When writer friend Nicola Bennetts took a trip to Peru two years ago, it wasn’t just to see the sights but to find out about the work done there by Christian Aid and other charities. Her account of the expedition made fascinating listening for our writers’ group through most of last winter, but when she decided to publish the story on Lulu, it was the start of a whole new journey.
It’s widely believed Lulu and other P.O.D. sites are easy peasy and require no special IT skills. Well, that’s true to a certain extent, but if you took twenty of your friends at random, I think you ‘d be pushed to find many over 40 (and quite a few under) including those who regularly word-process, email, store photos and surf the net, who have ever had any introduction to file management – until they use something like Lulu. Add to this the prospect of setting up templates and genereating contents pages in Word, grappling with image files and enduring the idiosynchasies of any web-based application, and Lulu becomes not to much an easy option as a bit of a nightmare. For Nicola, who showed great perseverance in her determination to get a decent product, the final straw was when her book was finally ‘published’ but because of a technical ’glitch’ remained invisible to the public.
But by then the end really was in sight and in just a bit longer than it took to cross Peru, Beyond the Inca Trail was finally launched. My copy arrived yesterday, hot off the Lulu press and looking very good indeed. Don’t be deceived by the cover photo. This was no ordinary tourist trip, but if you’re interested in the plight of asparagus farmers or would like to know what guinea pig really tastes like, this is well worth reading.
I can also guarantee there will be no split infinitives.