I would like to begin by saying this is not about putting down LULU publishing. They did exactly everything they said they would do. I chose the Black & White Classic package and as promised, they formatted my book in both paperback and epub. They also put together my book cover and made sure that my book was made available in most book outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and many more.
So why did I leave LULU to go independent? It’s what LULU cannot do that I was unwilling to accept, let me explain.
The first issue I had was when the time came to make an Amazon promotion. I was told by Amazon to contact LULU, so I did. LULU told me that this cannot be done. I would have to change my book price on LULU and the price will then be changed everywhere my book is sold. This is not a problem except it will take anywhere between four to six weeks to be applied throughout the book outlets. This makes it difficult for me to promote my book when I don’t even know the date my price will change. Also, it would take another four to six weeks to change the price back to its original price.
My second encounter is when I wanted to change my keywords and add a second category. Again Amazon said I need to contact LULU to do this. When I did, they gave me the same story. Again it will take anywhere between four to six weeks for the updates because it needs to go to all distributors. So this means that I can’t experiment unless I’m okay with the time restrictions between experiments.
Finally, and I say finally only so as not to blabber unnecessarily is the price I chose for my book. I decided so as to have a minimum financial reward for my paperback book to price it at $17.99 US and my electron book at $1.99 US. After production costs and everyone’s profit, I was told my royalty would be $1.97 US for my paperback. It’s not much but I did not write my book for financial reasons. But even this was not provided. I ended up getting 97 cents per sale on both book formats. When I asked why the discrepancy they said it’s because different outlets make different profits. I failed to see how all I get is 97 cents from a sale price of $17.99.
This is when I decided LULU publishing was not meant for me. I’m guessing if someone wants to leave everything in someone else’s hand then LULU is probably a good choice, but there is a price to pay. After I left LULU, it took me about one month to get organized and independently republish my book through KDP Amazon. I will see afterward if I will go with other outlets like Barnes & Noble. I can now promote my book when I want to, reduce the paperback price all the while rewarding myself with better royalties and most important to me, I now have total control on how my book will be distributed.
The lesson is to ask lots of questions before choosing a publisher, not just what they can do for you but also what they can’t do.
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