For Love of Lulu

As a self-published author, I go where the readers are.  Which means, of course, that my prime medium for sales is Amazon, with their CreateSpace publishing arm for paperback books, and Kindle for ebooks.

Now a lot of authors knock Amazon, but I never have and I’m not going to now.  Certainly, they’re not perfect and some of their policies regarding reviewing and so forth have caused considerable frustration and upset to some friends of mine.  But when it comes to getting books in the hands of readers as quickly and as cost effectively as possible, they really can’t be faulted.  And that’s what it’s all about.  An author should never forget that a good service is a service that’s good to the reader, and readers love Amazon.

Their pricing and royalty rates are pretty good too.  They’re not the best that are available to self-published authors, but they’re plenty good enough.  The quality of their printed books is high also.  Probably 95% of my book sales are made through Amazon and it’s a working relationship I am very happy with.

But if people ask me where they can get hold of my books, I often direct them towards Lulu.  This is because I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Lulu, for the following reasons.

  • They were one of the pioneers of self-publishing, one of the very first companies to say, “Hey, authors should be able to publish and market their own books!”  I admire that pioneering spirit, that visionary zeal, so all my books still have a presence there.  Indeed, Lulu is usually the first place that a new book of mine will appear.
  • Lulu are good to authors.  Their royalty percentage is very good, higher than Amazon’s, so I get a little extra every time someone buys from Lulu.
  • Lulu are good to readers.  There is ALWAYS some sale, discount, free shipping or other special deal going on.  Discounts of 20% – 30% are quite common.  If you’re planning to buy, always check Lulu’s home page for their current deals and grab yourself one.  If there’s not one that meets your needs, come back the week after and there probably will be!  You can save big time if you buy using Lulu’s regular discount codes.
  • This one’s a biggie for me:  Lulu publish hardbacks, but Amazon don’t.  My own shelves creak under the weight of beautiful hardback editions of all my books (and they really are beautiful quality books).  So if you want the best possible quality edition, you can only get it from Lulu.

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The only things I don’t do on Lulu are ebooks.  The advantages offered by Amazon for exclusivity in their Kindle Select programme are too good to be ignored, for myself and readers alike:  all of my Kindle titles are free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

But if you’re looking to buy a print book, take a look at Lulu.  You’ll also find a whole load of titles there that simply aren’t available anywhere else, so take your time and browse.

Lulu’s home page can be found here, where you will find details of their current deals and discounts, with codes.  And my own Lulu author pages can be found here (hint, hint, wink, wink).

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Kindling Unlimited Interest

I love my Kindle so much I’ve got two!  I use my original old Kindle ereader when I’m out and about in case I manage to snatch ten minutes to have a quick read, and I have my lovely Kindle Fire HD at home for more luxurious imagineering.

When I received the Kindle Fire (as a gift from my lovely wife), I was first struck by how much it enhanced ebook reading.  It has a much better range of native fonts, the HD screen is pin sharp, book covers and illustrations are now in glorious colour and the virtual bookshelves on which I can browse the covers of my books makes things so much easier than scrolling down endless lists of titles.

The next thing I was struck by was how good it was as a fully functional Android tablet.  I now sit in bed at night streaming my favourite TV shows and movies from Amazon or Netflix, I have all manner of games and apps available to me.  For the price, it was an incredibly priced tablet as well as an ereader beyond compare!

My Kindle Fire HD

My Kindle Fire HD

And now I find that Amazon are due to release a new entry level 7″ Kindle Fire for only £49.99!  As a long time advocate of Kindle, it is my DUTY to share this news.  If you’ve been holding off, jump right in!  Of course, if you want HD or a bigger screen, the other models are still available.  There are a large number of Kindle versions available now to suit every need and budget.  Trust me, though, and get a Fire!  😉

All of my own books are available on Kindle, of course, as well as print, and these days Kindle accounts for about 60-70% of my sales.  But there’s more.

A lot of people still aren’t up to speed with the Kindle Unlimited service.  Basically, in return for a small monthly subscription (£7.99 to be precise), you can borrow any book that participates in the scheme and read it at your own leisure, keeping it as long as you want (you can borrow up to 10 books at any one time, with an unlimited number of borrows).  So for the price of one book per month, you can borrow as many as you can get through.  This isn’t diddling the author either:  I actually receive a higher royalty at the moment for every book read on Kindle Unlimited than I do for a sale!

Not every book is available for the service, of course, but hundreds of thousands are.  And the small, flat monthly fee means that you don’t risk anything any more when you try a new author.  I’ve downloaded and read and loved loads of books that I probably never would have taken a chance on buying.  So my reading horizons have been broadened, I’m feeling satiated with great fiction, and authors who otherwise probably wouldn’t have got a sale from me are getting paid.  Everybody wins!

Kindle … you know you want to!