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drybonesreborn
05-14-2007, 05:23 AM
Is lulu.com worth your time?

Where do they store the books? How much can buy your book for?

Also, if it's good, has anyone's book sold so much to be popular?

veinglory
05-14-2007, 06:32 AM
Lulu is about as good as it gets for non-fee-charging self-publishing.

Books are printed on demand. The are a tad expensive, especially the shipping, but no more than other third party self-publishing services.

The odds are you won't sell more than 50 copies unless you have some kind of cunning plan or a lot of luck.

ResearchGuy
05-14-2007, 08:05 AM
Is lulu.com worth your time?

Where do they store the books? How much can buy your book for?

Also, if it's good, has anyone's book sold so much to be popular?
It is worth your time if you use it for the right kinds of purposes. It is a waste of time if you think you will get a bestseller via Lulu or any POD option.

They do not store them. They print on demand and ship to the person ordering them.

Cost for books is calculated at two cents per page, plus $4.53. So a 100-page book has printing cost of $6.53, for example. (That is Lulu's current pricing, color cover and b/w interior.)

POD is fine for small-scale projects--advance reader copies/galley proofs of books headed to commercial publication, or experimenting on a small scale, or workbooks the author/publisher might use in training sessions, and so on. I have seen one case in which it was a satisfactory method for a novelist, but he used Lightning Source, which allows better pricing than Lulu, albeit with some modest costs up front. I know a short-fiction author (he has an anthology) who is finding Lulu an accessible way to start out locally. It let him get over a huge obstacle, to get off the dime and develop a local following, build his presentation/marketing skills, and so on. Way better than spending year after year in the fruitless pursuit (fruitless for an anthology by an unknown author) of commercial publishing. We will see how that works out. So far, so good. I am using it to print what amounts to a marketing brochure (although at the same time it is an informative booklet). But I have the skills to format a book for POD printing, interior and exterior.

--Ken

Dusk
05-19-2007, 02:09 PM
Kenneth W. Umbach wrote:

"I have seen one case in which it was a satisfactory method for a novelist, but he used Lightning Source, which allows better pricing than Lulu"

Conventional self-publishing (e.g. working directly with Lightning Source) tends to have a better track record overall in sales, and there have been a number of success stories with it. But folks who take that approach are generally serious businessfolk - more like small presses than like the average Lulu-published author. It will be interesting to see whether services like Lulu gradually change the situation and make it easier for the average self-published author to sell a fair number of copies.

However, at the moment it remains the case that it's quite difficult to sell a lot of copies by using services like Lulu. As you say, Lulu is a good service for small-scale projects. I gather than, when marketed vigorously, book sales can be comparable to that of a small-press e-book - with the difference that the author retains a greater percentage of the earnings on each book.

ResearchGuy
05-19-2007, 07:39 PM
. . .Conventional self-publishing (e.g. working directly with Lightning Source) . . . .
I would not describe using Lightning Source as conventional self-publishing. Conventional self-publishing contracts for a run of books (hundreds to thousands of copies) from a domestic or foreign book printer/binder. The real break on cost-per-copy comes at 3,000 copies, according to my informants (including one book printer and several small publishers). Some can make do with shorter runs by shopping around for best price, by keeping overhead very low, and by selling direct rather than losing 40-55% to trade channels.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
05-19-2007, 07:42 PM
. . . whether services like Lulu gradually change the situation and make it easier for the average self-published author to sell a fair number of copies. . . .
If you define "a fair number" as dozens of copies to one or two hundred copies, maybe so.

--Ken

III
05-21-2007, 09:14 PM
I've had a very good experience using iUniverse (another POD publisher). For me, writing has become a serious hobby, but I have no aspirations of ever quitting my job to become a full-time writer (I've got four kids and a good-paying job that I enjoy).

I found POD publishing was 1) relatively inexpensive - about $400 for a novel (cheaper than buying another guitar anyway), 2) relatively easy, and 3) very gratifying. The books are automatically available world-wide on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And since it's POD, you don't have to invest thousands of dollars for piles of books that might never sell.

The downsides (IMO) are 1) your books aren't carried in bookstores, although they can be ordered, 2) you are responsible for all your own marketing, 3) you either have to edit the book yourself or pay them to edit it, and 4) POD books are more expensive for the consumers than books from big publishing houses.

My first book was released in April, so I haven't seen the sales figures yet, but I'm pretty sure it's sold around 100 copies. I emailed everyone I knew and told them to email everyone they knew, so I'm just seeing if the book grows legs while I work on the next one. I figure if, by some miracle I do end up selling a few thousand copies I'll try querying agents again, but for now I'm just enjoying writing and talking to people who have enjoyed my books.

ResearchGuy
05-21-2007, 10:29 PM
I've had a very good experience using iUniverse (another POD publisher). For me, writing has become a serious hobby, but I have no aspirations of ever quitting my job to become a full-time writer . . . for now I'm just enjoying writing and talking to people who have enjoyed my books.
Congratulations! It sounds as though you have a splendid handle on it.

Just out of curiosity, did you have your manuscript professionally edited (copyediting at a minimum) and proofread before it went to print?

--Ken

drybonesreborn
05-25-2007, 02:59 AM
I've had a very good experience using iUniverse (another POD publisher). For me, writing has become a serious hobby, but I have no aspirations of ever quitting my job to become a full-time writer (I've got four kids and a good-paying job that I enjoy).

I found POD publishing was 1) relatively inexpensive - about $400 for a novel (cheaper than buying another guitar anyway), 2) relatively easy, and 3) very gratifying. The books are automatically available world-wide on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And since it's POD, you don't have to invest thousands of dollars for piles of books that might never sell.

The downsides (IMO) are 1) your books aren't carried in bookstores, although they can be ordered, 2) you are responsible for all your own marketing, 3) you either have to edit the book yourself or pay them to edit it, and 4) POD books are more expensive for the consumers than books from big publishing houses.

My first book was released in April, so I haven't seen the sales figures yet, but I'm pretty sure it's sold around 100 copies. I emailed everyone I knew and told them to email everyone they knew, so I'm just seeing if the book grows legs while I work on the next one. I figure if, by some miracle I do end up selling a few thousand copies I'll try querying agents again, but for now I'm just enjoying writing and talking to people who have enjoyed my books.
Cool. Did you make a website for it?

III
05-25-2007, 09:54 PM
Cool. Did you make a website for it?

I did indeed - in fact there's a link to it in my signature line below.


Congratulations! It sounds as though you have a splendid handle on it.

Just out of curiosity, did you have your manuscript professionally edited (copyediting at a minimum) and proofread before it went to print?

--Ken

That was something I kind of wrestled with. Me am pretty good with English and grammaticality and I did no fewer than 20 reads through the book and had two friends who are teachers beta read and proof it, along with three other beta readers. That, along with Microsoft Word's spell checker and grammatical checker gave me a pretty high confidence level, so I decided against spending extra money for editing. Of course I wasn't sure if I'd even sell ten copies, so I wanted to keep my investment as small as possible. I'm not sure if I'll pay for editing on my next book unless I start hearing bad feedback about the first two.

drybonesreborn
05-26-2007, 12:45 AM
I did indeed - in fact there's a link to it in my signature line below.



That was something I kind of wrestled with. Me am pretty good with English and grammaticality and I did no fewer than 20 reads through the book and had two friends who are teachers beta read and proof it, along with three other beta readers. That, along with Microsoft Word's spell checker and grammatical checker gave me a pretty high confidence level, so I decided against spending extra money for editing. Of course I wasn't sure if I'd even sell ten copies, so I wanted to keep my investment as small as possible. I'm not sure if I'll pay for editing on my next book unless I start hearing bad feedback about the first two.

It looks Christian, but it is?

III
05-26-2007, 01:07 AM
It looks Christian, but it is?

It is indeed. I've tried to write the story so that people who don't know much about the Bible or aren't Christian could thoroughly enjoy it, but people who are Bible Scholars would get more out of the subtleties. The whole series is based on an X-Men style group of heroes, which makes for fun writing and reading, but definitely a niche market in the Christian Publishing realm.

III
05-26-2007, 01:10 AM
I just realized I used the word "indeed" in consecutive posts. I deserve a negative rep point for that.

ChunkyC
05-26-2007, 04:09 AM
Hey III, good onya for what you've done with your stuff.

As for Lulu, I think they're great. We used them for the Stories of Strength anthology for disaster relief we put out after Katrina hit. We had the book available for purchase two months after Jenna conceived the project, and that was our timeline. Lulu had it available for sale almost immediately after we had the book ready to go.

To date we've sold 1159 copies, which puts it at #55 on their top 100 sellers list. Mind you, we had dozens of people all over the world actively pimping this book, and more than half the total sales were made in the first month or so. We also had a few very well known authors contribute stories, including Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game), romance novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, and Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame.

With all that going for it, we still haven't sold very many copies when compared to what your average book from a traditional publisher will sell. But Lulu was the one place we could go to get a book out in a timely fashion. If, and only if, a traditional publisher had wanted to take on the book, we would have been looking at a much longer lead time, possibly over a year.

So, if print on demand is the right thing for your project, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone better than Lulu.

ResearchGuy
05-26-2007, 07:07 AM
. . . average book from a traditional publisher . . .
"Traditional publisher" is PublishAmerica's catch phrase to describe itself.

Anyway, according to some memoirs I have read recently by a publisher and a book seller (the latter a publisher's rep and then bookstore operator), the average commercially published book has a first printing of 3,000 to 5,000 copies and is never reprinted. (Those were U.S. figures.) A thousand or so copies sold, especially for a POD anthology, then, seems to be a nice accomplishment.

--Ken

ChunkyC
05-26-2007, 08:33 PM
"Traditional publisher" is PublishAmerica's catch phrase to describe itself.
Why does it make me feel dirty to know that? ;)

drybonesreborn
05-29-2007, 04:51 AM
Hey III, good onya for what you've done with your stuff.

As for Lulu, I think they're great. We used them for the Stories of Strength anthology for disaster relief we put out after Katrina hit. We had the book available for purchase two months after Jenna conceived the project, and that was our timeline. Lulu had it available for sale almost immediately after we had the book read to go.

To date we've sold 1159 copies, which puts it at #55 on their top 100 sellers list. Mind you, we had dozens of people all over the world actively pimping this book, and more than half the total sales were made in the first month or so. We also had a few very well known authors contribute stories, including Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game), romance novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, and Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame.

With all that going for it, we still haven't sold very many copies when compared to what your average book from a traditional publisher will sell. But Lulu was the one place we could go to get a book out in a timely fashion. If, and only if, a traditional publisher had wanted to take on the book, we would have been looking at a much longer lead time, possibly over a year.

So, if print on demand is the right thing for your project, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone better than Lulu.

What if you mess up on the cover size? Are there ways to see ifyour cover will look right?

ResearchGuy
05-29-2007, 07:39 AM
What if you mess up on the cover size? Are there ways to see if your cover will look right?
Sure:

1. Download the pdf of the cover that Lulu generates;

2. Order one copy of the book (which you should do anyway to examine the text). All you are out (besides time) is the price of one copy of the book, plus postage.

Lulu is cheap to experiment with. Play around with an unimportant manuscript and get the hang of their system.

--Ken