I wanted to know whether there are specific categories which do well on lulu. also why is it that us (African authors) don't appear on search results on lulu.com easily. Any kind of adice will be apprciated.
Well, that seems to be two or more questions lumped together.
Books that seem to be selling well on Lulu, from my observations, seem to be books in all genres that are written well. When i look at the best-seller lists I see well-written books with good covers and an engaging title. When I look at the preview, I see correct spelling, appropriate grammar, and formatting that is easy to read.
On the other hand, I stumbled onto a writer not long ago who had written about twenty books, on diverse topics. When I checked a preview of one of the books, it was a solid block of text -- all one paragraph -- and it made almost no sense at all. It was all written in the past perfect sense -- he had been there, and she had said to him, etc. -- and it was about as interesting as watching mud dry.
So if you're asking how to write a book that will sell well, my first point of advice would be to write the book well. If you offer good value for the money, then you are likely to have good sales. For some general tips on writing well, here is a thread from the author workshop:
I wanted to know whether there are specific categories which do well on lulu.
That's not easy to know without knowing just what is published on Lulu. The cost of POD can put some off publishing things like full-colour hardbacked cook-books, but they do very well via traditional publishing and mass-printing on sites like Amazon, but only when the TV prog that goes withy them is on. Often top sellers. But as a general estimate I would say that Romance sells better than most others.
also why is it that us (African authors) don't appear on search results on lulu.com easily. Any kind of adice will be apprciated.
I am not too sure why they should. I am English in the UK but see no reason to point that out, but you could use African and Black as keywords. However, you say "African authors". People would have to know their names to search for them I would have thought.
But this is what I found on Lulu using Black, African as a search.
If you want to be successful you have to think beyond Lulu. By that I mean use Lulu to publish your book and have it distributed but think about how your book will be received in the wider market. To put things into perspective Kindle have paid out 100 million dollars in a little over a year just on their borrowing program alone whereas Lulu paid out a little over a million dollars in 10 years of operation.
Current received wisdom is that the books by self published authors which sell best are those written by women and aimed at woman and mostly of the romance genre.
Skoob is correct about a book needing to be well written, formatted and presented but you should not pay too much attention to the Lulu best seller list. For a start this is based on value, rather than units sold. So an author who sells 3 books at 20 dollars will rank higher than an author who has sold 50 books at $ 0.99. More importantly, if an author buys a batch of his own books in the hopes of selling them locally that will push him up the sales rankings, perhaps even into the number one spot on the best seller list.
The thing to remember about self publishing is that you have to do everything yourself. If you cannot find books by African authors easily that is because they did not use the key words that you searched for. Each author has to decide which words will work best for him.
The advice I would give you is that if you are good at your craft try to find a publisher. That would be your safest bet. The reason I say this is twofold:
firstly there is not large book buying public in Africa and of the people who do buy books I should imagine most would do so through a book store rather than order a book from Lulu or Amazon
secondly the largest markets for books in the English language remain the USA and the UK and books written by African authors on African themes and experiences would be a minority interest in these markets. This is not to say that they cannot do well but an established publisher would have the clout to promote them best.
However, if you still want to go down the self published route, welcome to the club. It is no easy ride but it is satisfying being able to be fully in control of every aspect of your work.