08 March 2013
Last year, I worked on the design and production of an anthology of short stories and poems by writers based in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The book is called Three Points West, and featured the best work from writing groups based in Uxbridge, Yeading and Ruislip. In a project led by the writing group coordinators, writers were invited to send in their best unpublished work (with a word/line limit imposed), and an independent judge from the library service selected the best work for inclusion in the book.
I created the template and laid out the book using Microsoft Word. It's one of the great secrets of self-publishing that Microsoft Word is actually perfectly capable of creating professional-looking layouts, as long as you respect the conventions of publishing, especially with respect to spacing, and relative font sizes. The cover was designed using Adobe Photoshop, if I remember correctly.
The book was printed using Lulu (as a single big batch, rather than printing in response to orders) and was sold through libraries and the local Waterstones. It wasn't the first time I'd produced a book using Lulu. I printed and sold my novel University of Death there, although I found it particularly difficult wrestling with the interface this time around to get the cover to upload correctly. My feeling is that Lulu hasn't evolved greatly in the last five years, but it remains a fantastic service so I very much hope that they can improve the reliability of the interface. You can read my top tips for publishing on Lulu here.
I've now put Three Points West online as a free ebook to not only give you something great to read, but also to help give the writers some more exposure, and enable them to share the book easily with their friends and family. You can find out more and download Three Points West here.
Thank you to everyone who worked on the book, especially Charlotte Baldwin, who led the project; Darren Deeks, who drummed up entries for the book; Alison Beer, who compiled the final content selection; cover photographer Art By LAW, and all the writers who shared their work and talent.