NOVEMBER’S AWC meeting opened with fond remembrances of Lesley Horton, one of the founder members of the Circle, who sadly died recently.

A writer of acclaimed crime fiction, she has been a great inspiration to past and present members.

We then got down to the business of finding out how to publish a book in half an hour.

We thought this meant our guest speaker, Malcolm Chisholm, was going to explain it in this time, but it turned out that by using the US self-publishing platform Lulu it’s possible to get a print-ready manuscript converted into a saleable book in just 30 minutes.

Malcolm gave us a hands-on demonstration of this on-screen.

This was a revelation to the 11 AWC members listening, several of them published writers. No-one had used the Lulu platform.

The name in the US means “brilliant idea”, nothing like British associations of the word with something a bit loopy.

Lulu makes its money taking a cut on each book sold, calculated on the number of words. It charges nothing to register on the website or to use the incredibly intuitive, step-by-step process of creating the finished product.

There are many format options available. Authors can easily access ISBN numbers and bar codes. They set their own price.

Books can be sold through Lulu or other platforms such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon although these will incur a bigger cut. The author is legally responsible for the content.

Lulu has no editorial role, although practical advice is available on the site.

Malcolm brought along a collection of books he had published using Lulu with his wife Alison Chisholm, who attended the meeting with him.

Alison came to talk to the Circle in September about how to write poetry. She and Malcolm told us that between them they have 75 years’ experience of teaching for writers.

Married in 1971 their careers gradually converged with a collaborative book on public speaking.

Malcolm assists Alison in using Lulu, although she says it is so straightforward that even a technophobe like her can follow it.

Alison has had books published through conventional publishing houses but once she discovered Lulu she chose to publish through them.

Her book of poems celebrating her 60th birthday (appropriately called Iced – 60 – diamonds) was one of them, also her help manual Crafting Poetry and her poems for Christmas: Star and Snowflake.

One of the books they had published was exclusively for family consumption about their grandchild, complete with colour photographs.

Lulu enables the creation of beautiful, professional-looking books for purely private consumption. All-in-all this is a great resource for writers which can be accessed by going to the website

Airedale Writers Circle ( meets every second Tuesday of the month at Sight Airedale, Scott Street, behind the library in Keighley.

The December meeting will be a seasonal, social evening. New members are always welcome to Airedale Writers Circle.