so many online reviews, will review my book if I cough up $400.
I can even buy an e-book that explains how to put my cookbook on an iPhone (not).
By now I’m wondering how Lulu makes money, when, according to its website, 80 % of all books
sold through its store are for one book. The company, based in Norrisville, N.C., has been
around for five years. Its business model takes a commission based how much authors choose to
make on their books. Let’s say I want to make $4 per book, for example. Lulu adds a 25% commission,
or $1 in this case. My $32 book will sell for $37.
By comparison, I’ll get about $1.40 per book once I earn out the advance on my first book,
Will Write for Food. But I got an advance, a nice check from the publisher. There’s no advance
from any POD publisher, but payments start with the sale of the first book.
Blurb.com: Free software, but you get what you pay for
Blurb’s main advance over Lulu is its free layout software program I may download immediately,
at no cost. Now it feels like it might really happen. I can design the book on my own computer,
while sitting at my desk in sweats and slippers. I can drop in photos from my library or from
last night’s dinner. I can write all the recipes I want, up to 200 pages. I can tell my stories.
Best of all, I can fiddle with the design, photos, text and structure as much as I want, without
charge or deadline. When I’m ready, says Blurb, I will upload my file, and in 7-10 business days,
I’ll receive my own beautiful hardcover, full-color cookbook. Sound too good to be true?
Stay with me now…
For my first strategy, I call Joey Allen, a documentary filmmaker who published a cookbook through
Blurb. He had read an article in the New York Times about advances in POD publishing and decided to
compile his Italian grandmother’s recipes. He wanted a hardcover, full-color cookbook, to present as a
gift. “Italian food is how we understand our family, how we relate,” he explains. He wanted something
professional, not a “spiral bound, Kinko’s” type book.
He and his wife, Jasmine Juteau, a lawyer, began the book in
summer 2006, and spent about six months on it from concept
to finished file. Joey spent 2 - 3 weeks cooking and photographing
each dish. He converted the office in their apartment to a photo
studio and took pictures with his single-lens reflex digital
Minolta with a macro lens. Together, he and Jasmine read cookbooks
to determine their language, and scrutinized their structure and
layouts. His wife was in charge of writing, editing, and font
He downloaded the book layout software from Blurb, but
decided it had too many limitations, so he created all the pages in PhotoShop
and imported them into the software. Once the file was complete, they
printed out the entire book and proofread it. Then they uploaded the file
to Blurb. It took six hours! They ordered a short printed version of the
first dozen pages or so, to check the layout and make sure it looked right.
Joey made a small printing for his family, enough for everyone who contributed
recipes, stories, and photos. His grandmother loved it, but it wasn’t too long
before she started marking up the recipes to correct them. No problem. Joey can
correct the recipes in his original file, upload it, and new books are ready to print.