As we approach the time when the first hard copy of our online magazine becomes available (more on this soon!) I realised I still like having something paper in my hands - well, I work in a library! And although I recommend online research to lots of people, I certainly don't read fiction on a computer much.
I have decided to investigate Lulu Publishing. Not exactly vanity publishing (you are not paying someone else to produce a huge run) - just Print On Demand. They also offer the option to allow people to buy (or get for free) your book as a downloadable PDF.
Although I hope to complete the book I talk about so much, I did actually write 50,000 words last November (as part of a challenge-to-self writing marathon hosted at NaNoWriMo).
Motivated by our 'manifesting' of a previously ephemeral online magazine I have decided to use this 'hastily written piece' as a sampler to learn how Lulu works.
I have commissioned a cover from Bobby (an artist I have a collaborative working relationship with) and although I intended to publish the piece 'warts and all' I have inevitably started tweaking it. I still don't want to rewrite the whole damned thing, though (even though when I write articles I obsessively rewrite).
It's a test. And it's a record of what comes out of me if I write 1667 words every day for a month! Of course it seems seriously flawed. The tenses keep changing, it has a shortage of vivid description, I spotted repetitions, etc. I don't care.
I want to put more energy into the other book, which has lingered around for so long. Well, since I reached 18 and 'wanted to write'. I realised then that no-one much cared what someone of that age thought, and I had little experience of the world. I looked at dust-covers of books, and read about the colourful lives of the authors. So I decided I'd have to go out and have a colourful life. I abandoned any attempt to go to university, or get a job - just dropped out and ran!
Well, I found my colourful life, and now I would like to capture some of it.
Actually, the 'novel' that I'll Lulu has a certain amount of 'real life' in it, too - almost inevitably when you have to write every day. It became a semi-fictionalised roman- a-clef about a period of my life in the 80s. Still I attributed some events in my own experience to other characters, and made some stuff up, etc. Desperation makes you do these things. I also included, as a character, a late friend of mine, Mick, whose papers I attempted to edit, but I never really finalized the book he had been working on when he died. So I put him in here and wrote him the happy ending he always wished himself.
If this all works out perhaps I will have one more try at completing his book, too, and 'putting it up on Lulu'!
Meanwhile - I have to take seriously my own plan to complete my unorthodox autobiography - for which I do have a working (secret) title - just like James Joyce with his Work-In-Progress that turned out as Finnegans Wake. I wonder if LucasFilms will let me put Jabba on the cover? Hmmm. Things to research!
On the old website I compiled the scattered bits of erratic writing I have done over the years (a meagre haul!) - but recently I have been migrating all that stuff from that rather dated-looking Front Page template to a new set of Writing pages hosted by Google. That also means I can move house when necessary, and not feel tied to those original hosts (although I might lose my Google 1st place ranking for a while - probably a relief to the other Toby Philpott!)
To document this adventure, I will start by offering you a few links (and storing themself up for myself, too, of course.
Guardian article on Print-On-Demand, from 2006
Lulu Publishing (UK)
Lightning Source (POD publishing)
Society of Authors