I've been aware of LuLu for some time now. I keep looking, browsing, and contemplating. I look at the cover art and read the descriptions. I look at the reviews and wonder who wrote them, how well the reviewers know the author and whether their opinions are unbiased. I look at the prices and the ordering options. I look. However, after reading about award-winning author John Edgar Wideman's decision to experiment with self-publication through LuLu, I might actually be enticed to start buying from the site.
I also have to stop and consider what John Edgar Wideman's bold move means for the publishing industry as a whole. Is this the first small pebble in the pond? Will other established and traditionally published authors risk the loss of their next advance and the subsequent royalty checks? It seems hard to imagine, but yet here is evidence that not everyone who has been accepted into the publishing fraternity is content with their membership.
Of course, John's royalties from previous books will continue to be forwarded to him. That's something to consider, too.
I know I'm rambling a bit, but this defection, if that's what this is, could be the first step to taking the sting out of the self-publishing stigma. Or not.
Why do I care? Well, it's stories like this that whisper to me that perhaps self-publication isn't a completely dreadful idea. Because while I want the Holy Grail of Publication, the reality is that my book has to land on the right desk at the right time in front of the right person. Basically, the stars must align and, since I've been waiting for seven months to hear back from the agent who has my full manuscript, I'm thinking I'll be old and gray before the stars do their thing.
So I consider self-publishing for myself. For my family and friends.
Because the reality is, I don't expect to become the next Nora Roberts, Stephen King, or J. K. Rowlings. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'd love to hit it big, but the likelihood of such a thing happening is slim. That's reality.
Isn't reality a downer?
Strangely, this rather pessimistic outlook hasn't prevented me from writing and finishing my manuscripts. Writing is something I do, publication is something I aspire to.
And I've got options. I can try my luck on the path of tradition, but I can also widen my search to include e-publishers, something I've yet to attempt. However, for those rare instances when an e-book simply will not do and the traditional path seems too difficult to traverse, I may just turn to Lulu.