From Author to Publisher [Webinar And Q&A]

Did you catch the first Lulu Webinar of 2019? If you missed it, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the video of the webinar, along with some of the questions we received during the webinar along with answers from the Lulu Team. If we missed your question, please drop it in the comments and we’ll get you an answer!

Watch the webinar!

Be sure to keep an eye on our Lulu University Webinar Channel for all future Webinar videos!

From Author to Publisher: Webinar description

Inventory management, back-listed titles that don’t sell, set-up fees, and printing and shipping costs have haunted publishers for decades. If you’re aspiring to become a publisher today, don’t get stuck in the past. In this webinar, team Lulu explored how advances in printing technology make it easier than ever to overcome these problems and grow your business in 2019. This webinar covered the benefits of print-on-demand, what it means to be a publisher, and how to implement a successful POD strategy, and real-world examples to help you create a plan of action to grow your publishing business.


Questions and Answers

Q: How do I access the International Market?

A: Lulu is perfect for accessing or expanding your international presence. During the Webinar, Chelsea talked about The Mantle, a publisher using Lulu xPress to print and ship internationally. But that’s just the printing and fulfillment end of the puzzle. The first step is finding and building an audience. That starts (often) with social media. Once you have interest from an international audience, building out a print-on-demand network that can get your book to your international customer is as simple as finding the right Lulu tool for your needs – xPress for manual ordering and shipping, API or Shopify for a fully automated experience, and Lulu.com for retail distribution.

Q: Does Shopify charge a fee?

A: Yes. You can view their pricing plans here: https://www.shopify.com/pricing. Their cheapest plan is Shopify Lite for $9 / month.

Q: What is API?

A: An API is an application programming interface. During the webinar, Chelsea made the analogy to eating at a restaurant. The diner (your customer) orders food from the wait person (API) who relays the order to the kitchen (Lulu). Once the food is ready, the wait person (still the API) delivers the food back to the diner. And you (the owner of the restaurant) enjoys the profits of this exchange.

Later in February, we’ll be publishing a two-part series on this blog looking in more detail at our API and how technology like APIs hold the key to future adaptability of the web. Stay tuned for that.

Q: How does the process work with Lulu xPress and Shopify? Do people place the order with Shopify and Lulu fulfills it?

A: You’ll need to have a Lulu xPress account (free) and a Shopify store. Then, you’ll need to connect the Lulu xPress app to your Shopify store. Your customers can shop for books directly from your online store and Lulu will print and fulfill it. You can learn more about the Lulu xPress app for Shopify HERE.

Q: Can you describe the integration of Lulu and it’s distribution partners? How does distribution work?

A: Distribution (to Amazon, Ingram, Barnes & Noble, and others for ebooks) is still handled through our Lulu.com platform. We have a lot of information regarding retailer distribution that can be found on our Knowledge Base.

Q: Does Lulu have marketing resources?

A: Yes! We have a lot of free resources on our blog and YouTube channel. We also have free downloadable guides to help you with everything from formatting to marketing on our Toolkit.

Q: Does Lulu have design tools on the website to help design the book cover? Do you have tips for designing your cover with Lulu’s tools?

A: If you want to use our Cover tools, we offer a drag-and-drop type designer on Lulu.com and a basic text and image designer on xPress. On both platforms we also offer you the means to upload a cover you’ve created outside of Lulu.

Here are a few tips on how to use these tools and best practices for designing your cover. This article might also be helpful with some additional tips for creating an amazing cover.

Q: Do you have tips for designing your cover elsewhere (say Canva) and importing it to Lulu?

A: Before you start designing you cover, finalize your interior and upload it to get the specifications for your cover. This is critical. You don’t want to create a cover and have to go back and resize it after the fact.

Also, be sure to export your cover file with high-res images (300ppi) and with all layers flattened. These two points will help ensure we can print your cover beautifully,

Q: Does Lulu offer design services?

A: Yes, we offer paid services for editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing.

Q: Does Lulu offer spiral bound books?

A: We sure do! You can view the print book products we offer on Lulu here: http://www.lulu.com/create/books.

And the products we offer on Lulu xPress here: https://xpress.lulu.com/our-products

Q: Lulu only seems to have set book sizes (eg 6″ x 9″). For something like a graphic novel which is a specific set size slightly larger (6 5/8″ x 10 1/8″) than 6″ X 9″ but smaller than 7″ x 10″, can Lulu produce in this custom size?

And won’t a fully illustrated colour book of 200 pages have expensive production costs and therefore even higher selling costs which would put it out of the price range of the average customer?

A: We do not currently offer fully customized sizing. All of our printing needs to fit some parameters, so we can easily utilize a variety of print facilities around the world. For graphic novels specifically, we’ve seen the vast majority printed at 6×9 or 7×10 (and to a lesser extent A4). I’m not sure we’ve ever had anyone specifically look for the classic graphic novel sizing before. Offering the size is certainly something we’ll consider.

To your question of pricing, I encourage your to add your specifications in our Calculator to see what the cost might run. I just spec’d out a 200 page, 7×10, standard color at a cost of $9.40 to print. To add to this, I flipped through a few graphic novels from my own collection and I see the average page count closer to 100.

That said, yes print-on-demand is going to cost a bit more than offset printing does for commercial publishers. But Marvel and DC can afford to run off 50,000 copies of the newest Batman novel because they know they’ll get sales. For a self-published author or small publisher, the added versatility of print-on-demand outweighs the increased production cost.

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