I’m honored to have Julio Vazquez guest blog today. Julio is one of our very first authors and has become good friend of mine, too. He’s a leader in the Lulu Community and can often be found helping others in the forums. I asked him to share his experiences with Lulu here on the blog.
I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since I first stumbled on Lulu.com.
Looking back, I had originally come across the site during a job search. When I looked at the positions available, I didn’t find anything that I felt I could fit in comfortably. While I was on the site, I got intrigued by the fact that they were offering the ability to publish and print books for literally pennies per page.
I had already written a novel and a set of short stories. I didn’t have any particular success placing the work with publishers because, frankly, I didn’t do the sort of market research that would place me with a traditional publisher. I just wrote and what I wanted to do was make my work available to others to read. I wasn’t worried about making multi-million dollar deals. I knew that there were few authors who got to that level in the business. I just felt that I had some good stories that I wanted to share. Lulu gave me the opportunity.
I remember the first time I went through the process. Watching that manufacturing building pulse to produce my work. Then I wound up disappointed because I got things I didn’t expect for my fiction. The thing looked like a text book. There was a table of contents and other things that I considered ugly. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t pleased but I contacted the support team. Fortunately, they wanted to learn and they wanted to get my work to the point that I’d be happy with it. We talked through the forums and emails about publishing and expectations and what would work better. The publishing process improved. Finally I published the first two books, The Truant Murders, and Pictures at an Exhibition: Vignettes from my Mind.
Okay, they didn’t sell much. That wasn’t the point. I was able to share these works with others easily now. I did sell some and I was also able to send copies to the man who encouraged me to write. I got back a nice hand-written letter that encouraged me and stated that I validated his career (he was a H.S. English teacher). That defined success for me.
I then started contributing to forums and I started a blog. I wanted to help others who were writing. Things like how to get through writer’s block intrigued me and I tried to help folks get over the hump and suggest strategies that could help. I tried to maintain a positive attitude about the experience, even when I had some concerns about the process and the product. Overall, I suppose I was successful because I was asked to be a community leader.
Sometime during these years, I wrote two more novels, Death at Disney and Where is Love? Death at Disney had legs. It sold more units than I expected for a self-published book. I entered it in the Self-Published book competition and it scored fairly well, even if it didn’t win. I also entered Where is Love? after I published that one and it did remarkably well in the scoring (though they did tell me what I knew – the cover wasn’t great). I’ve been in technical communications for a long time and I finally used Lulu to create a technical book that is my best seller yet, Practical DITA. I believe that the ability to get the book out to press quickly (2 editions in less than 6 months) helped achieve that success. This book has been a boon to me and the company for which I work, SDI in showing that we do have expertise in the field.
Overall, I’ve had a pretty positive relationship with Lulu and have been happy with the results. I look forward to getting 2 more books out this year (if I can ever slow down enough to spend more time writing) with their help.
Enjoy the ride!
Featuring a variety of writers from all around the world, Lulu guest posts bring expert knowledge to the Lulu Blog for you to enjoy!