EPUB or Print?
Books are sold either on LuLu or various other online stores, such as Amazon, the iBook store, Barnes & Noble, and more. All books are available in either physical print format, or as an EPUB for reading on tablets, phones or E-Readers.
Whilst all books are priced the same across the web, it is strongly recommended you buy directly from LuLu, as all other distributors take a huge chunk out of my revenue. The same can be said for buying books from other self-published authors; buy on LuLu, or directly from the author!
All EPUBs are £1.99 except the Beginner's Guide to Jinimaru, which is £3.99. An EPUB is convenient since it can be downloaded anytime, anywhere in the world, onto your smartphone, tablet or E-Reader. Because EPUBs don't require a printer, they can be sold for a far cheaper price. However, if you have no internet connection, or not enough room on your device to download the book, a printed copy can save the day.
Physical books purchased from LuLu or the other above mentioned stores are slightly more expensive since they add distributor revenue to the price, on-top of the printing costs, and distribution fees. I am able to get special offers direct from the printers to buy my own stock, to sell wherever I want, without having to pay such fees. In a sense, I cut out the middleman. This is why I am able to sell books that are priced as £25.99 on LuLu, for £9.99 at conventions. Physical books cost more, but make nice gifts for people who you know love reading, and if your devices run out of power a print can be a welcome relief for a potentially boring journey. Sometimes, you just can't beat a physical book!
LuLu or Etsy?
For physical prints only. LuLu provide my books all year round, printed on-demand, for a standard price, and they never run out of stock. Etsy on the other-hand is unpredictable; books are the resulting leftover stock from a convention, sold at the convention rate, but they are in limited quantities and can run out of stock. The Etsy store does not have its stock replenished until after a convention, should there be any leftover stock remaining from it. It's better to order your prints from LuLu.
Colour or Black and White?
Only applies to certain books. Black and White (B&W) books are cheaper than Full Colour online because they cost LuLu less to print, however you will be missing out if you do decide to go with B&W. All images are coloured in guides and children's books, or partially coloured in general books. The only prints that are best for B&W are the mature books, as none of their pictures are coloured excluding the front and back covers, which come in full-colour print as standard.
For the best option, grab a full-colour copy of any of our books at a much cheaper rate from the nearest convention ZuW will be attending, or keep your eyes peeled on the Etsy store for leftover stock. All EPUBs come in full-colour but if you try viewing the E-Book on an ink-based E-Reader it will still display in B&W; view your E-books on a computer, smartphone or tablet, to see them in full-colour.
What is the Publishing Process?
First the book is written as a concept, this is when a brief plot is written out and can often be found as the "Book Summary" later in development. Once the brief is written it then enters what is known as the "first draft", at this point all the plot is fleshed out, dialogue and basic description is written, and it is then put to one side for a few days. I return to the first draft after a few days to look it over with fresh eyes, at which point I then begin to make revisions. Many of the books lay in this process for many years, and some still are stuck in "first-draft limbo".
If a book is fortunate enough to finally meet my liking, it then exits the first-draft and is handed over to my proof-readers; they read the first-draft, correcting any spelling or grammar mistakes I might have overlooked in my own revisions, before handing it back to me for approval. This process of back-and-fourth editing can put the book through various drafts before it leaves the proofing stage.
Once proofing is done, then it gets its artwork drawn and inserted into the relevant pages, before uploading to LuLu. At this point I design and construct the cover artwork. Once I finish this stage, I order a proof-copy of the printed versions, examine them page-by-page for any printing errors or loss of quality, and hand it to one of my proof-readers for their second opinion. If both of us agree the print copy is suitable, I then give LuLu my permission to distribute the book, and then order myself copies to sell at conventions. EPUBs skip the stages beyond ordering a proof copy, as I simply have to preview the EPUB on my phone, tablet and E-Reader. I do still ask for a second-opinion from my proof-reader when I convert the book into EPUB.
How is the artwork developed?
All artwork is first drawn by hand with pencil before it is inked in pen, or on the computer after being scanned in. Once on the computer, the image is then split into two layers; linework and colour layer. This allows my pictures to keep a nice bold outline. After flat colours are applied, I then add shading in the form of shadows, before adding the highlights. Once all shading is applied I then do any last-minute touch-ups to the image, such as adding effects such as thought bubbles or emotes, and then sharpen the shading by outlining them.
This process happens for all images, even those that are drawn entirely on a computer. A single image, like the above, can take up to 5 hours from start to finish of constant work. Images with backgrounds take a lot longer, and can either be drawn in the same method shown above, or be painted by hand before being scanned in and polished.