Lower Price for Kafka Novel§

Kafka Book Cover

Although I like Lulu.com, I’ve recently encountered two problems with having them print my novel. I’m not expecting to make any money off of my first novel. I just wanted to go through the process of publishing a book and to make it easily available to the public. In particular, for future novels when speaking to a literary agent, I want to be able to point her to completed novels to show that I’m not a total newbie in writing, editing, and publishing (albeit self-publishing) novels. The better the novels I write and the less work on the part of an agent and publishers in having to deal with me, the more marketable I become. This is my commercial take on it. To that end, I want an ISBN for my book and have it available for sale with big booksellers (i.e., Amazon in particular).

Lulu helped me to get an ISBN — they charged me $100 for that — but that changed my book’s status with them. It put it in their marketplace system. This means that the price had to be changed to include a mark-up for other booksellers. So the price went from $13 to $24 to allow a cut for resellers. That makes sense. However, the total cost to the reader is then too high. Basically, it highlights the fact that the cost of printing at Lulu is too high: about $11.50 for printing and $1.50 for me ($2 is a typical cut for the writer).

My other problem with Lulu has been getting my book listed with booksellers. It’s been over two months since I paid Lulu to help me get an ISBN. My book still doesn’t appear in bookseller databases. I don’t see it on Amazon, Borders, or Barnes & Nobles web sites or anywhere on the web except on Lulu’s site. I guess it’ll eventually show up, but I suspect that they want more money. Looking on their site, they may have changed their policy and want me buy a marketing package which requires two-hundred dollars or so a year to list me in Amazon’s database.

Because of these two problems, I looked into nother on-demand book printers and discovered CreateSpace.com, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. If I use them to print my book, it will somewhat automatically be listed with Amazon and the cost of printing will only be about $3.75 a book. With that low of a cost of printing, adding in Amazon’s cut as reseller, the price of the book will drop to $12. Additionally, CreateSpace offers a book size that I prefer: 5.25 by 8 inches, about the size of a DVD movie case. With Lulu, I had to go with the pocket size. With the amount of text contained in my novel, it was 340 pages, which made it pretty thick for a pocket sized book. With the larger format at CreateSpace, the page count is now 240 — that includes all of the extra pages for copyrights, acknowledgements, etc. That’s a much better length; it’s less daunting to most readers.

So, I’ve set up my book on CreateSpace. I’m just waiting to receive a proof copy to make sure everything looks already before releasing it for public distribution. When I do that, I’ll cancel my account at Lulu. I’ll also post a notice on my site with a link to Create Space and eventually to the page on Amazon where readers can purchase a copy. Hopefully, this will finish my efforts to publish my first novel. I know for sure that the second one will go much more easily.