The House in the Clearing – Update

The booklet about the Whomerley Wood moat in Stevenage is coming along nicely, and has grown quite a lot since the previous blog. I am very conscious though that there is a delicate balance to be struck between including generalities about medieval times and topics specific to the moated area. So, it is probably time to stop writing and start editing.

I had some useful feedback on how to press ahead with publishing (thank you!), and decided to try out two Print on Demand providers, Lulu and Blurb, by working up a test project using what I had written so far.

Blurb, which started off life predominantly as a provider of photo-books initially looked promising. However, my hopes were dashed when I uploaded my MS Word file and most of the formatting was ignored. This would largely have been repairable, if a lengthy process, but Blurb had also removed all of the end-note references I had included. I’m not sure how much citations add to the booklet, but since they do at least give my writing some authority I wanted to leave them in. The process also removed all the images inserted in the text. I decided to leave Blurb for a while, and return to it after trying out Lulu.

What a different experience Lulu turned out to be. I uploaded the same MS Word file, and it was replicated exactly, including all the images and the references to end-notes at the back. Experimenting with the covers was an interesting experience though, and the limited range of formats made it difficult for me to replicate what I had in mind. Until, that is, I realised I could upload an entire page as a jpg file, and use that. So, opening up MS Publisher for the first time since buying MS Office 2007, it wasn’t long before I had the front and back covers completed (although they will be probably change). Both of these uploaded perfectly, and are just what I had planned.

cover 1d

Lulu it is for me, then.  At least for this first venture. They will have the booklet listed everywhere important, and can also source an eBook version using what seems to be a simple process. But there is one thing I’m not sure about, and I wish Lulu was a bit more transparent on this point. It concerns the choice between using a free Lulu-provided ISBN or paying for an ISBN of my own. I know that having my own is a Good Idea, as it allows me to be named as the publisher and take control of the publication’s metadata recorded against the ISBN so that searches on Google and the like have a stronger chance of finding it. Also, there would be no US tax liability on sales to the US which would occur with Lulu as the publisher.  What isn’t clear, though, is what the difference is regarding how Lulu’s various distribution options are affected.  Everything seems to be available whether you use a Lulu ISBN or your own, but nothing is mentioned about any charges that might be made with the ‘own ISBN’ option. Maybe I’m being over-suspicious, but there surely must be a penalty for not allowing Lulu to be named as the publisher?

I shall probably go ahead with a free Lulu ISBN this time around, but wish I knew if I’m missing a trick!

6 Comments

Filed under Creative Writing

6 responses to “The House in the Clearing – Update

  1. Let us know when the booklet is available, Phil. I love local history.

  2. Roger A

    When I see an unusual film title, and then see it is directed by Steven Spielberg I know I will enjoy the story and so when I saw a book has been written about the Whomerley moat and written by Phil Wadner I knew I had to buy the book !

    Having worked alongside Phil for several years in the space industry I appreciated what a fine mind he had and to find he had researched the moat just a stone’s throw from my house I was in for a treat ! Settling down with a cup of hot chocolate on a beautiful sunny morning I revelled in what I was about to discover.

    Phil starts by carrying his readers back 800 years to medieval England building up the picture of the stark realities of life back then, then focussing on life in Stevenage from what we know of it and why the centre of Stevenage moved from place to place and within that context to focus on Whomerley woods.

    He explores the main travel routes around that time teasing out the connections between place names with family names interwoven with archaeological findings at the site to present a variety of scenarios for who lived there and why they may have built a moat and then expertly reduced these to the most likely possibilities. At the end we are treated to some amusing fokelore tales and a neat little timeline.

    A really great read for an hour being fully immersed into the lives of my neighbours of 800 years ago. Many thanks, Phil – in fact I’m off for another cuppa and enjoy a re-read.

  3. Thank you for your generous feedback Roger, which I enjoyed reading as much as it appears you enjoyed the book! I’m so pleased that you are happy with it.

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