After you’ve made your project, pushed up your manuscript and made up your cover, your book is pretty much ready to distribute. If you’ve selected the option to have Lulu push your book for you, then there’s just two things left to do.
Like Smashwords, Lulu can be an aggregator, taking the pain out of submitting your work through the various channels. Smashwords has a bazillion (last count, anyway) eBook distributors (minus Google Play and Amazon). Lulu has fewer, but, as far as print books go, there are two important ones: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
It’s one of those trade-off situations: They take a cut of the price of the book and, in return they take the hard work out of submitting, pricing, updating, etc. Personally, I want to spend more time writing, and less time chasing up the various distributors, so this option is for me.
Opting into the GlobalREACH program is as easy as pressing the button that says, “Activate GlobalREACH”. Well, it’s not that easy.
Sure, any old shmuck can join up, but because we’re no longer dealing with just you, Lulu and Mr. Magoo, the third parties have certain requirements that need to be met. Remember how we needed the table of contents to be correct, and the page numbers in the right spots, and Copyright and ISBN to be valid, and the cover to be up to scratch?
This is why we went through all of that, because, if you follow Lulu’s rules, there won’t be any issues with the third parties. Still, you need to do one last thing:
Order a copy of your own book.
Not only is this a good idea in general, it lets Lulu know that you’ve received the book as if you were a customer and, therefore, are viewing the final product AS THE CUSTOMER. Think about it: If you bought a book online and, when you received it, things were out of whack, you’d be kinda miffed, right? Who would you blame? The author? The publisher? The printer? The Distributor? Well, let’s not get the audience off-side, eh, and instead make sure that everything is tickety-boo before pushing it out.
This is your last chance to make sure that your book is EXACTLY how you want it.
OK, so there’s money involved, because you’ve got time on the press, but, from another viewpoint, you’re not handing over $10k for a first run of a thousand books, you’re spending $20 to make sure your book is ready. It’s a worthwhile investment.
You can wait until Lulu has free shipping offers, or 30% books, or whatever, if that helps. A little thing that annoys me about having it printed and sent is that the printers are just down the road in Port Melbourne. They send it, via Toll, in Port Melbourne to my office in, you guessed it, Port Melbourne. Can’t I just go and, you know, pick it up from the press when it’s done? Nope.
Once you’ve received your book, check it over, each page, double check the table of contents, the ISBN (must match inside and out), the spelling of the titles, the colours and position of the cover, etc.
If you’re not happy, don’t approve it.
After any changes, you make a ‘revision’ in Lulu. Once you’re convinced you’ve nailed it, you’ll need to order a copy of that revision, and verify that it’s correct.
If you are happy, go back to Lulu and click ‘Approve’. It’s that easy. If you skipped to this bit, I’m going to print the last sentence again, just for good measure.
If you’re not happy, don’t approve.
If you need to make changes after you’ve approved it, that’s still ok, but you’ll need to understand that the third parties won’t be too happy if they’ve cranked out a run of a thousand for their hungry audiences, only to be told that the run was a dud.
Lulu allows you to make revisions at any time, so pump the brakes, make yourself a cup of tea and take the opportunity to get it right. It’s exciting, because you’re *this* close to having your book sitting on a physical shelf.
Don’t stuff it up now.