Dear Miss Snark,
I've read through the Snarkive entries on PODs--four pages worth. So glad you've devoted a lot of thoughts to this topic; it's so easy as an aspiring author to get sucked into that world.
Like every author, my work is a labor of love and now that it's finished I'm sickeningly anxious to hold it in print. Friends and family are also asking to read the final product. But it is my desire to go the traditional route, shopping the work to agents, editors, publishers, etc.
I read in your entries that a Lulu ISBN is "the kiss of death" to a big-time publisher. My question is this: What if I print the work and conduct sales to family and friends through Lulu (with no ISBN) until an agent/publisher picks it up? (Yes, I'm being excessively optimistic, but hey, I'm a first-time author. I'm required to be.) Is such action a negative in any way when trying to break into the "real" world of publishing?
An extension of this question... would an agent/editor care about sales in this fashion? If it sells like wildfire on Lulu (again, excessively optimistic), is such a record worth mentioning while shopping the work?
Thanks for all of your humor and wisdom.
(reaches down and scratches behind KY's ears)
(KY, dreaming of a sausage buffet, acts like a carnivore; chaos ensues)
What would you do if Lulu wasn't available?
Or any form of POD?
You'd suck it up and redouble your efforts to have your work considered by an agent.
You can certainly print that book up at Lulu and no one will be the wiser. Without an ISBN or any kind of non-family sales/availability no one will even care. And that's an ok option for a lot of folks, and more power to them.
However, you reveal yourself in the wildfire comment. You DO want to sell enough to make a publisher take notice. First, if you're writing a novel, chances are worse than remote that will happen. Second, if it's selling to people who aren't family or friends you've just cherry picked the very market you'll need if the book gets a deal.
Impatience doesn't serve you well here. Suck it up and fill your canteen for the long march.