Friday, May 19, 2006

Lulu and CC

Say what? Well, is a site for self-publishers, and, in its own estimation, is currently the world's biggest print-on-demand service for books. And CC is shorthand for Creative Commons, which is an outfit doing some of the most clear-headed and valuable thinking about copyright issues. (This blog, for instance, is published under a CC licence, and if you scroll down until you reach the bottom of the right-hand column, and then click on the link which says Creative Commons licence, you can read all about it.)

CC has a blog, and the blog currently offers an interview with Stephen Fraser of Lulu. It provides a handy overview of what Lulu offers, and I for one learnt a few things from it.

First, it seems that you can create something via Lulu, such as an ebook, and publish it free. Now that I find interesting.

Why? Well, because oddly enough I've come to the conclusion that for some of my stuff it's almost a waste of time going to all the trouble (and expense) of preparing a print version, when the profit is negligible. Far easier, much quicker, and more effective, I've decided, is to give it away in ebook form.

Last year I published On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile as a freebie, and have no regrets. The object really is to find readers, and I'm likely to find more readers with free stuff than with something that costs £10. So that's one new thing I've learnt about Lulu. I don't suppose that using Lulu as a distributor is going to create vast interest, even with free stuff, and probably there are other web sites which offer a similar facility, but it's something to bear in mind.

Another useful development is that, as from this month, anything ordered from Lulu from an address in Europe will actually be printed and shipped from Europe.

By the way, Lulu can also be used to publish music, video, images, and software.

I have noticed that there are people who are deeply suspicious of Lulu. Well, by all means read the small print. And remember that they are a profit-making organisation. But it looks like a useful service to me.


Matt Bell said...

My co-writer and I used Lulu to self-publish a small collection from our micro-fiction blog, Dancing On Fly Ash: One Hundred Word Stories. We published the book under a CC license, and are offering it as a free download from our website in addition to selling the print edition. We couldn't be happier with the book (I did all the cover art/layout myself, so everything is ours), and sales have been excellent.

Note though, that we don't sell the book through Lulu. We had a run printed by them and then sold them on our website. Royalties are higher, plus this way we can sign copies and ship faster.

Ron Morgans said...

I self published my thriller KILL CHASE on Lulu and found it excellent. It takes a while to get to grips with the systems, but it´s easy to correct your printing mistakes until your work is perfect - then publish.
Ron Morgans.

John Schneider said...

I used a recommended vendor suggested by LuLu (Dixie Press)and had a really bad experience - the work was sloppy and amateurish. That was a sharp contrast to the rave reviews and high rating the company received on LuLu's service site. That experienced has caused me to take a step back and reconsider if I want to work with LuLu.