Wanting to try self-publishing your books through Lulu? Here’s a Lulu self publishing review with pros and cons.
When it comes to self-publishing, many people go with Amazon. But I'm telling you, that can be dangerous - putting all your eggs in one basket. And that's one of the reasons why, in today's video, we're going to explore Lulu for your self-publishing needs.
In today's topic, we are going to be doing a deep dive into Lulu self-publishing review with pros and cons for 2023. So, the first thing you need to know is: what is Lulu Publishing? Well, it's a self-publishing platform. It's very similar to Amazon, IngramSpark, and a lot of the other platforms.
Now, it's not the big giant in the room like Amazon is, but in this sense, it has some advantages that you're going to find as we go through the video today and take a deep dive into the different pluses and minuses that we find within Lulu. They provide all sorts of tools for creators to.
As writers, you're able to create, publish, and distribute using a lot of the tools that you're going to find on the Lulu website. So, it has a lot of flexibility. I know I started with them when I was doing hardcover books before Amazon started doing that.
But now, Amazon has been doing a lot of things recently. So, I would still recommend shooting your hardcover books on Lulu instead. You may even do both. But the one downside, of course, with Lulu, is that they do require you to buy a proof copy of a book when you publish it online.
The other thing is Lulu is an online bookstore because they're going to have all of these books. And so, readers can come onto Lulu. And the final thing that Lulu provides is a community for writers.
Now, they've changed the name over the years with regards to this Lulu Forum that they previously had, where writers would be able to go back and forth discussing different aspects of things that are offered on Lulu. But you can also go there and use it just as a bookstore.
Is Lulu Publishing Legit?
So, is Lulu Publishing legit? Well, is it legitimate? Yes, it's completely legitimate. It's been around for over 19 years. You have 1.1 million titles. It's even more than that now, and it has an awful lot of positive reviews that are coming in. The other thing they have is transparency.
They clearly outline exactly the services that they provide and who exactly can provide these different things that they have there. Does it make sense? So, they're able to break down the costs associated with the different services that they have.
And so, you're able to see exactly what your royalties are going to be based on the pricing you choose, the regions you choose, and the distribution that you choose. So, there are a lot of different things to keep in mind. It's also reputable, so it's received a lot of positive recognition over the years from industry experts and media outlets.
I know I've listened to them on lots of podcasts, and even their YouTube channel, we're able to interact a bit with the people on there who are showing exactly what they have to offer. And it has partnerships across the board with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and several other houses as it pushes the books.
These books are distributed to a lot of different platforms and have helped a lot of self-published authors get started. Just like Amazon helped me, it was Amazon that got me started. But I moved over to Lulu rather quickly when I realized the value of having a hardcover book for my books.
How to Self-Publish on Lulu Press
So, how to self-publish on Lulu Press? The first thing you're going to need to do is prepare your manuscript. And they're going to need, it depends upon what kind of book you're doing. So, if you're going to be doing a paperback, well then obviously you're going to need a PDF for the paperback.
And if you're going to be doing some sort of an e-book, they're going to need the EPUB version of your book. And for the paperback, you have to choose the size and all sorts of different dimensions. And they also have a huge amount of options available.
In my opinion, may be even wider than almost anybody else on the market in terms of all these weird shapes and sizes. Now, I still recommend going with six by nine just because it's the most common format to use. So, I would stick with that, regardless.
And then you can use that on all of their different platforms, and it gives you maximum distribution, and also will get your books into libraries. So, I would go for that. Then, you're going to upload and format your manuscript.
Check out this related article: How To Self-Publish In A Recession
So, you're going to make sure the manuscript is perfectly formatted. That's one of the reasons why I have a formatting course for authors. You can find it below in the description, where I show you how to use the tool Jutoh to specifically go in there and get it perfectly formatted.
Then, you're going to publish and distribute your book through their site. You're going to be able to choose which channels you want, also the pricing, the dimensions, all of the different things. They have discounts on bulk orders for your books.
How Much Does It Cost to Publish with Lulu?
So, how much does it cost to publish with Lulu? Now, Lulu does offer a range of different publishing packages, from beginner level to premium level. So, it's going to vary depending on what you need.
But in terms of just the basic cost, they're, of course, going to be charging for the printing costs of the book, which are unfortunately a little bit higher than some of the other sites. And that's one of the reasons why I started doing hardcover books on Amazon until I started seeing some of the huge disadvantages on the Amazon front.
So, that was one of the things. They will give you an ISBN. They will use one of their ISBNs for your specific book. But for the paperback books, they're then going to require that you take your paperback books and have to order a copy, so they guarantee that you're checking for quality. Does that make sense?
They also have other additional services like adding cover design and marketing services available at additional fees. So, their pricing model does allow authors to earn a commission, earn sales, and earn royalties on those things. You can adjust the prices for the different regions to ensure the royalties that you're earning are reasonable.
I can tell you that I have enjoyed earning thousands of dollars off of Lulu over the last several years since I started going through them. They're not my top publishing platform; however, I've probably earned way more money off of Amazon and IngramSpark.
But I like them for their hardcover books, personally. And I know some people like them because of the paper quality and a lot of the packaging and some of the advanced aspects of their publishing service.
Lulu Vs Other Book Publishing with cost of Printing
So, Lulu vs other book publishing platforms. Let's talk about the cost of printing, and this is a big one because Lulu offers competitive pricing. Now, as I mentioned, it's still higher, so there's an issue there. But if you do publish through them, you're going to find your book on Amazon as well.
It's going to be pushed out there as long as you don't turn the off switch on that, which I would not recommend doing. Lulu provides greater control over pricing and royalties, so you can adjust all these levers and dials. You can control almost everything when it comes to Lulu.
I also find IngramSpark allows this high level of control, but Lulu is locked in on making sure that you can adjust the price to ensure you maximize your royalties. They offer a large range of distribution options. Now, my personal preference is again choosing that 6 by 9 size and then choosing every checkbox you possibly can to get your book into the hands of as many readers as possible.
Selling Your Books on Lulu
So, sell your books on Lulu, you can set up a storefront on Lulu itself. The downside, of course, is that they're not as well-known, so if you do that, it makes it a little bit harder to drive traffic there, as opposed to someone like Amazon where people already have their credit cards attached and are ready to buy.
But it's worth considering. You can make the storefront look however you want, kind of like you would do on your website, but you can do it right through Lulu. Then, you can choose your distribution channels and promote your books.
They have marketing services available to ensure that you're able to get your books in front of the eyes of a lot more people. Because if you think, like many authors do, that you can publish a book and it's just going to make sales, you're sorely mistaken.
Check out this related article: My Best Book Marketing Tip
This can be a very painful lesson for a lot of authors to learn that marketing plays a very big role. That's one of the reasons I teach in my content marketing course, which you can find the link to below.
I show you exactly how you can, at a very reasonable price, go through the whole process of marketing your book yourself. Or you can pay thousands of dollars for somebody else to do it. But I would highly recommend you learn that skill set yourself. That's just something to keep in mind.
Review of Lulu Publishing
So, let's review Lulu publishing. The positive aspects are they have a wide range of publishing options and services. They offer print-on-demand, so you don't have to order piles of books and have them in your garage.
No, they just print and send them out. But at the same time, they give you control over the pricing. If you're going to order in batches, you'll be able to get it through. Now, on the criticism side, some authors have had problems with Lulu's customer service. I've also experienced some challenges there.
And when they upgraded Lulu 2.0, there were a lot of complaints that came against them. But overall, I would say that it's a legitimate and reputable self-publishing platform that's worth considering.
Pros of Lulu Publishing
So, the pros of Lulu publishing, the big one is the flexibility and control that we've been talking about throughout this entire video. As you go on to Lulu, you'll find that you can control most aspects of the self-publishing process.
One other thing is affordability. It doesn't cost you anything, but you do need to order a proof copy of the paperback versions that you're choosing to put onto Lulu. And they do offer distribution and marketing support. They're able to answer your questions, even if they don't always respond quickly. They take their time with that.
Cons of Lulu Publishing
It's difficult to reach them on the phone, and that ties in a bit with the cons of Lulu publishing. So, you have limited distribution options with Lulu, so you sort of have to stick with what they have. That's one of the reasons why I recommend also going with IngramSpark and Amazon in addition.
Don't just stick with Lulu. It's always a good idea to go with all of the different platforms as you're putting your books on the market to maximize distribution. Formatting issues can also be a little bit of a challenge. I have seen some people who have had formatting challenges with Lulu.
The other thing is customer service, which probably receives the most complaints from the people I've come across when it comes to Lulu. But there's also this issue of the pricing side in terms of the royalties.
The books are higher priced, and the royalty rates can be a little bit lower than some of the other competitors. That's also something you should look out for when it comes to Lulu. Having to pay to get a proof copy of your book has always been a little bit of a downside.
Is Lulu Publishing Worth It? - Honest Review
So, is Lulu publishing worth it? Honest review. So, the factors to consider: well, we're looking at the quality of the final book. We're looking at the author's goals in terms of what exactly you're trying to accomplish.
We like maybe the flexibility of these hardback books and all these different types of hardback books and the bindings, and all of these sleeves you can have on your books. They have tons of options and all sorts of different sizes, much bigger than anything I've seen on any of the other websites I've ever used.
Check out this related article: What Everybody Ought To Know About Book Reviews
So, it gives you a lot of flexibility in this. You have an affordable option. It doesn't cost that much to publish there, and it gives you control over your publishing and maintaining publishing rights. You can build that storefront, as we were talking about, and the distribution options hit several areas.
But you can probably maximize it if you top it off by simply going to IngramSpark and doing it, and so some authors have experienced some formatting issues and some difficulties regarding using the templates on the covers and things like that. But for the most part, I would say that it is worth going with Lulu.
So, in conclusion, you can see there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when you're making this difficult decision about whether to go with Lulu or to go with one of its competitors. And in the end, it's up to you to sort of look and see those different options and which ones meet your needs.
Because I would say Lulu is something you should consider for, at a minimum, your hardcover books—the ones that are making lots of sales on these other platforms. Give Lulu a chance when it comes to that and see if they can't deliver.
But my question for you today is: Have you published with Lulu? And if you have, how was your publishing experience? Because I need to know exactly the experiences you've had, as that is, in some ways, equally if not more important than the ones I've had.
You can help me figure out if there are things that I'm missing in this review of Lulu that would help me out. So please let me know and check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.