Monday, January 10, 2005

CBM #7 Up Today AND Interview: Lulu

Sorry...a bit behind on posting all of this...military weekend killed all of my time. Latest CBM is up today and here is the Lulu interview for all to read. The Wise Intelligence Anthology is nearly completed with nine of the ten stories there will be lots more to come in the upcoming weeks. I'll be back shortly, until then here I'm talking with Stephen Fraser from Lulu.

RYAN MCLELLAND: What does one need when coming to Lulu to self-publish when publishing a comic book?

STEPHEN FRASER: Artists preparing to publish a comic book on Lulu need the interior of their books prepared in one of the following formats:
a) A .PDF file in one of these trim sizes: 8.5"x11", 6"x9", or 6.625" x 10.25" (standard comic trim size). If you want your pages to be full-bleed, you need to set your trim size with an extra .25" on each side.
b) Alternately, .JPGs of each page of their comics (in one of the listed trim sizes) to be uploaded one at a time.
c) Most crudely, a Word document with the comics laid out as they wish them to appear (which the Lulu system can then convert into a print-ready PDF).

To publish your comic book you will also need a .JPG of your front cover and a .JPG of your back cover.

RM: I would hope that the pictures could be delivered in a digital format...what sort of resolution is best for that?

SF: Optimal print resolution is about 300 dpi. You won't see much improvement above that. Images should be sized for actual output size.

RM: Are you able to print individual issues or just comics in a book format?

SF: You can publish an individual comic, an issue of a magazine, or a book. These can be saddle-stitched, perfect-bound, or spiral bound, depending on your specification. A customer can order an individual copy of any of these.

RM: How successful has the comic book genre for your company?

SF: Lulu just began to introduce itself to comic book creators this past summer. Since then, we have seen a powerful word of mouth campaign promoting Lulu in the comic book community, driven in part by the fact that no one else offers high-quality, full-color print on demand comics with no set up fee or minimum order. We started talking to comic book creators because we have comic book fans within our company ( ) and because a significant part of what Lulu set out to do in the beginning was to provide publishing tools to communities--Comic book creators and fans are an impressive community. It's been a huge success so far.

RM: What are costs usually associated with printing a comic book?

SF: Publishing a comic on Lulu is free, of course. For creators who use other means of publishing, I think there are usually set-up costs in the hundreds of dollars. You should ask Eric what he pays to publish his non-Lulu work.

RM: How is this determined and do you save less by having more printed?

SF: I guess what you are getting at is the cost of buying a published comic book. The price of a printed comic consists of four elements:
1) $4.53 base production cost
2) $.15 per page for full-color; $.02 per page for b&w
3) The creator royalty (set by the publisher)
4) The Lulu commission (equal to 25% of item #3)

So if you publish a comic on Lulu and your Mom buys a copy, the price she will pay will reflect the above elements (and shipping, of course). You will then receive your royalty (see #3 above) for that copy (thanks, Mom!) and every other copy you sell.

If you publish a comic on Lulu and YOU buy a copy of your own comic, then you will probably want to set the royalty to $0, in which case the cost of the comic will reflect #1 and #2 above. For twenty-five copies and up, you will start to see discounts on the $4.53 (#1) production cost that vary depending on the total number of copies you order.


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