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nancyadams
10-22-2007, 10:27 AM
I am in the middle.

On one hand, sure, I'd love to be my own publishing company, use Lightning Source, and make a bigger profit. But they also strongly recommend you use Quark or Indesign to format it yourself, then send the finished masterpiece via PDF. I have no experience in any of those, so even though I am willing to learn, I keep asking myself "Can I really do it??" Or.....should I place an ad in the paper and find someone who can help?? I called a local college to see if the teacher of a Desktop Publishing class would be interested in using my written book as the project--no call back. Will try again, because I think if I can find someone to help, I could accomplish this....

Sure, I have read Poynter's 12 Edition and am waiting on the 16th to arrive.

On the other hand, I also wonder if I should just choose POD. Am willing to research on all of them, and am doing that right now. And it would take out the formatting problem and design of cover issue (I do have a photo I'd like to use.) Plus, the one I am looking at will allow me to use my own publishing company name and ISBN. But....not only will my profit be less, but I have to make up the initial outlay I'll have to pay, which is around $900 for their services (which are good, but......)

Were you faced with this decision? What did you decide and why? How did anyone deal with the use of any program you know nothing about to format your book?? Was POD worth it?

Gigi Sahi
10-22-2007, 06:10 PM
Hi there!

No need to use Quark or InDesign to format your book(s) and cover(s) for LS. They're recommended, but not essential. I used Open Office (free software) Writer for my book block and OO Draw to design my cover. I converted both to pdf (built-in, btw) and uploaded my files to LS. They accepted my files on the first try. I then ordered my proof copy (mandatory), and my book looks great! NOTE: Lulu's file specifications are pretty much LS's specs. If you can successfully upload files to Lulu, then you should have no problem uploading files to LS.

I'm assuming you already have your micro press in place (company name, business address, business phone and fax lines, seller's permit, Tax ID, ISBN, DBA or LLC, business checking account with business debit card, and all that jazz). Once that's all set, simply go to the LS website and click on new publisher (or create a new account then click publisher; sorry, I forget the exact wording). You'll fill in all of your company info on their site, download, print, and sign all forms (four, IIRC), then fax it all to LS.

Once your new account is approved, (2-3 business days), you can upload your text and cover files. They'll check to make certain your files meet their specs. (NOTE: LS uses CMYK, not RGB). Once your files are approved, you'll be invoiced for setup fees and digital libary ($12 annually) and any options you chose. In addition, you MUST purchase a proof copy ($30, which includes overnight shipping). Setup for my 388-page book plus proof came to roughly $150. The whole process took around two weeks. Now I can order just one copy of my book as needed, or 100 copies; and pay just the cost of printing my book(s) and S&H.

Personally, I wouldn't pay any POD company 900 bucks for their services. You know how many books I could print with that by going direct to LS? And the CSR LS assigned to me actually answers my emails and returns my calls promptly. Only problem I've encountered with LS is that my assigned CSR has a unisex name and I don't know whether to call him/her Mr. or Ms. LOL!

Best wishes.

Medievalist
10-22-2007, 06:27 PM
I wouldn't use Lightening source unless you're prepared for all the busywork around shipping books.

Go look at http://www.lulu.com

It's exactly the same printing technology, on the same hardware, and they do the shipping.

edgyllama
10-22-2007, 07:21 PM
I think if I were starting a micropress I'd go with Lulu as well but either way works and if you decide to use LSI later, you're already experienced and ready.

nancyadams
10-22-2007, 08:15 PM
Gigi, just to read that I can do this with my Open Office Writer is huge. Thank you! And I did notice that I could convert to PDF. Yes, have all that you mentioned below. The only thing I'm not clear about is when you stated "CMYK, not RGB".

I look forward to my assigned CSR. I'm delayed as I didn't sign under the Credit info and am sending that page signed today.

I'm also waiting for Poytner's 16th edition, as I can tell I've missed out by being cheap and only having the 12th.

Since you have played a role in helping me lean back towards LS rather than a POD company, I guess my final swing will be between the agony of trying to find an agent once again after enough rejections to fill my cyberspace trashcan....and doing self-publishing using LS. I'm so tired of the former that I'm sure I can muster the energy to do it all again. Self-publishing has become far more attractive, even if I will have to grieve about the book's loss of being on brick and mortar shelves and reaching a far broader base. But so be it.

Nancy



Hi there!

No need to use Quark or InDesign to format your book(s) and cover(s) for LS. They're recommended, but not essential. I used Open Office (free software) Writer for my book block and OO Draw to design my cover. I converted both to pdf (built-in, btw) and uploaded my files to LS. They accepted my files on the first try. I then ordered my proof copy (mandatory), and my book looks great! NOTE: Lulu's file specifications are pretty much LS's specs. If you can successfully upload files to Lulu, then you should have no problem uploading files to LS.

I'm assuming you already have your micro press in place (company name, business address, business phone and fax lines, seller's permit, Tax ID, ISBN, DBA or LLC, business checking account with business debit card, and all that jazz). Once that's all set, simply go to the LS website and click on new publisher (or create a new account then click publisher; sorry, I forget the exact wording). You'll fill in all of your company info on their site, download, print, and sign all forms (four, IIRC), then fax it all to LS.

Once your new account is approved, (2-3 business days), you can upload your text and cover files. They'll check to make certain your files meet their specs. (NOTE: LS uses CMYK, not RGB). Once your files are approved, you'll be invoiced for setup fees and digital libary ($12 annually) and any options you chose. In addition, you MUST purchase a proof copy ($30, which includes overnight shipping). Setup for my 388-page book plus proof came to roughly $150. The whole process took around two weeks. Now I can order just one copy of my book as needed, or 100 copies; and pay just the cost of printing my book(s) and S&H.

Personally, I wouldn't pay any POD company 900 bucks for their services. You know how many books I could print with that by going direct to LS? And the CSR LS assigned to me actually answers my emails and returns my calls promptly. Only problem I've encountered with LS is that my assigned CSR has a unisex name and I don't know whether to call him/her Mr. or Ms. LOL!

Best wishes.

nancyadams
10-22-2007, 08:23 PM
Hi. My hesitation in using Lulu is the fact that they will own my ISBN, if my information is correct. On the other hand, POD's like WingSpan press would allow my ownership plus my publishing name. But to save the money I would have to invest in any POD has made going directly to the printer attractive, in spite of the busywork you rightly mention below. I guess there are trade-offs no matter what you choose. Trade-offs with having an agent, trade-off with using a POD, trade-offs with self-pubbing. I have so far failed on the former; I'm not terribly excited about the fees for the middle; and the latter busywork won't be fun, but it has become far more attractive. I have reason to have great faith in this book, even if agents didn't get it. lol Thank you so much for your input. Nancy


I wouldn't use Lightening source unless you're prepared for all the busywork around shipping books.

Go look at http://www.lulu.com

It's exactly the same printing technology, on the same hardware, and they do the shipping.

Stormhawk
10-22-2007, 11:39 PM
Hi. My hesitation in using Lulu is the fact that they will own my ISBN, if my information is correct. On the other hand, POD's like WingSpan press would allow my ownership plus my publishing name. But to save the money I would have to invest in any POD has made going directly to the printer attractive, in spite of the busywork you rightly mention below. I guess there are trade-offs no matter what you choose. Trade-offs with having an agent, trade-off with using a POD, trade-offs with self-pubbing. I have so far failed on the former; I'm not terribly excited about the fees for the middle; and the latter busywork won't be fun, but it has become far more attractive. I have reason to have great faith in this book, even if agents didn't get it. lol Thank you so much for your input. Nancy

Actually, if you get the Publish by You distribution deal, you own the ISBN,and that package is currently on special for $50. You can still always use your own ISBN and get an Amazon advantage account (more work, but a choice).

Gigi Sahi
10-23-2007, 04:19 AM
The only thing I'm not clear about is when you stated "CMYK, not RGB".

When submitting to LS, your cover file colors must be in four color or CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK rather than RGB (Red, Green, Blue). If you use Open Office Draw to design your cover, as I did, open Draw and click Format >> Area >> Colors >> then change RGB to CMYK. Click OK, and you're all set. Now all colors you use in Draw will be in CMYK format.

With Lulu it doesn't matter if you use RGB or CMYK, but LS's cover file requirements specify to use CMYK.

Medievalist
10-23-2007, 05:49 AM
There's an deal at Lulu right now for a package that lets you own your own ISBN.

Dusk
11-05-2007, 06:01 AM
Gigi Sahi wrote:

"I'm assuming you already have your micro press in place (company name, business address, business phone and fax lines, seller's permit, Tax ID, ISBN, DBA or LLC, business checking account with business debit card, and all that jazz)."

I have a question about this: Is it necessary to fix oneself up as a business to work with Lightning Source? I know that they prefer to work with businesses, but one author who has worked with them stated at another forum that he didn't go through the above before he had his books printed through Lightning Source. He simply got a block of ISBNs and applied.

ResearchGuy
11-05-2007, 10:35 PM
. . . one author who has worked with them stated at another forum that he didn't go through the above before he had his books printed through Lightning Source. He simply got a block of ISBNs and applied.
You might ask him precisely what information he provided to Lightning Source. He had to tell them something to set up an account. Whether he had actually done the formalities of a business license, fictitious name pemit, and so on, would not be for LS to determine, I believe.

BTW, it is entirely possible to have a business and a business license without a fictitious name permit -- as long as the business is NOT in a fictitous name and does not imply anyone beyond the named individual, such as "Smith and Associates," which implies that there are associates and hence requires the fictitious name permit. "Smith Publishing" would not require a fictitious name permit (not in CA at least). Here are pertinent excerpts from CA law:


Section 17900 of the Business and Professions Code
. . .
(b) As used in this chapter, "fictitious business name" means:
(1) In the case of an individual, a name that does not include the
surname of the individual or a name that suggests the existence of
additional owners, as described in subdivision (c).
. . .
(c) A name that suggests the existence of additional owners within
the meaning of subdivision (b) is one that includes such words as
"Company," "& Company," "& Son," "& Sons," "& Associates," "Brothers,"
and the like, but not words that merely describe the business being
conducted.

--Ken

Gigi Sahi
11-06-2007, 06:25 PM
wrote:

I have a question about this: Is it necessary to fix oneself up as a business to work with Lightning Source? I know that they prefer to work with businesses, but one author who has worked with them stated at another forum that he didn't go through the above before he had his books printed through Lightning Source. He simply got a block of ISBNs and applied.


I noticed that you could either set up an "Author" or "Publisher" account with LS. I chose to set up as a "publisher," since I already had my micro press in place. The "author" account doesn't really make sense to me - aren't these authors assuming the role of publisher by self-pubbing their books?

Either way, there are forms to fill out. Your friend would have needed to provide his SSN and banking info, or at least a credit card, to establish an LS account, in addition to his ISBN prefix. Based on my experience, the same info required to establish an LS account is required for a Paypal business account. Pretty much they need a verifiable way to bill you, pay you, or track you down.

Dusk
11-09-2007, 11:29 AM
Gigi Sahi wrote:

"Your friend would have needed to provide his SSN and banking info, or at least a credit card, to establish an LS account, in addition to his ISBN prefix. Based on my experience, the same info required to establish an LS account is required for a Paypal business account."

That's not a problem, then. Thank you for your advice.

Research Guy wrote:

"You might ask him precisely what information he provided to Lightning Source. He had to tell them something to set up an account."

I assume that he supplied them with his credit/banking/tax information. What he said he didn't do was supply them with information on a business license.

"BTW, it is entirely possible to have a business and a business license without a fictitious name permit"

But the question is why I should want a business license. :) I've been operating as a business, from the IRS's point of view, since I became a freelance writer a decade ago. I've yet to encounter any situation where I've needed a business license, and I haven't been able to foresee any change in that, as far as book publication is concerned (provided that LS doesn't require one). Can you offer me your thoughts on where a business license comes in handy?

Dustry Joe
12-04-2007, 05:11 AM
Lightning Source IS a POD producer. Just a wholesaler, not retailer like Lulu and a jillion others.

WHat it comes down to is if you want to create a business entity or not.

You see all these little "Presses" on the web with like 5 titles, 4 by the same guy and looking for manuscripts? They are "Publishers" that got formed so the writer could go straight to Lightning Source instead of Lulu. And now that he has a publishing business, he's looking to expand.

Actually that might be one of the best ways to score, right there. Find the right one of those guys.

Newy
02-18-2008, 01:05 AM
Hi,
I have had a book published by a publisher before. When I submitted my second manuscript they used the bones of it, expanded it, and published it without paying for it Rrrrrr, so now I would like to go it alone. What choices do I have? what do Lightening Source and Lulu do for me, and above all how much does it cost to get them to print and send a book out? please help you guys!

Newy.

ResearchGuy
02-18-2008, 01:52 AM
Hi,
I have had a book published by a publisher before. When I submitted my second manuscript they used the bones of it, expanded it, and published it without paying for it Rrrrrr, so now I would like to go it alone. What choices do I have? what do Lightening Source and Lulu do for me, and above all how much does it cost to get them to print and send a book out? please help you guys!

Newy.
Your questions are good ones, but very difficult to answer in the confines of a message board. If you look around in the self-publishing boards here you will find a great deal of helpful information already posted.

Perhaps this will be helpful, though.

I have some experience with Lulu (none directly with Lightning Source, though). I recently published an anthology for a group of local writers. Aside from a great deal of my time in formatting the manuscript into book form and designing a cover, using one of my own photos, my costs consisted of under thirty dollars for sample copies of the book en route to publication, $49.95 for the "Published by You" ISBN/distribution package, and the cost of a first printing of 500 copies (nicely discounted through the special bulk order desk). The large (for this kind of thing) first printing reflected the group's preorders and expectation of local bookstore sales. (One store has ordered 100 copies in advance of what should be a well-publicized event.) This ends up as a hybrid POD and conventional publishing model. Yes, the book is available printed on demand, but I also stock copies for local stores. (Not ever likely to ship them out of the area. Too costly and the profit margin is much too thin.)

I published another book as an experiment -- no ISBN, public domain text plus my own introduction. Total cost: about fifteen dollars for one copy of the book (including shipping), plus a weekend of my time laying out the interior and designing a cover. It is for sale now. If I ever add annotations and reader aids to add value to the book (which is in print from other sources, but of course without my own intro.) I might get an ISBN and distribution.

Anyway, spend some time with Lulu's FAQs. Meanwhile, you'll find a handy cost calculator (excludes shipping cost, though) at http://www.lulu.com/en/includes/calc_book_inc.php .

Some folks set up an account with Lightning Source itself. That has a different set of requirements and some costs (not large).

And of course there are many subsidy presses each with its own pricing and pros and cons. Those will typically cost you several hundred dollars up front.

A key challenge in any do-it-yourself publishing endeavor is to be able to design a book well (interior and cover) or to pay others to do those tasks. And of course, self-publishing is a business, with all that implies. Don't do it if you do not want to be a businessperson.

BTW, you might have a copyright infringement claim against the publisher that you believe ripped you off. Might want to talk to a qualified attorney.

--Ken

nancyadams
02-18-2008, 07:33 AM
Hi,
I have had a book published by a publisher before. When I submitted my second manuscript they used the bones of it, expanded it, and published it without paying for it Rrrrrr, so now I would like to go it alone. What choices do I have? what do Lightening Source and Lulu do for me, and above all how much does it cost to get them to print and send a book out? please help you guys!.

I'm the one who started this string, and I chose to self-publish rather than use Lulu or another I was looking at (Wing Span Press). I just wanted the pride of doing it all myself, plus save a few bucks from using POD. It's not for the faint of heart. But I used Dan Poynter's book, then another self-publishing manual that gave more details than Dan did on the interior. And, I finally had to pay someone to lay it all out in Indesign, which had a learning curve FAR too difficult for me to learn it alone. I used Elance to find someone to do it. Also have someone doing the cover. I'm two weeks away from sending it all to Lightening Source. Then I'll follow Poynter's book again on distribution.

ResearchGuy
02-18-2008, 08:00 PM
. . .I finally had to pay someone to lay it all out in Indesign . . . .
That is the part that puzzles me. Word works fine if used by someone who knows the methods, and InDesign is not held in high regard for book-length manuscript layout by my technical-writing/publishing friends (they use FrameMaker).

--Ken

nancyadams
02-19-2008, 09:52 AM
That is the part that puzzles me. Word works fine if used by someone who knows the methods, and InDesign is not held in high regard for book-length manuscript layout by my technical-writing/publishing friends (they use FrameMaker). --Ken

Yet by what I read, just using Word has limitations, even if you know the methods. So I'm puzzled too.

ResearchGuy
02-19-2008, 06:50 PM
Yet by what I read, just using Word has limitations, even if you know the methods. So I'm puzzled too.
For straight text (and even text with a reasonable number of illustrations), I can make it work -- rather well, I think. It would not meet the standards of a major publisher (a Random House or the like), I imagine, but so far no one has complained about what I have produced by way of digitally printed books.

You can look at samples of mine at http://stores.lulu.com/kenumbach -- although in a grainy preview mode.

Granted, I do not get creative with fonts, as I've had trouble with Lulu's conversion to pdf (one combination of font + italic went kerflooey), but that might be a nonissue now that I am doing my own conversions and uploading a pdf rather than Word file.

--Ken

hurricanehanni
02-19-2008, 09:44 PM
Hey all,
I am trying to decide which one to use. With Lulu I was able to get my costs on their site. LS is difficult getting a hold of a person to give me a quote. Does anyone know if there is a big cost per unit difference/commission difference between the two. How is the quality for full color picture books?
Thanks,
Ryan

Newy
02-19-2008, 11:42 PM
Thank you for your tips guys. I am in th UK. If I go it alone and publish, how do I go about finding a warehouse that suppliers can get the book from, I understand book stores will only order from the big boys........
Newy

Kristophe
02-26-2008, 10:32 PM
Thank you for your tips guys. I am in th UK. boys........
Newy

I just thought I might suggest that you read the forums on Lulu.com, regarding the European option for printing. You will find the 'International' forum interesting. I am in Europe and we are forced to use the Spanish partner of Lulu, and the list of problems incurred by many of us is considerable. I would have liked to have my book printed in the USA, but they redirected my order to Spain, and the second book came out just as bad as the first. That is the reason I found this forum, as I am looking for a new European printer for my book. I have my own websites, distribution, ISBN, etc., and only need the book printed. Lulu has stopped responding to concerns about the Spanish printer, and has fallen silent in regards to communication from me, so I have given up trying to use that option. When one encounters an obstacle, one should just pick a different route, in my estimaton. This in no way is meant to reflect on their USA operation, as I have not experienced their printing, and I hear it is okay. Do check out their shipping, though. Bulk orders are penalized, and that information is in the International forum, as well.

robertmblevins
03-07-2008, 01:01 PM
If you've never self-published a book before, Lulu.com is probably the best place to start.

However, don't expect to sell many copies or get them into bookstores. I like to say that Lulu is a great place to CREATE books, but a lousy place to actually SELL books.

When you decide to get serious, the easiest to use is Lightning Source.

In order to use LSI, there are some requirements, but well worth it. You must purchase a minimum of 10 ISBN's from a legitimate source. You must have a bank account in the name of the publisher, even if it's only 'John Smith Publishing'. Ten ISBN's will cost you $250, and with the new 13-digit numbering, they will be good for years. Put them on whatever book you wish. There are modest one-time upload fees to use LSI, and $12.00 per book or magazine, paid yearly, to keep them in the digital database.

Selling books is just like selling charcoal briquets, cat food, or anything else.

With bookstores, they have set rules that have been in place for decades with publishers, and they loath to give them up. I don't blame them. The two 'big rules' are listed below:

In order to market to bookstores, you must offer the book(s) at a good wholesale rate with a decent return policy.

Lightning Source sets up the return policy you designate. Ninety-day sale-or-return is the usual. HINT: Most bookstores, especially independents, don't actually return the books. Since they obtained them at wholesale, they often just mark them down drastically and move them out the door. Any sales holding up past 90 days are called 'sell-throughs' and LSI will pay you. That's why they pay quarterly, to wait for the sell-throughs.

Lulu DOES serve a good function, though. You can make changes to your manuscript or covers FREE.

At Lightning Source, even adding a missing period at the end of a sentence can cost you $475. So...many small presses keep an account open at Lulu to order proofs. They just check the box marked 'available only to me'. This way, they can get a print copy and check the proof, make changes, perhaps order a second proof and fix the file. When they are satisfied, they delete the book from Lulu and upload the finished files to Lightning Source.

Pricing is the main problem with Lulu.

A 180-page six-by-nine inch paperback might cost you $7.50 per copy at Lulu. At LSI, this same book might cost you $3.25 at single copies, lower for bulk. A typical 6 x 9 might retail for around $9.00. The bookstores will bite if you set your wholesale price at 50-55% of retail. On this example, your wholesale to bookstores would be $4.00 per copy, enabling about a dollar profit per copy on bookstore sales.

At Lightning Source, you can also enable RETAIL pricing, for those customers who link to the book(s) from your website. You could drop it down to a ridiculous $4.99 retail and attempt to move copies in larger numbers.

Research the addresses of all independent bookstores in your state and surrounding areas.

Add to this list the largest ones in each of the other states, too. Then print up brochures listing each book, a short blurb next to pictures of the covers, and all ordering information and links. Mail them out to every store on your list. Offer your books up at a good wholesale and many will bite.

Get listed with Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders, etc. The major chains require you to fill out a webform and send it in. Someone there decides whether your book(s) are worthy. If so, a human person orders 5-10 copies for random placement. If they sell, then the auto-program orders more copies, according to a formula each company uses. Basically, you get through the human person first, and then a computer takes over.

Lulu, however, is much like that slogan formerly used by the U.S. Army:

'...it's a great place to start...'

CACTUSWENDY
03-07-2008, 06:42 PM
This is going to be fun.....popcorn anyone?

rdtradecraft
03-14-2008, 09:12 AM
Hi there!

No need to use Quark or InDesign to format your book(s) and cover(s) for LS. They're recommended, but not essential. I used Open Office (free software) Writer for my book block and OO Draw to design my cover. I converted both to pdf (built-in, btw) and uploaded my files to LS. They accepted my files on the first try. I then ordered my proof copy (mandatory), and my book looks great! NOTE: Lulu's file specifications are pretty much LS's specs. If you can successfully upload files to Lulu, then you should have no problem uploading files to LS.

I'm assuming you already have your micro press in place (company name, business address, business phone and fax lines, seller's permit, Tax ID, ISBN, DBA or LLC, business checking account with business debit card, and all that jazz). Once that's all set, simply go to the LS website and click on new publisher (or create a new account then click publisher; sorry, I forget the exact wording). You'll fill in all of your company info on their site, download, print, and sign all forms (four, IIRC), then fax it all to LS.

Once your new account is approved, (2-3 business days), you can upload your text and cover files. They'll check to make certain your files meet their specs. (NOTE: LS uses CMYK, not RGB). Once your files are approved, you'll be invoiced for setup fees and digital libary ($12 annually) and any options you chose. In addition, you MUST purchase a proof copy ($30, which includes overnight shipping). Setup for my 388-page book plus proof came to roughly $150. The whole process took around two weeks. Now I can order just one copy of my book as needed, or 100 copies; and pay just the cost of printing my book(s) and S&H.

Personally, I wouldn't pay any POD company 900 bucks for their services. You know how many books I could print with that by going direct to LS? And the CSR LS assigned to me actually answers my emails and returns my calls promptly. Only problem I've encountered with LS is that my assigned CSR has a unisex name and I don't know whether to call him/her Mr. or Ms. LOL!

Best wishes.
Gigi, this is good news.

I have just completed a book in OpenOffice and was dreading the time-consuming task of importing it to Scribus and cleaning up the formatting. A few questions:

What version of OpenOffice did you use?

What PDF settings did you use?

What fonts did you choose?

The post is a few months old. Have you used OpenOffice PDFs with LSI since then?

Thanks in advance for any help.