I have had lots of questions about publishing on other platforms besides Createspace. One that I love to use, especially for spiral bound journals and planners is Lulu. So I thought today I would share with you my thoughts and experiences about publishing on this site.
Here's a couple of my main reasons for using Lulu.
- They pay out royalties via PayPal with no minimum threshold – this is a huge benefit to those of us outside of the U.S.
- They offer spiral bound publishing at reasonable prices.
- They offer more than just book publishing – calendars and photo books are other options.
- You can have more than one account using the same PayPal email.
- They will send non spiral books to Barnes & Noble and the iTunes store.
- Color printing is pretty reasonable too.
How to Start Using Lulu
Your first step is to register a new account, you can do that here. That is my affiliate link, another nice feature, and if you sign up I get a commission fee and you get the first copy of your new book for free! When going through the set up process, be sure to get on to their newsletter list. They send out lots of coupons which are great for using for ordering proof copies of your journals and planners.
As I mentioned earlier you can publish a variety of products using Lulu. Here are the current options:
Spiral Bound books
When setting up your account remember that you will want to set up a new account for each Pen name, if you are using one. This is something I didn't know about at first, and if I want to separate my current books will have to move them. Lulu will automatically add all your published books to your Author Spotlight page. You can brand this page as you wish, and delete it if you don't want to have an author page. This is a nice feature and is a good way to advertise your books at one time. You can also add videos and links to the page as well.
The creator tools section has some nice features. This is where you will find the link to your Author Spotlight page and to the Refer a Friend section as well. You will also see the Edit Thank You Note section. This is great for using when you are Printing on Demand and shipping a book to a customer. I would use this for selling Spiral bound journals on Etsy, for example. Just customize the note and it will be sent with your order.
The other helpful tools include the Calculators. Here you can determine the cost of your journals and planners before creating them. This way you can see what the different sizes would cost to publish, as well as the binding options. It's also useful for helping decide what it would cost to print in color.
The other calculator is the Spine Width calculator which is handy to help you create your PDF ecovers. Lulu has a new feature where you can design your covers using their Cover Creator. I still prefer to create my own PDF covers as they will be more customized. But using their creator is a good way to get started, especially if the covers are holding you back.
Creating Your First Journal
The process of creating your journal is very simple and straight forward. I have found it to be much faster than uploading your files to Createspace, but that is a much larger marketplace for your books.
After logging into your account you go to My Projects and click on the type of book you want to publish. I select the Premium Paperback section as this gives you higher quality paper and is where you will find the option for Spiral [coil] bound books. Select the size of the journal and the binding options. Not all sizes have the same bindings available, so play around and see what is available for your project.
Once you have selected your size, added the number of pages you will see the cost of your journal and the cover specifications. You can then download a template to use or if you have your interior ready, then click on the Make this book to get started.
Now you are ready to add your book. The next step is to name your book and add your author or pen name. Depending on the type of journal or planner you are creating, you will be shown your options for the different marketplaces. Plus you can just have your journal available to you only. This can be useful for custom orders or for creating family planners, calendars or photo books.
If your planner was available with regular binding then you will have the options to sell on Barnes & Noble.
On the next screen you will be asked to upload your PDF file. What I have noticed is that some fonts can cause issues so it's best to stick to ones like Garamond for your copyright, title and back blurb if you are adding one. You can also upload your file in Microsoft Word Doc and Docx and TXT.
If you happen to lose your place while uploading your documents Lulu saves your work so when you log back in you can just start again from where you left off. Another nice feature is that if you are publishing lots of journals with the same interior then once you have uploaded it once, you can use the Files On Lulu section for your next journal. This means that you are only adding the new covers each time. This makes the process faster as well.
Once uploaded if there are any areas they will be displayed at the top of the page in Pink and Red. Fix any issues and then proceed by making your Files Print Ready.
The next step is to create your cover. You can upload a PDF cover but one thing to note is that Lulu uses Postscripts for their sizes, but they do have the pixels in brackets now. Adjust your cover to ensure it's the right size and then upload.
The next sections are where you add your description and the price of your journal. Once you are happy with everything finish your project and your journal is now available. If you choose to order a proof be sure to check for coupons. I have always found a coupon on their home page or via being a subscriber to their newsletter. This can really help with the shipping costs as well.
So that's a quick overview of how easy it is to publish on Lulu. One of the major differences is that your journals area available immediately, there is no approval process as there is with Createspace. The one thing I wish that had was the Previewer so you can see what your journal looks like. What I have done is upload the book to Createspace and use the previewer before adding the files to Lulu. Or if you have published the book all ready, and just doing a spiral or coil bound version you know that they layout is good.
If you would like more training on how to get your journals and planners published I have my signature course available now. It focuses on how to create journals by using PowerPoint templates and there is also a full section on publishing on Createspace and I will be adding video training of how to publish on Lulu as well.
Hopefully that has helped and if you have any more questions just leave them in the comments below.