Why Not Lulu?

A lot of people have asked me:

“Why not use Lulu or some other print-on-demand site to publish your book?”

If I have to give a short answer, then it would be:

“Because I don’t want to.”

But I don’t want to leave it at that because that would be rude to the people who are offering me their sincere advice. So I will tell the long version of the story.

I do not want to use a print-on-demand publisher like Lulu because of the following reasons.

One. The stories in Guards Gone Wild! have a local Singaporean flavour and I am sure they will appeal to Singaporeans, especially those with experience in the security industry. Therefore, I expect a large chunk of my customer base to be Singaporeans, and many will be my fellow guards in the industry.

And there are many Singaporeans, such as those the older generation and my colleagues in the security industry, who are not internet savvy at all. I personally know many guards who don’t even own a personal computer and they definitely can’t do online transactions. If they can’t do online transactions, they can’t purchase my book from the print-on-demand website.

So you see, it makes more sense to print the books in Singapore (because shipping cost will be zero) and do direct sales right here in my hometown.

TwoGuards Gone Wild! contains my efforts as a struggling security guard, dating all the way back to 1999. This book is special. I don’t want to entrust this to a print-on-demand company that’s based overseas. Now, I know Lulu is a big company but because I have never ever held a Lulu book in my hands before, I can’t really trust the quality of its product.

Right here in Singapore, I can march down to the printers personally and demand a press check before they start printing. And if anything goes wrong with my order, I can go down to their office and demand to see the manager in a loud voice. Can’t do all that if the printers are based overseas. Since I am also using a Singaporean designer and layout artist, I can meet them face to face and tell them personally how I want things to be done. I don’t think the book covers that are designed by a print-on-demand company can be customized like that. Especially when they are based overseas and I can’t even see the people who’s going to be designing the cover for my book.

Two words. Quality. Control.

Three. Pride. My pride as a writer is telling me not to do an e-book with one of them print-on-demand companies. I know e-books cost next to nothing to produce and I can afford to sell them cheap. But this doesn’t make me happy at all. Yes, my manuscript was rejected by 4 publishers. But just because of that, do you think I should lower my expectations, produce my book cheap and sell it cheap because otherwise it wouldn’t sell at all? I don’t think so!

As a writer, I believe in my work. That’s why I don’t want to just think about cutting costs and do things half-assed. Doing that belittles all the hard work I put into writing Guards Gone Wild!.

Not just my hard work, but my dream of becoming a published writer and the hopes I have for Guards Gone Wild!. I know there’s a lot of hype about e-books nowadays but, as a writer myself, I can tell you that most writers worth their salt would not want their debut work to be an e-book. Because we writers are artists, and we revere the beauty of the Book as a physical object.

“My debut work must be something real, something I can hold in my hands and cherish for years to come.”

I am sure I am not the only writer to think that.

By the way, despite all the e-hype, 60% of the e-books purchased from online stores are never opened and read, according to this survey. Tragic.

Contained within Guards Gone Wild! are stories of hardship endured by security guards in Singapore, and it would be very sad if someone bought an e-book copy just because it’s cheap, only to leave it unopened and unread.

So there you go. 3 good reasons why I refuse to lower my expectations and go with a print-on-demand publisher.

Teck Y. Loh

 

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About Security Guard

Level 99 Security Guard

Posted on July 22, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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