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Location: Denbighshire, United Kingdom

After deciding to resign from the Civil Service after 25 years, I am now free to pursue my dream of writing. My first book '194 Radio City - The Heart of Liverpool' was published through Lulu in April 2006, and is available from good bookshops and internet suppliers. If you have difficulty getting a copy, please contact me.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Just a thought.....

Have been thinking about Lulu and the whole "Print on Demand" business in general. It's not dissimilar to when the independent labels started up in the music business. The major labels wouldn't sign up a lot of new bands, as they were only interested in megabucks and a particular sound, so these bands turned to the "indies". This meant that they could still be heard by people and quite often they did rather well. Think about John Peel and the bands he championed. Loads of them went on to become stars, who might otherwise not have been heard at all. Nowadays we have sites on the web such as Myspace where bands can market themselves, provide their own videos and music, and can potentially build up a strong fanbase without having a record deal at all.

The major book publishers of today have a very similar mindset to those major record labels back then (and now, of course). I speak from experience here, having tried them first. There is a lot of snobbery and money-mindedness there. They clearly weren't interested in anything that wasn't going to sell by the million straightaway. My book obviously has a niche market, and added to that is the fact that it's my first book, so I always knew I had no chance with them. But I knew that some people would want to read my book, so self-publishing was the only option. When I found out about Lulu, it seemed perfect. It was actually a bonus for me that I could see the whole process of writing, publishing and promoting right through to the end.

People who want to write for the sheer love of writing can now do so. Maybe they only ever want to publish one or two books for themselves and members of their family, but that book is still valid to them. And why shouldn't they do it too? They have the right. With the new "POD" publishers everyone can have their turn. Unlike the old vanity publishers, it doesn't cost thousands of pounds to publish your book any more. The cost is within most people's reach and, as long as someone has basic computer skills, it really is something that can be achieved by all.

I think we will see a lot more books coming to prominence through these "POD" people. It is already big in America, where it began, but it is just beginning to catch on over here too. The majors will fight back (and in fact already are doing so) saying that a book which hasn't gone through the whole process of editing, marketing and everything else they do, is somehow second rate, but we can leave that for the person who reads the book to decide. People have already contacted me to say that they have been inspired by the fact that I have got this far and now are going to do it themselves. I think that's fantastic. They no longer need be put off at the first hurdle of finding an agent or publishing house. They can join the new brand of "indie" writers.


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