April 2, 2020
Publishing Your Book on Lulu w/ Chelsea Bennett of @Lulu Press

Publishing Your Book on Lulu w/ Chelsea Bennett of @Lulu Press

are you an author looking for a way to
create print and sell your books through all major retail channels or are you an
artist educator or non-profit organization looking for a way to easily
publish content through a well established and reputable company then
you’ll want to hear from today’s guest expert Chelsea Bennett lulu.com stay
tuned welcome to self publishing with Dale
where you’ll learn tips and strategies for publishing your own books
today’s guest Chelsea Bennett is the public relations & Events Coordinator
for lulu.com one of the leaders in print on demand services
I’ve been loosely following lulu.com for the past year and more recently was
drawn to their YouTube channel Lulu press hosted by Chelsea it only takes a
few minutes before you’ll discover Chelsea is the perfect mouthpiece for
this company for open enthusiasm and clear knowledge of the business keeps me
tuned in every week it’s Chelsea’s infectious energy insights that bring
her to the channel today welcoming to the channel a long time in the making
Chelsea Bennett how’re you feeling hey I feel great after an introduction like
that how could I feel thank you hey thanks it always throws people off
because I always say this we we’re off and like my energy down what kind of
chill I gotta turn it on the show man and I me and I think it kind of annoys a
few people but they’ll be alright yeah yeah it’s just just like this you know
really generic this is you know Chelsea what’s up day on Chelsea how are you
doing yeah that’s the way we roll and see this is the kind of you know
entertainment that we’re providing out the gate what more do we have to offer
here I’m telling you yeah so uh I can ask you a lot of the traditional
questions and that’s just gonna kind of waste our time
I want to kind of get down to the meat and potatoes because Lulu’s been around
for 15 years am I correct in saying that yeah yeah around there since 2002 so
we’re kind of you know the first in the game you know self-publishing
print-on-demand so yeah we’re the oh geez if you will yes the oh geez of it
so I noticed that you’ve had a YouTube channel for quite some time until a
couple of months ago Lulu press on YouTube had just you know promotional
videos they were very well produced and then you came along and kind of created
this disruption and that’s what really kind of grabbed my attention because you
were doing some more information based tutorial style videos why the sudden
change well you know first of all thank you for being a longtime fan first time
caller so I appreciate that yes so we were doing more informational videos and
this really goes back to you know very similar with self-publishing but it’s
not knowing your audience and understanding what they’re looking for
and what information they’re looking for and so we noticed you know google trends
people were starting to type in more longtail questions so you’re not typing
dog you’re typing what do dogs like to do or you know put your dog’s thing
cover you know whatever so so just kind of keeping it with that it’s not people
with typing in self-publishing anymore but it’s you know how can I sell publish
smarter or how can i edit when I’m so publishing or you know kind of leaking
into things like this and we just kind of saw that there is a you know wish I
could take credit for it but I have a great team that we work together and so
we saw that there is an opening and kind of a need for this information of like
when someone comes to youtube and types in how do I self publish what’s coming
up or someone’s a Texan what is some publishing you know what’s there and you
know since as we just said we’ve been around for a long time so we’re like hey
we might have some answers to this questions that are worthwhile so yeah so
we kind of threw our hat during there and then started Lulu University and
it’s been it’s been really good I mean just to kind of hear the feedback has
been really positive but just being able to provide information on something that
may seem scary or intimidating and presenting it in a personable and you
know interesting and informative way and there just seemed to be a need for it
and so that was our motivation for the change yeah I
really love it the production value is just off the charts a lot of people will
say to me they’re like all your production it’s great but then I look
over at Lulu press and you guys are just crushing it and you brought up something
and I would like to kind of backtrack just a little bit here after I gave you
a nice little compliment you talked a little bit about longtail keywords and
the value of how its kind of brought in more of what people are looking for what
your ideal audience is looking for do you see any parallel between the
business of video publishing and self-publishing books yeah I mean I do I
think you know nowadays we have so many tools and resources to where it doesn’t
have to be just one or the other as a self-published author and really you
should think of yourself if you are self-taught there your business person
and you’re managing your own business and so when you think about it there’s
no need to think like oh so potion books is this way and self-publishing your
content or videos or this way it’s really a holistic view and now the
resources and tools that are available to entrepreneurs and sub publishers and
business men and women it’s just there’s no need to try to think of one or the
other but they’re just so many tools to be able to do all of it and so there are
definitely parallels there and when you see things that are working with your
self-publishing work like when you find a niche that you’re really fitting into
then you can bend this people want to see video content too and then if you’re
nailing it with yourself publish content then they’re gonna want to see more in
different formats in different forms so you know there’s some theories out there
about you know unicorn versus donkeys and donkeys are the boring content
that’s kind of you put it out on really carries the unicorns are the content
they put out and you just nail it it’s great and then you just keep doing those
unicorns you keep having of you make uniform babies and keep doing what work
so if you’re doing something you’re self-publishing that’s really working
and try to translate that to video and see what happens it’s definitely work if
you don’t like it just delete it man it probably lives forever but you can
really do yeah in most instances that’s amazing the first time on this channel
that content has been referred to as unicorns or versus donkeys to credit the
guy who came up with this I forgot his name right now but I’ll get it to you
sir unfortunately yeah unicorns tremendous
what makes lulu.com different from other print-on-demand companies and ebook
distribution platforms well I think it really goes back to the genesis of so
our founder his name is Bob young and he also founded Red Hat software and so it
was the co-founder of Red Hat and so Red Hat is at his for Barry it’s really into
open source and sharing information and Bob through his experience through Red
Hat wanted to write a book about it and had a really terrible time traditionally
publishing and you had a ton of books and it was just a really long and
expensive and aggravating process and so he just felt like you know open source
is something that can translate the publishing and there should be a
platform where people you know there aren’t barrier to entry and people are
able to come until their story and share their knowledge with whoever they want
to share it with you know there doesn’t need to be gatekeepers or publishers
sitting you know this isn’t really marketable or you know what this isn’t
really on trend or in you know 18 to 24 months and we’re actually able to
publish your work no one’s gonna care so he thought yeah this is a huge void we
need something that is available for people to come and publish the work that
you know you have your voice and share it with people who you don’t care and so
I think that that is really what sets us apart it’s just in our DNA it’s about
you know supporting and empowering people to get their story out there so
that’s kind of one thing but then you know the other thing that you know
people may argue is even more enticing is that it’s completely free to publish
as we move you know it’s very low risk I always like to say it’s low risk high
reward because you publish for free and you only pay when you want to buy print
copies of the book so if you’re doing an e-book with us you know it’s completely
free and our revenue slits are the highest in the industry so we do 80 24
print books so the creator keeps 80% of the revenue
Loui gets 20 and for e-books it’s ninety ten so the creator’s keeping 90 percent
of the revenue yeah and then we have global distribution that’s also free so
I mean not only are you able to sell through a little bookstore but you can
sell through Amazon Ingram Barnes Noble we do you know iBooks and Kobo and all
these other things too so we have a lot of outlets
yeah so those are kind of the three three of our highlights but I could go
on those are three things when people kind of ask for the quick and dirty why
would I go a little ooh that’s you know I think those are sort of the hard hard
to argue points if you know why yeah yeah you’ve you covered some of the main
features so what are a few things people don’t know currently about lulu.com and
should well I think that one of the most important things to know about
publishing or self-publishing is that it’s not just for authors so you know of
course authors are you know we love authors and that’s a big part of what we
do but also as you mentioned in the intro of me you’re selling it for me but
like you know educators artists entrepreneurs and you know businesses
alike can also utilize publishing and so one thing that people probably don’t
know about Luthor right now is that Lulu Express is a platform that we just
launched to sort of like a stripped down version of blue so you know as Lulu you
can go through the is distribute you know through our channels I mean stuff
for a bookstore but this little Express you just go upload your content and
print so if you have a course that you’re teaching or if you have you know
as some menials you want to print out or journals or workbooks or something that
you just want to sell you know by hand or through your website and you don’t
need global distribution you don’t mean ISBN number or a nice bin then you can
go straight and Hulu Express or just upload and go and so that’s one thing
and then even maybe more exciting than that is that our living Express platform
is being integrated into Shopify as so now will be the first-ever
print-on-demand plugin for for sacrifice I think that’s really exciting
Wow Congrats on that one that’s big news man I’m gonna have the launch as soon as
possible that’s really exciting yeah yeah yeah so that’s definitely and
that’s coming you know in the next couple weeks so we’re super excited
about that and actually probably by the time this is live it’ll be out of it
yeah that is tremendous that’s awesome kudos that’s that’s really I’m actually
really excited about that yeah but again it’s a perspective listening to your
audience in your community and what they want and you know they all of our
creators and all your self up the surgeongeneral want more control and
they want more ways to sell their content
and so we want to be able to provide that so that’s sort of why that can be
being head of public relations for lulu.com can you share some easy ways
for people to promote and market themselves on the cheap yeah so that’s
something that we were constantly asked here I would say we go to shows and
conferences our authors are number one question is like how could i market my
book and you know writing a book is hard but the work you know like people say
the work starts when you publish because that’s when you have to get out there
and start like you know beating up pavement and getting the word out and so
that I you know I referenced earlier but there are so many tools available today
to creators and it’s easier than ever before if you’re willing to put the work
in to get your book out there and I will say the caveat that the content is good
so if you don’t have good content then no amount of free or paid marketing is
going to get you anywhere so make sure that it’s good content so assuming that
the content is great any better great cover you know the social media is kind
of always the go-to because it’s so accessible and you’re always going to be
able to find communities there that you can fit in to you with your genre so
I’ll start with emails so I’m sorry I’ll start with social media so social media
is a great way to start because there are so many different communities and
people are so active on social media but you know the thing to note about that is
that you don’t want to spread yourself too thin you know you want to identify
where your audiences and then focus on that channel or you know channels
depending on what your what your genre Nisha’s so once you kind of identified
the platform’s where your community is most active then you know it’s very
inexpensive me to put 10 dollars 20 bucks 50 bucks into its ads on Facebook
or on Twitter and then it’ll kind of it’ll get you pretty far so you don’t
have to spend thousands of dollars and see no results you can kind of test all
the waters and put ten dollars behind an ad or twenty dollars and then if it did
well you know continue to pay for and if not then kind of change your strategy
there so social media is a great one of course then one thing to note about that
is you find other authors in your genre or find other people that are talking
about what you’re writing about and then work with them I know for authors
starting out especially you can see other authors as competitors but you
know none of this just reads so it’s really good to team up and make
these relationships and and then you know build communities together and
share audiences so that can be a really inexpensive way and it virtually cost
nothing to join a group or reach out with someone in your area and say hey we
write it similarly let’s work together and share our communities so that’s a
great one if you don’t have an author website
Squarespace or WordPress are really great I’m
definitely build your off your website and have kind of a home base to send
people and then from that you can start an email list so I know that MailChimp
for example has a free free I think up to 2,000 subscribers but that’s a pretty
hefty email list size so emails are a really great way to engage with your
audience and this is a very you know intimate for lack of a better word way
to do it because you’re not giving your email address everybody you’re giving me
the people who you want to communicate with so it’s a little bit more direct
than some social media channels cuz you’re not just constantly competing
with like what your grandma did last night or what her cats doing today and
so so it’s a little bit more direct so those three things are all pretty
inexpensive and I would say if you’re just starting out and you haven’t
invested in one or all of those then our website email list in social media are
gonna be the best way to get get your foot in the door and all like I said
pretty inexpensive that would be my starter kit excellent tips and darn you
grandma seriously yeah you can wait what are the most common mistakes you see
when people submit their manuscripts to for poor distribution through lucam yeah
so the biggest mistake I think that we see is people not understanding sort of
the endgame coming to lose so what I mean by that is when you bring your when
you’re ready to publish and you have your manuscript you always want to think
about what is your end goal is it to raise awareness about a non-profit is it
to raise money you know raise revenue is it to you know just get the word out
that you’re writing out what is your goal in mind and if it’s to raise
revenue then that’s still a different than if it’s just to like hand out at a
show or everyone to a conference and want to get this information
so it’s important going into it to know exactly like I know for this book I’m
ready I want to be able to sell it on Amazon I want it on Barnes and Noble I
want on Ingram like I want all these distribution channels and that’s great
but if you do that then you need to be aware that different channels except
different sizes of formatted books they need you know you didn’t have an ISBN if
you want to distribute like that’s just kind of standard practice so that’s
something that I see a lot of people getting sort of you get along the
process and then you know your metadata isn’t right and you want to distribute
all you have to go back to square one so it’s I would say it’s a combination I’m
not understanding what you’re in goal is for your book and then not understanding
that the metadata has to be perfect to get it there so so I would just
encourage anyone who is kind of on that self-publishing journey and is in kind
of the beginning stages or maybe you just finished your manuscript in your
exploring platforms just go ahead and skip to the end and your ideal dream for
your book what is it you know and figure that out and then working backwards to
say okay so I know I wanted to serve you through these channels so I know they
they accept these formats I know I’m good there I know any nice bin so I’m
going to go ahead and get it I know that my metadata needs me right because I’m
gonna distribute the reason for channels and sort of build your checklist that
way so that’s definitely one of the things that we see a lot of people not
understanding in the beginning and then kind of paying for it at the end
nice you touched on something I’m just seems like it’s a perfect transitional
time tell me about the international standard book number also known as the
ISBN is it important to buy your own or can we rely on distribution platform
assigned ISBNs well again it kind of goes back to what he wants to do with
the boat so if you are thinking you know lutely we see a plethora of reasons why
people are publishing you know from you know your grandma holster publisher cat
pictures into a book to you know people who want to be you know bestsellers and
have aspirations that are sort of in that more traditional vein and so it
goes back to thinking you know if you are planning on being an author as a
business then I would suggest buying a nya Stan so you can buy it through Lulu
we saw them I think the $99 so you can and that just gives you more control
it’s just another step and more control of the content so if you’re thinking you
know I want to have it on this platform but I may want to move the content and
want to do other things with it and it’s just a safe bet to go ahead and buy that
I spin alright so there’s no you know that’s your key on it but I will say
that we also have is beans for free so if you come to Lulu and you think you
know I want to have this book and I know they don’t want to sell it to retail so
I have to have a nice pin then it’s really easy to go ahead and we’ll assign
one for you or you can take a free one from us and then you know if you want to
one of the great things about Lulu is you can essentially use this as a white
label service so you can come to Lulu and change the imprint name cute so say
I’m publishing a book and my publishing houses
Chelsey’s the best publishing so you know I changed my imprint names you
chose as the best publishing and then everywhere you see it you know you’re
not going to see Lulu anywhere so even if you use it yeah unless you want to
for whatever reason but yeah so you can do that and so you can take one of our
free eyes bands and just change the imprint name to your in front and the
only reason it would default so Lulu as a publisher is if you don’t fill out
information out so there’s a couple ways to go about that is really cool you just
inform me on something I did not know about Lulu and then almost as getting
anywhere I’m kicking myself because you can’t necessarily go to and I’m not
trying to throw any of your competitors under the bus but I’m just gonna go
ahead and say create space isn’t gonna allow you to change the imprint it’s
going to stay under create space and of course Amazon’s big you know
all-encompassing juggernaut like size platform so that is really cool that you
can switch the imprint from Lulu over to your own man that’s awesome I’m really
excited I got goosebumps right now so here we go here’s a common question I
get and I hope hopefully you can kind of help shed light on it how much money can
assault published author realistically expect to make in their first I’d say a
year to two years in the business okay so I wish I could just say $100,000
still I mean come on don’t we wish it was all true right hey but this is
this is so different for every single person because you know non-fiction
books you know are different than fiction books I mean you can be very
generous Pacific human so my advice to someone you know because like I said
it’s different for every person and it just depends on your goals so my advice
to anyone who’s asking this question is get clear on what you want and then
you’ll be able to decide what that number is and then you can decide if you
want to work to achieve it or if you know this is several years down the line
and that’s you know it’s different for everybody but what we do and one way to
look at it the kind of an algorithm to kind of think of what you need to do to
get to that place is thinking of your yearly monetary goal divided by the
amount of fans you have that’s gonna sort of people the revenue that you
would need per month this is saying yourself or to meet your goals so some
people here your goal is actually paying my Netflix bill I just want to be able
to write in payment efforts bill and order pizza and that’s my writing
careers that would cover that so that’s your golden you take that you
know $200 or whatever take that amount and then divide it by how many active
fans do you have today how many engaged active fans you have
and that can be kind of tricky and you know so I’ll go back to my email list
when I was talking about building out an email list your email list and how many
people you have opening your emails and interacting with it can be a really good
indicator of your engaged fans how many people you have that really are
interested in your content so you know again it’s different for everybody but
you need to kind of find out how many people you have that will buyer your
information your content regularly and then that will kind of help you dictate
okay so I’ve got 20 fans that are willing to pay this amount of money
every month you know when I put them on conjugant I know I have 20 people
they’re gonna pay for it so then that can kind of help you dictate how much
money you’re gonna make so that is not you know as glamorous or sexy as me
saying like could you guys dollars a year you know which you know would be
great but honestly it’s it’s just about building up that base and I would I
would suggest anyone who’s asking that question that it’s the wrong question to
ask because you should be thinking we’re gonna be in three or four or five years
not you know in twelve months or 24 months because really you know if you’re
self-publishing and if you’re a writer and most the time you should be in it
for the long game because your content isn’t going anywhere
it can live forever on these platforms and you should always keep writing you
know I think there’s so many success or it’s self-published authors in
traditional authors work it’s not their first book it’s not their second book
that’s not their third book it may be the eighth book before it really picks
up and then they’re back this will start spelling so my you know the best
recommendation the week in Maine from what we saw our authors is get clear on
your goals and what does it mean for you to be a successful writer because maybe
that is just hey I can pay for my late library charters now that’s great so
that’s you know $15 a month or whatever so what getting that number and then
figuring out kind of working backwards and thinking okay this is what I wanna
make this is how many active fans I have and so this is how I’m gonna figure this
out every block so again you know she could be an easier answer but it’s just
different for everybody and it’s just sort of the way it goes
nailed it that was awesome as exactly that was not exactly the exact answer
but that was really the answer that was awesome so what do you think holds a lot
of people back from actually publishing their content
it’s scary terrifying because you’re you know in one fell swoop saying I have
something that deserves to be read by people or deserves to be seen by the
public and you know so that’s can be really intimidating to people but I also
think that publishing is a scary word because it just has a lot of
connotations with like you know a group of people judging your content and then
putting it up and then publish like I’m a published author or you know creator
or entrepreneur and that can be really intimidating and I think that that’s
what it is I mean people get really scared and they think about the work
that goes into it and you know I I’m not gonna lie to you there’s a lot of work
you know putting forth any kind of anything that’s worth people seeing and
noticing and creating conversation takes work and as it should but you know
that’s just a small part of it and you know I think that anyone on the other
side of that publishing wall that says yeah I did you know jumped off the foot
I could jump off that’s a terrible terrible analogy but and I did it you
know I I did it you know I saw this through and I finished and I have this
book in my hands I don’t think that there’s a very overwhelming population
of people who are thinking I really should have done that unless they didn’t
do it smart unless they have 12,000 books in their garage that they can’t
sell they’re like how could I do this so I would you know I would say that it is
you know all of the anxiety you have that’s probably there’s probably valid
and that’s good and that’s kind of a fire in the belly kind of thing but you
know there are always gonna be people who don’t you know and I mean that’s
just as easy as that they’re always people don’t do it but nowadays like the
day that we live in the time that we live in there are so many tools and
resources available to people that make it so easy to do and remove so many
barriers I mean for Lulu you know we’re print on demand you can
order one copy you can turn your bad poetry into a good book and then if you
decide oh my gosh she’s less terrible I don’t know what I was thinking put it in
your drawer and move on like you never have to look at it again so I mean I
would just encourage everyone who has a desire to self-publish and is
intimidated by it suits a understand that there are abundant resources
available to anyone who really wants to do it and then be you know you’re not
committing to anything right putting your work out there like I said I mean
you can put it up there if it’s not going great take it down or remove it or
change your name on the internet or your pen name I mean there’s virtual like
there’s so many ways to be able to reinvent yourself and change directions
and again with self-publishing and especially if you choose a
print-on-demand model you want and done if you want to so yeah I mean I think
that it’s definitely an intimidating thing but it’s never been easier to be
out there and publish your work and so do it
yeah I could say this that having printed scores of books the nerves never
go away it doesn’t get less scary it still does and I renowned then when I go
to look at my reviews I got to take a deep breath and go no way let me know I
mean no whammy no whammy given the choice would you choose passion or
profit I would choose passion because I know
that it would be able to make me a profit so that would be my answer I mean
if you’re passionate enough about anything then you can probably monetize
it at some point so I mean you know I think it all goes like I feel like I’m
not to beat his deadhorse any longer but like you know with all the social media
platforms things like podía or you know ping tree on that we mentioned or you
know these blog ways to monetize your blog there’s so many ways to get eyes on
your content and reach the people who are gonna value it so it’s not like you
have to put something out there and have other people validate it you can get to
your community you can do the research and find out who’s looking for the
content that you have and how can you reach them and then make it available to
them and so you know if you’re really passionate about something then there
are probably other people who feel that way about it too and it’s just kind of
building that community and thinking you know is this an activism thing to have a
platform to be an activist and how can I use this to you know activate other
people and get my message out there and so yeah I don’t think you know passion
first and then and then the profit I think would be much excellent I love it
well we’re gonna start to wrap things up so of course I want to know how can the
viewers get in touch with you yes so I will put this out on the interwebs my my
email address is C Bennett at Lulu comm and we have you know on social media
Lulu calm on Facebook Twitter Instagram and then YouTube Lulu you so yeah Lulu
press is our YouTube channel so yeah check us out there we do new content
every every Friday for the foreseeable future so check us out yeah very good
well folks we’ve covered quite a bit of ground here and I really do appreciate
you taking your time here with me today Chelsea it was really awesome you gave
me some really eye-opening things and that’s what I’d love to get out of
interviews like this so if you happen to be watching this and you’re really
enjoying that make sure that you click that thumbs up and of course go visit
Lulu press on YouTube there’s a good reason why I say I like it and it’s not
like Chelsea’s paying me you know I I do legitimately enjoy her channel and the
content that she puts out there so I think if you’re enjoying mine you most
definitely will transition over there in the meantime and in between time till
later it’s been self-publishing with Dale

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