Lulu or BookSurge

May 4, 2009

Drinking From a Cold Spring, Erin Lee Gafill

Drinking From a Cold Spring, Erin Lee Gafill

I put together our manuscript using In Design and the cover in Photoshop. I followed the guidelines from Lulu and, even though I knew I had a ways to go in terms of editing and color correction for the cover, I ordered four copies from LuLu.com. 

This was a 150 page book, soft cover, perfect bound, 6″ x 9″ with no graphics inside, all black & white text. The cost, including  delivery was about $50. 

It took about two weeks for my four books to arrive. During that time, I had a couple of problems, and posted queries to the Lulu help e-mail. I never got a response back. I did get an email query from their sales department, but when I said I wanted to take them up on the offer but was still awaiting tech support, I never heard from them again.

My four books arrived, and they look good. All the problems I see are problems I created. The color cover was a bit darker than on my printer, but that is one of the reasons I got a print, so that I could see how their printer rendered the photo.

I did find myself frustrated by the lack of support, though, so, during the waiting time I researched a couple of other companies.

I checked out Wheatmark – they offer some great .pdf resources for marketing that I downloaded and have gotten a lot out of. There price structure was too high for me. I want a printer, like LuLu, that will just print my finished manuscript. They offer this service, but the inital outlay of money was pretty high.

I checked out BookSurge after reading about it on someone’s blog…I wish I could find their blog… They offer just what I want, but they have humans you can call for tech support. They have “design” teams that review your files before they hit the press and flag them if they see obvious problems. I haven’t gotten my books yet, but, from what I’ve heard their quality is comparable to LuLu. They are also wholly owned and operated by Amazon. This is great if you want your book in line to be sold by the largest bookseller in the world, not so good if you think Amazon is Satan.

Now  what about cost. For $200 they go through the whole project including giving you an ISBN etc. I ordered 250 copies of my book initially and they waved the $200 set-up fee. The printing cost of my book is $4.00, plus shipping. This is over $1 less per book than LuLu and I get customer service to boot. They offer 35% royalties to authors for Amazon sales.  I am very excited.

The down side is that the print time is 4 – 6 weeks for the first run. Quite a bit longer than Lulu, but, so far I think it is a good tradeoff.

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