Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is There a Young Writer in Your House?

I began writing when I was quite young. The best encouragement I ever got back then was seeing my work published in my junior high and high school's newspapers and also in my local paper. Seeing your work in print gives you a tremendous boost.

We have a young writer at our house, dd16, who is hard at work on her second novel. Once she finishes this novel, and then works with me on editing both novels, we plan to publish them using

I've used Lulu for the proof copies of my books and have been so pleased with them. I don't used them for subsequent printings because we generally order a couple of thousand books at a time, and other printers are more competitively priced for large quantities. But you don't need to have a bunch of money squirreled away for printing. The new publishing model called Print on Demand (POD) is the perfect thing for personal projects, and it's what Lulu does best. You write the book, format it, design a cover and then upload your files to Lulu. They keep the files on hand; whenever someone orders a copy of the book, they print one and send it out. Today's printing technology allows this to be done fairly quickly and very reasonably, price-wise.

Just as an example, the proof copy of my new book is 192 pages and cost me a little over $8 plus shipping. That's a great price for a single copy! Just think, you could have your child's work printed and bound for less than ten dollars! Lulu has a printing calculator on site where you can work out the exact cost. They do offer expensive packages for teaching you how to assemble and market the book, but you can find that information for free online or at your public library, so unless you're impatient, I wouldn't recommend it. Besides, unless you think your child is the next J.K. Rowling, you're probably just doing this as a family project, right?

When I use Lulu, I classify my printing projects as private because they're just proofs. But at Lulu, most people sell their books through Lulu's online bookstore as well as other places. So if Grandma wants a copy of your child's book, just send her to Lulu's online store, where she can order copies for herself and probably all your distant cousins. Your child will earn money on those sales of his/her work. How encouraging would that be?

Here's a great interview with an 11-year-old young man who's already selling his fiction work via Lulu. He cites homeschooled Christopher Paolini (author of the Eragon series) as his inspiration. Maybe his interview will inspire your young writer.


Amy said...

Pretty cool site! I didn't know it was so easy to publish material.

Question - how hard is it to get a copyright on your material?

Becky said...

This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

What a great idea! It's great incentive to get the kids writing. Hey, and I might join them...

Cheryl said...

Thanks for this link! I have a prolific (and very fine) young writer in my house and I could definitely see us making use of this service.

Caitlin said...


If I'm not mistaken, you already own the copyright on anything you write or create that is your own original work, unless you sell it to someone else.

Barbara Frank said...

Sorry, Amy, somehow I missed your comment in my email. Caitlin's right, you hold the copyright as soon as you create something. However, if you send a copy to the U.S. Copyright Office, you protect yourself in case you ever have to prove you wrote it (not likely, but still....)

Becky, thanks for stopping by.

TRH, thanks also for stopping by, and I love your screen name!

Cheryl, you'll be amazed at how excited they get over this idea :)

Caitlin, you are right...thanks for pointing that out!

Amy said...

Thanks ladies!