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With more than 200,000 paperback books in the system, Lulu.com is working out to be a very successful business in the “Publish on Demand” market space. Currently ranked 374th, The LinkedIn Personal Trainer is right in the thick of that success.

July’s distribution sales just posted to my account and helped raise the book another notch to that level – I had to take a moment to acknowledge that position and Lulu’s place in my business.

If you have a book to publish, Lulu can help make that happen – the question is – do you have one?

Removing barriers to publish

From what I understand about the old days, you had two ways to get a book into print. You could work through the major publishers, or you could pay a publisher (sometimes called a vanity press) to set your words to type and sell you some boxes of your book…

And then came the “Print on Demand” (POD) market.

The POD environment makes the individual the publisher, and as a publisher, you’re responsible for getting the right words, the right format, and the right cover together – to create a book. Lulu takes the pieces and gets everything printed and bound, so that when someone buys a book, it’s printed and shipped right away.

In essence, the author / publisher is responsible for content, but doesn’t have to think about the logistics.

What you see is what you get

Make no mistake – it still takes a big effort to publish a book.

In conversation, I like tell people that Lulu prints exactly what they receive electronically – so if someone were to take substandard material and bring that to Lulu, that’s exactly what they’d get returned in between a couple of covers… (and I often describe that a little more colorfully;-)

To get The LinkedIn Personal Trainer published, I had to complete the content, send it out for review, hire a freelance editor, and then package it all up to complete the format of the book. (And yes, it is a great feeling handing the book to someone and hearing them say “This is your book?”)

Finding others with book interests

A new and interesting thing has happened since then – I’m now ask about my experiences publishing a book. Given the interest, I can see quite a future ahead for Lulu.

Next title?

So it’s possible that my next title might just be “The Lulu Personal Trainer” – though I have to admit that Lulu puts out a pretty good set of materials to help the aspiring publisher.

Interested in working with other authors?

So here’s my motivational message of the day: you can publish a book on any topic that you’d like.

Do you have one in you?

If you’re serious about it, and want to take some steps forward, would you like to be part of a small group that I’m looking to form to work through new-author / self-publishing issues? I’m not sure where it’ll go, but I’d like to find out how much interest there is in it…

Let me know what you think.

steve