The best thing about self-publishing is that you are guaranteed to be published, no matter what type book you choose to write. Traditional publishers often look for something not yet written about, or seldom written about; such as true life alien abductions, or what Earth might be like in the year 4000, if humans last that long.

Self-publishing allows the author more leeway with subject matter. The author can tell it like it is; unlike traditional publishers who generally follow a code of conduct, for the fear of treading on someone’s toes. Traditional publishers always have that fear of being sued for libel, whereas self-publishers tend to not care what others think.

With self publishing every detail is up to the author. From hiring a professional editor if the self publishing author is not prolific in the English language. Editing is expensive, and every book, even self publishing needs some editing to help polish the final product. Self-publishing does offer editing and marketing services, but for an additional price, that can be expensive. All that work is taken care of by a traditional publisher, which means less headaches and work for the author.

When it comes to book covers, self-publishing companies usually give the author a selection of artwork to choose from. Some of this artwork is free, but some usually cost a few dollars. The free artwork is seldom great, and might not coincide with the books material. For paid artwork at self-publishing companies, the artwork is upgraded and more pleasing to the eye, but is an extra cost, which might for some self-publishers, mean an extra dent in their pocketbooks. Traditional publishers have their own art department, which means the author is guaranteed a terrific book cover, which is included in the contract. Both self-publishing and traditional publishing companies, though, usually allow the author to use their own artwork if the author chooses too, especially if the book is about the author’s family, pet, friends, or profession. Using personal artwork adds a touch of personification and genuine sincerity to the book; which is always a good selling point.

What I discovered through Amazon, and something they did not tell me in the beginning, is that with them, the author must keep a supply of their books at the Amazon warehouse. Amazon is not a print on demand (POD) distributor as is Lulu, as I initially believed it to be. Also, with the author’s books being stored at the Amazon warehouse, the author is charged for a monthly storage fee. I don’t know what this storage fee is, but I do know, that the more books the author keeps stored, the higher the storage fee is. This storage requirement can be expensive. The author is required to pay this monthly storage fee, even if their book does not sell. When it comes to any type of artwork, whether it be books, jewelry, or candles, artwork is usually a hard product to sell. If it were easy, all artists and authors would be wealthy.

Lulu on the other hand, is a print on demand self publisher. They do not store books, but keep each title stored in a queue, at a contracted print on demand printer.

Also, what I understand is that Lulu allows 80% of the royalties to go to the author, and Amazon allows 70%, but that percentage is only applicable for books sold to certain countries outside of the U.S., such as Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India, and only for titles enrolled in KDP Select. This in reality, means that the author receives an average 35% of the sales, and Amazon gets the other 65%.

A author can struggle with locating a traditional publishing company for many reasons. They have written a book that only they are interested in; such as their family history. I don’t believe most would be interested in reading about someone else’s family tree, unless it is as brilliant as the book Roots, was. If a author is struggling with locating a traditional publishing company, than self-publishing is for them. I for one believe that if a writer has written a book, they should continue seeking out the traditional publishing company. This only applies if their book is polished and ready for sale. If a book has many graphical errors, it will not be taken seriously by a traditional publisher. Getting away with graphical errors in a self-published book is possible, but it would be disappointing and frustrating to the reader. Whether the book is self-published or traditionally published, the final product should be free of errors, and entertaining, and pleasing to the eye. In my opinion, when it comes to Lulu versus Amazon, Amazon bites the dust. Good luck.