LuLu.com is famed for its fast, easy road to self publishing (a book.) I have to agree. I have written several unpublished books and have been seeking agents over the last 2 years. But it wasn’t until I joined a local writer’s group that I heard of LuLu.com, or even remotely considered self publishing.
Like many people, I was wary of self-publishing for several reasons. I was unsure how to market my own book and didn’t see it soaring without support. Second, I didn’t want to pay for it. The goal is to make money…not spend it, right? Third, once I self-published, what then? Is my book like in the pool of millions with no chance of finding light? Scary.
Finally, and kind of egotistically, I wanted my work to be validated by someone in the field. I guess I am just searching, like any artist, and want desperately for someone else to say, “Oh my gosh! There is such an audience for this! This is wonderful. Let me pay you a million dollars to be the superstar you are!” But really, it was wishful. (Just once, I would LOVE to be the rouge success story! Can I get an amen?)
Let me come clean about a couple of things right up front. I have never self published. However, I have uploaded a manuscript to Lulu and paid $5 (+ tax) and gotten a beautiful copy of my book in the mail. And this is why I love Lulu. Perhaps one day, I will be able to say, I made my millions on Lulu.com. But today, I am just thrilled with holding a book in my hand, that looks like a real book. I am one step closer to my dream – and my dream is only $79 – $89 dollars away (from what I can tell.)
This baby step with Lulu has given me such confidence and encouragement. I think these are 2 things an artist/writer desperately needs. So, let me tell you my top three reasons why I love Lulu so far…
Ease of Use
I am skeptical of everything. So, exploring new sites on-line is not easy for me. I have to read every detail and make sure I understand that…A.) I am not going to be charged some crazy charge. B.) I am not going to be locked in to some weird contractual thing. C.) I am not going to get spam email from this day forward till the end of my living days. D.) If I do choose to spend a dime, that I get what I pay for! And…that’s it. Those are my fears. And I had these until I heard the testimonial of a guy in my writer’s group who got a $5 copy of his book for us all to proofread. I loved that.
I asked, “Hey, how did you get this? What did it cost? What happens now?” All the usual questions a skeptic would ask.
He assured, “Just log on…LuLu will totally walk you through the steps. It is really easy. I assure you, to get a copy of your manuscript like this one is only five bucks.” I just couldn’t believe that. A ream of paper is $4 at Wal-Mart, right?
This conversation peaked my curiosity and the minute I got home, I logged on and uploaded my book. I followed the simple prompts. I read the fine print. And 3 days later I had a work I had only seen on computer paper and screen…in the form of a soft back 5 X 7 book! A real book! My name was on the cover and spine and all. I beamed. My picture was on the back cover…and my kids saw what I have been working on and were so proud. It really was that easy.
Holding My Book!
Now, you wouldn’t think this would be a game changer…to hold your work in the form of a finished product. But…believe me, it is. Here are 3 reasons why.
Having the book in your hand is very different than perusing chapters on 8.5 x 11 copy paper. It is a vision coming to life. You feel close to your dream. And nothing is better than feeling like all you have invested in is…real!
2.) Proofreading Made Enjoyable!
It is very different to look at a computer screen – sitting in the same chair, with the same lighting; night after night…it all looks the same. But, sitting on your couch, or lying in bed and holding a book drives a new look on your words and you will see it more objectively; particularly the transitions.
I didn’t see my transitions from chapter to chapter half as clearly as when the page went white, and I turned it. The ability to proofread your own work more objectively (after years of work) is shocking, refreshing and most of all, offers the sense of progress. It isn’t the same old words; the new format brings new life to the old words. It comes to life!
3.) Belief of Others.
I cannot tell you how many times that I read excerpts to my husband, or asked his opinion. I also can’t even begin to number of times I said to my kids, “I am working on my book.” And yet, there is nothing tangible to let those around you know how serious you are about the work, outside of your word.
For the most part, people are very visual. And when your support group, be it husband, friends, family or your own children see the book, with a cover and title and foreword and index and….whatever! They will amp their support. And in some instances, they will glow with pride in the light of your accomplishment.
All of that makes self publishing a draft so worth it because your confidence as a writer will soar. And your faith in the project you have labored over will increase.
ISBN and Options!
Simply because I upload a book and request a draft (or two, or three) doesn’t lock me, or my words in for life. In fact, it is a cheap avenue to see your work as a whole in book form without a commitment. And I like that.
Of course, the options on Lulu are plentiful. Beyond printing your draft and getting excited, you can request an editor, or advisor. You can pay for all kinds of help, reasonably if you need it. I am not a personal fan of paying to make money. However, some things are unavoidable if you are agent/publisher-less. One such thing is an ISBN, or universal bar code for your book.
If you bought and ISBN outright, it would cost you no matter what venue you used in self publishing. For a comparable price on Lulu, you can get more. You can buy an ISBN through Lulu cheaper than, or as cheap as, other sites and Lulu automatically lists your book in their library for purchase.
You can also pay a little more to be in the Barnes and Nobel searchable online library or Amazon (for under $100 total, last time I checked.) And the list of self-promotion and increased earning avenues goes on and on. I love all of these options.
No, I don’t work for Lulu. And no, I have never published with them. But, I have taken baby steps that make me really happy and encourage me to no end. And sometimes, that is all an unknown author needs to press on.
May we all share and press on…till we see press!