Why did you choose self-publishing over a traditional publisher?
It took me six months to write the first book and when I got to the end of my scribbled pages, I sat there with an enormous pile of papers and wondered what do I do next? I still had a long way to go developing the characters, bringing them to life through illustrations and putting the series together from hundreds of muddled up pages, so I decided to work with an indie-publishing company to bring the Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key to life.
Did you enjoy the process?
Publishing a book is very hard work and I now hold great respect for traditional publishing houses and the process a book goes through from manuscript to finished book on a shop’s shelf. I naively thought it would be easy – not! To create twenty-four illustrations for the book I had to go into exquisite detail to animate the Bugglepuff characters. My husband and I managed to miss out on this fun, but my children very kindly dressed up as the Bugglepuff children – with their own pets from the book and acted out Bugglepuff poses until I got the right photos for the first illustrations!
There was a lot of chaos, chasing chickens around the garden and getting our pig to carry a basket without eating it, but it was tremendously entertaining. I sketched out some basic illustrations and sent them off to the illustrators. When I got the first email saying the first few illustrations were ready to view I was so deliriously excited I nearly cried, in fact I think I did. The illustrator at Lulu captured my family and their personalities. I chose black and white sketches for the interior because I love the simplicity of them and they’re so deliciously crisp and timeless.
The editing process was long, complicated and sometimes frustrating, but I was well supported throughout by Lulu Publishing. It took eight months from August 2013 to April 2014 to complete, but I knew it was all worth it when I finally got to hold the first copy of ‘Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key’ on the 10th April 2014 – my animated family was in print – yippee!
As an author is your job done when you finish writing the book?
Goodness me no. There is a slight breather when you feel complete holding the first copy of your first book. A sparkle of pride and something inside shouts, “YES!”, but then the hard work starts. Some writers write for the sheer personal pleasure, but if you want to reach a wide audience you must look at the age and interests of the readers you’re targeting. Make sure you’re up to speed with your social media and marketing skills or have an indie-publisher like Lulu on hand to give you guidance. Share the book in the local community and shops. I have found there is now less bias in the retail world against self-published books. Also, online booksellers, including Lulu’s own online shop, are very fast to deliver your books whether you live in China, Europe or the US.
To be a successful and happy writer you must have a passion for writing, marketing and understand that it takes time and patience to get people to turn the pages of your books. But if you believe in your book’s worth, then so may many other readers – good luck!
About the Author
CL Bennett has sold 1000’s of books online, been on UK book tours, started Bugglepuff ‘fun days’ in 100’s of schools and libraries around the country, made audio recordings of her books with actor Brian Blessed OBE and won children’s books awards in both the USA and Europe. Her books are available for purchase in the Lulu bookstore.
Over the coming weeks, Bennet will share insights and tips on writing and self-publishing. If you have specific questions for her, please post them in the comments section.
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