Publishing Overview and How to Create a Project

ModeratorModerator Creator
edited February 2018 in Publishing Process

Before Publishing

You'll need to prepare your manuscript for the interior of your book. We recommend a PDF for Print and DOCX for Ebook. These interior files must be properly formatted and most contain all interior content, including front matter (title page, copyright, table of contents) and back matter.

Your cover will require an image file for the Ebook thumbnail. For a print book, you can use our Cover Wizard or upload your own cover in PDF or JPG/PNG format.

For Ebooks, we recommend reviewing our Ebook Creator Guide as well.

Options Step:

The Lulu Book Builder allows both new and experienced do-it-yourself authors to create the right print book for their market and their fans’ bookshelves.  You can choose one of our most popular formats or build your own book from our unmatched selection of sizes and bindings. You can also enter your book’s page count to see manufacturing cost estimates, spine width calculations, and bulk pricing.

Everything you need to know about your book is displayed in the Book Builder before you even enter the book’s title or upload your manuscript.

To build your book:
  1. Choose a product line:
    1. Standard Paperback (US Market) or Value: Perfect bound paperbacks, no retail distribution at this time
    2. Premium Paperback: Bookstore quality paperbacks, multiple binding options, distribution-eligible formats are designated by the green distribution symbol
    3. Professional Hardcover: Bookstore quality hardcover and dust jacket formats, distribution-eligible formats are designated by the green distribution symbol
    4. Photobooks & Calendars: Soft and hardcover photo books as well as standard and premium calendars
  2. Choose from one of our most popular formats displayed below the selected product line or build your own by selecting your binding, size and interior color options.
  3. Enter the number of pages in your manuscript to view the manufacturing cost for your book. For the most accurate cost estimate, format your manuscript file in the same size as the book you selected to determine the number of pages.  
  4. Whether you choose a preformatted option or build your own book, your book’s specifications and manufacturing cost will update based on your selections and the number of pages you enter in the calculator.
  5. Click the Download Template button. This file includes instructions, a style guide, a blank template with preset margins, and book cover dimensions based on the options you selected.
  6. Premium, Professional, and Photo-Quality products qualify for bulk purchase discounts. Enter the desired number of books to see how much you can save by ordering in large quantities. Bulk pricing starts at 15 copies.
  7. When you have completed your selections, click Make this book to begin creating your book.

Title Step:

In this step you'll give your project a working title and decide whether it's just for you or if you want to sell it to the world. All of these options can be changed at any time.

  • Sell on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more
    Sell your Book on If your eBook meets Lulu's eBook Distribution Requirements, you may also choose to sell your book on a variety of online retailer sites
  • Sell only on the Lulu Marketplace
    This option allows you sell your book in the Lulu Bookstore, but it does not allow you to assign an ISBN or to distribute your book to other retailers.
    Make available only to me
  • Selecting this option does not allow you to assign an ISBN to your Book for distribution. Only you will see your Book when you are logged into your account.

File Step:

On this step, you'll upload the file(s) that will comprise the interior of your book. Here is a comprehensive list of all file types we can accept:

Files accepted for Books:
  • DOC & DOCX (Word Document)
  • RTF (Rich Text Format)
  • PDF (Portable Document Format)
  • JPG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
Files accepted for eBooks:
  • EPUB (electronic publication)
  • PDF (Portable Document Format)
  • DOC & DOCX (Word Document) - will convert to EPUB
  • RTF (Rich Text Format) - will convert to EPUB
  • JPG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
  • ODT (Open Document Format) - will convert to EPUB
Files accepted for book covers:
  • JPG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
  • PDF (Only for One-Piece Covers)
Files accepted for Photobooks & Calendars:
  • JPG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic)

Uploading Large Files

Using My Files:

Lulu keeps all of the files that you use for projects in "My Files". "My Files" also has 5GB of space for files that haven’t been used in a project yet. Once a file is added to a project (even if the project is still in Draft status), it no longer counts towards the 5GB limit. Files not linked to a project are automatically removed after 21 days.

In My Files you can:

  • Upload files from your computer to your Lulu account.
  • View files by type or project.
  • Use the files for any of your projects.
  • Download files to your computer.

Common problems (and solutions)

  • Multiple files - When we get multiple files for the interior pages of a book, our software opens them up and converts them into a single document (without bleed) of the size you chose in the previous step. This process sometimes causes issues with fonts. If creating a book with a bunch of photos, you might prefer to use our Photo Book Studio; it provides better support when using multiple images in your book.
  • Files don't match your trim size - It is very important that you format your manuscript file(s) to be the same size as the book you are creating before you upload your file to Lulu. If you are creating a 6 x 9" book on Lulu and upload a file sized to 8.5 x 11", we will resize your file, the resizing will do horrible things to your files and your book will look terrible. Read the formatting tips for more information on how to properly format your file.
  • Uploading non-interior files - Any file you upload here will be put inside your book. You'll upload any files for your cover later.
  • Files without embedded fonts - For Lulu to print the book as you designed it you need to give us the fonts you want us to use. You can do that by embedding fonts in your document. Learn more about embedding fonts here: How do I embed fonts in a PDF?
  • Password protected files - Lulu can't get into password-protected files. Make sure all of the files you upload are not password.

Cover Step:

The Cover Step includes a variety of tools for creating or uploading your Cover Design. Because the Lulu Cover Designer and One-Piece Designer have a number of facets and options, the best way to learn more about them is to view their individual pages, or to review the section of our Knowledge Base specifically regarding cover design:

Lulu Cover Help

Price Step:

In this step you will set the price of your book by entering the sale price you want the book to have. Your book's price is the total of the manufacturing cost (dependent on the number of pages and the options you choose), your creator revenue (the amount you get each time someone buys a copy), and Lulu's commission (20% of your revenue). If you're going to sell your book on online bookstores your price will also include a retail markup.

A discount can be added or edited in this step as well. This discount only applies to your projects sold on the Lulu Marketplace and not sales on other distribution outlets.

The discount will decrease the 'Net Profit' of the sale of each book, which will decrease the Lulu commission and your Revenue. The discounted price cannot be lower than the 'Base Price'.

Description Step:

On this step you describe your book so that readers can find and buy it.

  1. Select the category your book falls in or pick the best match.


  2. Enter all of the keywords that describe your book. These keywords will make it easier for customers to find your book. Use terms that are distinct and specific to your book and avoid general keywords that could describe any book.


  3. Write a description of your book. This description will appear on the item page for your book and customers will use it to decide if they're interested in your book.


  4. Tell us what language your book is written in.


  5. Set your copyright.


  6. Select the type of license you'd like to use.


  7. Tell us which edition of the book this is.


  8. Enter the name of the publisher of the book. This could be your name or your imprint.


Review Step:

This is it! On the final step you can review the files used in your project, the access (private, direct, or general), and the descriptive information you entered. Once you are satisfied, click "Save & Finish" to publish your book!

If you are ready, go to and get started.

Additional Resources:

Interior Formatting

Ebook Formatting

ISBN & Distribution
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