Is Lulu.com Right for Your Book? Update-Questions Addressed

Since my last Lulu post, I got in touch with Henry Hutton one of the founders of Lulu (though he is no longer on staff there) and he graciously took the time to answer the questions I had. Here is an update as promised.

First, I'd taken issue with the inability to contact a human and ask questions when someone doesn't have an account as they may just be in the research stage. On a related issue, I noted that there's no way to get samples of the two main paper types that are offered (Standard & Publisher Grade) to further aid in the decision process, without actually opening an account/printing something.

Basically the answer to both questions is this; Lulu's business model is not high-touch, high level customer service. That's part of the reason there's no set up fee; it's very much DIY oriented. Henry also agreed that a good analogy in comparing Lulu to some other fee-based/POD publishers is a bit like going out to eat. You can go fast food and pay a minimal amount but you also get minimal personal service. If you want more, you need to go to a different type of place and generally you'll pay more to be waited on.

With regard to the cost per book being on the high side, the most important concept is you need to know your goals and then figure out if Lulu can help you reach them. According to Henry, there are circumstances where Lulu will be a better fit than others. If retail sales (Amazon, B & N.com) is a big part of your business plan, using Lulu alone may not be the best choice. If you are going to sell back of the room or from your website (and utilize Lulu Marketplace), it may be more viable. You cannot avoid crunching the numbers if you want to make an educated decision.

As I've stated before, there's a lot more to understand about Lulu than just the fact that they have low/no set up costs. If you take your time to work through those details, either on your own or with help, I can guarantee you'll have a better experience all the way around.

If you do want help, feel free to contact me or Henry is also a publishing coach (with extra insight into Lulu). More info at his site: http://www.publishandsell.com.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

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