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      May 25, 2020

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Lulu Review

Best Self Publishing Companies

To help you find the Best Self Publishers, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth Lulu Review.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Self Publishers, please Click Here

What's the best self-publishing company? Whether you've already tried the big publishing houses and gotten rejection letters or you just want to jump right in and take the do-it-yourself approach, self-publishing can get your books on people's shelves - both digital and traditional.

One of the first questions you'll need to consider is whether you want to publish your book in print, as an eBook, or both. Some services cater strictly to one or the other, so you'll want to give that decision some thought before you dive into selecting a self-publishing provider.

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Best Reviews

2020

Self Publishing Reviews

3 stars
Lulu

LULU

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Cost:

Starting at $1.72 for a single standard paperback

FREE for eBooks

Royalties:

10-20% charged on most sales, plus any applicable retailer fees/markup

Lulu was one of the first companies to offer self-publishing services. Since 2002, the company has produced more than two million publications spanning 225 countries and territories, with services available in six languages. Their sub-brands include Glasstree Academic Publishing and Lulu Jr.

Despite Lulu's long track record in the self-publishing industry, we were a little underwhelmed when considering their services. It felt like we had to click all over the site to find the tools and resources we needed to walk us through the process: some were found under the Create heading, others under Sell, and still more under Learn. And, some of those subpages had URLs that weren't secure, which didn't leave a strong positive impression.

In order to use Lulu, we recommend that you start with the Create section. Your first decision is whether you want to self-publish a print book or an eBook. (Unlike many of their competitors, Lulu doesn't have a button that lets you opt in to do both types of book at once.) Whichever route you choose, it's important that you read the Creator Guide carefully and format your manuscript according to Lulu's requirements. Or, if you're willing to pay for publishing services, you can find links (also under the Create section) to options for editing, cover design/illustration, and all-inclusive packages.

Once your book is ready for publication, you'll head to the Sell tab. Again, pay attention to the formatting so that your submission will be approved for retail distribution. At the time of this review, Lulu offered only a handful distribution channels: their own, plus Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram for print, plus iBooks, Nook, Amazon Kindle and Kobo for eBooks. That's far fewer channels than most of the self-publishing services we evaluated..

Pricing varies widely, depending on the services and packages you select. We thought it was interesting that Lulu offers the ability to self-publish a single paperback for less than $2. During our most recent visits to the Lulu site, there was also a pop-up code offering a 15% discount on all print products on one occasion, and a 10% off on Print Books and Calendars.

When it comes to royalties, expect Lulu to take 10% of your net sales on eBooks and 20% on any print books. You'll also pay "hosting fees" to Lulu for eBooks listed on their proprietary bookstore, similar to the distribution fees charged by the other distribution channels. For example, if your eBook lists for $8.99, you can expect to make $7.20 if it sells via Lulu's bookstore, $3.46 if via Amazon Kindle, and so on.

Customer feedback on Lulu is mostly favorable: over more than 4000 reviews, 85% were either 4 or 5 stars. Looking at the comments, however, we found mixed results. Some people raved about the ease of the process and how quickly they got help when there were problems. Others complained that it took several days to get a response from customer reps, revisions and corrections that authors submitted weren't taken care of on Lulu's end, and that printing/shipping/delivery was slower than promised.

While we appreciate Lulu's place as a pioneer in the self-publishing industry, it appears that they've allowed themselves to be outpaced by their competitors in terms of price, ease of use, and overall customer service. The company still has a decent reputation with its users and isn't a bad choice for self-publishing - but you might find a broader distribution of your book with another service.

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Continued from above

A related question is your budget. How much are you able - and willing - to spend to publish your work? If you're starting out on a shoestring, you may want to give more attention to the self-publishing companies that will format, publish and list your book at absolutely no cost; you'll just pay out of the royalties on whatever you actually sell. On the other hand, if the sky's the limit and it's your dream to see thousands of copies on the shelves at your local bookstores and beyond, you'll find many services that will give you everything from full-color packages to marketing and beyond.

The good news is that technology has made it possible to get your work published with very few of the costs formerly associated with the process. There's no need for a warehouse stocked with your books when Print-on-Demand publishing has made it easy and economical for copies to be made whenever needed. You can still access any add-on service you may want, like professional editing or book covers designed by graphic artists, but most of the process of self-publishing takes out the guesswork and hassle - which saves you time and money every step of the way.

As you evaluate the many self-publishing companies available today, you'll quickly see that they vary widely in terms of services offered, costs, and reach for prospective readers of your work. Here are several handy criteria to bear in mind, to help you make your decision:

  • Anticipated Costs and Fees. While some self-publishing services are "free", almost all of them take a percentage of your profit when you sell copies of your book. What will you expect to pay upfront, and what will your royalties be?
  • Range of Services. What does the self-publishing company offer you as an author? How much work will you need to do with your manuscript before you submit it for publishing? Are these services included with any fees paid, or will you pay a la carte for each one you need?
  • Reach. Where will your book be made available for sale? Will your work be listed on some of the most well-known online bookstores, or just within the self-publishing company's internal bookstore?
  • Reputation. What do other authors say about the service? Did they have a smooth experience getting their book self-published? Does the company have a good track record of client service, including knowledgeable, friendly reps who can answer your questions along the way?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best self-publishing cmpanies available today. We hope this information helps you narrow down your options and find the perfect fit for getting your book published!

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