Someone has actually SEARCHED for "lulu commission confusing"! Whoever you are, mate, welcome to the club!
So… I was on Google last night, wondering how I would publish Dragon Tail if it ever got to that point. Which it probably will. In the millions of search results about publishing books, I became SO LOST it nearly sent me insane. I went into Google, asking "How hard can it be?"
Well… FUCK hard, that’s all I can say. I don’t even UNDERSTAND! First you’ve gotta get an agent or some sort who is interested in your book, then you’ve gotta make some sort of letter saying why yours is best and how it compares to others and why you are the best person to write it.
IMMEDIATELY, there’s a problem. I don’t think mine is the best, I’m a first time frickin’ writer! I can’t just say I’m the best at writing! Secondly, It CAN’T compare to others, because… there is no other story like this! Have you EVER read a story where the dragons are good and the humans are… well, humans? Of course not, in normal stories, ALL the dragons are horribly evil and ALL the humans are unrealistically good. In stories where the dragons ARE good, the humans are the ones who take 98% of the credit, just for sitting on the dragon’s back! (That’s why I hate dragonriders.) My story is nothing like that. If you find one that IS like mine, give me the name, and I WILL love you eternally for finding someone who isn’t so generic. And why am I the best person to write it? Well… I’ve ALREADY written it. And I’m probably the ONLY person who will write it, until other authors are inspired.
Which, at THIS rate, will NEVER happen.
After this letter, if they like he idea, they will want a sample of your story, or "manuscript" as everyone seems to call it. Then they’ll decide if it’s for them. If yes, then they have to approach a publisher for you, and show them the work. Then THEY have to like it. When they like it… you’re halfway there. You then need editors to help you pick out things you don’t want, and just go over it again, and again. And again. And once more. And maybe one final check. Until it’s flawless. Then you need an artist to help with a front cover, and any artwork inside the book. Then it needs to be mass-printed and stored and then shipped off, and then when it sells, you get your cut, which is like… 20% of the whole thing. Cuz it splits along the chain, the bookstore gets some, the publishers get a lot, the agent wants 15%, and all sorts of shit.
EVERYTHING is a problem for me, and I just don’t understand how you GET all this stuff. You need to phone an agent, but where the hell do you get them? How do I meet up with them? What the hell do I write in my report thingy that they want? It’s so F’ing confusing. And JK Rowling and all those other authors can just… DO it. Just like that, no question, no hesitation. And then there’s the costs, which I imagine to be stupidly high.
Then, I found a second option, which sounds WAY too good to be true, but the thing is… it IS true.
A site called Lulu does book publishing, but in a special way. They do POD, Print On Demand, which is exactly that. When they get an order for a book, their printers just print it off, do a bit of binding, and they ship it off very quickly. That’s great, because it has next to no risks, they only print when there’s an order, so no need to worry about storage space or books that haven’t sold, and that earns them money. And 80%… EIGHTY, gets sent to you. That’s… VERY VERY good. Nearly TOO good. Incredibly, they do all this for free, so you upload your work, and you do it all yourself, formatting, editing, front cover, the lot. You even decide whether it’ll be paperback or hardback, and what kind of binding it uses. And then… for £80, they can register it with an ISBN, and have it posted on Amazon and all sorts of online book stores. If I decide to do THAT though, and I’ll be getting, say… £4 a book (cuz £1 will go to Lulu), I’ll have to sell 25 books to break even. And that doesn’t feel likely, at all. Come on, a random new author on a website like that? It’s not… really PROFESSIONAL, is it? Professional authors appear in bookstores, some even have their own friggin’ shelves.
When I didn’t believe all this was true, I kept searching, but found an article about how hard publishing was. The comments were actually praising how great Lulu was, and told everyone that that was the easiest way. But… one of them said "I have 4 novels published with Lulu, and one is starting to sell." He was meant to be praising Lulu, but that… sounds VERY negative to me. ONE is starting to sell? STARTING to sell? Out of FOUR? Jesus, either he is shitty, or Lulu sucks at this marketing stuff.
Of course, if the online thing doesn’t work, I can order a copy for myself (I KNOW! How fecking cool is that?!) and send it off to a retail store. And if they are impressed, you know, they might put an order in with me. Which they won’t, because hardly anyone stocks POD books, because of their poor quality and the way they are supplied. But if they DO, like one person on the forum managed, then I pay for X amount of books at my author price, I sell them to the store at my total price, and they sell it at apparently double the price! But then… who will buy it if it’s DOUBLE the price?
More confusion comes my way! See? Can SOMEONE PLEASE help me out with explaining this crap? Someone scout out this website and help me understand all this crap? Please?
Wait… wait… I think… after 30 minutes, I understand.
When someone buys a book off the Lulu website, they pay the manufacturing costs, and Lulu’s commission of 25% of what you set as your creator revenue. So, if I wanted to make… say, £5 on a book, Lulu would add £1.25 to that, to make it £6.25 total profit. Then, Lulu add the manufacturing costs, which depend on the size and style of the book. If I chose a 300 page hardback, it would add… apparently… fuck me… £11.60. So the item would sell for £17.95, which is… ridiculous. Paperback would be £6.40 + £6.25, which is £12.65, which is ALSO ridiculous. Unless that’s… the NORMAL price for a paperback 300 page book, which, IIRC, is NOT.
Excuse me, I have to mess around with this calculator thing to find something reasonable.
Now, upon just poking my nose in Amazon’s book recommendations, I see Bris… however you spell it… Brisingr there, for some reason, in my recommendations, when I’ve never actually been in the books section. That’s the next Eragon series book thing! How the hell does it know this stuff about me?! And don’t tell me that’s the name of the dragon, for the love of God. He must have been high on crack or something, because that sounds like something you’d name a… thing other than a dragon to me. Or whatever the book is named after. These authors make no sense at all.
Anyway, Amazon claims it has an RRP of £16.99?! WHAT THE COCK! People would PAY that for a book?!
OH FUCK NO! I see why. It’s a hardback Epic! 704 pages! Does ANYONE understand that people have attention spans?! How the bloody hell can they sell it at £17… when I do that with Lulu… it throws out, "Invalid page count." So I make it 700 pages… and it throws out £28.90?! WHAT THE FOCK?! That’s with a revenue of just £1! This is impossible! With paperback, it only goes down to £20 with the same settings! How the crap do they do this?! Even with a maxed discount of 10%, it only hits £18.40, and THEN I have to buy 100 of the damned things to get the discount!
Jesus, this is fail. How does it get these figures? When I punch in the stats of my book, 400 pages, £4 revenue, paperback, it spits out £20.50?! That’s stupid! It breaks it down like this:
|Manufacturing cost per unit:||£5.25|
|Total Retail Price:||£20.50|
Now, how the hell? The total retail price is TWICE the markup? It costs £5.25 to produce, and I want to make £4 a book. Lulu adds £1 to that for royalties. That makes £10.25, which is perfect! Why the hell does it DOUBLE it?
Stick in Brisingr’s stats, and it goes stupid!
|Manufacturing cost per unit:||£13.20|
|Total Retail Price:||£36.40|
WHAT THE COCK?! The Retail Markup is fine, it’s £18 for a 700 page, hardcover book! Just take 97p off the Retail Royalty…
|Manufacturing cost per unit:||£13.20|
|Total Retail Price:||£33.98|
And it’s perfect! Just as the RRP says! But then they go double it for some retarded reason! I dunno if that’s a bug in the calculator, or they are actually serious about a 700 page hardcover book being sold for £34. But whatever. I’ll just IGNORE that last number.
Right, so one question for all a y’all out there. How much would you pay for a 400-ish page paperback? Just give me a price, and I’ll see if I’m going in the right direction. Be honest, don’t just make it more cuz it’s me and you know me. Cuz you know… I am the author that doesn’t read.
Okay, I’ve just searched the FAQ and the forums, and they say they double it because that’s how retail stores make their money. I have to set how much I want to earn, and without a distribution package, it can only sell on the Lulu website, because there is no ISBN or anything that retail stores need. When I DO get my ISBN’s, things go crazy, and they double the price of the book to give leeway to retail stores. So retail stores can sell it at between the Retail Markup and the Total Retail Price. So with my book, they could sell it at £10.25 to £20.50! And if the book sells on Lulu at that price, I get a massive revenue increase, because they don’t want the money Amazon wants… OMFG I am seriously confused. I THINK I get it, but… it’s impossible to explain! Why the hell would a retail store want to DOUBLE the price of a book? That just wouldn’t sell! I damn well know I wouldn’t pay £20.50 for a 400 page paperback.
But maybe if I increase the SIZE of the book…? Because they do 6" x 9" books, and 8.25" x 11" books, as well, which will decrease the number of pages, therefore decreasing the price, because they have a fixed rate per page!
So lemme see… if I mess with Dragon Tail and set its size to 8.25" x 11"…
WTF?! That’s A4 sized! I’ve NEVER seen a book THAT big! Okay, let’s get an accurate 6" x 9" page count… I get… 214 pages! With margins that are extremely narrow! With a £3 income, that would be a realistic price, I guess… £13.90 retail? Gah… WHY is this so confusing?!
So, yes. I thought I had it cracked, but I actually need more help. GRR! Why is this so confuzing?!
Hey… wait a second here! If I change the currency to US Dollars, it becomes $19.06 retail… which is about £9.53. THAT’S realistic, but why the crap is it cheaper in US Dollars? And this company is based in the UK!
Oh, screw this for now. My brain is gonna overheat.
Just to let you know… um… this next chapter of Dragon Tail? Um… shit.
I am saying no more.
I seem to have hit a problem.
I gave ULSG to Neb, so he could try it. I just wanted to know if the requirements I’d set for the medals were too high, or if it was too difficult.
We’ll start with Fruit Frenzy first, shall we? Just hold the fire button down and blast the massive amount of enemies to crap, while avoiding a crash! You need 1 trillion for Bronze, 2 trillion for Silver, 3 trillion for Gold, 4 trillion for Platinum, and 5 trillion for Diamond. I squeezed out 7.5 trillion, a very impressive score. Neb… he got about 300 million. HOW?! How do you do that?!
Next, there’s Ninja Skillz. Shoot bullets with your lasers to gain a Ninja Skill, get hit to lose 2 Ninja Skillz, and crash to lose 5 Ninja Skillz! The requirements: 15 NS for Bronze, 30 NS for Silver, 45 NS for Gold, 60 NS for Platinum and 80 NS for Diamond. I managed 124 Ninja Skillz. Neb got… ahem… about -330 Ninja Skillz. MINUS! That would equal to him crashing 66 times, or getting shot 165 times! WHAT THE CRAP?!
Finally, there is the 4 Minute Challenge. Standard ULSG rules, but you start at Level 20, an average difficulty level, and you have 4 minutes to score as high as you can. There’s a point bonus at the end worth up to a trillion points for the amount of health you have left. The requirements: 1 trillion for Bronze, 2 trillion for Silver, 4 trillion for Gold, 6 trillion for Platinum, and 7.5 trillion for Diamond. I squeezed out a nice 10.3 trillion points. Neb… he got about 200 million… and died! WHAT? How do you DIE on Level 20?! At first, right, he said he got something like 50k! HOW?! I can get one million points in FIFTEEN seconds, and grab my first trillion in about 2 minutes! After that, the trillions roll in like mad! And if I don’t crash, I get an EXTRA trillion points at the end!
I just don’t believe ULSG is THAT hard. Either Neb can’t play it, or he’s playing on Ped’s laptop with a frame rate of -6 FPS. Please, for God’s sake, try the game out, and if you can at LEAST get Bronze on the challenges, I must be doing SOMETHING right.
There it is. Just extract it anywhere you want, and play the game. You’ll already be Level 15 and have access to three of the four challenges.
I’ll give you some tips! Don’t be aggressive in Fruit Frenzy, don’t stop shooting in Ninja Skillz, and don’t worry if a ship gets past you in 4 Minutes! Worry only when eight get past you, and three more are incoming! Read the instructions, too. They help, and they’re amusing, too.
Okay, I’ll see yous later! Bye now!
D’ya like the word count thing at the top which has to be manually updated and I’ll probably get bored of doing it so I’ll end up deleting it? Thought you might.
Yesh, that was a quick one.
I like to get messages. I really do. But I DON’T like to get BOT messages. And that’s obviously what you are, sending me a link to a site that somehow already knows my e-mail address?
Quite funny really, as I use firstname.lastname@example.org on this space, which actually no longer exists. And if it does, it has over a million spam e-mails in it. So ha.
I like to get messages from humans or other intelligent beings that may exist in the universe that have flesh and blood, not automated bots created by retards who want to try and get you to do something, like sign up to a site that’s been renamed. Spaz.
(If you ARE human, or an alien from another planet or something, then I’m sorry, and message me back with a message that doesn’t seem so bot-like. Otherwise, Mr. Bot, fuck off. You’re wasting my Rock Band playing time, and my Dragon Tail writing time, too. Go join the uSuk clan on COD4. )
My arms are REALLY hurting from today. I played… about… 10+ songs in a row on Rock Band with my mum? She was singing. And it hurt my ears at first, cuz I told her to scream when the yellow blocks appeared, but then when one appeared, she just screamed the rest of the song, and kept trying to scream the lyrics even though she’d failed out. Then it took her half an hour to learn how to bang the microphone against her hand to the beat during the percussion fills, and eventually, it all worked out, and she gave Expert a crack. And cleared it! While all the time I was on the guitar, and switched to the drums for three songs at the end.
So I ache like fuck on a spiky stick. Hopefully I’m okay by Tuesday, otherwise I’m going to do CRAP!
Oh, and another thing, I GOT A NEW FISH! He’s a black Oranda, and he looks TEH AWESOME. I called him Shadow. Much smaller and thinner than my other fish, and he was a bit timid at first, but he looks like he’s fitting right in now.
And I swear, at those pet shops, they must feed their fish, like… once a WEEK or something, cuz Shadow nearly had a spaz attack when I fed him for the first time. The others were all relaxed and eating normally, and Shadow was moving around like a lunatic, grabbing all the food he could see without getting too close to the others!
He’s got these massive eyes, too, like… um… well… if you lok at him from the front, they kinda look like…
| O ____ O |
That… looks… shit. Looks more like a dumbbell. Or however you spell it. I don’t have a picture right now! I can’t show you properly, but trust me, they look weird. But cool.
Anyway, I has to go now, but I am starting the new chapter of Dragon Tail now! Yes, I started it a bit late, but I thought I’d relax for a bit and try and finish some more college work first, and then Rock Band came out and all hell broke loose. But it WILL be here faster then Chapter 35. I promise!
Right, see yas later!
OH YA! Seen my Gamertag? Seen my most recent game?! AHAHA!
Rock Band is MINE! I gave in to temptation. My mum rang me up while she was in town, and said "Rock Band’s been released, you know." and I replied "Yeah… I know." Then my mum went on about how HMV had it for £150, like, the game, drums, guitar, microphone, USB and power supply, as well as 2100 MS points thrown in! 2100 MS points are like… worth about £20, and was meant for downloadable content, so I was technically buying it for £130, and putting £20 towards downloadable songs. Amazon are doing it for £140, but that doesn’t include MS points.
Rrrragh! She asked "Do you want me to get it for you, and you pay me back?" and there was a looong pause. Eventually, I said "Yeah."
FUCK DICK! I already OWE her £150 for my PC! And I told myself that that was WAY too expensive for a game!
But I shut myself up. It’s worth EVERY PENNY. Seriously, I’ve never played such a fun game. I haven’t tried the mic (and I probably never will), but I’ve played the guitar and drums. Started on Normal on guitar, after two songs, bumped myself up to Hard. After I cleared Orange Crush on Hard, I bumped myself back up to where I belong. Expert.
The drums… ahhh, my GOD they are hard! I dunno if it’s the way I’m sat or anything, or if I have to wear shoes to use the foot pedal, but Jesus, it hurts your ankle! You can’t escape the foot pedal, either, all the pads and the foot pedal are used on every difficulty level, even Easy! Even the drumsticks hurt your hands after a while! I haven’t been able to do a Hard song yet with them, but I’ll stick to Normal like I did with guitar… and who knows, maybe I’ll get used to it.
The new things I really like, too! There’s this little switch that changes the sound of your guitar in Solos and Overdrive. Wha-wha is awesome, but it sounds crappy on some songs. Then I use Flanger. I’ve found myself fiddling with the switch quite a lot while playing a song, so it can’t be all bad!
There’s the new Star Power, which is called Overdrive. Same thing, really, except that you have a bar that tells you exactly how much Energy you have instead of just glowy lights over a Rock Meter. Cuz I now know that one special sequence gives you 25% Overdrive, and I never knew that in Guitar Hero, so I used to waste Star Power waiting for a full meter. The Rock Meter was replaced with the Crowd Meter, which looks boring, but it makes much more sense to use that in 4 player mode instead of four Rock Meters.
There’s also a display telling you how many stars you’re getting under your score, which is handy, so you don’t finish a song and THEN know how many stars you got, you know during the song so you know if you’re on target!
I love the Solos, too, they give you points depending on the amount of notes hit in the solo! And it’s ACE when you get 100%, you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and you push yourself even harder! And I FECKING LOVE the BIG ROCK ENDINGS! Basically, just strum and fret like crazy at the end, and then just don’t forget to hit the last notes, otherwise you lose the bonus!
The only thing I don’t like are the stupid solo fret buttons. They’re right at the bottom of the guitar, and you don’t have to strum in the Solos if you use them. Then again, they are so close together and so fiddly that you’re better off using the normal buttons and strumming! They are SO FAR from the normal buttons that you lose a lot of time switching to the solo buttons, and then lose EVEN MORE time switching back! They are just… teh suck.
I DO like the new Stratocaster guitar itself, though! The buttons are so much nicer to slide along than the old GH3 Gibson Les Paul guitars. And the strum bar is awesome, it’s nearly SILENT! Thing is… it feels like it could so easily break. And the whammy bar is clumsy, and is too close to the guitar mode switch. And once, I used the whammy, and hit the start button with the whammy, which paused, and lost me my perfect. And the D-Pad is clumsy. And I hate the solo fret buttons, like I said. Other than those things, the guitar is great, and looks pretty good, too!
The drums feel like they can take quite a pounding, and are pretty loud when you bang them, too. The sticks are pretty authentic, too, and it looks great overall… but I HATE that fecking foot pedal! I just can’t get used to it!
And the microphone is… just a microphone.
Don’t be put off by the pretty steep price. GH3 was £70, and that included just a game and a guitar! For £150, you get a guitar, a mic, a pretty big drumkit, the game, a USB hub to link it all together, and 2100 MS points! And TWICE the fun of GH3! Now, I don’t think that’s too bad at all! Sure, Americans get it cheaper, who gives a crap? Ignore the Americans! We should be used to getting ripped off by now.
Hang on… do they get it for $170 WITH VAT? Cuz I know that VAT is added on AFTER over there, so if that’s true… then it would be… is their tax rate 5%? If it is, it’d be $178.50 over there. I dunno. Well… they still get it much cheaper. Sorry, but I just don’t care at all.
Anyhoo, I’m bringing it to Ped’s on Tuesday! That will be SO MUCH EFFING FUN. We can see Ped fail at drums cuz he can’t multitask and has no hand-eye co-ordination WHATSOEVER, and Rich fail on the mic cuz his voice will be too high, and me and Si will sail straight through it like the Pwnage Brigade! I COULD sing Orange Crush, as there’s nothing to that. But I won’t.
Orange Crush is the BEST song so far. No doubt! I did download Message In A Bottle (SENDING OUT AN SOS!!!), and I also got Still Alive by GladOS. Yes, that song off the end of Orange Box’s Portal. That AWESOME song. I think there’s Welcom To The Jungle available for download, or it’s somewhere in the game, anyway, but I might be wrong. If it IS downloadable, then I’ll just be getting it without question! Pwnz0r song!
I have to try Bass when we play, cuz I hear about the BASS GROOOOOVE! That lets you get up to 6x score. I think it’s x6, anyway. If it IS, doing Overdrive would get you 12x SCORE! AWESOME! That’s like… 300 points a note! 600 for a chord! 900 for a Super Chord! And 12 points every 2 milliseconds on long notes! COOOOL!
There’s this screenshot of some people playing it on the Rock Band box, too, and they have over 1.2 MILLION points! I wonder how easy that is… Cuz on GH3, it was a serious achievement to break a million points on co-op mode! That would mean that BOTH players can break half a million alone!
Guess that won’t happen unless everyone goes on Expert.
Aaaanyway, that should be fun on Tuesday! But until then, I has to practice drumming, and see how hard the guitar gets! Bye for now!
Guess what I’ve been doing!
I’ve made ULSG VERSION 11!!
Well… when I say "Made", I lie, cuz there are two challenges missing and a few bugs to fix, like it doesn’t update your cumulative score when you get to the 1 Quadrillion mark in the Single Player. And in Two Player, too. Yes, I put in a Two Player mode! Not over the internet, cuz when I tried that, it went well for a few minutes, there was no lag or anything, but then when I added enemy ships, there was so much lag that it took over three seconds to register on the opponent’s screen, when your opponent blew up a ship it blew up ALL the ships on your screen, and eventually, it would be SO laggy that the other player’s ship would just DISAPPEAR without a trace. So I conclude, Multimedia Fusion 2 is NOT built for multiplayer gaming. Not with ULSG, anyway.
Never mind, it’s still local 2 player! One player controls red, another controls green! Score cap is now 1,999,999,999,999,998 and maximum multipliers are 1998x1998x100! Maybe I’ll set it to 1998x1998x200 to make it make sense. Haven’t been able to test 2 player yet, cuz I haven’t been able to show anyone in person! There’s another special award for completing it 2 player, as well!
The most interesting features in my opinion, though, are the Challenges! There are only 2 right now, but there will be 4, and probably more after that. And when you get the special 1 player award, there will be even MORE challenges! When you clear all the Level challenges with at least Gold, there will be a colour select screen! So you can change the colour of your ship! And if you happen to clear all the Special challenges with at least Gold, some exotic ship designs will unlock! And when you manage to clear all the Super Special challenges with at least Gold, you will unlock some MORE ship designs! And when you clear ALL the challenges with a Diamond medal, you will unlock the Super Lame CPU Tournament League Mode! When you clear Diamond level on THAT… you will unlock the BEST ship! It’ll be called… The AXEL! And there’s a clue for you, to work it out…
There, there’s the clue.
Now, so far out of all this, I’ve put in the Fruit Frenzy Challenge, and the Ninja Skillz Challenge! Fruit Frenzy is short, sometimes 30 seconds, maybe a minute, but the longest I’ve ever played it for is about 1 minute and 10 seconds. That’s fun. Then there’s the Ninja Skillz Challenge, which is even better! EVERY ship gets given a gun, and you have to shoot the bullets to get Ninja Skillz! If you get hit, you lose 2 Ninja Skillz, and if you crash, you lose 5 Ninja Skillz! It’s EXTREMELY fun, and the background track is TEH AWESOME.
There’s a teaser of Ninja Skillz Challenge mode. Check it out if ya want!
I’ll have a Beta Edition of ULSG on my file share soon, so you can try it out if you want! But until then, I see you later! AAAAAAARRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! (Remember teh cluuuuue… )
It’s HERE! On TUESDAY! LIKE I PROMISED!!
Yes, late, but it’s still TUESDAY! For three more minutes it is, anyway, so without further ado, here you go!
(ZOMG IT DISAPPEAREDED! Yes, as Dragon Tail is now finished, I need this off my Space. Sowwy.)
Now, I PROMISE I will try to get the next chapter out faster! I’m gonna finish all my work this fortnight, so I’ll probably have it soon!
Oh crap, 30 seconds to post before the promise is broken! Leave your comments and stuff like you always do, they really help! Gotta go! Bye now!
EDIT (After posting):
OHHHHH YESS! THREE SECONDS LEFT!
TO GET THIS ON HERE! Now, I’ve finished Diablo for today, which was fun, and in the next hour and a half, I need to get this chapter on here! It feels like it could go on forever, but I have to end it at some point!
Right, here we go! I’ll update later! Bye now.
Getting there now! Only 34 minutes left… and I have a total word count of 100,799! The 100,000th word is now… "OF"!!!
I overchewed a gumball and now I have a horrible taste in my mouth!
FUCK! FOUR MINUTES LEFT! I’ve done it! I swear I’ve done it just now! It’s ready! Now, to post it…