Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Publish and be blessed?

Photo: Volunteers at Winthrop Park Nature Therapy Garden after the presentation of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by the Princess Royal in September 2009. That's me in the back row somewhere behind somebody's hat! My poem to thank Princess Anne was presented to her in a scroll by one of the Park's directors' grandchildren. Her Royal Highness said it was the first time she'd ever received a poem as a gift. Probably the last, but my head is still on my shoulders and I haven't ended up in the Tower (yet!).

I'm currently working on a book of short stories, poems and humorous monologues to raise funds for Winthrop Park, Wickersley, the charity of which I'm officially Poet in Residence. Last year I did readings and comic stuff for several visiting groups there over the summer, but this year haven't really been fully fit to walk down there, let alone perform when I get there!

Instead, I've been working on a way to raise funds for them through my writing in a different way. I already have stuff completed specifically aimed at Winthrop as well as some shorts that will fit the bill, though  the actual compiling and editing has a way to go. Little puzzlers like: Word or pdf ? and other technical stuff I end up learning by trial and error most of the time!

Today I came across the LULU "print on demand" publishing site (www.lulu.com) through reading about a Doncaster lass who had successfully used them to compile a book to sell for Cancer Research UK. The book becomes available for download at a price you fix and you even get an ISBN number so it's theoretically possible that it can be sold in local bookshops, Amazon etc. The publicity is up to you, but Winthrop have their own website and wide network of links, too.

You can set up a  page at www.justgiving.co.uk where people can donate straight to the charity without having to go through you. Same sort of idea as the excellent Everyclick search site http://www.everyclick.com/winthroppark that I know Winthrop already uses. This Just Giving page can link to your own Lulu "Storefront" webpage which is like your own personal online bookstore from which people can buy the book and get it delivered in print or downloaded as an eBook.

When I was younger - or 'yesteryear' as we usually refer to it! - self publishing (or "vanity publishing") was the ugly cousin of the publishing world, and it was a case of  "Don't go there, girlfriend!" - if we'd actually talked like Gok Wan a couple of decades ago!

Now it's an increasingly popular option with very sophisticated software and what's best of all, in this case, 100% free, tried and tested worldwide. 

Hope I can eventually do the idea justice for Winthrop. They deserve all the support they can get. From a vision and an abandoned sewage works in a field off the beaten track in Wickersley, Rotherham, UK, to an award winning nature therapy park bringing hope and purpose to those with any sort of health challenge. Why not visit if you're in the area? Or visit online at http://www.winthroppark.co.uk Please remember Carol, David and their growing army of wonderful volunteers in your prayers. There are greater things to come from that little plot of Paradise!

If the LULU thing works out, the sky might well be my limit. Charity book sales for M.E. Research and Diabetes UK? Bring it on!

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