personal publishing

Electronic Publishers: Lulu

If you are considering any kind of publishing project – print or electronic, family history or photo book – you need to know about Lulu. Lulu offers a comprehensive collection of services at a cost anyone can afford.

Lulu provides a platform to help you create your own publication – a family history, local history, wedding or reunion photo book, family cookbook, society journal, magazine, e-book and more – with no up-front costs and no minimum purchases. You have a huge selection of book sizes and bindings and many projects include an online production area that walks you through the production process.

If you need help, Lulu is there for you. Online support includes a huge help area with documentation as well as video tutorials. You can download word processing templates for each available book size which give you the correct page sizes and margins to format your manuscript. There’s also a marketplace of fee-based services available for proofreading, editing, cover design, marketing and much more.

Lulu Project Page

Once your project is published, Lulu offers a storefront where you determine the selling price and Lulu manages the sale, collects the money, prints and ships the book, provides customer support and then sends you the profits. Even if you’re publishing a family history for only four or five people, you aren’t stuck with a large number of copies just to meet a minimum order. If you only want one, you only order one.

There’s more to Lulu than just books. They have a great calendar creation app that will pull your photos in from Flickr, Facebook, Smugmug and Photobucket and even allow you to include your own special dates like birthdays and anniversaries. If you have a lot of digital content you’d like to share, you can create your own CDs and DVDs. From scanned letters and journals to family videos, this is a great way to make family treasures available to all.

A book published on Lulu has reach far beyond the Lulu storefront. Sometime back, Lulu and Amazon penned an agreement to make Lulu books available on Amazon. My family cookbook from 2006 can now be purchased at both Lulu and Amazon. The only thing I had to do to make it happen was say yes when Lulu asked if I would be interested. Lulu also has agreements with Apple to convert your book to ePUB format and list it in Apple’s iBookstore for you. Lulu does the conversion, provides the ISBN, lists your book, provides sales reports and sends you your check.

Lulu offers good quality products and the support and services to help create them. For the family historian and local genealogical and historical societies, it’s a publishing service too good to ignore.

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