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What About Lulu, etc? Ask Anne, the Pro Writer

Hello Ms. Wayman,

I just finished reading your eBook Through the Labyrinth of Writing Your Book. First let me say it was a pleasure to read straight talk from a writer. I have been a writer on and off for a number of years in my profession. By on and off I mean whenever they needed something writen I am the one they seek out, now I am in the process of writing a book and I want to self publish.

Since you speak plainly and do not beat around the bush I am wondering if you have an opinion of self-publishing sites like lulu.com?

I thank you in advance for your response.



Hi Anita,

Oh my, please call me Anne! And thanks for downloading the free ebook from Writing With Vision. I’m glad you found it helpful.

You’re right to be careful about the organizations offering self-publishing services on the web. Some of them are, if not scams exactly, more interested in upselling you editorial packages you may not need and marketing programs that probably won’t work than anything else.

That said, I like lulu.com. In fact, if you’d wanted a paperback  copy of the ebook, Through the Labyrinth of Writing Your Book,  you can order it from lulu. Lulu lets you upload your book for free and you can actually buy a single copy so you’re going to spend less than $10 or $15 to get one copy of your book if you use their covers. Lulu keeps adding services that can drive the cost up, so pay close attention.

Booklocker.com is another self-publishing services company I totally trust. Angela Hoy has been doing this well for years. Her charges are always clear. You will spend at least $500 to get started there, which isn’t bad.

But neither means your book will sell well, if at all. The marketing of any self-published book is totally up to you. Even if you go with a self-publishing service that promises to market (and you’ll pay a great deal more money, money that is wasted in my opinion) you’ll still be 99.9% responsible for marketing the book.

Peter Bowerman who wrote The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living is right when he says self-publishing is really going into business for yourself. He also points out that to get economies of scale you’ve got to go with a real printer rather than one of the self-publishing companies.

As with so much in life, it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and how big a budget you have.

Do you have a question about freelance writing? Ask Anne, The Writing Pro – that’s me 😉 Ask in the comments or send an email and put Q&A in the subject line so I can sort it out from spam and I’ll do my best. Meanwhile, you’ll find some Q&A’s here:

Ask Anne, The Pro Writer

Write well and often,

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Well, I’ve mentioned this before, but here goes again. I’ve bound my own poetry books for a long time. They’re about 3/4-inch thick, 4.25 x 5.5 inches. I print them 4 up and get them trimmed at Kinko’s (now Fedex). I have full control over the process except as noted. I design and print my own covers on my color printer. I never have boxes full of left-overs. I print as needed. Each book is hand-crafted, perfect bound. I’m preparing to launch a YA novel by offering review copies to people with children of the target age (11 to 15).

    Lulu looks okay, if you don’t get suckered into buying a lot of expensive services. But if you just want one copy to show people or keep on your coffee table, you can make a pretty good paperback, with very little effort, yourself. Last time I checked, the poetry books cost me about $3 each, not counting my binding time. Maybe a bit more, now. If the book catches on, I’ll look at Lulu and other options.

    Bookbinding is a nice hobby. I’m not into sewing and making hard-bound books, but there are other forms that are very artistic and ideal for self-expression.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

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