Monday, 1 November 2010

Proper Books

I write today in a tone of reverential hush, because upstairs a work of genius is occurring. Over the weekend, Andy the Pen completed the illustrations for 'Nearly King Jimbo' and today he is constructing the book in some kind of a file that will be accepted by Lulu, the self-publishing company.

Well, every now and then Andy appears downstairs where I have been skulking, doing rivetting stuff such as cleaning out the fridge and my reflexology homework, and he asks me VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS about things like page numbering, chapter headings and the placing of illustrations within the body of the text. It's all very publishy and booky and proper! And I've just taken him a cup of tea, and had a sneaky peak over his shoulder, and there are pages with numbers and text and pictures on his computer screen that look like they are from a PROPER book!!

Corr!!

We had a discussion about ISBN numbers over the weekend. And Andy made some more wine and I knitted a pig, but that's two different stories altogether. We've found out where you buy the numbers from, and that they come in blocks of ten. Do we really need an ISBN number, we wondered? According to Lulu, we don't. We can publish through them, and people can order copies without the need for an official number. But if you want to make your book available through somewhere like Amazon, you need an ISBN. And, get this, if you publish with an ISBN number you have to donate a copy of your book to the British Library Archives for free. Ha! What if you don't want to, eh? Do they send round a librarian to shout in your kitchen or something??

Okay, so if we splash the cash (£115 and something pee) for 10 ISBN numbers, what do we do with the other 9? Do they go off? I mean, do we have to use them within a certain period of time, or can we save them ad infinitum? Could I, for example, have one stamped on the side of my coffin, to go with the inscription of 'See, She Was A Proper Writer' on the headstone?' I said we could publish 'The Chicken Blogs' next year. That'd use up two. And I feel I could write more Nearly King Jimbo adventures, in fact once I get started I'm going to be difficult to stop given the potential goings-on in Titbury von Streudelheim.

Anyway, more research vis a vis ISBN numbers is required. And of course a lot of the issue depends on how cocky we feel that people are actually going to want to buy a copy of the book. I mean, it's all well and good handing them out as freebie Christmas presents, but getting people to actually part with cash for them is another pot of ink altogether. Except for my friend Sarah who is still determined to buy copies for her friends and relatives. And I can't imagine anything more depressing than checking your book for sales and feedback and seeing it surrounded by balls of tumbleweed, a lone coyote howling in the background.

Right, I'm going to check on progress at Much Malarkey Manor Publishing House; Andy has just informed me he is uploading a test copy to see how much it's all going to cost.

And apparently there is a difference between vanity publishing and self-publishing. I think I'm going to have to look up that one, too...

1 comment:

Olly said...

Well congratulations on having it in print (nearly)! And a very happy birthday for Tuesday.