CreateSpace vs Lulu

Recently I had some enquiries as to whether a book I had released was available in a hardcover edition. It wasn’t something I had considered until then but interest was sufficient that I decided to produce one. The self-publishing company I had been using for print books until that point, CreateSpace, didn’t have hardcover as an option, so I needed to use somewhere else. The company I chose was Lulu. I found it interesting to see how a different publisher functioned. This article will discuss some similarities and differences between the two companies, to help you decide where to self-publish your next project.


Interior Templates

Both CreateSpace and Lulu have downloadable interior templates for each folio size of book they produce. When I looked at the Lulu version it was a blank page. I’m assuming it has the correct margins embedded into the document, but decided to continue using the CreateSpace template for the size of book I wanted to produce, as both companies offered that folio size. If I plan to publish a book with Lulu, in the future, in a different folio size to one offered by CreateSpace, I will have to use the Lulu version.

CreateSpace offers a choice of basic or fully formatted interior templates. I use the fully formatted version and wouldn’t have been able to produce professional looking print books without them. Some knowledge of formatting is still needed, as copied and pasted text tends to not adopt the template formatting (in Word, at least), but the whole book is laid out for you – including margins, headers and footers, contents table – and you can adjust any part that you wish to. If you stick to their suggested formatting, your book will look nice, clean, and professional. I adjust some components, such as chapter heading fonts, to give my books a more individual feel, but the framework provided is more than adequate.


Cover Templates

Both companies have cover creators, and both have templates available within them, as well as the option to use your own wraparound cover. They function in a similar manner, and if you’ve used one, the other is easy to adjust to. Of the two, my favourite is Lulu. The cover creator is slow to load, but you can adjust or work on any part of the cover from a single view. Both allow a choice of background colours, but Lulu has an eyedropper function that makes it easy to match background colours to any part of the cover image. Lulu also allows you to change the font size of writing on the spine. CreateSpace limits you to JPEG files, but Lulu also allows PNG images. Both warn you if your image resolution is too low for print, but it’s more obvious in Lulu. Both generate a preview of the full cover.



Both companies offer free ISBNs for your books. This records the company you use as the publisher, and can’t be used elsewhere. Both also accept an ISBN that you own, which records you (or a press you run) as the publisher.

Lulu gives the option of not assigning an ISBN to your book.


Proof Copies

A proof copy is a print copy of your book that you purchase and review before authorising publication. Ordering a proof copy of your print book is a good idea because cover images often look a little different printed than they do on a screen. The colours can appear different, and resolution problems aren’t always obvious when reviewing your book online. Looking at your book in a different format can also make it easier to spot errors that have previously escaped your notice.

CreateSpace recommends you order a proof copy before publishing, but does allow you to review an online version instead. Lulu insists you order a print copy and will not allow the book to be published until you do.


Online Reviewing

Both companies recommend viewing your uploaded files as part of the publishing process. Both seem to prefer PDF files to be uploaded, but both will convert several other document types to PDF if you upload them.

In CreateSpace, the resulting file is presented on the screen as it would appear in a book – the title page, and then the paired pages that follow. You click through as though leafing through an actual book. This gives you a good feel for how the book will appear in print. Lulu, on the other hand, shows you a PDF file, which displays as a single page at a time, making it harder to determine if the final appearance is what you want.


Ordering Author Copies

Both companies allow authors to purchase copies of their books cheaper than the list price. CreateSpace limits the number of proof copies to five. I don’t know if Lulu has a limit. The cheaper price applies after publication as well, however. Postage per book tends to decrease with the number of books ordered.



Both companies determine a minimum cost for your book based on its production cost.

CreateSpace is an Amazon company, and if you opt to publish on Amazon exclusively, the minimum cost is lower than if you select expanded distribution to other retailers. If you do choose to go with expanded distribution, your royalties from Amazon sales increase with the associated price increase.

With Lulu, the option of distribution beyond Lulu itself is also offered, and also means an increase in price to generate royalties from sales from the other retailers. Lulu, however, allows you to offer a discount (up to a massive 40%) on sales of your books if they are bought directly from Lulu. This allows you to keep costs down for your readers, while still having the benefit of exposure over a wider market.



One advantage of Lulu over CreateSpace is that they have frequent discount coupons on their site. These discounts apply to author copies as well as retail sales. Some discounts are short-lived, others are regularly available for orders over a certain number of books. These discounts not only make purchasing copies of your own books less expensive, but are also a handy marketing tool to encourage your readers to buy direct from the publisher (where your royalties are higher per sale). What I haven’t compared (yet) is the cost of producing the same book through each company, so whether Lulu is cheaper overall or not I can’t tell you.



I have experienced and/or been aware of problems with both companies in recent times.

Lulu has been experiencing problems with (some of) their servers. I have been preparing a number of titles for publication in hardcover and frequently couldn’t advance beyond the file upload stage. I would have to return to the project after a break, sometimes needing to generate the print-ready files a second time before progressing. The site has also been logging me out at random, even in the middle of preparing a title. Last I saw, Lulu was still working on rectifying the problem.

CreateSpace sometimes has a problem when the interior of a book is altered. If you change the interior file in any way, it should prompt you to go through the cover creation stage again, even if the book length is the same. Sometimes it doesn’t progress through this stage and can result in a corrupted cover image. If you are not prompted to go through the cover stage, log out and go back later, and it will then ask you to do it.

Another recent problem I had with a CreateSpace published book was likely an Amazon issue, but I was never given an explanation of what happened, so I can’t be sure. The book disappeared from all Amazon websites, including my Author Central account. I sent CreateSpace a message about it. Their response was that they would have to consult another department as to what the problem was. The book reappeared as mysteriously as it had vanished after a five-day break.



I have only recently started using Lulu, so I can’t say whether one is definitely better than the other. In the end, the choice is probably going to be due to the type of book, and size, that you want to produce. There are some folio sizes that both providers make, but both have a number of options not offered by the other. As mentioned before, Lulu has a hardcover option that is not available in CreateSpace. Lulu also has calendar options, which could be useful in marketing books or simply as an extra income stream.

Thank You in paperback


The paperback edition of Thank You was released earlier this month. Initially available on Amazon, you can now purchase copies from other retailers such as Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository. Please see the book’s page on my website for links.

There were a few problems in getting this out there. Last minute issues with the manuscript delayed the ordering of the proof copies, which then took almost a month to arrive. Then, a few days after publishing, Amazon suddenly wondered why my name wasn’t listed in the author field and they suspended the book. Once they’d read my brief email replying to theirs it was soon available again, but it would have been better all round if they’d inquired about it during the set-up stage. Recently the book disappeared off Amazon’s sites completely. It’s back again now, after I contacted them on discovering its absence, but it was gone for up to five days, and I never did hear from them as to what had gone wrong. Fingers crossed, that will be the final problem.

There have also been occasional problems with people unable to download the free ebook edition from Amazon. If this has happened to you, please try again.

It’s possible a hardback edition of Thank You will be released in the future, due to popular demand. Watch here for news.

Thank You

TY ebook fb cover

The free ebook edition of Thank You has been released to a wonderful response. I am honoured to have been able to bring to life a book that holds so much meaning to so many people. Thank you to each and every contributor.

I am still waiting for the proof copies of the paperback to arrive, but I hope to be able to release it next month.

Chris Cornell tribute book update

TY Twitter

The free ebook edition will be released on 20 July, 2017. Pre-orders are already live on Amazon, and it will also be available through Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The book has already hit #1 on some Amazon sites.

The paperback has been delayed slightly, but will hopefully be available within a month. The list price will be around $15US.

Download and buy links will be activated on the book’s page on my website as they become available.

I have enormous gratitude to all the contributors. This book simply would not exist without them!

Tribute book for Chris Cornell

The sudden death of music legend Chris Cornell birthed a flood of grief and confusion. In the days that followed, an outpouring of love and admiration also surfaced. Fans and friends posted tributes, stories, memories and poems. So many expressions of love, so many touching, and sometimes funny, stories.

As I read through these posts, sharing their grief, I felt a need to do something. These expressions from the people who loved him were precious. It would be a shame for them to all drift off into cyber space as time moved on. The idea for a project was born.

I am compiling a book of these remembrances and tributes. Each piece is being used with the expressed permission of the writer. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive. My goal is to gather 100 contributors, or more, and in only a couple of days I have passed the half-way mark.

The ebook that will result from this project will be free. A print version is also planned, which will be sold for the minimum cost possible. This is a project of love.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to this book, please contact me through my Facebook page or Twitter account. Each piece will be attributed to the writer, or anonymous if requested. All rights remain with the original writers.

The Door

I am not a poet by nature, but this piece came to me as I contemplated the loss of my muse, Chris Cornell. I guess he has retained his power to get me writing after all. I wish so fervently that things were different, and that this poem never got penned.

The Door

The Door – written after the tragic passing of Chris Cornell

Farewell, beautiful muse

Tonight, I am reeling. My muse and inspiration, Chris Cornell, is reported to have passed away. So much more to me than just a voice, I cannot grasp the new reality of a world without him. My heart is broken, genuinely shattered.

How did he end up my muse? It started with a photo he posted on Twitter. I was a long-time fan, so I was already following him. Actually, he was the first person I followed on Twitter. Anyway, I digress. The photo was of a wall, marble or something similar, with the ghost of his image reflected. He asked us, his followers, what did we see? It sparked an image, then a paragraph, a scene, a chapter… The resulting story is as yet unfinished, but that was when I knew I’d found my muse.

My first novel has a hero that is not difficult to identify as having been inspired by Chris. But back then, I didn’t see him as my muse. His talent and beautiful character were the source for my character, and I thought it was as simple as that. But after that photo of the wall… Songs, interviews, other photos, so many things sparked ideas and stories.

Now he’s gone. I want to finish those stories he inspired, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to write. I guess I will one day. I think he’d like me to. But my heart is broken. It will heal, I have known grief before, but I have lost my touchstone, the star I navigate with through the waters of creativity.

Only two weeks ago I published a novella inspired by the lyrics of one of Chris’s songs. The temptation is to remove it from sale. I don’t want it to look like I’m being opportunistic or disrespectful. But would he want me to? He enjoyed it when artists covered his songs, so I’ll leave it up. For now, at least. And the other novellas I’d planned that were also based on his songs? Maybe, one day, they’ll make an appearance.

Farewell, my beautiful muse. Thank you for everything, for so much more than I could ever express.

Scar On The Sky special offer

It’s Mother’s Day here in Australia, and to celebrate I have a special offer for you. Until May 28, you can get the ebook of Scar On The Sky for half price on Smashwords. Enter the coupon code LU58D in checkout to receive your discount.

Click HERE to go to the book’s page.

Mother's Day Special

Merchandise is also now available HERE.

Scar On The Sky is here

The first retailers have listed Scar On The Sky for sale. Currently it is available from Amazon (ebook and print), and Kobo (ebook). My Published Works page will be updated as other retailers list it.

Amazon US

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Amazon US paperback

Amazon UK paperback

Amazon US LP paperback

Amazon UK LP paperback


SOTS cover reveal

Scar On The Sky cover reveal

Here it is, the cover of my new novella Scar On The Sky. This is book one of the Rockington series, and will be available to buy in the near future. Your options will be ebook, paperback, and large print paperback. Check back for buy links as the book goes live!

SOTS cover reveal