And now for all you cowboys out there; all you brave, impatient, entrepreneurial souls that want to jump on this wild book ride all by yourselves…
If I had known about WordPress.com and Lulu.com five years ago my whole life would have been different. Seriously. The learning curve I went through…well, let’s just say, if you are reading my blog, you are smart. I wish I had found a blog like this to read when I was getting started.
The best advice I can give you: Unless you have pre-sales that can cover ALL your costs, go through a Lulu.com. Seriously! Do not make the mistake so many people (including myself) have made, and end up with a bunch of books sitting in your garage. It is not worth the money or the stress.
When my client Ross Jeffries came to me a few weeks back and told me he wanted me to design and publish his book through Lulu.com I was skeptical. I had thought about print-on-demand in the past, and checked it out a bit, but honestly, my biggest concern was always quality. And to be fair, my first book was an elaborate, over-sized, full-color coffee-table book, and from what I could tell, print-on-demand was not going to cut it. But for a basic paperback, OMG, it is totally the way to go!
I designed Ross’s book and cover in InDesign, turned it into a PDF, and uploaded it to Lulu. Then I bought a book (a proof copy), so that I could give it the once over, and approve it for distribution. The book arrived 5 business days later and looked fantastic. I approved it, paid $87 for Global Distribution via Lulu and voila! Ross’s book: Secrets of Speed Seduction Mastery, was available for sale.
Here’s the best part: No worrying about distribution, no worrying about ISBN numbers or bar codes, no worrying about how many books to print, and no worrying about shipping. People can order Ross’s book directly from Lulu.com (which looks a lot like ordering from Amazon.com), or they can order his book from anywhere else they want: Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Amazon, or their favorite local bookstore. Pretty sweet, eh? His book is also available for download as an ebook. As far as whether it’s also available on Kindle and the iPad…not sure yet. I’m checking into it, and for those of you that want to know, send me an email: Dorota@aohwrite.com.
During this project Ross had a question about copyright when publishing through Lulu.com, but no need to worry about that either. You own the copyright to your book, not Lulu. As far as going through a formal copyright process, you don’t have to, but can:
“In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration.”
“Online registration through the electronic Copyright Office (eCO) is the preferred way to register basic claims for literary works; visual arts works; performing arts works, including motion pictures; sound recordings; and single serials.”
To do this, go here: http://www.copyright.gov/.
As far as profiteering from Lulu.com. Let me give you Ross’s example. His book costs $16.99. If people buy it on Lulu, he makes about $6.50 on the sale; if people buy it from somewhere outside of Lulu, he makes about $2.50. That’s a pretty decent profit for NO worries.
One last thing I want to say about all this. You can definitely do it all yourself through Lulu.com. No editors or designers, just you and your trusty Microsoft Word. However, I do not suggest working in a box. Your book represents you, and you definitely want to make it the best that it can be. At the very least, hire an editor, so that when people read your book it’s not full of grammatical errors. Also note, Lulu.com will not accept your book for Global Distribution if it doesn’t meet their design criteria. You can hire them, or someone like me to make sure your design is correct. I’m not sure what they charge, but I’m happy to give you a quote for your book project.
P.s. Amazon has an equivalent called CreateSpace. I don’t know a lot about it yet, but will be finding out shortly and am happy to brainstorm this option with you as well.