How to actually publish your book on Lulu.com.
You're getting pretty frustrated. You've tried all the reputable literary agents, publishers won't look at you, but you know you have a saleable product. Now's the time to consider publishing your beloved mss. Below is how to do this on a site I can personally recommend: Lulu. They are efficient, cheap and deliver the goods instantly.
1. Make sure your Word or pdf file is exactly how it should look as a book. Compare it with a book on your bookshelf. Single-spaced, paragraphs indented, pages numbered, mss separated into chronological chapters. Add a title page, then copyright page: copy from a published book, substituting the word lulu as publisher. Don't worry about the ISBN no. at this stage. This is added later. Follow this with a dedication page, e.g. 'For Grandma'. Then Chapter 1. When you are absolutely sure your mss has been edited, checked for grammar, and is as perfect as you can manage, save it as luluv1.
1. Go to www.lulu.com and click on publish.
2. Click on paper-back books.
3. Follow the simple step-by-step instructions. This includes first giving your book a title, author name and choosing a size (I went with the standard US size 6x9" which Lulu prefers). Then upload your own preferably pdf file (via Browse and upload).
4. An exciting stage is then to choose or upload a cover. If you are clever with design and know exactly how you want your book to look, then upload your own image, but it's tricky to upload a wrap-around version. Follow lulu's guidelines. If, like me, you don't know how, then choose from a range of Lulu designs and simply click on the one that best suits your mss story. Lulu then converts the design and your first image of your very own book is displayed, complete with title and your author name. You can choose font size, background and spine colours. Then decide what you want the blurb on the back page to say - a few lines is best, and upload that when prompted by Lulu.
5. If at any stage, something goes wrong, you can either go back and start again, or there is a 'live Lulu person' button. Rest assured, I used that many times!
6. The whole process should take no longer than 20 minutes, after which an amazing message comes up: Congratulations, you have successfully published your book.
7. It is then recommended you purchase a copy for yourself to look at, before arranging distribution. You, as author, buy this at a discounted rate, but you get to set the purchase price for your future readers, from which you receive creator revenue of 80% of the purchase price. You can also set a PC-view royalty revenue of c.$4, whereby the public can pay to read your book on-line.
8. Distribution options: 1. a lulu-only book, where readers buy it on-line from lulu.com, and the hard-copy book gets sent directly to their door; 2. distributed-by-lulu package, where your book is advertised at 60,000 bookshop sites, Amazon etc. Originally, this cost around $50, but Lulu offered this service to me free recently. It's only with this package that you get an actual ISBN number. Once Lulu allocates you a no, you need to add this to your copyright page and upload the mss again. An ISBN no. is a useful resource for buyers without PCs to order your book at walk-in shops, so I would recommend this route.
9. You then build your own Lulu online storefront. I link this to my own blog-site to generate direct links, and more sales.
10. Remember. You can forget inventories — when a book is purchased, it gets printed, shipped and delivered on demand. Your buyers even receive a pre-printed thank-you note from you, the author. Importantly to you, the strapped-for-cash budding author, the lulu publishing process can be absolutely free of charge to you. In most cases, all it costs you is the purchase of your own first copy.
So, what do you think? Could you do all that? You never know, until you try. The important thing is to work on that mss of yours. You've always wanted to write a book, so now there's no excuse. Just mention me on your Acknowledgements page!
.................................................Next week, I'll talk about how you can market your book