Author Ron Guth submitted this information on his newest book, a guide to prices realized for German coins. He details his positive experience with using the self-publishing print-on-demand web site Lulu.com, which other numismatic authors have discovered as a useful alternative for publishing specialized works.
Your readers might be interested in my recent experience with on-line publishing through Lulu.com.
Over the last six months, I've been compiling auction prices realized for PCGS-graded German coins, an albeit narrow field, but one which interests me greatly as a collector and a dealer. By last weekend (June 6), I had compiled nearly 2,000 listings and had wanted to put it into book form to offer to other interested parties. Knowing this would be a limited-interest publication, I decided to try out one of the on-line publishers. My brother, who has had experience with publishing on-line, recommended Lulu.com
Lulu.com's website is very straightforward and intuitive. Essentially, you start a project, make some decisions as to the format and binding, use one of their ready-made templates to "build" your book, design a cover, order a proof copy, click a couple of buttons, enter payment information, and you're done.
I started the project Monday night (June 7). Most of my time was spent trying to move data from an Excel file to a Word file, then breaking it up into the various sections I needed. The front of the book included pages for copyright, Acknowledgements, Foreword, an explanation of why the book was important, About the Author, etc., so I had to write all of those, as well. In the end, the whole "innards" of the book came out to 60 pages.
I uploaded the file to Lulu.com and they confirmed that it was formatted properly. The next step was to design the cover. Lulu provides templates with great designs where you type in the title, add some images, build a promotional blurb, etc. If you want an ISBN number (optional but recommended if you want to be "seen" in the marketplaces for books), Lulu provides one and automatically drops it into the cover. Once you're done with the cover, you're done with the project.
I started the project at 8 p.m. and pulled the final trigger at 1 a.m., ordering 20 books. My cost was $133.72 which included shipping. Lulu estimated 10 days for processing, printing, and delivery.
Lo and behold, 108 hours (4.5 days) later, twenty pristine books showed up at my Post Office. I could not believe how smoothly, quickly, and easily this project went. And, the quality of the books is exceptional: glossy, color cover, perfect binding, 8.5" x 11" format, crisp printing on quality paper.
If I don't spend another dime, I can simply sell or give away my 20 books all by myself, but Lulu.com will continue to offer them as a print-on-demand book at my retail price of $49.95, giving me the bulk of that amount as my "royalty." For $175, Lulu will offer the book to the international market, meaning that it will be available on Amazon.com or through Barnes and Noble (and/or any bookseller that uses the ISBN database).
This is my tenth book as an author or co-author, so I've had some experience with various editors and publishers. For a first-time attempt at on-line publishing, I could not be happier and I'm as proud of this book as any other I've written. I plan on publishing updated versions of the book every six months because...guess what...I can do it easily and inexpensively through Lulu.com.
If anyone would like to obtain a copy of this first effort, visit Lulu.com and search their bookstore for "Auction Prices Realized for PCGS-graded German Coins" by Ron Guth. You'll get a great book AND a vision of what you, too, can do.
I'm glad to hear how smoothly the process went. Now none of us has much of an excuse to not be a published author.
To read the complete article, see:
Auction Prices Realized for PCGS-graded German Coins
Wayne Homren, Editor
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