I created this page as part of my quest to see how long it took me - from start to finish - to get an ebook compiled and loaded as a physical book, Kindle ebook, and iBookStore ebook. So far I had taken 2 hours to compile the ebook into a PDF and then a half hour for some food :) Therefore it was 7:30pm when I began my Lulu process.
I decided that I wanted my Quick No-Cook Low Carb Recipes book available both as a physical book and an ebook. The physical book came first. So I logged into Lulu at Lulu.com. I began by saying I wanted to publish a physical book. I went with the medium size - 6" x 9". I had originally thought about the smaller format but reformatting my 8.5x11 ebook for a too tiny size seemed like a large undertaking, with little cost savings, and it would make it harder on the reader to read the smaller print.
I took the Lulu free ISBN. If you want to read up on exactly the steps to create a Lulu book and the various issues involving ISBNs, I have many other pages that go into that. The screens are fairly straightforward to use, and the ISBN issue really comes down to your personal preference and how you plan to market and sell your ebook.
OK I next reached their file upload page. It says the book needs 32-740 pages to work as a standard book. Makes sense! It reminds me to format the book for this size. I had formatted it at 8.5 x 11 for the ebook, so now it was time for some quick reformatting.
A note here: save a FRESH COPY of your original Word document at this point, and name it something like bookname-luluprint.doc. So in my case it would be quicknocook-luluprint.doc. That way the formatting you do for your smaller size physical book stays separate from the formatting you have for the standard 8.5x11 ebook size. This is where your version document comes in handy. Write down the names you're using and the basic changes you made to each one.
So in this fresh copy of your Word document, you go into the page size settings and change the page size to 6 inches by 9 inches. Yes, the pages are going to change how they're laid out. It's really not that bad :) Just page through your book and check the layout. If you had page breaks before each new chapter then really not too much should have changed that needs to be fixed. Your automatic table of contents can now be regenerated. At most you might have to tweak your copyright page if you'd made it fairly wordy. Dropping the font size can help here.
In my case, my book went from 54 pages to 70 pages long. I didn't have to change much at all.
Now to put this new properly sized version into Lulu. I loaded the docx file right into Lulu without even changing it into a PDF first. So far so good. I put together a cover using their cover tool. I tend to be a perfectionist so I played with that a bit, but even so I was done with that by 8:20pm. So under an hour to get my finished book into Lulu.
The minimum price said $5.98 but it wouldn't let me set that, so I set the book price at $6.99 and the download as free. By 8:30pm the book was live! Then I clicked on the extendedReach distribution package - for free - to get this onto Amazon. It says I have to order a proof copy of my book.
This next part shows that I was able to waste some time making mistakes and it still was a quick process :) First I thought I hadn't put a barcode on my back cover. That's required for distribution. So I edited my project and began an entirely new revision. While I was doing that, I realized that Lulu *had* put a barcode on the cover for me and I'd forgotten about it. I also tried to add a spine image to my book and found that their automated layout tool didn't allow for a spine image. So even though I made those mistakes and spent 15 minutes with no additional result, it still didn't add much time to my overall project length.
So in any case, at the end of that "round 2" pass I ordered my proof copy. The total cost for my 70 page physical book was $9.97 including shipping. They will ship out my copy in a few days.
So now my ebook is live in Lulu as a physical book and as an Lulu-based ebook. The entire process from start to end - including 15 minutes of mistakes - was only 1 hour 15 minutes. It could easily be under an hour if someone didn't make the mistake I did of doing a second round of editing.
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