Lulu UK Blog

Welcome to the Lulu UK Blog where we look forward to chatting about our services and the publishing industry and writing in the UK and Ireland.



What does it mean to be a self-published author in 2018?

Many authors look forward to a new year. More than most crafts, writing, although a solitary occupation, also divides itself into seasons. At the start of the year there’s everything to play for: a new crop of prizes to aim for, a new festival circuit to plan, new events, finish that book, start that book, new readers, more challenges, more opportunities.

As a self-published author embracing 2018, it’s worth spending a little time on pondering what those opportunities look like. They may be more varied – and potentially more lucrative – than you think.

So, what determines whether an author is successful? Is it because they’re someone whose work gets noticed? Someone who draws in fresh readers all the time? Who makes money from his or her writing? It’s all of these things, of course, but the methods open to you to achieve them may be more varied than you realise.

First of all, if you ever doubted the wisdom of choosing self-publishing, there are now many statistics available to reassure you; and in the unlikely event that you are still harbouring doubts, here are some ‘good news’ stories to enthuse you:

Self-publishing authors have grown by 11% in the UK

In 2015, the proportion of ISBNs issued to books self-published in the UK jumped to 21%. In 2016 this figure grew by a further 11%. (Figures for 2017 have yet to appear.) This should tell you you’re in good company: there must be a reason why so many savvy authors, including some who have worked with traditional publishers for many years, have decided to turn to self-publishing.   These authors are continually exploring new formats: whilst it is true that there has been a dip in e-book sales over the past two years, a trend which looks likely to continue, self-published authors are becoming ever more confident about choosing other format options, including print and audio books.

Self-publishing authors are savvy

Publishing their work in as many viable formats as possible, however, fulfils only some of the aspirations of the most enterprising authors. Setting their sights beyond traditional publishing formats, some authors are looking to television – which offers many more opportunities now that the cable television companies and net-streaming companies are becoming well-established.

Once an author has succeeded in making a breakthrough in a new format, his or her expertise is highly sought after by other writers. Some may offer advice and help for free, at least at first, but it’s more than likely that soon they’ll realise that it is turning into a full-time job and that a lucrative career as a consultant is beckoning. The types of consultancy they may wish to offer can take a variety of forms: some may wish to concentrate on giving advice on the actual practice of writing or to act as commissioned editors, while others will have developed a propensity for marketing or the practical aspects of publishing. All s/he needs is to advance that one step up the ladder to set him or her apart from the crowd, and s/he will be able to establish a flourishing career that marries perfectly with his / her first vocation of author. And with Lulu at hand to help them, harvesting such opportunities no longer need be a daunting prospect.

If you’re interested in exploring new ways of making money from your writing, you could do worse than start with this free slideshow – 17 Passive-Income Ideas for Automating Your Cash-Flow – which may be downloaded at

Understanding how social media can help

Whichever route you take to enhance your prowess as an author and at the same time improve your income, it is crucial that you work on your social media skills. Social media gets a bad press sometimes, because, like all forms of communication, it’s open to abuse or sloppy or incorrect presentation. However, there are few authors today – even those at the very top of the tree, who are earning millions each year – who can manage without a website or at the very least a blog. Some authors are wary that engaging with social media will make such huge inroads into their time that they won’t have time to do anything else; and it is true that some people become addicts and allow themselves to be trapped in this way.

The way to avoid becoming bogged down like this is to use social media strategically. There is quite an art to this: it may be an area where you might yourself like to pay someone for advice – it will certainly pay dividends in the long run, as when you become expert, you’ll also be able to coach others. If, however, you’re fairly confident about your social media skills and just want some tips on how to hone them, you’ll be able to find plenty advice about this on the web (just be selective about which tips you choose to follow). Here is a link that you may find useful:

It’s already February, and if you’re keen on New Year’s resolutions, you will probably have made (and possibly also have broken!) yours a month or so ago. Whether or not this is the case, there’s no law against making some (possibly more robust) new ones a few weeks into 2018. If you’re determined to raise your profile as an author and at the same time make more money from your writing this year by pursuing some exciting new avenues of opportunity, perhaps this article has provided you with a few ideas.


You can do it. Good luck!











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Lulu UK Focus on: Best tips for writing fiction

author-bio-jamesLULU UK recently asked published crime author Christina James for her best tips for writing fiction. Christina is also a book editor, a frequent speaker at literary festivals and creative writing groups and also runs writing surgeries. Her first crime novel, In the Family, was published in 2012.

Christina is keen to point out that her advice comes all the usual caveats stating:

“It reflects my own opinion, you don’t have to agree with it, and if you read books on writing by practising authors, you’ll find they’re all very different from each other and often contradict each other in what they say. I therefore hope that at least some of what I say will chime with your own approach to writing and perhaps help you, too.

To be a writer of any note you need to be brave, self-disciplined, self-critical and industrious; but it’s also true that writing is, or should be, great fun. Your brain is unlikely ever to feel more alive than when you’re writing, or when, after many revisions and rewrites, and quite probably having overcome other significant drawbacks along the way, you at last see your cherished novel in print”.

What in your opinion constitutes a good book?

There are only two kinds of writing – good writing and bad writing – and obviously readability is pretty high on everyone’s list of the things that make a good book.

What are the building blocks of writing?

Let’s start with the basics – the building blocks of writing. Grammar, syntax, spelling, sentence construction, the correct use of words and avoiding the over-use of individual words. I don’t necessarily expect these to be perfect – all authors need a proof-reader, even very famous ones. But if the nuts and bolts of the narrative are so peppered with mistakes that as a reader can’t enjoy what they are reading, they are unlikely to persevere with the book for very long.

The Narrative Voice

Establishing an interesting narrative voice is also important. You might like to try doing this by writing some of the novel in the first person and contrasting this with an ‘omniscient’ author’s third person narrative or you may choose to be what has become known as an ‘unreliable narrator’. The latter explains events in such a way that the reader knows there is something not quite right about the way in which they are presented, and consequently that all is not what it seems. Jane Harris’s Gillespie and I is a good recent example of this.

What makes a good character and a good plot?

Let’s focus on the characters for a couple of minutes. Most authors write sketches of their main characters before they begin work on the novel itself, and it’s my belief this is good practice. It’s very unsettling to the reader to discover inconsistencies in characterisation. Discrepancies can relate to either characteristics or facts and circumstances: for example, don’t give the heroine blue eyes in one chapter and brown eyes in another; if the protagonist is poor, don’t suddenly send him off to Stockholm without explaining how he obtained the money for the flight; and if you say he boards the plane for Stockholm at, say, Luton, make sure there are flights from Luton to Stockholm and that they run at the time of day you say he travels. It all sounds very simple, I know, but many authors come unstuck over details like these. What I’m really saying is that you need to be both disciplined and industrious, otherwise your readers will find you out!

Which brings us to plot. It’s a rash author who doesn’t have the plot properly mapped out before s/he starts writing. As a indie-published author, you don’t have to write a synopsis but I would strongly advise you to do so. It’s for your own reference much more than anyone else’s. But the thing about plot is that it should be an invisible thing: the plot is the skeleton on which you hang the flesh of the story. What doesn’t work is to give a flat account of sections of the plot as part of the story itself. The plot should unfold, rather than be told. Your reader is not going to be impressed by a simple demonstration of your ability to get from A to Z in the novel by cataloguing B, G, Q and Y along the way. You need to reveal, rather than explain, what is happening, also, if you can, lacing your narrative with tensions, twists and ambiguities that are only gradually ironed out as the novel progresses. Your aim is to tell a story that’s so compelling that no one will want to put it down. Ways of doing this include making effective use of dialogue. Successful dialogue gives the author an opportunity really to get into the characters’ heads, to think and speak as they do.

Plots shouldn’t be so fantastic that they lack credibility, but they shouldn’t be too plodding, either.

What about crime novel plots?

A good plot is particularly important if you’re writing a crime novel. It’s become fashionable recently for crime writers to construct very tortuous plots containing multiple ‘surprises’ along the way. I suspect that one of the reasons for this is Gillian Flynn’s stupendous, and well-deserved, success with Gone Girl.

Another point worth making about plot construction for a crime novel is that not only should the plot be meticulous in its attention to detail, particularly those concerning the timing of the crime(s) and the subsequent investigation, so that it is watertight, but it’s also imperative to stick to it once you’ve hammered it out. In other genres, although it’s still possible to trip yourself up, you may be able to make significant alterations to the plot if you have further inspired ideas once you’ve started writing. With crime fiction, this will almost always result in disaster. Building the plot in a crime novel is like building a house: if you start knocking it about before it’s completed, it’s liable to collapse.


Dialogue should offer a semblance of being realistic, but it can’t be based on ‘real’ dialogue, which, if you listen to it, you will find is usually repetitive and bound, over the course of a conversation of any length, to be quite mundane. You are seeking to create apparent, rather than actual, verisimilitude. For example, if you’re writing a detective novel and Mr Dobbs the gardener was outside digging his garden when the killer passed by, the detective who interviews him shouldn’t be subjected to a disquisition on how to grow sweet peas (unless the novel is meant to be humorous, in which case the dialogue needs to be very clever, or alternatively the sweet peas have to turn out to be crucial later on – did the killer get one caught in his shoe?).

The importance of research

Your novel should be well-researched, and avoid mistakes and anachronisms. Your background preparation should be diligent and faultless. The knowledge you have thus acquired, however, should never be paraded. Such lightness of touch is often difficult to achieve: it presents a trap into which even the most accomplished and experienced authors often fall. It’s an excellent idea to introduce an unusual topic, whether it’s one you’re already knowledgeable about or one that has required research, into your novel: most readers like to learn something new from what they’re reading, even if it’s fiction. However, only do this if you have the self-discipline and skill to pull it off. Although you may have researched the topic extensively, you should reveal this only with the odd fact and reference. Introducing indigestible masses of technical or specialist information into your work is not going to cut it. A novel isn’t a manual or a how-to book. It shouldn’t even primarily be an exposé of your own ideas on the subject, though of course it’s fine for you as author and, especially, your characters to offer some opinions along the way. It’s one of the most difficult things to have to do, not to over-egg the cake once you’ve mastered something and know all about it, so if you don’t feel confident in your ability to handle specialist facts lightly, don’t do it at all. If you are brave enough to attempt it, try to think about the topic in the same way as something you’re more familiar with and how you would represent that in your novel: the layout of a house, maybe, or sitting down to an evening meal. You’d be sparing in the details you provided about these things, wouldn’t you? Try, therefore, to sketch rather than paint in oils the more specialised subject in a similar way.

Method of publication

We’re fortunate to live in an age in which indie-publishing has become an economic possibility. It’s also now highly respected: some very famous authors, including Stephen King and Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, have indie-published some of their books. You may decide you like indie-publishing so much, or do the maths and realise that it brings you better financial rewards than signing a contract with a conventional publisher, that you will never feel the need to consider other options. If, however, your ultimate goal is to be published by a conventional publisher, indie-publishing is one of the best ways of getting your work noticed. Publishers and their scouts are continually on the look-out for promising indie-published novels. When I meet an author at a festival and s/he tells me that they’ve already self-published, I both admire them and know they have the seriousness and tenacity that it takes to make a successful writer.

I can assure you, therefore, that indie-publishing does work. There are just a couple of pieces of advice that I’d like to offer you:

If you choose indie-publishing, I strongly recommend that you pay a professional copy-editor and proof-reader to check your work. Unless you are confident in your artistic and composition skills, you should also pay to have the jacket designed. Remember that the jacket should resemble a commercial publisher’s as much as possible – it should include some quotes from reviewers if you can get them (try other sympathetic authors or local newspapers or a local bookseller when you’re first starting out). Lulu can help you both by finding a good editor / proof-reader for your work and help you to produce a professional-looking jacket. These cost extra – they’re not part of the standard package – but, believe me, every penny that you invest in this way will be worth it.

You must be a stringent self-critic. If you can labour over your writing for many hours and then scrap most of it because on reflection, when you read it next day, you realise that most of it isn’t up to scratch, you’re well on the road to achieving your writing goals.

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How do I make money as an author?

Why do authors write?   Why put themselves through long hours toiling alone, often having to scrap the whole day’s output when mature reflection on the following day tells them their words are fit only for the recycle bin? Why do they abandon ‘safe’ careers or put them on hold, compromise their financial position, truncate their social lives, just so that they can write?

Of course, the picture I’m painting here is far too bleak. Not all authors choose to make material sacrifices and few are afflicted by all the misfortunes I describe. It remains true, nevertheless, that the ‘writing bug’ bites deep. Compounded of the quest for fame and fortune and the joy of seeing one’s name in print, it’s a complex sentiment seldom motivated solely by the desire for financial gain – though there are exceptions to this rule. For example, Ian Rankin, creator of Rebus, who is single-handedly responsible for 10% of all crime fiction sales in the UK, once famously said that he became a writer in order to make enough money to marry his future wife. What astounds here is not so much his ambition as his (it turns out, justifiable) self-confidence: many writers may aspire to the creation of wealth by the pen, but few succeed. Rankin managed to pull it off and become both rich and famous, but, in common with all authors, the odds were heavily stacked against him.

Although most authors harbour secret hopes of making money from their writing, few really expect it to support them. Nevertheless, being a writer is not without its expenses: travelling to events, paying for membership to writers’ groups – all require financial outlay. There may also be occasions when you will need to take some unpaid leave in order to fulfil a writing engagement. Added to all of these, and equally important, is the immense sense of achievement that every author feels when he or she gets paid for something directly associated with his or her writing. The effect of this should not be under-estimated: often it is the vital boost that provides you with enough courage to keep going!

It is therefore not difficult to make a powerful case for the benefits derived by authors from generating income from their writing. Developing an actual strategy for financial gain can be trickier. The rest of this article is devoted to some (mainly modest) ways in which authors can make money.


Organisers of events, even though they don’t have much money to spend, are often scrupulously ethical about not expecting authors to contribute for free. Festivals take the lead here, but expect to have to work hard! Your best way of featuring on the programme of a festival is probably to agree to run an authors’ surgery. This may involve being sent up to 3 chapters of prospective authors’ MSs in advance, reading them, and then meeting the authors at (typically) 15-minute slots allocated by the festival organisers. For this you will be paid a modest hourly rate for the time you put in at the festival only – so, for example, if the rate is £30 an hour and you see 12 authors, you will be paid for three hours, i.e., £90. If you’re asked to deliver a talk or workshop at the festival on some aspect of writing (typically, it will last for about an hour), you can expect a payment of, perhaps, £90 – £100. Leading a half-day or day-long workshop will pay you more, but not proportionately more: you may get £150 – £250 for a half-day, £300 – £400 for a full day. In addition to this, the festival organisers will usually also pay travel expenses and, if the festival is being held at a venue where accommodation is plentiful, such as a university campus, free accommodation. As a rule of thumb, the expenses / fees you receive will help you to break even, or do a little better than that. There are other bonuses: usually you’ll be able to attend sessions at the festival when you’re not ‘on’ yourself; you’ll get the opportunity to meet other writers and publishers; and if the festival has a book stall, and you ask in good time, the bookseller may be happy give you a slot for a signing session and help you to publicise it.

Top tip: aside from the possible signing session, don’t forget that this is not mainly about you and your own writing: it’s about helping other writers. But you will benefit, both directly and indirectly, if you become well-known on the festival circuit.

Libraries like to host author events. Many libraries run one or more reading groups, so if you are invited to speak at an event, they will have a ready-made audience for you – though, as with securing an audience for any event, you should take nothing for granted: the more work you put in to build up the audience yourself, the more successful the event is likely to be.

You should be aware that there are now two main types of public library in the UK: those that are still maintained by the local authority and those that are now run by the local community (i.e., by a group of unpaid volunteers who have come together to keep the library open). Although all libraries are strapped for cash, those run by local authorities are more likely to have a proper budget to support events and therefore be able to offer you a fee. If the library is run by the local community, it is unlikely to be able to stretch beyond picking up travel expenses.

If the event consists simply of a talk about your latest book, perhaps followed by some readings and a signing session (most libraries are happy to allow you to bring in books to sell, or to arrange for a local bookseller to do it), you can’t really expect much in the way of payment, as essentially the library is giving you publicity to help promote your book (though some will still be prepared offer modest travel expenses). If the event is a lengthier, more organised occasion at which, for example, you’ve been asking to run a writing or reading workshop or lead a literary game, the library may then offer you a fee. As indicated, fees vary according to the library’s finances: for an afternoon or evening event lasting two hours or more you may be offered a fee in the region of £150 – £200, plus travel expenses.

Top tips: Except in the case of a talk about your book / readings, again understand that this is not about you: your focus should be on the readers, what they like to read and how they approach the books they read. If the session is a workshop, prepare it very carefully, and learn from your mistakes: take stock afterwards of what worked and what didn’t work. Try to build up a rapport with the audience so that they ask to see you again. Make sure that the librarians involved know how grateful you have been for the opportunity: send them a thank-you card afterwards. Remember that a huge additional perk is that libraries buy books for reading groups in sets, often of eight copies or more.

Schools often have a budget to pay authors. Usually this is for running a half-day or whole day workshop. They may be looking for specific types of author, however: performance poets are the most popular. Some schools are interested in creative writing workshops (and, as with festivals, they may ask you to examine students’ work in advance). Typical fees are £300 – £400 for one day, £150 – £250 for a half-day. In certain circumstances, schools may also offer you the opportunity to sell your books to students / staff. If so, it is wise to offer a discount on the cover price.

Top tips: This is one of the hardest kinds of paid work to pull off successfully. You need to carry out a significant amount of research beforehand: make sure you understand the age-range, ability, ethnic mix and interests of the groups of students you will be working with. Run the exercises and readings you’re planning past their teachers. Be prepared to make swift changes to your programme if it’s clear that something isn’t working. Make sure you work with groups that are small enough for you to be able to manage them, and for a relatively short period of time: it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to engage the concentration of a schools audience for more than one hour.

Universities and colleges that run creative writing courses may also be interested in paying you to give a talk (usually for one hour) or workshop (usually for one-and-a-half to two hours) on some aspect of writing or getting published, and may also sometimes pay travel expenses. Paradoxically, they often don’t pay as well as schools, because they have a standard hourly rate for visiting lecturers and are unlikely to want to pay you for more than an hour or two.   Like schools, they may be prepared to let you sell your books to the students.

Top tip: Again, research your audience beforehand. Make sure any exercises you devise are stimulating and imaginative. The students are likely to be politer than schoolchildren if they’re not enjoying the session, but still look for the signs of ennui and be prepared to change tack if necessary.


If you find the suggestions offered so far on how to make money too daunting because they involve more audience engagement than you feel comfortable with, perhaps you are the sort of person who would do better to focus on using your writing talents to make money. It’s worth researching writing competitions, and deciding upon the ones that offer the best fit for you. Some writing competitions offer as the prize only the chance to be published (either by a traditional publisher or a self-publisher) or the opportunity to have your work included in an anthology of short stories. Although this reward is not to be sniffed at – your ultimate game plan should be to gain as wide recognition as possible for your writing – other competitions also offer cash prizes, sometimes very rich ones. For example, the Sunday Times Short Story Award, the richest short story prize available for an English-language short story, is worth £30,000 to the winner, plus the opportunity to get the story published. You should note, however, that it is a requirement for this competition that all entrants have previously had at least one work published by a traditional publisher; and that, although the competition has undoubtedly been won by obscure writers, some very well-known writers will also enter every year and, frequently, it is one of them who wins.

There are many other competitions with smaller cash prizes where the bar is not set quite so high. However, you should always be prepared for disappointment. The quirkiness shown by the judges of writing competitions is well-known: they may have a particular reason for choosing a winner that isn’t directly related to the quality of the writing, for example, because his or her work is very different from the previous year’s winner’s. But writing competitions are an excellent way of honing your writing skills, with the attractive possibility that the immediate outcome may be a financial reward.

Top tips: Make sure you read the small print. Writing competitions often have very strict rules about who is eligible to enter, word limit, subject matter, etc. Some require payment of a (usually quite modest) entry fee. If you fail to comply with any of the rules, your submission will be disqualified, however good it is, and all your hard work wasted.


If your books are on topics that have a strong local interest, or you have succeeded in establishing yourself as a ‘local author’, you may be able to secure commissions for articles to be published in local and regional newspapers and glossy magazines (Yorkshire Life, Lincolnshire Life, etc.). If you’re lucky, you may even manage to secure a regular writing slot in one of them. Rates of payment vary tremendously: some of the glossies will pay quite generously for feature-length articles. Sometimes literary blogs and e-zines will also pay for articles. Book reviews may also attract payment, though it is more usual to be expected to write the review in return for a complimentary copy of the book. Again, all of these provide excellent writing practice.

Top tip: Think about the readership and adjust your style and tone accordingly: you would, for example, want to adopt quite a different approach to writing a short piece for a funky e-zine than that you would take towards crafting an extended piece in an established glossy.


If you’re eligible, you may also be able to obtain a substantial sum by applying for an author’s bursary. These have been set up for various reasons – often to promote the literature, tradition or culture of a particular geographical region, or to aid writers working in a particular genre – so it is not possible to generalise about them. Here are some examples:

It is important to emphasise that in most cases this is not just money given out in return for ‘going your own thing’ as a writer. All impose particular qualifying requirements and most expect authors to fulfil duties – sometimes substantial ones – in return for the bursary. Most bursaries are awarded for one year, but some may last for longer.

An important sub-group of bursaries are writers-in-residence appointments at universities. These are usually tenable for more than one year – often, for three years – and involve fixed duties, including delivering (perhaps six) lectures per year and mentoring an agreed number of students. However, whereas authors’ bursaries can usually be applied for by the authors themselves, it is more often the case that writers-in-residence are invited to take up the post by the university or college concerned.

Top tip: Again, read the small print and make sure that you have complied with all the requirements before applying for a bursary; and if you are lucky enough to secure one, be scrupulous about fulfilling and, if you can, trying to exceed, the terms of the contract.

Literary prizes

All literary prizes give authors inestimable benefits: kudos, becoming better-known, clout when negotiating for contracts. Just being nominated for a literary award, without actually winning it, still brings great gain, particularly in terms of book sales. Some awards also include cash prizes, and these can be substantial. However, you usually have to be nominated for a literary award, either by your publisher or some other respected literary figure.

Top tip: Don’t try too hard for a nomination; if you do, you’re likely to make a nuisance of yourself. Wait for it to happen – and be grateful if it does!

Public Lending Right [PLR]

Public Lending Right, which was set up in the UK in 1979, recognises the right of authors to be paid for the use of their books when borrowed from public libraries. It is administered by the British Library from its offices in Stockton-on-Tees. The amount paid varies from year to year, but is at present around 7 pence per borrowing (the number of borrowings is calculated by collecting data from a group of representative libraries, which changes every year, and scaling it up to produce a notional figure for total borrowings across the country).   Monies are awarded for each title registered. It’s easy to register: see Even little-known authors can make a few hundred pounds a year from PLR (there is an upper limit to the amount that can be earned from PLR by each author, which again varies, but is several thousand pounds). The money is paid direct into your bank account and gives you a pleasant surprise each February.

Top tip: Don’t forget to add new titles to your registered list as they come out. They need to be registered for several months before they start to generate income.

 The Authors’ Licensing and Copyright Society [ALCS]

The ALCS helps authors to track use of their books, scripts, plays, poems, articles, etc. by third parties and secure any royalties they may be owed. If you’re not a very well-known author, the ALCS may not be able to help you immediately, but it’s still worth registering – it’s free of charge, and is likely to benefit you eventually. See

Top tip: As with PLR, don’t forget to keep on registering new work.

Crowd funding

Crowd funding has become a very popular way of raising money in recent years. Essentially, it is a way of raising money for personal needs by asking many people to contribute just a small amount each to your project (which in your case is to support your writing, or, more specifically, your latest book). If you have a blog – and every writer should have a blog and make the effort to post articles on it frequently, so if you don’t have one I’d advise you to set one up immediately – you can use it to ask for crowd funding. However, by far the most effective way of publicising your crowd funding request is to do it through one of the many dedicated crowd funding sites that have been set up. Here are some examples:

If you use one of these to source funds, you can, of course, also put the link on your blog.

Top tips: Preparing a good pitch to ask for funding is all-important. It’s imperative that yours is well-written. Try to make it humorous and think of other ways of ensuring it stands out – perhaps by not just making it entirely about receiving on your part. For example, could you provide a prize draw of, say, six copies of your book as a thank-you? Or offer to coach a young writer free of charge?

 Finally, don’t give up the day job!

You’ll have heard this before: it’s a piece of advice often given to writers, especially those who’ve enjoyed a modest success and think it means that (perhaps) they can live by writing from now on. Please understand that it is highly unlikely that you’ll be able to do this. A recent survey of writers in the UK showed that those who depend on their writing for a living and are supported by no other form of paid employment earn on average less than £8,000 per year. This will include payment from some of the means discussed in this article, as well as straightforward royalties.

There are other reasons for hanging on to the day job besides the imminent prospect of penury. Foremost among these is the richness of experience it brings to you. Imagine sitting at home all day, alternately staring at and pounding away at your keyboard. This may sound like a delightful prospect, but how do you think it might feel after one, two or three years? Never standing on the bus and observing your fellow passengers. Never gossiping in the canteen at work or observing the kindling of the latest office affair. Never walking through town or city streets, glancing in shop windows, noticing subtle changes. These kinds of experience represent untold wealth to a writer: they’re the raw material on which he or she depends. Take them away and after a few years, unless you are an author with a very fertile imagination indeed, your writing will become tired and cliché-ridden; your originality will wither.

This doesn’t mean to say that every writer’s day job is as congenial as any other. You may hate your job; or it may involve taking on responsibilities which don’t leave you in control of your leisure time; or it may simply be too arduous, and wear you out so that you have nothing left when you try to write. If this is the case, you may have some difficult choices to make: the most difficult is likely to be making the decision about how much income you really need. Once you’ve done this, you can make choices about the type of job that’s right for you. Jobs that are close to writing in some way: bookselling, working for a publisher, for a newspaper or a theatre – often provide a fertile and congenial environment for authors. Think about it. It’s not so much about giving up the day job as about making the day job work for you, the author, because, first and above all other things, that is who you are.



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Announcing our new UK based Marketing and PR services to support indie-authors and small publishers

We are delighted to announce that we have launched a new UK based book and marketing service to support UK an Ireland based authors in helping to bring your works to a larger audience. We are delighted to have joined forces with Authoright who are a UK based marketing and publicity agency with strong industry links to help you build the buzz about your book.

We choose Authoright because we know that marketing and publicity ‘combined packages’ don’t work for every book and every author; sometimes only a flexible and bespoke campaign will work. Authoright offers a ‘pick and mix’ selection of services to help to get the pitch just right without breaking the bank. So if you are great at your own social media, for example, why pay for it again as part of a marketing package when you don’t have to.

By partnering with a UK based company you can be assured that they have their finger on the pulse of the UK publishing and promotion scene. And, since Authoright is UK based this means you can contact their publicists within UK working hours.

The new UK services can be viewed by visiting and selecting the United Kingdom or Ireland shopping carts as your preferred cart.

We will be regularly featuring success stories from authors using this service on this blog – be it a radio interview, book signing tour or an author that has just launched a great new website with cutting edge design we will be sharing these success stories. 

How does it work?

When you submit the marketing enquiry form it will be reviewed by Authoright staff who will contact you directly with more information on the services you are interested in together with their Terms and Conditions. You will naturally have a lot of questions. We try and capture as much information as we can so that the Authoright team can give you the best advice.

The Authoright team is very experienced with a good feel for which types of publications fail or succeed in the book market; they will assess your publication and give you their honest view of your possibilities for media success and if they feel that they can take your publication on and market it for you. They want the books they represent to be a success too.


Featured post

World Book Day #thinkbigimagination by opening a book! by CL Bennett


The glorious world of the paperback, hardback or eBook enables kids from a very early age to #thinkbigimagination and learn how the written word comes alive in stories. As parents, carers, teachers and adults showing a child their first book is the stepping stone to ‘what if’ in a child’s mind. By book example we are giving them the gift of independence, knowledge and drive to explore their own imagination. A book is a secret world of adventures and children feel encouraged and inspired when they learn new words, turn new pages and grow their vocabulary.

Books are an emotional roller coaster of different genres and themes that glitter a child’s brain and can shape who they may become. No matter how many pennies we have in our pockets we should be offering all children in the world books and celebrating how important they are everyday but especially on #worldbookday

WBD_Children_63.jpgSo, when your reading books with them and they shout, “Just one more story, one more!” know that you are helping them start their own adventure, their path into the world, what they might do and where they may go.

Books open a world of word magic delights and a happy glow of sensory excitement. Buy a book, share a book, read a book , borrow a book, or give a book to children and #thinkbigimagination for all.


Teresa Dancer shares her experience of why she chose indie-publishing with Lulu

pockethandbookTeresa is the author of Pocket Handbook for Assistant Buyers A-Z of Textile Terms and has been involved in the world of fashion and clothing all her working life. After gaining a degree in sociology at Goldsmith’s College, she decided to pursue her career and enrolled on a course at Westminster College, London which introduced her to the world of pattern cutting, design and garment production. From there her first role involved working as a wholesale merchandiser for a large Hong Kong based company who were manufacturing and supplying men’s clothing into the high street. Using the product knowledge she gained in this role, she went on to work for Pepe jeans as a product manager alongside the head of men’s wear design. She then entered the world of buying where she worked for two iconic British brands, namely Laura Ashley and BHS.

After leaving buying, she helped to set up the UK office for a well-known French trend forecasting agency, Groupe Carlin. Subsequently, she was involved in working with some leading clothing manufacturers including Floreal Knitwear (part of the Ciel Group), a significant supplier of core product to Marks and Spencer. More recently she has been helping to promote Danish clothing brands into the UK.

Teresa also works part time as a lecturer/tutor at the London College of Fashion teaching both an introductory and further advanced course in Fashion Buying and Merchandising. She has been involved with the University for over 10 years.

What made you decide to indie-publish your work the Pocket Handbook for Assistant Buyers A-Z of Textile Terms

I have never published before and to be honest I didn’t think that an established publisher would be interested in taking my book and I was advised for a first publication it would be easier to self publish.I wrote my book in response to what I perceived to be a gap in the market. After having taught for over ten years I felt there was a need to provide an easy-to-use handbook which could be used by my target audience once they started on their journey in Fashion Buying. My book was based on the knowledge I myself gained during the many years I worked in the industry, both as a product developer and as a fashion buyer.

How is your publication used by your fashion students?

My students can use my publication to enhance their knowledge and if necessary prepare and assist them in entering into the world of buying.

Would you recommend independent publishing to your academic colleagues/friends and why?

If you are passionate about a subject matter and have experienced rejection or lack of interest from traditional publishers, then self publishing is certainly an option although you will have to work very much on your own initiative in order to tackle the processes needed in getting to the final goal.

How did you promote and market your book?

As my book is primarily an academic book with a very specific subject matter, I concentrated my efforts on promoting my book to established  universities and colleges in the UK and USA as well as through multi media routes such as Linkedin and Twitter.

What are you plans for a next book?

It is year since I published my first book so at the moment I would like to build on the sales for this book before embarking on another.

Teresa’s book Pocket Handbook for Assistant Buyers A-Z of Textile Terms is available in both print and ebook versions from the Lulu bookshop at


LIVE TWITTER DEBATE: Is there a place for independent publishing in the academic world?

Date: 26 Jan

Time: 14:00 – 15:00 GMT

Location: Twitter – use #indyacademics and #acbookweek to join the debate

In the trade book publishing sector, the emergence of independent publishing is perhaps the single most disruptive trend of recent years. Technology has empowered writers to publish their work professionally, affordably, expediently, across multiple formats and into different geographical territories, and to profit from it. But while this significant revolution has been taking place, the model for academic monographs and books has largely remained unscathed, with the largest scholarly publishers still monopolising the market and the academic community still tied to traditional processes, which have been in place for years.

In this Twitter chat, hosted by author, journalist and digital publishing expert Alastair Horne (@pressfuturist), we will discuss independent publishing in the context of the academic publishing market. The virtual panel, which will consist of leading academics and prominent voices from scholarly publishing, will tackle the following questions: Is independent publishing the solution many frustrated academics have been waiting for in order to share their work? Can academics retain more control through independent publishing? What are the main challenges which will need to be addressed in order for independent publishing to become accepted within academia?

More info:

Some Good News to end 2016

blogxmasWith the end of the year fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to take a quick look back on some of the events of 2016 across the industry. In January we start with our Author guest blogger so don’t forget if you are interested in blogging please contact us at  social­ as we would love to hear from you.

Library Funding

In a year that saw a lot of high profile author protests and disruption for our UK libraries, in the face of austerity funding cuts by Government and closures by local authorities, it’s good to end 2016 with some positive news for authors, libraries and readers. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a five-year strategy for libraries, which it said would help them improve and thrive in the 21st century. This national strategy includes a £4m innovation fund to help libraries provide more of a public services role to the community. But is that really good news? Initial feedback is that this doesn’t go far enough in saving libraries. So as a New Year’s resolution visit your local library as no footfall = no library.

 Ebook VAT

If you have been following us on Twitter you will know the hot news to end 2016 is the EU ruling that ebooks can be sold with reduced VAT which means ebook sales are forecasted to rise next year. This was part of the commissions pledge to address the discrepancies in VAT between ebooks and print books.  It will be interesting to see the impact of Brexit on this announcement in the forthcoming months so the ebook VAT story is far from over.

I leave you with a puzzle reader – you are on a train crossing from one country to another and you start to download your ebook in one country but it doesn’t complete the download until it crosses the border into the second country. What rate of VAT do you pay on the ebook purchase? Any staff of HMRC are excluded from answering this puzzle!

 The Rise of Digital Book clubs

Over 2016 online book clubs experienced a real boost. A digital book club allows you to discuss your current book when you want from the comfort of your own home – no more trying to organise your diary with like-minded friends. Celebrities are even getting in on the act with Harry Potter star Emma Watson starting her own feminist book club. So if you haven’t joined an online book club yet make it your New Year resolution! Should we form a Lulu author book club in 2017? Let me know your views.

I close this blog wishing all our Lulu authors a very happy festive season. If you are still working on your book make it a New Year resolution to complete it and share your story with the world.

Seasons Best Wishes

The LULU UK Team




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