Lulu.com as a poetry publisher: Opinions?

I don’t think this has ever been addressed directly on the SDMB. From cursory examination (thankfully not experience), I can tell you that poetry.com is a very cruel scam. Received wisdom seems to be that publishamerica.com is also thoroughly disreputable. Lulu.com, however, seems to be treated with a bit more deference, even grudging respect.

What experience do the People of the Dope have with Lulu, be it with poetry, fiction, or non-fiction? Good? Bad? Could be better? Could be worse?

Lulu is about as good as you can get for self-publishing. They charge a fair price (based solely on their costs) and let you determine the sales price. They don’t make any promises other than to print the book.

You aren’t likely to make a profit – especially with poetry – but you’ll lose less than with anyone else.

What I like about Lulu is you can order any number of copies you want. So if you only want a half dozen books to give to grandma and her bridge pals, you can, unlike vanity presses where you have to pay to print a few hundred copies that will never sell.

Very similar to Lulu is create space which is part of Amazon.com . It can be cheaper than Lulu in some cases and of course the book is automatically sold through Amazon. They are both very good options. Also if you sell a copy as a Kindle ebook your royalty rate is 30% of the sales price.

You might want to look through a book such as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Publishing for advice as well. (Get it from the library.) I know the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, which was written by Cory Doctorow and Karl Schoeder, is excellent.

There is also the Self Publishing for Dummies and Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual.

Lulu is a publisher, which means they handle details like ISBNs, pricing, marketing, distribution, and dealing with the printer.

However, you can save money by getting your own ISBN and working with the printer directly (the acronym is POD - print on demand). From what I’ve heard, Lulu relies on LightningSource for its printing, but LightningSource will work with any company, no matter how small. Further, by working through LightningSource, you can get your work distributed through Amazon, B&N, and other online sellers.

I’m just about to have a software book printed by LightningSource and sold through Amazon. I’m nervous, but it’s been an exciting process.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I may got the lulu route, I may not.

Big name publishers check the best sellers at Lulu to find books they might want to publish. They also look at other books there but they focus on books that sell the most.