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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.

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Publisher success stories

Spotlight on Authoright – helping Lulu authors making their book-shaped dreams come true with new marketing and publicity services

Writing a book is true labour of love and an amazing achievement for anyone. It can be a very solitary experience however, and often, once the writing part has been completed, authors really want to talk about the process and to ask the all important question: what’s next for me and my book? Authoright began so that writers could do exactly that; ask questions and have a chat with like-minded publishing insiders who understood the business of books and could give them the right advice to help them publish and promote their books successfully. Authoright are passionate about supporting new writers who are indie-publishing. We’re a small team of hardworking book lovers, and we can help writers to complete the all-important steps to publishing and promoting their books that go far beyond the writing part. Cover design, editing services, website creation, multi-media services, publicity and marketing; we can help new writers to really find their voices and to connect with their audiences.

GarethAuthoright was founded in the early days of indie-publishing by a lawyer-turned author who was going through all the challenges of publishing and launching his debut novel. In 2004, Gareth Howard was trying to sell his first novel but soon discovered that traditional publishing was something of a closed shop; you couldn’t simply call or email a literary agent or a publisher to ask their advice. The process of securing the services of an agent, who then in turn had to sell the work to a publisher, was slow and frustrating and publishing houses were more inclined to work with celebrities rather than new talent. After lots of rejection. Gareth knew he had to try and figure out how to bring his book to market, on his own terms. So he decided to take a proactive step and turned to self publishing. This meant learning on the job, and having to quickly fine-tune the skills required to produce and publish a book professionally. Gareth effectively had to become his own agent, publisher, designer and publicist overnight.

With a bit of creativity and a lot of hard graft, Gareth produced a good-looking book and secured extensive media coverage – both for the book and for him as a writer and his experiences of self publishing at a time when it was almost unheard of – managing the publishing and PR process on a shoestring budget. Over a six month period, managing the production and launch of his book had become a full-time job! But Gareth’s efforts soon paid off and his novel became one of the earliest indie-publishing success stories, earning positive reviews and being featured in the national media in the UK, the USA and even Australia. Readers contacted him through his website to tell him how much they were enjoying his book and were sharing it with others (and this was at a time when social media barely even existed).

Gareth had learned first-hand how to produce and publicise a book on a budget and he wanted to share his experiences with other writers by creating a company that offered the kind of services he had found to be so important to the success of his own novel. And so Authoright was born, sharing advice, tips and tricks of the book trade, as well as providing effective and affordable editing, design, marketing and publicity services to unknown, first-time and self publishing authors. From how to write an elevator pitch, to media training ahead of a big interview, to creating an author brand; Authoright helps authors to make their books the best they can be without breaking the bank. Every author will make an investment in their writing if they want it to be a success, but finessing the book and supporting it with the right kind of services is important, rather than spending as much money as possible. Together we still speak to around 1,500 writers a year, listening to their questions and concerns about publishing, and helping them to find the best route for them to becoming a bestseller of the future.

Every author deserves a team of cheerleaders to help them bring their book to market. To supplement their writing abilities with expertise in cover design, editing, online marketing and publicity. Every author wants their book to be a success and Authoright can help authors find the right way for them to tell their own, labour of love story.

We’re thrilled to be able to work with Lulu,com and their help their awesome authors make their book-shaped dreams come true.

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Brighton Festival, nabokov and Lulu.com spotlight on Everyday Epic writing competition judges: Gareth Howard of Authoright

GarethGareth is a former lawyer – turned writer and CEO and founder of Authoright (www.authoright.com), the leading provider of editing, design, marketing and promotional services for authors, based in London and New York.

Gareth published his own first novel Single White Failure back in 2005 when indie-publishing was in its infancy, becoming one of the first indie success stories. An early supported of indie-publishing and embracing new routes to market, he played a significant role in helping to democratise the publishing industry, by making professional, fair, and affordable production and publicity services available to all authors. Gareth still speaks to over 1,000 authors individually each year, as well as at publishing conferences in the UK and USA. He designed the author space at London Book Fair, founded the London Author Fair in 2014 and has previously been an ambassador for Frankfurt Book Fair.

Single whiteGareth is working on two new novels which will be published this year.

Authoright has kindly donated the cover design service and will be providing publicity services for the final published Every Day Epic anthology of short stories.

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Keith Farrell, Fallen Rook Publishing, chats to us about why he became an indie-publisher

How long have you been publishing and what made you decide to enter this business?

blackwatchI have been involved in publishing since about 2011, when my friend and I began writing a book together. We were researching the fighting methods of Johannes Liechtenauer, a 14th or 15th century German fencing master who left a record of his martial art. We were trying to understand these historical documents and learn how to train it as an effective martial art today. Since we were amassing quite a lot of research material in our efforts, we decided to turn it into a study guide for other people with the same interests, and so we decided to create the AHA German Longsword Study Guide.

However, the publishers we approached with our proposal did not even respond to our emails, so, along with a third colleague, we decided to set up our own publishing house to deal with these kinds of books ourselves. Thus we set up Fallen Rook Publishing, and published our first book in 2013. Since then we have brought out several more titles, and I am very happy that we decided to take the step to set up our own publishing company!

The main reason why I became a publisher was most probably that there were very few other publishers working in our subject area, and those we approached with our proposal did not seem particularly good at communicating with us, so it was a relatively simple step for us to decide to do it ourselves.

What genres do you publish? 

We mainly publish two genres, both of which are quite closely interlinked. Our main focus is the subject of historical European martial arts (often abbreviated to HEMA) and historical fencing. Our secondary focus is publishing transcriptions, translations and facsimiles of pertinent source material and historical documents, such as memoirs or scholarship from the 18th century.

Who are your customers?

rookThere is a growing community practising HEMA across the world; mainly in Europe and North America, but there are clubs and schools in South America, in Australia and New Zealand, in China and Japan and other countries in Asia. People tend to become interested at first because, to be perfectly honest, swords are cool! Then they find out that there are actually historical methods for fencing with these different swords, according to books and manuscripts written by fencing masters throughout the centuries. Once people start training, they usually become more interested in finding out about the source material that describes the martial art they train, and so there is quite a healthy demand for books on this subject.

Why did you decide to use the Lulu platform for your publishing needs?

In the beginning, we decided to use Lulu because it was simple enough for me to learn how to use it relatively quickly and easily. Then we kept using it because it was simple and produced a satisfactory quality of results, and also because the customer service is excellent. If there is ever a problem with one of our orders, I know that Lulu will go to great lengths to sort the problem and make it work out well in the end. This has been the greatest factor in our decision to continue working with Lulu rather than investigating other printing options.

Lulu has been described as a platform and community which provides the tools to allow publishing and distribution – are you using all of the Lulu services for a complete end to end or only some of them?

I would say that we are utilising most of the services, although not all. There’s no need for us to use Lulu’s services to help with editing, for example, because we already have people who can do that well. There are some other services we may want to begin using at some point, but mainly I haven’t had enough time to play with them and become familiar enough to make a proper decision.

As a small publisher have you found that using one publishing platform helps reduce your overheads, provides better time management with handling less suppliers, less staff needed, allows you to concentrate on the process of author acquisition v logistics and production focus?

Yes, definitely. This way, I just focus on bringing each book up the quality of writing and content that I want to see from our titles, and then I can buy in whatever stock is needed for our upcoming events and for our online shop. Lulu is probably our slowest sales channel, but that is mainly since the customers in our market tend to prefer buying books in person at the national and international events where they gather to train, spar, and exchange ideas.

Do you use both print and ebook services from Lulu?

Just print, for the moment. We may begin to use the ebook services more in the future.

Do you supply your own isbn’s or use Lulu allocated ones?

We use our own ISBNs.

Do you use Lulu marketing services?

No, we do all of our own marketing. Again, because our market is exceptionally niche, and personal relationships are so important in our subject area, we can deliver much more effective marketing ourselves.

Anthony O’Farrell from Logic Press tells us why, as a small publisher, he uses the Lulu publishing platform

How long have you been publishing and what made you decide to enter this business?

anayst-zeroLogic Press started in 2002. With colleagues I initiated mathematical enrichment activities (linked to the Mathematical Olympiads) for secondary school children in the mid-nineties, and we structured our activities around a book by the New Zealand mathematician Derek Holton, published by the University of Waterloo (Canada). We bought this book in bulk each year (about 90 per annum) and distributed it to our students.The stock ran out in 2002, and neither Waterloo nor the author could supply an alternative. By that stage, we had some other ideas about a better book, more suitable for Irish students, so I got the team together to write our own manual, and set up Logic Press to publish it. This was the Maynooth Mathematical Olympiad Manual. In part, it drew on a textbook book in the Irish language that I had written earlier.

My books are not mass-market items, and I publish them as a service to a small public.

What genres do you publish?  Who are your customers?

The press publishes mathematics-related books. The Olympiad Manual was revised, with input from colleagues in other universities, and became the Irish Mathematical Olympiad Manual. This is used at five enrichment centres in Ireland and across the world. Later texts were mainly for university students.  Our ‘Less Serious Division’ caters for the fact that there is more to mathematical life than mathematics.

Why did you decide to use the Lulu platform for your publishing needs?

Initially, our books were heat bound A4 size, relatively poor print quality, and prone to come apart with heavy use. I paid the university to print them, using facilities in place. The big advantages were that I could supply them at low prices, and that I could print only on demand, holding no stock, needing no capital or support staff. I was impressed by the quality of some student-produced journals from Cork and Cambridge, and discovered print-on-demand online services. I realised that Lulu’s setup allowed me to maintain low prices, print only on demand and make a big improvement to the print quality. I am proud of what goes between the covers of the books, and glad that the appearance of the books now matches that quality.

Lulu has been described as a platform and community which provides the tools to allow publishing and distribution – are you using all of the Lulu services for a complete end to end solution or only some of them?

I use Lulu to print my own ISBN’s and use Lulu ISBN’s for titles needing print and distribution; using Lulu ISBN’s relieves me of the burden of distribution. I sell more books internationally since I started using Lulu ISBN’s.

I generally use the Lulu cover-design tool rather than making my own.

Do you use both print and ebook services from Lulu?

At present, I just use print. I will implement ebook delivery in the future.

As a small publisher have you found that using one publishing platform helps reduce your overheads, provides better time management with handling less suppliers, allows you to concentrate on the process of author acquisition v logistics and production focus?

As long as things continue as they are, Lulu suits me. I invest my own time, pay for internet connectivity and web hosting, and otherwise I have no other costs.

Which one of your publications are you most excited about right now?

tipperary-tangoFergal Anton’s Tipperary Tango from our Less Serious division which is a great little adult romp. Fionn Mac Tubaiste is a university lecturer, whose life is complicated by frustrating women and his part-time job as the field man of the Irish Secret Service, ASR. ASR is run by Malachy Mulligan (“M”), the least civil and least principled Principal Officer in the Civil Service. It has a surprising number of jobs to do, and Fionn is supposed to do them all. His methods are nothing like James Bond’s. The period is the early eighties. The world’s finest secret service operates in Ireland, as it does everywhere else, but it finds conditions unusually trying. When Fionn comes to the Russians’ attention, things rapidly begin to come unstuck.
Tipperary Tango and other titles published by Logic Press can be purchased from the Lulu bookshop http://www.lulu.com/shop and are currently our February ‘spotlight titles’. Please note Tipperary Tango is marked 18+ adult content.

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