Publishing With

If you are writing for family only, you might want to consider using to print your book, particularly if your relatives all over the country will want copies. Other ways to publish are explained in my article “Publishing for Family Only.” Lulu is a publishing services company that can get your book listed on Amazon for public sales, but there are more cost-effective ways to do that (see my article on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing or even IngramSpark). With Lulu, you can set your book to NOT be listed for public sales. Do not let it be put in the Lulu online bookstore for public sales either.

Reasons to publish for family only include the book containing details that could result in identity theft or having other very personal information and stories of interest only to family. There may be copyright issues if you quoted text from other sources or song lyrics without permissions—these permissions can be hard to get and expensive. Books for public sales are held to much higher standards of writing and looks, and you need marketing skills and perseverance to sell to strangers.

To work with Lulu, open an account with them—everything is done online and the website holds a lot of how-to and other useful information. You may send an email to ask questions or get more information, but you may get a reply to just look at the documents available on the website. The site has a pricing calculator to determine approximate cost of printing your book (not including shipping). You will start a book project, entering the title and book size and other details asked for.

You will need to provide a .pdf cover file and a professionally formatted .pdf interior manuscript file. The website has templates to download and use, but your cover/interior designer can download whatever she/he needs directly from the website. Lulu has a list of professionals you can hire—be sure to view their websites and books they have worked on to help determine their skill levels. When you get these .pdf files you log back in and go to your project to upload them. OR you may want to give your book designer your password so she/he can get everything ready for you (change your password later).

The interior gets uploaded first so the cover’s final spine width can be calculated and a new cover template generated for download (send to your interior designer to fix the cover). Your interior upload will probably result in “error” messages which you send to your book designer to interpret and fix anything if necessary. Often these messages are just advice on what to check for. Once final files are uploaded and all specifications are entered (generally b&w interior, white #60 pages) order a proof copy mailed to you, and maybe your book designer, too, to verify everything looks perfect. If okay, you can then place orders to be mailed to you or directly to your relatives’ addresses. Remember to change your password first if you gave it to your designer.