Lulu.com Is It Right for Your Book? Part 2

Yesterday, in Part 1, I touched on the user-friendliness of Lulu for a new customer. I noted that there is a lot of information and that can be good, especially when it comes to actually uploading files/producing your book.

However, as I delved further today, one of the things I noticed is that if you are a first time author and you haven't done much research into how publishing works, you could easily get confused or miss important details.

In my opinion, the big picture info you should have to make a good choice is not presented well. Also, unless you know what many of the industry terms mean, you might not know/be able to figure out where to look for the answers you seek. Even with the background/understanding I have of the process from writing my current book, I really had to hunt for for many of the answers I was looking for.

Which brings us to our topic for today- the publishing services Lulu offers.

Before we dive into that though, I want to make sure everyone is clear as to the three main kinds of publishing: 1. Someone else handles all the business stuff for you 2. You pay someone else to do it for you 3. You handle it all through vendor/service providers. Normally, most of the companies that offer to help you publish fit into category 1 or 2.

First key point for today-Lulu's services fall into both the 2nd and 3rd category.

The next key point you need to be aware of is that they distinguish their services within the context of distribution, even though most of the time, publishing options are not defined this way. This is definitely one area where they cause a lot of unnecessary confusion in my opinion.

To summarize their publishing options briefly:

1. Published by Lulu
This is mostly category #2 above (even though it sorta sounds like #1). You have the option to let Lulu assign an ISBN from their group of numbers which then makes them "publisher of record". They also list your book appropriately for some distribution through some online channels.

Currently, this service is free, which is one of the factors that attracts many authors to them because most of the other companies in category 2 charge for this within their packages that also include set-up, design etc.

2. Published by You
As I mentioned above, category #3 means you also become a publisher. You set up your own biz and find vendors to help you do all the tasks that need to be done to produce a book. The Published by You option helps you with some of this.

In this case, they help you get an ISBN but you own it and are listed as publisher. Beyond that, they also help you with your barcode and list you with one of the major wholesalers which allows you to have some distribution with online retailers. Note: This is for the U.S. I did not research other how it works for other countries though the info appears to be available.

As you might be starting to notice, there's a lot more to understanding Lulu than the four or five steps they show on the main page. I'm going to continue to break it down for you, but if you'd like info faster, or more personalized help, you might want to consider a one on one coaching session. You can check out my services page at www.publishinganswers.com for more details.

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett

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