Wordclay publishing offers similar free self-publishing tools similar to Lulu. Of course, there’s no such thing as free self-publishing, as you’ll have to pay for each book, which can be more expensive than printing in bulk or using a service like Outskirts Press, which will design a book cover and cost less per book. In my own experience, I went with Lulu to save money on going with an entire publishing package, but when all was said and done – after hiring a designer for the cover, ordering books, and marketing, it might have made sense to go with a self-publishing service that offers a publishing package.
The process publishing with Wordclay is similar to publishing with Lulu:
- Choose the size of your book.
- Upload a Word doc and the publishing wizard will convert it to PDF
- Either upload your own cover or use the cover design templates, which are generally more varied than Lulu with a wider selection of fonts.
- Calculate the cost per book, including your royalty.
- Approve and publish.
Generally, this is exactly the same process as publishing with Lulu. And like Lulu, Wordclay offers optional add-on services, such as cover design. At Wordclay, their premier cover design service is $999 – if you’re willing to spend that much, you could go with another publishing service – such as BookSurge, which for $799 includes cover design and ISBN distribution. This is still more expensive than Outskirts Press’s basic package.
The basic question with Wordclay is how its prices compare to Lulu, given that they both offer the same thing. Here’s the basic lowdown.
ISBN: $99 with the Wordclay designation on the back of the book. “Channel distribution is also included with this service. Your book will be distributed through the retail channel to more than 25,000 retailers worldwide.”
For $135 you can purchase an independent ISBN so you can be your own publisher.
Lulu: $99.95 for their “Published by You” program – i.e. cheaper than Wordclay’s ISBN program.
Cost Per Book Between Lulu and Wordclay
More important than that – because the $35 difference for purchasing an ISBN is pretty negligible – is the cost per book. Lulu appears to be around 3 cents more per book than Wordclay – for two comparable books 250 pages in length. Is this a lot? No, but it’s something to consider.
Wordclay’s main claim above Lulu is their number of services offered. As it states on the Wordclay blog: “We retain in-house experienced professionals in the editorial, design and marketing fields who are ready to work on your specific materials, all at a regular and fair price.” These services are more expensive, however, so that’s not the greatest selling point.
Choosing whether or not to publish with Lulu or WordPress is similar to the question of whether or not you choose to blog with Blogger or WordPress. They both basically do the same thing, with one having different tools, and one having a larger community. It could just come down to personal preference. Additionally, Lulu has an additional stigma attached to it beyond the stigma of self-publishing in general – given the number of poorly constructed books that come out via Lulu. Wordclay’s a new kid on the block and is less recognizable as a self-publishing outfit, so you can avoid some of the stigma of publishing with a service like Lulu.
Here’s a video about the publishing process from the folks at Wordclay. They definitely seem well-meaning: