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Self Publish a Book Step by Step using Lulu

Updated on June 10, 2013

Best Way to Publish a Book for Free

I’m sure you’ve heard of self-publishing all over the net and Lulu is just one of them. Recently, I’ve published a poetry book, Toss and Turn, under Lulu.com using their so easy publishing tool wizard. Lulu is one of the best online self publishing companies today. In this hub, I’m gonna discuss how to self publish a book for free in easy steps. Read on and have your writings published, aim for the best seller and impressive print on demand publishing.

Why choose Lulu?

  • In Lulu, you can publish a lot of things including books, ebooks, photo books, cookbooks, calendars, CDs and DVDs, poetry books, yearbooks, wedding books and portfolios.
  • Lulu has the improved easy and awesome publishing tools and you’ve got the best options to sell your book
  • You can get your free ISBN and your book will be listed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble your choice.
  • Your creator revenue will be 80% in every sale of your book; the 20% will be Lulu’s commission.
  • You’re in control of everything with your book.


get published. I dare you. :)
get published. I dare you. :)

Publishing a Book in Lulu Step by Step


What you’ll need:

Of course you don’t just hit publish button. You must first prepare what you’ll need.


Title – think, list, sort, and decide what your book must be called.


Your manuscript - I prefer in Word format so it’s easy to edit in case of changes. You’ll understand later why. This will be your book draft. Make sure you finalize your manuscript prior to submitting it to Lulu format.


Paypal account – you need Paypal to receive your revenue from sales of your book. Having Paypal is free. No prob, it will take seconds to have a Paypal account. Sign up here.


ISBN – if you already have your own ISBN, then good for you. If you don’t, no prob you can get your own free ISBN at Lulu.


Author’s photo and bio – I would have typed “optional” but I think this is a must. Let your readers glance that pretty face behind that great book. Attach this along with a little bio about you.


Teaser – Prepare something about what is your book about. If movies have trailers, prepare a teaser for your book. This is usually placed at the back cover. And it can also be used as a description about your book in Lulu market place and Amazon.


An artwork or image for the cover (optional) – if you want to upload your own picture for the cover of your book, prepare your desired photo. The Lulu cover wizard though has pretty templates and layouts available for you.


Your own website (optional) – it’s a brilliant move to have your own website to look more professional. This can help in promoting your book as well as your other works. I've made my website under HostMonster because it caters unlimited hosting space and site bandwidth, using Wordpress platform.You can also create your website using Blogger and Weebly. They are free. It would cost few bucks to buy your own domain though.


Blurbs / Book Reviews (optional) – This is really a pretty thing especially if the reviewer is famous lol You can add this at the back cover or somewhere inside. I love reading blurbs. But I got so excited I forgot about this.


Editor – Since I’ve made a poetry book, I was in control of my words LOL If you're publishing a novel or stories, it’s recommended to have your work edited and checked.

Time to begin and hit the real thing...


1. Make your manuscript.

Save it in Word format. Edit your page layout. Make sure your paper size is the same as your book size. If your book is gonna be 6’’X9’’ make sure your paper size in Word is 6’’X9’’. Set up your margins. (Margins must be at least .5" on all sides. The left margin must be equal to the right margin, and the top margin must be equal to the bottom margin.—Lulu Requirement)

Getting a free ISBN from Lulu

  1. Sign in at Lulu.com. Click on the 'Publish' Tab. Click the 'Self-Publish a...' button and select Paperback books or Hardcover books.
  2. On the 'Start a New Project' page, enter a title and author name for your book. The author and title must use a Latin character set. Select the 'Make it public and assign an ISBN to your title to sell your book in online bookstores like Amazon as well as the Lulu Marketplace' option. Click the 'Save & Continue' button.
  3. Select the size and binding options that you decided on in the first step. Greyed out options are not available based on previous choices and unavailability for Distribution. Click the 'Save & Continue' button to move on to the next step.
  4. If you want a Lulu ISBN, click on the 'Get a free ISBN from Lulu.com' option. If you have an ISBN you purchased, click on the 'Add an ISBN you already own' option and fill in your ISBN information. Click 'Save & Continue'.
  5. A page with information about what to do with your ISBN and a download-able barcode for one-piece covers will display. Click 'Save & Continue'.

Just save your ISBN and paste it in your Copyright Page.


2. Title page, Copyright page and ISBN

Make sure your manuscript has Title Page then Copyright Page including your correct 13-digit ISBN/EAN and a copyright notice. Get a book from your shelf to have a guide on how will you make your own Title Page and Copyright Page. If you wanna get a free ISBN from Lulu, follow my instructions at the right. -->

3. Prepare for your Dedication page, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments and your bio.

I do love Acknowledgments so I made a page at the end of the book. My final page was about my bio and photo. Save a blank page at the last page of the book. (Final page of each book must be completely blank.Lulu Requirement)


4. Fix your fonts.

Bold all words you wanna bold and set up all your desired fonts. I used Garamond coz I like it and it’s pretty in the eye. Size 12 was nice. I used different fonts with my Title Page and Acknowledgments. Just experiment and print a test page so you’ll know which suits you and your content.

The Lulu tool can’t seem to embed all fonts. Some are being rejected. And I tell you, this was my freaking problem. But I laughed all about it when I found out the solution…Charannn…OpenOffice! So keep on using all your fave fonts and let’s go to the next step.


5. Proofread your manuscript.

Check every word and every page. Correct all errors.



6. Insert page numbers.

After all looks like a real book, insert page numbers. Of course if you’re writing a novel, you start your page 1 in Chapter One…if you’re making a poetry book, you may start it in your first poem. It means you must have Page Break , Section Break to be exact. Ok, I admit, I never knew how to properly page break until I self-published a book LOL So I’ve put up the video which has helped me to do this. :)

7. Embed all fonts.

I’m using Word 2007. But I think it’ll work to other versions of Word, too. To do this, click 'Save as' then click the 'Save options'. Under the heading "Preserve fidelity when sharing this document", check the "Embed fonts in this file" and UNcheck "Do not embed common system fonts". Then click 'Save'.


If you’re using Word 2007, you can then save it as PDF and it will open in Adobe Reader. Wanna check if all your fonts were embedded? Click File>Properties>Fonts and if the words "embedded" or "embedded subset" appear next to the font, then the fonts are embedded.


If all your fonts were NOT embedded, go to step 8.


8. Export your Word file using OpenOffice.

I just saved mine in Word. I used OpenOffice to convert it to PDF. All fonts work just the way I like them :) All will be embedded without headache by using OpenOffice.

To do this, download OpenOffice. When done, open your document as shown below...

Go to File menu and click on Export as PDF. Under General Tab, click on the following checkboxes:

(1) lossless compression

(2) PDF/A-1

Then click on Export button (as shown on the screenshot at the right) . Save your PDF file and proceed to the next step.


9. Start the publishing process.

You’re now ready to publish your book. Sign in to Lulu and upload your final manuscript (PDF).Follow the publishing wizard below. Then decide about your book selling price, ebook and other options. It’s just easy actually, publishing the manuscript and setting up the book cover are the toughest works about it.

So there, congrats and don’t forget my copy ;)


  • Lulu Mandatory Requirements for Distribution

The industry requires that your book adhere to certain standards, and it is up to you to ensure your book meets these requirements. If your book is submitted before it meets these requirements, it will be rejected and your book distribution will be delayed while you work to bring your book into compliance. --Lulu.com


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    • profile image

      davs 2 years ago

      lovely insight. please, am having issue with the book tittle which you mention to be in Latin character... can you please expatiate.

      Thanks

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Self-publishing with Lulu is a great idea but i am with Amazon.com you thought of good points here.

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 4 years ago from close to you...

      thanks guys :) Looking forward for upcoming books

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great info! Pinning for when I'm ready to look at publishing. Thanks!

    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 4 years ago from NYC BABY

      Thank you for this, I'm not publishing anything but if I ever do this will be useful info!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Useful information & user friendly.

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 4 years ago from Guildford

      Wow this is such brilliant information - awesome - thank you SO much!

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 4 years ago from close to you...

      Lulu has improved a lot. It was awesome before and now it's even better. Looking forward for your new book. Cheers! Thanks for visiting here. :)

    • NathaNater profile image

      NathaNater 4 years ago

      I was thinking about publishing through Lulu awhile back, but it looked a little daunting at the time. This hub gives me more information and I'm feeling better about it, considering going back to Lulu and publishing something. Thanks for the info!

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 5 years ago from close to you...

      That would be cool. Tell us about your book when it's out

    • veejay23 profile image

      veejay23 5 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you for an update, will visit their site and see what can work for me.

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 5 years ago from close to you...

      I'm outside USA and I published my first poetry book using Lulu. :) My book can be purchased on itunes too. Lulu launched that feature just last year I think

    • veejay23 profile image

      veejay23 5 years ago from South Africa

      Nice Hub, though i've never tried lulu since I read somewhere it caters for USA residences only whereas amazon.com is open to all.

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 5 years ago from close to you...

      It's a pleasure :) Mention your book here when it's done ;)

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks for the great info. I'm almost done my first novel and Lulu is an idea I've been kicking around.

    • Takana profile image

      Takana 6 years ago from England

      A very informative Hub! Thank you for taking the time to write it :)

    • Richard83 profile image

      Richard83 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Thank you so much for the information. It has been something that I have always wanted to try. Now that I know how, I might give it a whirl.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Nice hub ..Thanks for sharing details

    • Heart Felt Book profile image

      Cheri Taylor 6 years ago from New York, NY

      this was awesome Thanks ever so much...obsalulty detailed great hub I will follow...I was Desiding Create space or LuLu Thanks much

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 6 years ago from close to you...

      Wow, really? That's cool! Is it a story? Your hubs are doing fine so let 'em rate up by themselves ;) Excited bout your book! Happy weekend moi Cass and Cath XO

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      I am slowly heading towards the end of moi book, Fehl. Hoping to finish it pretty soon. I am writing my butt off. Really have been neglecting moi hubs! Heh! Oh well, I will get my score up again! Came back here for another read!! Take care! :D XO

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 6 years ago from close to you...

      Thank you Maggs :) Glad this could help. It's good to keep these self-publishing steps in case I forgot them LOL

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      What an interesting and informative Hub if ever I have anything worth publishing I will come right back here to follow your excellent intructions. Thanks for doing this it is really useful I am voting you up and hitting the useful button.

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 6 years ago from close to you...

      If you really wanna self publish then go my friend :) That was originally just a little dare. I had no plan of making big revenues with that or whatever, all I wanted was to have a real book in my hands ;) But having profit is really cool. If you're gonna dedicate time to market it then it's gonna be so successful. Hubpages is a great place to spread the word. I still earn from my book though not that much coz I am not doing any marketing thing. Anywayz, you wont lose anything and there's no harm in trying. ;)

    • Kavita Trivedi profile image

      Kavita Trivedi 6 years ago from London

      I just asked this question on the hub community yesterday. I seriously want to consider getting my work published in a book but I am reluctant to self publish at the moment as I would want it to sell. I am exploring all options though and found this very useful - any one had any success?

      K

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      thanks abibelia :)

    • abibelia profile image

      abibelia 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Hub nice, very beautiful and informative

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      Thanks for the great comments :) Yup, Hubpages people are amazing, kind and very friendly. What's so nice bout writing in Hubpages is that you get to share your writings and hear diff feedback while you also gain a lot of friends. Lulu is really an amazing marketplace for aspiring and experienced writers. Let your manuscript become a book and write a hub about it here in HP so fellow hubbers would know. Lulu + Hubpages + your dream + faith + hardwork = success

      Don't forget to send my copy of your novel and sign it please hahaha XD

      All the best,

      Blaise

    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 7 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Great article. I am new to HubPages, but I have found the writers to be very friendly. Your article is very informative. I have a manuscript to be published, but conventional channels are not turning out to be favorable. I have a stack of rejection letters from agents that reads like a bad novel, but I will not give-up on my dream. Your article not only gave me good insight into the self-publishing industry, but also inspired me. Thanks so much.

      Teresa

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      Wow two books :) Thanks for the vote Muratos!

    • muratos profile image

      muratos 7 years ago from Moscow

      As an author of two IT books, I have enjoyed reading your detailed hub. Very informative and I can now recognize other future book publishing possibilities for me. Voted up !

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      I dunno seriously but I'm glad to inspire someone. It's like I'm a very good writer to inspire someone to write more. I feel like a celeb :) Go, just write, and you know I'm a real fan. hahaha Such creativity will result to a best seller book and who knows a movie XD

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 7 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      So why is it that you inspire me so much, Blaise? Reading your poetry makes me want to write more poetry. It has that effect on me... Does that make sense? Actually, I have been working on some poems these last few days, as we have holiday time together here. We are being ,...um.. very creative. :D XX

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      So serious poetry this weekend was actually reading mine? I thought you meant a workshop or seminar moi friend hahahha But you don't need any workshop thing, look at you, and you're latest poem in here...ah, just amazing! :) You must be published and I'm a fan :) XX

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 7 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      Oh that is lovely. Yes, I want to be published. Mwah! :)

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      Hi, Cath! I adore your poetry :) Yup, so nice to publish but I like it more here simply becoz you get to hear people comments and views about your works. Having a real book is a great achievement. Serious poetry hmmm have fun moi friend ;) XX

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 7 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      Yaaaaaaay! Blaise rules. I want to publish a book too. Hahaha. I better wait till I have enough material before that happens. I am going to stick with OpenOffice from now on. But the Hub Pages are a great place to publish and see if people will read our work, and if they do, then self-publishing is a real possibility, or reality in your case, Blaise. I'm going to attend some serious poetry this weekend. Have a fantastic day, Blaise. XOX

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      Just compile your poetry, they're so good BTW ;) I'll be reading more and those naughty ones lol Thanks a lot :)

    • dotty1 profile image

      dotty1 7 years ago from In my world

      hi and thank you for sheddin light on this subject for me! . . Have been thinkin of doin but just bit unsure which of my 'genres' to try. . . Hmm wot to do? Any ideas based on what you have seen of mine. . Argh how exciting is that tho. . . I do naughty funny adult also but never sure if allowed to post. . Oo i need educating ha and will be followin this hub to the letter. . Many thank you's . . X D

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      Go go Wandererh! Enjoy and goodluck. Make a hub bout it when it's done ;)

      Always welcome moi friend :) Yup, I've always been around Lulu, too trying to figure things out..reading forums especially when my pdf turned so weird lol OpenOffice was a big help. Ow really talent scouts? Who knows they're gonna be tossing and turning after reading mine LOL Wishful thinking. haha

      Just mentioning your romance stories makes me so excited already :) I know what it feels, when you wanna write but after an hour all you've got is a blank page. Chill my friend, sooner or later yer gonna find your hands typing every words your head says ;)

      It's so flattering Cheeky. Thank you for being a real fan and a friend. XOXO

      Yup, I saw you've embedded a preview for my book. Huge thanks! And clap clap for your awesome Cheeky Girl's Apartment website :) I'm a big fan of Team Cheeky. Cheers! XO again :)

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Thanks for the tip on the barcode, I am a regular visitor to Lulu.com, but I overlooked the barcode thing till I saw your book cover, or the blurb on the back of it. As for OpenOffice, it's PDF-making ability is just so cool!

      Yes, it seems everyone is getting the idea in their head to decide "to heck with these big publishing firms", and whatever and just popping off their manuscript and going for the Lulu route. By teh way I read in a writers magazine here in the UK that talent scouts from big publishers sometimes scour the Lulu catalog for the next big thing, so you never know.

      I have decided to do this with the new romance stories I am writing. I am trying to get down a thousand words a day, though I'm not always successful. I've had to ease back on the hubs and other sites a bit, and some things suffer, but when I publish it, I will be putting a lot more hubs up.

      When I said you are a pro, I meant as a poet more than anything else, Blaise. Your poetry is just so good, I guess the time comes when you have to take it to the next level. All writers who have a passion for writing do this eventually, and get published. You have that passion for writing, it's in your blood, Blaise.

      I added an ad in my apartment site for ya. Heh! I really hope you do well. Respect for you always, moi friend! Cheers! XO

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      I have wanted to publish a book for the longest time, and now I know how. Got to have to get down and write it first though. :)

      Thanks for the great info.

    • blaise25 profile image
      Author

      Fehl Dungo 7 years ago from close to you...

      Hello, Pinkchic! Yup, Lulu has the simple, easy and awesome publishing tools. Good for you, Pinky I wish it would happen with me, too :) Nice meeting you here. Thanks!

      Always Exploring hi! Glad to help anyone. :) Thanks for always exploring on my pages ;) XO

      Hi, Dim! Wow, you're publishing :) Keep me posted :) XX

      Hello my friemd Cheeky Girl! haha I tried listing all that I'd need in case I forget things next time ;) Wow so excited with your romantic stories..Cathy has mentioned about it and I'm so delighted as her :) It was my first time and I originally just wanted my own book in my hands so there it was fun! :) The barcode thing, well I got my ISBN from Lulu and with the new Lulu cover wizard, the bar code thing is automatic. It's gonna be there (your choice if you want it shown in the back cover or not). And it's free. However, with the old cover designer tool and one piece cover, there are some standards about showing the barcode..see the link below

      https://support.lulu.com/View.jsp?procId=01a40179e...

      Yup, OpenOffice was so helpful with this self publishing thing. It was my savior actually LOL It's always a pleasure to help everyone. :) Nah I'm learning..not yet a pro LOL You're an ace moi friend!

      Cheers! XO

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Wow, what a great hub, Blaise! You left pretty much nothing out. This is very detailed and I am taking notes here! Hehehe! Moi romantic short stories are going to be getting the Lulu.com publishing treatment and I am admiring the professional way you handled it all! Could you explain at some point the barcode thing? Do you have to supply your own barcode and if so, how did you do that, or did Lulu do it, and if they did - do they charge for it?

      Great to see OpenOffice being put to good use, as I am a big fan of this software. I am so impressed by this. This is a Fantastic "how to" hub for any aspiring writer out there. You explained it all so easily. I'm bookmarking this for posterity and research purposes. Many thanks for this, Blaise! You're a Pro!!

      Cheers, moi friend! XOX

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      So, So what l needed to read. Thank you, xxxxxxxx

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your info.is very helpful, thank you.

      Cheers

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Awesome hub. I actually used Lulu to publish my book a couple years back and I think they do a great job. Not only that but I've still been receiving dividends for it to this day.