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  1. #1
    Cass 303
    Guest

    Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    I am seriously considering self-publishing with Lulu.com and am very interested in hearing about other authors\' experiences, good or bad. I\'ve done a lot of basic research and definitely believe I have a firm grasp of the concept; I mostly want to know whether other writers were happy when they went this route.

    I started querying traditional (AAR-registered) agents several months ago, and that went okay -- right now, three agents have my partial and one has my full manuscript -- but all four of them have had it for a couple of months now, and the more I learn about publishing, the more dubious I am that I\'ll get picked up by an agent. Given the choice between selling a few hundred self-published copies and never having my manuscript see the light of day, I\'m thinking maybe self-publishing isn\'t as much of a cop-out as I once believed.

    I won\'t take this step until I\'ve heard back from the four agents now holding my work (I\'ll start following up on them when three months have passed since they requested it -- and those dates fall respectively in late April - mid May), but I\'m just trying to look ahead a bit and start my Plan B.



  2. #2
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    Cass,

    Are you kidding me?!?

    Lots of writers have queried over a hundred agents without getting a single request for a partial, much less the full manuscript.

    The fact that you've received so much interest in your book shows your query's well-written and your book's probably in the same shape. If you hang in there, it's only a matter of time and finding the right agent before you become a success story.

    If these agents pass, post a couple of pages in the Writing Craft forum here. The current tight economy forces all agents to behave more cautiously than usual. Perhaps we can make polishing suggestions that will nudge an on-the-fence agent into offering representation.

    BTW, is your book a novel, creative nonfiction or how-to nonfiction?

    Good luck!
    Janice

  3. #3
    Kathy Loop
    Guest

    Re: Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    I used lulu.com for my novel back in 2006 when I tried to sell it. I however only did the free options they offer. If you are wanting them to edit it, revise, or read your story, or do anything like that you have to pay them so much money. This sent me searching for a website that would help me edit my novel myself. I found this place. If you are low on cash and money like me, that is a good place to self-publish it.

    All I can say is when you go to upload your novel, be sure it's in the font size you want, the pages are just the way you want them, and everything. All they do is print a copy and create it into a book. They do no editing or anything if you just sell from their site. I have had a good experience with them but I'm not sure on their cost services. It was also easy for my friends and family to go on their and order a book. They allow you to set the price, and just about anything else you need on there as well. Check out their general base book cost. You get royalty from them depending on how many books you sell, and your price placed on the book, etc. I'm sure you may already know this stuff. Lulu.com is the only place I've dealt with so I can't compare it to anyone or any other website for publishing. They are very helpful and I beleive they have a live chat when I needed some help from them.

    If you want your self-published book to have a copyright page, you have to make it up yourself so when you upload your book and purchase your book, you make all the pages. Since it's self-published I suppose that's why it's done that way.

    Make sense? I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Kathy Loop
    Guest

    Re: Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    Also, I created my own webpage on freewebs.com (www.kathyloop.webs.com) it's nice. I just started mine up and I'm far from selling my books right now, but they have some widgets and things to set it up as a business website. I think you can put a link to your page on lulu.com and the customers will still purchase it through lulu.com

  5. #5
    Cass 303
    Guest

    Re: Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    Many thanks to both of you who responded. Kathy, I appreciate the technical advice. I won't be looking for editing help, and the positives you listed are just the kinds of things I wanted to know about -- ease of ordering & fulfillment, etc.

    Janice, thanks so much for boosting my confidence. To answer your question about genre, it's creative nonfiction. As I said, self-publishing would be my "Plan B" after I hear back from the four agents currently holding my partial and/or manuscript. I just feel like I want to be ready to move ahead with an alternative quickly, rather than starting from square one if/when all four of them reject it. (I've also queried about 25 other agents who did NOT ask for a partial, so that's why I'm not giving a lot of consideration to starting another round of agent queries at that point.)

    I don't mean to sound overly pessimistic. I just feel like chances are it's not going to happen with an agent, even though I'm flattered by the number who asked to see my work after receiving my query letter. But I'll probably know more after I start following up with them later this month.

  6. #6
    Lorelei Armstrong
    Guest

    Re: Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    "Selling a few hundred" copies of a self-published book might be overly optimistic. How will you sell them? Trunk of your car? Flea markets? Bookstores rarely carry self-published books.

    If this is a memoir you want for your friends and family, go ahead. Just don't spend a lot of money on it. If, however, you have any hopes for strangers to buy and read your book, hold out for an agent and a commercial house.

  7. #7
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    walnuts vs. rollerskates

    Cass, whyOwhy are you flogging your ms. only to a small handful of agents?

    Economy be damned, there's hundreds of publishing houses out there. The only thing stopping you from going after most of them is... well, you. Sure, there's some who "only consider agented manuscripts," but that's hardly the majority.

    The only reason to avoid this is because you have little to no belief in yourself, & want someone else to do the work & take the prime responsibility -- which is suicidal if you're intending to self-publish.

    Therefore: either way you go, you probably need to work on your confidence.

    Four rejections wouldn't even constitute a drop in the ocean. Start writing your next book, right darned now. And start doing some shorter pieces & submitting them to credible magazines, preferably the ones ending in "Review." As you're doing all that, keep sending your ms. out. When you finally get to a hundred rejections, you should have most of your next ms. done &/or some good reviews from your journal publications -- both of which help catch attention from agents.

    When you've got four or five completed mss., all of them polished to perfection & cast up bereft upon the killing shores, & no interest in your shorter pieces, THEN you might consider self-publishing.

    And because you've spent a few years sticking to it, & believing in yourself, you'll probably kick some serious ass.

  8. #8
    Ann Crispin
    Guest

    Re: walnuts vs. rollerskates

    There's a blog post Cass should read on Writer Beware's blog. You can search on the title, which is "If I Can Just Get it Out There," which is one of the "Writers Myths" series I did.

    I may have copied and pasted the post here on Writers.net

    It's just as true now as when I initially wrote it.

    Here's the URL:

    http://www.accrispin.blogspot.com

    Good luck.

    -Ann C. Crispin

  9. #9
    Cass 303
    Guest

    Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    Ann, thanks so much for weighing in. I haven't had any luck yet in finding the blog post you referred to but will try again when I have more time. I did, however, find on your blog a very recent post by Victoria Strauss about self-publishing, which was interesting.

    The thing is, we've strayed rather far from my original, fairly specific question, which was whether consumers were happy with lulu.com. I was mostly looking for information about how user-friendly it is, whether the fulfillment system works, what kinds of formatting pitfalls crop up, etc. Although the debate about the merits of self-publishing has been interesting, it's not what I originally sought to learn. As I've said, self-publishing is my Plan B and I may or may not resort to it. But also, self-publishing and commercial publishing are not mutually exclusive. No, I'm not expecting the success of that recent writer who is in the news all the time for finding huge success with a commercial publisher after self-publishing, but I also don't see choosing the one as eliminating the possibility of the other.

    Anyway, for now I'm postponing the decision, because not only will it be another month before I feel comfortable following up with the four agents now holding my partials, but I also just found out that I am going to be attending a writers' conference this summer that includes the opportunity for face-to-face agent pitches. Yes, I do realize that the value of agent pitches is another topic that has recently been debated on this board, but regardless, it makes sense for me to hold off until after I get that opportunity before putting any money into self-publishing.

    Having said all that, I want to again express my genuine appreciation to everyone who has responded to my question, and I will be delighted if the conversation can continue.

  10. #10
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: Interested in your experiences with Lulu.com

    Cass,

    Evidently, you haven't searched the threads here. Use need to use the Search in blue letters immediately above and below the posts, not the Search box at the very top of the page.

    I typed in "Lulu" and selected "all dates", which turned up over 800 posts on this forum, most recent dates first. You can do the same for Booklocker and other PODs and probably get even more responses. Here's the link to the list of posts on Lulu:

    <http://www.writers.net/forum/search.php?f=13&search=Lulu&match=1&date=0&fldsubj ect=1&fldbody=1>

    Best,
    Janice

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