The Healer and the Pirate

The Healer and the Pirate is available now on Kindle and Nook, and in print at Lulu and Amazon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lulu vs. CreateSpace

So as of this entry, The Healer and the Pirate is currently available on Lulu for $9.99 (free shipping through February 17, 2011 with the code FLIGHTLESS305). But we recently also put our book up on CreateSpace, which allows us to sell in print on Amazon.

I'm sure authors are wondering--which is better, CreateSpace or Lulu?

OK, actually, not many authors are wondering that...Lulu used to be the way to go back in the mid-2000s, but CreateSpace, which wasn't a great choice as recently as early January, has become VERY competitive now that they let you publish to Amazon for free (if you buy a proof copy).

Print quality is pretty similar:

CreateSpace on the left; Lulu on the right

For CreateSpace, we chose the 9 x 6 size, because the cost per page is fixed regardless of trim size. For Lulu, we chose 5.5 x 8.5 because that is one of the few trim sizes that you can get with the cheaper ("publisher grade") paper. I slightly prefer the smaller size of the Lulu book, but it's pretty much a wash.

You can see the colors are a little different.

I guess CreateSpace had a pretty easy one-piece cover maker--Lulu's is difficult. Unfortunately, I didn't know about CreateSpace's cover craetor until after I'd had Maggie make the front and back cover separately...and in fact, until after I'd finalized the book and ordered the proof. So Lulu's spine (bottom book) looks much nicer.

Inside, we chose cream paper for CreateSpace, which is kind of neat. (CreateSpace on top; Lulu on bottom)

For some reason, I couldn't use the same font on CreateSpace as I did on Lulu, so it's a much less interesting Times New Roman.

But long story short, when it comes to the actual books, CreateSpace and Lulu's products are pretty similar.

For other differences--Lulu's page count is MUCH longer than CreateSpace's (375 for Lulu; 290 for CreateSpace), to get about the same royalty at a $9.99 price point on Amazon. On CreateSpace, we would actually get a higher royalty than Lulu, but I see no easy way to find our book on CreateSpace. As it is, that 290 page book on Amazon gets us the same royalty as a 375 page book on Lulu.

Lulu sometimes has free shipping codes and almost always has a 25% off code. But potential buyers will have to go through quite a few hoops to actually order from Lulu.

In short, Lulu and CreateSpace (the site) have the best royalty for the author, but I know Lulu is a bit of a pain to buy from, and I assume CreateSpace isn't the easiest. Amazon's royalty for a CreateSpace book is not very good, but it's workable. One very notable disadvantage to CreateSpace is I don't think they allow dynamic changes to the text--I THINK you have to pay a fee to make any changes to your book once it's published, and at the least I'm SURE you have to buy a proof copy.  Lulu will allow you to tweak your document or even make substantial changes at no cost.

For the buyer, Amazon is almost certainly the best/easiest place to buy, especially since they get free Super Saver Shipping if they spend $25.

And speaking of royalties and such!  We're going to be removing "The Healer and the Pirate" from Lulu at some point; not before the end of February. That makes the 375 page edition with a special font a LIMITED EDITION! Not a bad idea to buy if you were interested, especially with free shipping through February 17 (code FLIGHTLESS305).  The reason we will remove it from Lulu is simple math.  We have to sell about 14 copies on Lulu to get a $20 royalty check.  If we have it available in print on two places, then in theory it will take twice as long to get a royalty check. I'm assuming people are going to buy on Amazon instead of Lulu.

(Speaking of which, we are considering raising the price of our book at some point--other Christian fiction paperbacks often sell for between $12.99 and $16.99! So the $9.99 price is an introductory price at this point.)

Anyway, I do like Lulu and they've been good to me in the past. If you want to publish a copy of a book for a family member, I think they are the best way to go, with unlimited/free updates to your book and sporadic free shipping codes. But I'm not sure they're a great place to sell your work to an audience.


  1. I'm deciding which publisher to go with. At first, I was sure that I'd go with Createspace, but I've seen some pretty bad reviews of it. Now I'm not sure..

  2. Hard to say. I anticipated that when we submitted to CreateSpace we'd get a bunch of sales through Amazon, given our price point, but that has not happened at all. I did not have any particular problems with CreateSpace, though.

    I actually noticed that Lulu will pay out less than $20, so we may just keep it there after all. Only one person bought on Lulu after we made this announcement and I don't think she will mind if it's not a limited edition. Hmm...