Chris A. Baird | September 15, 2020
Is Lulu Good For Self Publishing?

I have self-published a lot of books already that are of different formats and through various platforms. So, is Lulu good for self publishing? Let me tell you the answer based on my experience.

All These Different Platforms

Today's question has three answers. You're going to want to stick around because the third answer is a secret as to why Lulu or where Lulu fits in terms of making the most money possible off of your books.

What you should use it for and what you shouldn't use it for? So, let's get into it. The question that was sent in today was, is Lulu good for self publishing?

Now, this is a very common question that I receive quite often. It's a question that doesn't necessarily show up with Lulu. It could be what should I use Lulu for?

What about Ingram Spark or Smashwords? What about Draft2Digital, Kindle Amazon, or ACX? There are just so many different ways a person can sell their book on so many different platforms.

It can be quite confusing to know what exactly you should use the different platforms for. As well as some platforms that perhaps we shouldn't be using at all. That is what I'm going to answer today.

It is where Lulu fits into this picture of what you should or shouldn't be using it for. But before I do that, check out my absolutely free Self-Publishing Checklist to help you get started on your journey. If you already have started, it will help you discover what steps you're missing.

So, is Lulu good for self publishing? Let me tell you about my story. When I first started, I started publishing on Kindle, KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing.

I put my books on Kindle and then I quickly understood that you need to get them onto Createspace which is now KDP Print. So that we have print copies and Kindle copies available. That was where I started and I did several books along this line.

Until somebody pointed out the fact that I was losing tons of money by not having audiobooks. At which point, I then went on to ACX and I figured that process out of finding narrators and such to get my books into audiobook format.

Check out this related article: Where To Find A Professional Narrator?

Now, at that point, I thought well, this is it. I have a paperback, I have my eBook, and I have my audiobook. Well, that was not quite the whole story.

I thought I had it every work since I know KDP Print pushes their books out everywhere. But after that, I discovered that you can also do hardback books.

The part that I didn't completely understand was that some people only like to read books in the exact format that they decide. So, for some people, the only format they are really liking to do that is hardback. Some people only like to listen to their books.

While some people only like to read them on their Kindle. So we need to make sure that the books are available in the format that people like to have them when they are ready to listen or read those books.

If they don't have them in the format they want, then they will find another book that is in the format that they want. So, what is the correct solution? Well, you are going to want to have them in all of the formats that they have.

But I can say that when it came to the hardback books, that was when I did some exploration. Only to find out that Lulu was the easiest way to get high-quality hard covered books onto the market. That was a big discovery for me.

Now, there are some downsides to it including the proof costs and such. But I'll get into that in a bit. So the question then was, is Lulu good for self publishing?

The answer is yes, however, I would only be using it for the hardcover books. So, the reason being is because the others already cover a lot of the distribution. You have to pay for the proof, you do not have to pay for an ISBN.

Get To Know More About Lulu

But they are going to mail you a copy of the book that they want you to hold in your hands. Now, most sites like KDP Print and Ingram Spark, they will give you the ability to look at the proof digitally, as a PDF.

You can look at it and see if you like what it looks like and improve it from there. But for some reason, I believe that Lulu wants you to order that proof. Because they want to ensure you're serious about the book.

You are not just throwing garbage out there. I've heard of strategies from some people, they are putting 10 books a day that is just low content books. I believe all strategies are worth testing out.

If you want to throw out journals every day for people with puppies, or people with Pitbulls, all these sorts of things. So that people can write journals or their diaries or whatever it might be, low-content books.

You would be less likely to play this game if you have to put some money into it and order a copy of the book. So in a way, they are making their money off of that if they are going to have to review the thing in the first place.

But then if you don't like it, what are you going to do? Order another proof and another proof and it just starts to get a little bit heavy at that point. I would say that if you want to maximize it and bring additional money in, the great thing is that with Lulu you are no longer on Amazon.

In other words, if Amazon were to shut your account down which they do regularly if you ever get a warning message from Amazon, you need to respond to that immediately. They shut accounts down for violating rules that sometimes we're not completely clear to people what rules in the first place.

So it's good not to have all your money or all your eggs in one basket, not having everything in just Amazon. But if you put it onto Lulu, it goes back to Amazon anyways. It will link up with your book on Amazon.

So that's another important point to remember. That Lulu will get you on Amazon but you are not actually on Amazon. In the sense that if they shut your Amazon account down, you will continue making sales through Amazon through Lulu.

They will also distribute your hardback books in areas that maybe some of the softback books will not go. The next thing is that there are some downsides to Lulu. One of them was as I mentioned here, to pay for the proof.

Check out this related article: Lulu Self Publishing Prices?

But the other is the reporting has been very difficult to follow. They have changed their system around a bit. It makes a little bit hard to do it.

A lot of people complain about that but I can tell you every downside has an upside as well. The more difficult it is to publish in an area like Ingram Spark. It requires an ISBN and it makes you wait sometime before you get paid or whatever.

So it discourages people from actually publishing in these locations. Even though it's not the secret answer of the day, it is a very important secret which is a barrier to entry. Things that make it like a wall.

Pushing people out of particular publishing platforms. These can be very strategic for you to go into these exact areas because you won't have as much competition. The more and harder the work it requires somebody to do something, the less likely they are going to do that very thing.

It means there will be fewer books that you are competing against. They are going to be looking at your Lulu books and saying, wow this person has hardback books. It also establishes if you see a book and it's available in Kindle, you can get it in EPUB.

You can get it on the print. You can get it in hardback and audiobook and all these formats. It also establishes the book is probably higher quality because who would go through so much work to get it into 50 different formats.

Different Formats On Different Locations

I think you can also put it on a CD. Some people still are listening to probably cassette tapes if you were able to get it in that format. I remember one comment that Elon Musk made and he said that when we're putting our content out there like he was annoyed that PayPal was no longer willing to take checks.

The reason being is well, checks that are so old-fashioned. Why would anybody want to deal with checks? The answer is there is always a market.

So why would you want to cut out a huge chunk of the population who may still use checks? I mean I'm saying that even if they wanted to use paper money, you should be willing to accept it unless you see that it cost you too much on administrative costs.

In which case you can just raise the fees to compensate. So you always will make a profit off of every transaction. There is no reason you should ever lose money on transactions unless of course, it's just about bringing new customers in.

But otherwise, it's okay as long as you have got it available in the formats and you're making money. Once you've got it out there that proof is approved on Lulu, you're going to continue making money off of this particular location.

Now let's get into the secret answer of the day. It is that the maximum distributions look like this. I'm going to tell you where you need to publish your different books.

Lulu is going to be for your hardbacks. You're going to use Smashwords for your eBooks. We put an EPUB file in there and we distribute it through that route.

Check out this related article: Is Austin Macauley A Vanity Publisher?

For our KDP, we're going to use Kindle Direct Publishing to also get eBooks out through a different set of channels. It will be on Amazon and the Kindle format.

Even though Smashwords can also do it, if you make a certain number of sales, we're going to use KDP Print to get our paperbacks through Amazon. And they are going to have their distribution.

We should be making $5 a book per manuscript and $1 for each additional manuscript that goes. It should be $3 for the Kindle books, $2 profit for our single books, and an additional $1 for each additional manuscript.

Those are our base prices and we raise them if we start making a lot of sales. We raise them by $1 for every 5 to 10 sales that we are making on those specific books. Ingram Spark will be for paperbacks extended.

The downside of Ingram Spark is a little similar, the cost for reviewing your book which can cost 50 unless you're using a promo code. The other thing with Ingram Spark is that they will charge you for the ISBN unless you can get it for free like in Canada or Norway.

Or maybe you want to buy a batch of them? You can and there are tricks to getting cheap ISBN codes. Then ACX which also requires you to have a narrator and you have to have a Kindle version of the book to get your audiobooks out there.

But this is what I would call the optimal set at least today. The optimal set in terms of we want the maximum distribution in as many formats as possible in as many locations as possible. So that we are not just limited to having all of our stuff on Amazon.

We never want to risk Amazon by simply deciding, nope we want to cut all of your royalties in half. I do not want to lose those royalties on the other sites so that literally the business can keep going even if we are shut down in one location.

So, is Lulu good for self publishing? What have you found? Go ahead and let me know below in the comments. Have you found that Lulu is a great place?

Maybe you use it for something I'm not using it for. I would love to hear your comments and I respond to 100% of all comments that come in or questions that you may have. Check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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