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Lessons Learned Self-Publishing With Lulu  (View post)

Garett Rogers [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
14 years ago16,647 views

First, I have to say that I'm a total n00b when it comes to how publishing works.

I have been working on a book for about three months now, and just wonder if you would recommend self publishing? (your book seemed to turn out pretty damn good) or try and find a publisher to do all the dirty work for you (the publisher name could also add credibility)?

I don't know how hard it is to find a publisher – or even how you would go about doing that – but I am inclined to find one rather than using a service like lulu... what do you think?

Thanks

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

getting an ISBN from Lulu.. Dave's also has an interesting expereince!

hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

> I have been working on a book for about three months
> now, and just wonder if you would recommend self
> publishing? (your book seemed to turn out pretty damn good) or
> try and find a publisher to do all the dirty work for you (the
> publisher name could also add credibility)?

It might be much better to have a publisher, though I don't have any experience with that. Not for the quality of the book, but for the marketing and distribution options... for instance, a publisher may send out many books to different news sources, and that's a budget at least I don't have. From what I understand one way to approach finding a publisher is to have an agent, who will then do this for you. The other way is to find good books with a similar subject and then try to contact the publishers of those books directly. I'm not sure if it's also possible to first self-publish and then find a publisher.

Though I briefly tried to find an agent (it didn't work out in the end), I was also really curious how self-publishing works, and as a second step also how Creative Commons works out for this.

Martin [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

My experience of Lulu was much like yours: Putting together something that looked good was possible, but involved a lot of hassle (I also found the live chat more helpful than the forums). If I had to do it again it would be much easier (now that I know all the ins and outs), but I wish Lulu would simplify their system and their instructions. Like you, I also found the usability of the ordering system to be very bad. Ordering outside the US was a bit of a nightmare (expensive, contradictory info re shipping methods and rates, confusing options), but did work eventually. Also, Lulu was very helpful in tracking an international order that had gone missing. There is something really nice about the Lulu ethos, and behind the scenes their system works well. I just wish they'd improve their user interface.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Philipp: apart from Microsoft Word did you use any other commercial tools (e.g. Acrobat Distiller)?

It's a pity that Lulu doesn't publish sales figures. It would be really interesting to see if any of the books are selling in commercial quantities.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

What are the advantages of Lulu compared to the average book on demand publishing service?

Ryan [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Phillip. I actually had a publishing deal for a book I'm about to release (just waiting on cover art) but I turned it down.

The publisher was willing to offer me 5% of each book and sell it at $13.99 (70 cents)

with LuLu I will be able to sell it at $9.99 and keep a $1.50 commission per book.

It took a lot of decisions to decide if that extra 80 cents / book was worth the non standard publisher, credibility etc, but in the end I think i'm making the right choice... both for me and the customer.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

> Philipp: apart from Microsoft Word did you use
> any other commercial tools (e.g. Acrobat Distiller)?

There is a lot of software involved here and there, like scanning, image retouching, and so on. But I didn't use anything major except for Word. (Unfortunately I bought *German* Word which cost me *a lot* of time for the reasons mentioned...)

> What are the advantages of Lulu compared to
> the average book on demand publishing service?

Like which one? I don't have any experience with anything but Lulu.com (except Blogbinders.com).

t xensen [PersonRank 4]

14 years ago #

When I started participating here I never expected this forum to come around to my area of expertise. I've worked in book publishing for more than 25 years. The whole trick of the business is distribution and marketing, and it's tough because the big eight publishing conglomerate have a hammerlock on the trade distribution channels so it's a very uneven playing field. It's much harder now to be an independent publisher than it was when I started.

If you're going to self publish I'd recommend just setting the book yourself using InDesign (or Quark). (I'm assuming people who come here have basic computer skills and at least some sense sense of design.) The best site for information about typefaces, and to a certain extent design, in my opinion (I have no connection to the site) is [ typophile.com]. Of course, then you would have to find a wholesaler or distributor, or else do direct-mail marketing.

For what it's worth, I recently posted a basic tutorial about book publishing ([ rightreading.com/publishing/ho ...], still in beta). Recently I've been talking with a best-selling author/publisher I used to work with about expanding this in a wiki format. If anyone is interested in pursuing this topic you can go to the link and find e-mail me.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Philipp: Well, services like BOD.de have been around for a while, never used them either, but wondered whether Lulu is kind of the Web 2.0 take on book publishing...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

It's really a very traditional homepage, not that that's bad. The only 2.0-ish thing is that they support Creative Commons for publications.

Jake's View [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

How much did it cost?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I paid $139.88 for the global distribution options, which includes another review copy...

Jake's View [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Not too pricy. How much did you earn?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

The real "production costs" were the time to write and prepare the book. I'm now getting a commission per book (lower on Amazon than on Lulu). I've sold 50+ books so far. You can do the math :)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

==>How much did it cost?
==? How much did you earn?

Woot Woot ?? is that an equation ????

Thomas Hofmann Online [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

Hello Philipp Lensson,

in openBC Mr. Fritz Maywald says, that you did a false information:

www.openbc.com/cgi-bin/forum.f ...

What is true?

thanks, Thomas

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Philipp – whats he talking about ?? is this forum in german ??

I could not even cut and paste the comment into a translator!!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Hmm. Fritz Maywald in this popular German social network accuses me of lying, basically (he says either that, or my information is completely outdated). Here's what I said, which he quotes:

"When you buy the global distribution options on Lulu.com, your book will get its ISBN, and will be available in different catalogs, and on Amazon.com"

Well, I saw this with my own eyes, and Lulu also has extensive help sections on this explaining the Global Distribution Options in detail (including the part that gets you an ISBN, and on Amazon). Fritz in reply to my quote says "this is simply false reporting – or completely outdated." What he seems to be getting at is that the book will not "really" be on Amazon because it's on Amazon marketplace. He adds that one shouldn't be fooled, that everyone's eligible for an ISBN. I don't care – he seems to be attacking a strawman. Here's my book on Amazon, which has its ISBN, and whatever category it's in it works fine to search for it and order it. amazon.com/gp/product/14116934 ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Update: Fritz now deleted all of his comments and said good-bye to the discussion board, adding that he's "fed up with silly attacks" against him as he "just passed on information, the reason discussion boards exists". (I didn't attack him.) I will resist telling him that discussion boards also exist to clarify when information that's passed on is false...

William Hall [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I am working in a novel and am in the final stages. I have had a textbook published a few years ago with Longman and just now have gotten a (rather meager) royalty check. Overall, I have had little contact with my editor, was turned down for a second book idea, and have seen staff change twice. I do ont want the same thing to happen with this novel, so I am thinking of self-publishing my novel with Lulu. Would that be a wise choice?

manuela [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

I had a very sour experience with Gloomwing magazine wich is published by LULU. Also LULU was supporting Glooming and never trying to hear my side of the story. Don't forget LULU is the lowest among the self-publishing companies. Don't choose them, the people in the forums will make your life miserable. don't ever try to submit your books to Gloomwing either, they are very rough on reviews.

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