An Adventure in Publishing
I’ve known Marti Lawrence and her blog, Enter the Laughter for so long, that I don’t know how we met. I know she’s a great writer, that she’s smart, fun, and funny, and that she does what it takes to make a business work. So, when she emailed last week to say that she’d self-published a book of her humor stories, I can’t say that it really surprised me. When it sells like crazy that won’t surprise me either.
More and more folks are looking into self-publishing. I get at least one call about it each week. That’s why I asked Marti if she’d talk about her self-publishing experience with us. She agreed. She’s generous like that.
Marti Lawrence is
Author of “Queen Klutz – The Misadventures of a Very Clumsy Woman”
Available at: Lulu Publishing: http://www.lulu.com/martilawrence/
Hi Marti. I love the title of your book, “Queen Klutz – The Misadventures of a Very Clumsy Woman.” What’s it about?
Awful things! (Just joking, thatÃ¢â¬â¢s what I do.) It’s a book of humor essays about events that have happened to me and my family — broken bones and car crashes, some real tragedies. The stories are humorous and inspirational. They’re about overcoming adversity.
IÃ¢â¬â¢ve had so many mishaps in my life, I had to find the humor in them or the guys with the straitjacket would be dragging me out the door. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s a compilation of newspaper articles, blog posts and essays written just for the book. Stories told with a humorous and optimistic outlook that subliminally whisper, Ã¢â¬ÅFor a good time, buy me.Ã¢â¬Â
What brought you to write it?
IÃ¢â¬â¢ve had a love affair with narrative my entire life. IÃ¢â¬â¢ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. At a young age I discovered the thrill of having people laugh at my anecdotes and have craved that attention ever since. My writing was first published when I was on the staff of my high school newspaper. After that good friends kept telling me I should write a book. I would tell them to sober up, but I kept thinking about it.
How long did it take you?
I wrote the first story in January of 2004, while convalescing from breaking my right ankle (for the second time). I needed to find the humor in the situation to keep from clubbing myself in the head with the cast. I started cobbling the pieces together in January 2006, and joined Lulu in February.
In March I asked Karen Maxwell for help because she is a whiz with formatting and artwork. IÃ¢â¬â¢d just started reading the blog Ã¢â¬ÅThe Reign of EllenÃ¢â¬Â after seeing the great Ã¢â¬ÅQueenÃ¢â¬Â illustration she did of you! When I was tossing ideas around with Karen, she suggested a cover drawing by Ellen. It seemed like destiny! I asked Ellen if she could do a depiction of me, then used it as the centerpiece of the cover, which took me about a month to design. It seemed to convey the goofy optimism of a very clumsy woman.
What made you decide to self-publish?
Abject isolation. I had no network of people in the industry, no friends who knew someone who knew an agent. I live on a pumpkin farm in a rural area. Representatives from publishing houses only know my area as the place they fly over on their way to someplace important. I had no budget for advertising or bribery. My query letters went unanswered, but probably made nice paper airplanes or bird-cage lining. A friend had self-published and was pleased with the process. She told me about it and I decided to give it a shot. I researched all of the companies and chose Lulu for their reputation, quality of product and the fact that they wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t charge me up front or make me buy a thousand books.
What was it like to self-publish?
Horrible! Just kidding, it was great. Humbling. I learned (again) how little I know about anything. IÃ¢â¬â¢d never tried to format a document in book form, using headers, footers, and gutters. I was ready for the gutter after several attempts. Many times, I thought I had the Word document formatted properly, and sent it through the PDF conversion, then saw how repulsive it was. I worked on it some more, drank a lot, and finally got it right by reading the forums and chatting with the help desk guys at Lulu, who probably have my picture on their bulletin board of all-time ridiculous questions. I made them laugh though!
How can someone buy the book?
You must visit the bridge troll and answer his questions three. Nah, you just go to my storefront at Lulu [http://lulu.com/martilawrence]. Lulu offers authors the option of selling just through their storefront, or purchasing a global distribution plan which includes a galley proof of your book. When you approve the galley, then you are assigned an ISBN and bar code, which allows it to be distributed through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Those cost dollars though, which are in short supply, so IÃ¢â¬â¢m selling through the storefront for now to raise money to purchase that. Help put a lonely bar code to work and have a good laugh! Thank you!
Thank YOU, Marti!
What’s your experience with self-publishing? Have you been thinking about it?
–ME “Liz” Strauss