by Elizabeth Bernays
Lulu review: A good POD spot.
My experience of publishing on demand has been good, but marketing is the issue. With my co-author, who is a photographer, I produced a children's book about a cottontail rabbit. I needed color and quality paper, especially as the story was a true one, with the emphasis on biology and realism.
I put the text together and inserted the photographs in Microsoft Word. Then I uploaded the Word file. The publisher, Lulu.com, converted it. Then I uploaded the front and back covers, which had been created as JPG files. Then the publishers put it all together, and I could order a book right away.
The uploading took less than two hours and the rest less than an hour. I got my first copy within a week.
I have been very happy with Lulu. They do a nice job and provide lots of choices in size, binding, and paper. They also provide templates for whichever choices you make.
They have NO upfront charge. The price of the book in the end obviously includes their profit but seems reasonable, and the per unit cost goes down if you order in bulk.
My book is 32 pages and perfectly bound, glossy cover, and the basic cost for a single copy was about $10. When I bought 200, it went down to about $7.
(See Saving Pocket on Lulu.)
You can add royalties at whatever level you want, but if you do, Lulu will charge a small percentage to cover the cost of dealing with that.
Anyway, you are in charge of everything, and Lulu does what you say. There can be complications at different steps in the process, but the instructions they give are good, and the whole process is really easy.
If you run into a problem, Lulu has real-time help in the form of instant messaging. I am very happy with the whole thing.
I wanted an ISBN number and purchased my own independently. Then Lulu puts it on the back cover for you. It is only about $50.
The problem is marketing. You have to purchase packages for that, and for most of the packages you have to follow more restricted guidelines for size, etc.
I didn't do any of that but decided to try and deal with selling myself. The book is attractive, and I have sold a few hundred - just to friends and neighbors. A few bookstores decided to take some on consignment, because they are so attractive and people liked them at first sight.
It is too soon, however, to tell if many will actually sell.
Saving Pocket is selling for about $12 in stores - Lulu has them for sale online at just over $12. I can sell them personally for $10 and make $3 profit on each.
So the marketing is still an issue, and I am hoping a local publisher will take it over. Lulu is quite happy to allow this, if anyone is interested.
The bottom line is that I can definitely recommend Lulu - no money needed, they do nice work, and they're easy to deal with.
Visit Elizabeth's website.
Read another self-publisher's review of Lulu.