnt:

Quality of printers varies. It took 2 tries to find a professional printer capable of producing a book-shaped book.


I followed a bit of advice from someone and brought a friendly bookshop owner a gift copy for him to evaluate if he wants to sell the book, and guess what:

You can sell on lulu.com without an ISBN. But not in real shops.

And: ISBN are available at the National Library, comparatively well-priced. I'm organizing mine now. (I thought one had to pay Amazon hundreds of dollars...)

I'll update this periodically, keep you guys current... hopefully someone will one day find this useful.

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