How To Publish Your Own Book (In Print) Cheaply

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By now, you should have heard of eBooks. It is pretty much an electronic book. In the past few years, eBooks are becoming more and more popular as everyone can write a book and publish it on the internet. Just have a look at Make Use Of’s eBook collection. The only downside with eBooks is that it is only available online in an electronic format. What happens if you want to publish it and have it in print? You are up for a lot of fees, printing, and publication costs. You need to get legal advice, find a publisher to publish your book and the list goes on.

Thankfully there is a solution where you can self publish your own book, or sell it in a bookshop. The best thing is, you don’t even have to spend a cent. And here’s how.

Lulu.com allows you to sell your book in bookshops, online and allow buyers to purchase printed copies in a simple 5-step process. If you have created eBooks before, this is a service that you must use. You easily and cheaply get your book published in a printed format with its own ISBN number.

publish your own book

Before you start, it is a good idea to already have an eBook created. It is also advised that you thoroughly check it and make sure it has been proofread and edited. If in the future you do find mistakes, you can easily add a revision to the published book.

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So lets publish our own first book. The first step is to select whether or not you want to have a hard cover and a paperback. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but it is your book, so I’ll let you decide which option you want to take.publish your own book

Once you have selected your type, you can now enter the title of the book. Remember that you can change the title later if you haven’t thought of one yet. Next, select how you want your book to be distributed. If you want your book to have an ISBN and sold in shops and online bookstores, choose the last option. With this, you may have to purchase a Distribution Package. This can cost around $75. If you don’t want any of these services, and have your book promoted to a global network, you can choose just to sell it on the Lulu Marketplace. publish your own book

The next step is to choose the size, binding, and colour of your book. It also gives you the manufacturing cost and this will be deducted from the total sale price of the book when it is sold in print. You may also want to check out the Book Pricing page which tells you how much cost is taken out of the book when someone purchases it.

how to publish a book

If you have chosen to get an ISBN for your book, you can then choose one of the preferred options.

how to publish a book

The next step is to upload the electronic version of your book. Simply click on browse and upload your file. Remember to ensure that your file does not have a cover page on it as this will be created later. Your upload may not be accepted by Lulu as well. Make sure it is in a format that they accept and the font the text is in is acceptable as well.how to publish a book

Now, the fun part – creating a cover for our book. There is a simple wizard that you can use to make the front cover and the back cover of the book. You can add images, write a blurb, change the theme or change the layout to the many different that options Lulu offer. Make sure you have a look at all the themes and layouts and choose one that you like.

how to publish your own book

Now that our book is complete and we have a front cover, it is time to give our book a description, put it in a category, give it some keywords and add a license to it. This is to ensure people can find it on the Lulu Marketplace, or other locations where it may be viewed (such as Google Books)

how to publish your own book

Since our book is ready to be published, the next step is to set a price. I have decided I want to make $10 profit from this book. If you want to offer a downloadable version of the book, make sure you select the option. When setting your price, decide between your acceptable profit margin and readership. So it may be worthwhile to have a lower price and allow more people to buy it. This can benefit you in a number of ways. Firstly, the more people that buy your book, the more publicity and exposure it receives. Secondly, people have a higher chance of buying the book at a lower price which means more sales and effectively making up the difference in price if you would have set a high price.

how to publish your own book

We are now done. All you have to do is to review your book, and to make sure that all the information is correct. Once done, click Save and Finish.

how to publish your own book

Congratulations. You have now published your first book. All you have to do is promote it and watch the royalties role in. A good way to promote something is on a blog. So if you want to learn Java Programming, why don’t you have a look at my published book on Lulu.com?

Have any of you, MakeUseOf readers published a book? Here’s your chance to share it.

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Comments (10)
  • mart

    LightningSource.com is cheaper and just as good as Lulu. I’m pretty sure it also provides for many more formats of book size and type. I don’t know why the article only covers Lulu as there are plenty of print-on-demand solutions out there now.

  • matbaa

    Thanks it’s nice….

  • Leisureguy

    I published my book with Lulu and was very pleased—but then Lulu started charging excessively for shipping costs (one copy of my book, shipped domestically, was $11), which killed individual sales through Lulu. Plus their fees became too high.

    I switched to CreateSpace, Amazon.com’s Publish on Demand service, and I’ve been very happy. Fees are much lower (I was even able to drop the price of the book while increasing its size), and shipping charges for an individual title are as low as $2.80 (media mail). In addition, CreateSpace pays monthly rather than quarterly.

    If you’re just starting, I would recommend CreateSpace, with the provisio that you buy the “Pro plan” ($39), which reduces the costs even more.

    You can see my book’s storefront at gourmetshaving.com.

  • Jack Cola

    Hi, and thanks for your positive comments!

    You have mentioned some very good points there Scooter, and I totally agree with you. Lulu is really good if you created an eBook and want to expand to paper to increase your audience, but if you want to actually publish a book and and sell it (for example Harry Potter, The Dummy series etc), it is best that you find a well known publisher to print your books. And as you said, when you want to make some decent money, find a publisher, but to expand your audience (especially if you only publish online) then Lulu is a great way for people to buy printed copies.

  • Scooter

    I’m an avid follower of MakeUseOf. I visit the site just about everyday. I’ve never left a comment here before, but this a topic I have some expertise in.
    As someone that has been in the book printing business for over 20 years I can tell you that Lulu does serve a certain niche. But I have folks come to me after using Lulu when they are ready to print their book in a quantity that can actually do some good. Books produced by Lulu could work as a starting point to get you familiar with what is involved with printing a book. And that can be useful.
    Printing books one at a time “on demand” are very expensive per book. And you aren’t likely to sell many of them, with one of the cookie cutter designs, to anyone other than your family members. If you have a really large family that might work. Otherwise it takes quantities of at least 1,000 books, or more before it can give a return that is worth your effort. The cost per book falls dramatically when you print at least a few hundred books at a time compared to one at a time.
    If you’ve got a good idea for a book, go for it! Try the Lulu way. But if you really want your book to succeed you’ll need to think a little bigger at some point.

    • djangelic

      hi scooter, thats great to know, but do you have any recomendations for people who want to print more? maybe a company or website? My friend published his book on http://www.iuniverse.com, and i think this is pretty much the same as lulu no? any help is appreciated!

    • Scooter

      Hi djangelic,
      My company works with individuals wanting to self-publish. No need to use a traditional publisher. You can do it all yourself. You’ll need to find a good book manufacturer, like morrisprint.com ,or do a google search for “book manufacturing”.
      Short run printing from 100 to 1,000 books is usually best produced digitally and over 1,000 books would be best on a traditional offset printing press. Get a few quotes from a few companies and have them send you a sample of their work. Hope that helps.

    • AMD

      Does your company promote self-published books?

    • Scooter

      We don’t offer book promotion or distribution, but you can do that yourself. We specialize in the book manufacturing side of things. We do have a few articles about book promotion at our website. http://www.morrisprint.com/news.html
      Many of our customers have set up marketing arrangements with Amazon Advantage and Barnes & Noble.
      http://advantage.amazon.com/gp/vendor/public/browse-main
      http://www.barnesandnoble.com/help/cds2.asp?PID=8148&userid=ygx1JEBr3W&cds2Pid=946
      I hope that helps.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.