Thursday, August 30, 2007

Self-publishing made simple

Courtesy of a posting on the PubLib listserv, I was led to an interesting self-publishing site, called Lulu. It claims to be "fast, easy and free" and it looks as though all those claims are true.

Basically you upload a word processing document, choose from a list of formats the desired size and style of your book, select or upload cover art, and hit convert. Your word processing document is then converted to a pdf file in the selected size and becomes available for printing. Printing is done on demand, thus there is no inventory and no cost until an order is placed. Lulu sets a cost price (reflecting their cost to produce the book) and you enter your desired royalty. Cost plus royalty equals the selling price and Lulu gets a percentage of your royalty as a fee. Costs are surprisingly low- $15 for a dust-covered hardcover, although the use of color pages increases the cost somewhat. Lulu also hosts your published work for free. You also hold copyright to your published work.

"Our revenue comes from a small commission on the profits of each item sold. Lulu only makes money if you do. As a creator, you set the amount of Creator Revenue on the items you publish. The Lulu commission is 25% of the Creator Revenue you set (or 19¢, whichever is greater). The Lulu commission therefore equals 20% of the total profit of each item sold."

The list of their all-time best sellers is interesting- it includes programming guides as well as The Ultimate Tatoo guide.

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