Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Publishing a book with Lulu.com

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As you probably know, the Guide to Gourmet Shaving was published through Lulu.com, which IMHO is a great way to publish a niche book that will probably not appeal to commercial publishers but for which there may be a small market.

One commenter asked how I could possibly be in the red on the book, since Lulu is free. That’s a good question, and the answer is below. But first, I’d like to praise Lulu: a very clean and simple process, and if you don’t buy copies of the book yourself and sell the books only through Lulu, it’s absolutely free. You can use free PDF tools (like cutePDF) to submit the camera-ready copy, and the book will go on sale (and/or be downloadable) at no cost to you. (If you go for distribution through retailers, you’ll have to find a way to create an Adobe-distilled PDF files that includes fonts. I’m lucky in that The Wife has a copy of Adobe so I didn’t have to buy it. It’s expensive.)

Several things enter into it. First, I purchased a good number of books as review copies and to send to shaving vendors and to family and friends. There was that cost and the associated postage. Also, to get distribution to the on-line retailers (Amazon et al.) costs $100. (See this Distribution FAQs for the process and fees.) Once a book has entered distribution, making a change costs $80. I’ve paid that 3 times, most recently to remove the B&B quotations.

I set the price of the book was set as low as I could, so the royalty is not great, particularly for sales through Amazon, where various cuts are taken along the way. Finally, the sales volume is not high. Altogether, just over 300 copies have been printed, and that includes the complimentary and review copies mentioned above.

Still, as I said, it’s a labor of love. I’m book-oriented, and it seemed desirable to me that there should be a reference and guide book for the guy who’s just starting to think about traditional shaving. Plus I like to explain things. Plus it’s a good retirement hobby.

My thought was that the book would see its primary use as something given by a traditional shaver to a friend or relative who’s expressed interest (or who might at some point express interest if they knew more about it ) ). If the book were ever reviewed in some Sunday Style section, I might get a little bump in sales from guys with no connection to the informal shaving network on the Internet (and thus the book includes links to the shaving forums, reference sites, and on-line vendors), but that’s not likely to happen. But, who knows?

If you’ve read the book and want to help, post a review on Lulu.com and/or Amazon.com and/or in your shaving forum of choice. The more word gets out, the more copies of the book will get into circulation and get passed along to those who have not yet made the discovery that shaving can be enjoyable.

Written by Leisureguy

5 September 2007 at 11:12 am

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