Publishing on Lulu.com
Publishing on Lulu is easy.
Lulu.com is the biggest self publishing business on Earth. They’re an American company, with links to Amazon.
I’ve published 12 books on Lulu.com . I can honestly say if you’re looking for a simple way to publish your books or other materials, you can’t go past them for a very straightforward process.
Reasons for publishing on Lulu.com
There are two sets of reasons for self-publishing:
- It’s free to sign up to Lulu.com
- You can earn money using a simple royalties process, where Lulu.com takes a small cut
- You can publish hardbacks and e-books
- You can create a storefront of all your work as a showpiece. Very useful if you want to have an array of materials to display to clients or interested publishers.
- You own your materials. Lulu.com doesn’t claim any rights over materials.
- Getting your work organized and “out there” is a definite mental relief, a definite accomplishment.
- Ownership of copyright is always an issue for writers, and self-publishing helps define those rights, like electronic rights, much better. Each book becomes a distinct entity.
- It’s good to have the books in a working mode. A lot of a writer’s angst is derived from having huge amounts of materials sitting in limbo.
Before you publish anything
You need to create an account with Lulu to publish. It’s easy, it’s free, and it takes seconds.
Most important for your peace of mind: Proof reading
Check your work, thoroughly, for typos before even thinking about publishing. Most writers proofread in process, and do a reasonably good job of it, but even if you’re ruthless with typos, there will be some. I had one of my books, Mimbly Tales, proofread. It’s about 145,000 words, and the proof reader found 5 typos.
Good, I thought, and while browsing the collaboration, found that one of the headings, no less, was a typo. Sure enough, Word doesn’t check All Capitals text…. Proof read chapter by chapter, and set yourself a realistic pace so you don’t get tired and miss things.
I’m allergic to typos. I wrote a book called “Freelance Writing: Understanding the toughest trade in writing”. The chapter about quality, naturally, contained an obvious typo. I was so ashamed (not to say infuriated with myself) I wrote a blog piece on Lulu apologizing to buyers. I was able to undo the damage, but the memory still grinds my teeth…
(Fortunately, Lulu has a pretty simple editing system. You can fix any problems quite easily, and just republish.)
Lulu books are Most people write on Word, so there’s no real problem with that aspect. Lulu will convert your document to PDF easily. However, you should check out Lulu’s format requirements for any specific issues with your work. Because of document formatting, you can get some anomalies like margins, although they’re not common.
If you’re using “exotic” formats, you’ll probably need to convert to a Word doc. Lulu makes obvious attempts to cover all needs, but it’s in the nature of the medium that some things don’t read too well to some programs.
This is where people can sigh with relief: Lulu’s publishing process works like a Wizard. The only real difference is that it gives you a lot more options.
- Upload your book. This can take a while, even on broadband, in some cases. It’s not an oppressive amount of time, but it feels like it’s going on forever. This is an automatic PDF conversion, so it’s a bit more complex than it looks.
- Select book or download formats, or both.
- Pick a cover size. This can be a little unnerving when you first do it. Stick to a standard size, preferably standard paperback size.
- Pick a cover design. Lulu has its own designs, or you can upload your own. If you choose to upload your own design, check Lulu’s requirements.
- Set a price. This is extremely simple, and you’ll get a fee breakdown of your royalties and Lulu’s modest cut.
- Add excerpt or text describing your book. Think about this, because you’re advertising your work. Keep it interesting and fun to read.
Lulu does do graphics, and color printing, but you need to check out in detail the specific requirements for images and other issues related to graphic publishing. This is way too detailed to deal with here, but I strongly advise you check everything and ask Lulu for help if you get stuck or you bump into anything you don’t clearly understand.
You can pull any book or other item quite easily by deleting it.
The storefront consists of your books, and maybe a blog. You can edit the storefront and your materials, very much like profile editing on Hub Pages.
Lulu’s a pretty friendly place to work, and you’ll find you get support when required. There are blogs and forums, and a lot of inter-writer contacts, if you want them. The only issue writers are ever likely to have with Lulu is their own unfamiliarity with processes.
Lulu are also very good with their payments, and you’ll definitely get your money, however little or much.
Get rich quick?
Expectations are a writer’s stock in trade, and this is one case where fiction has to take second place. You need to promote your work to make money, and Lulu can help you do that. Check out their packages and promo materials, and you may find some very useful stuff.
Remember to tailor your marketing to your audience, and target the right places for advertising and other attention getting processes. Watch your costs, and you’ll stay in control.
Check out Lulu, have a browse around, get a feel for the site. If you like what you see, you’ll like publishing on Lulu.com