TABLE OF CONTENTS


Revenue Overview


Lulu does not pay advances against an author’s future work or potential sales. Instead, authors are paid based on the actual sales of their published content.

 

This Creator Revenue Guide provides an overview of how Lulu collects, displays, and pays you for your sales. It also acts as a reference and resource to give you the necessary tools to take control of your publications and manage potential profit with greater success.


Revenue & Royalties


Creator revenue is the total amount of money you earn from the sale of your published material. Creator revenue includes Royalties and Other Revenue.


  • Royalties:

When you publish with a  Lulu-owned ISBN, Lulu becomes the publisher of record and all earnings are regarded as Royalties, regardless of format. The creator revenue generated by sales of books with a Lulu-owned ISBN meets the true and legal definition of a royalty. Royalties are reported to the IRS and are subject to withholding according to United States of America tax laws.

 

  • Other Revenue:

If your book does not have a Lulu-owned ISBN, then your earnings are not royalties but simply, "Other Revenue," which is the amount of money you make on each sale of your published material. "Other Revenues" are not subject to withholding and are not reported to the IRS.


For more information about tax withholding, visit the Tax and Withholding FAQ.


Payees & Payment Methods


Lulu pays creator revenues by either paper check or directly into a PayPal account. 


To receive revenue payments, you must have a Payee designated for your project(s), which can be set up on the Pricing & Payees step while publishing. If we do not have a payee on file, we cannot send you revenue payments. 

 

We currently offer two payment options for the revenue you earn: PayPal in your choice of 5 currencies OR paper check in USD only. At this time, we do not offer bank or wire transfers, direct deposits, or other payment methods.


Note: Depending on the type of PayPal account you have, PayPal may deduct a service charge for disbursing your Creator Revenue. PayPal determines this fee; Lulu has no control over these fee.


For more information, please review Section 8 of the Lulu Membership Agreement.


PayPal:

 

PayPal payments can be made in the following currencies: USD, CAD, AUD, EUR, and GBP.

 

If you choose PayPal, we will pay by the end of the month if you earned at least $5 in accumulated revenue (after tax withholding) in the previous month. 

 

For example, if you earned $5 or more in revenue by the end of January, you will receive payment on or before the last day of February. Sales exceeding $5 in February will be paid at the end of March, and so on.


You must have all payee and contact information completed in your account. Be sure to log onto the PayPal site first to create your PayPal account there before setting up your payment contact information on Lulu.


These payments are valid for 30 days before they expire and roll into the unpaid revenue for your payee. If that happens, you will receive the funds again on the next scheduled payment date from when the money returned to your account.


Paper Check:

 

If you choose checks, we will send you a physical check in US dollars via US Priority Mail if the accumulated revenue is at least $20 (after tax withholding). 

 

Check payments are made within 45 days of the end of each financial quarter (every 3 months). The $20 threshold must be met for sales in that revenue period. 

 

For example, the revenue for sales through March 31st must total $20 or more in order to receive a payment by May 15th.

 

Paper check payments are made only in US dollars and sent out via US Priority Mail by the following dates:

  • By February 15 (for October, November, and December sales)
  • By May 15 (for January, February, and March sales)
  • By August 15 (for April, May, and June sales)
  • By November 15 (for July, August, and September sales)

You must have all payee and contact information completed in your account.


Checks issued by Lulu remain valid for 90 days from the issue date. After that time it expires and is null and void. Once a check becomes void, the funds are returned to the payee and will be included with any other unpaid revenue on the next applicable payment date.


Pro tip: If you have an Informed Delivery set up with USPS, you can receive email notifications about upcoming arrivals that will allow you to anticipate the exact arrival date of your revenue check.

Managing Your Payees


If you select Publish Your Book for your project on the Start step, you will be required to assign a payee to that project. The final Review step will be locked and you will be unable to finish the publishing process until a valid payee is added.


Payees are saved in your account. Once a payee is created, you can select that payee from the dropdown menu while publishing another project. Payees can be edited while revising any project the payee has been added to.


If you haven't created one yet, please review the following steps to create and assign a brand new payee to a project:

  1. When you are on the Pricing & Payees of the Book Creator Tool step click Add a New Payee.
  2. Enter the payee information and select the currency in which you want the payee to be paid. (PayPal payments are made in the following currencies: USD, CAD, AUD, EUR, and GBP. Paper checks can only be made in USD.)
  3. Select PayPal or Check as the method of payment. For PayPal, be sure to enter the email address (Ex: authorname@email.com) associated with the payee’s PayPal account.
  4. Enter a Tax ID number and upload a tax form (W-9 or W-8BEN) to forgo tax withholding by Lulu (optional).
  5. Click Add Payee.



Revising a Payee: 


IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have submitted a W-9 or W-8BEN tax form, your payee details will be locked. You must submit a new tax form with the updated information and our accounting department will update your payee's details accordingly.


To ensure that you receive payments, you must keep the details and preferred payment method up-to-date or revise it from the Pricing & Payees step.

 

If you only have one payee profile linked to all the projects in your account, you can access it through one of those projects to make the necessary changes. Editing a payee in any existing project will update that payee for all projects.

 

Previous unpaid revenue will remain associated with that payee and continue to be consolidated with additional sales until the next scheduled payment date.


To edit your payee information:

  1. Sign into your account and go to the My Projects page.
  2. Locate the project in question and click Revise to open the Creation Wizard.
  3. Click Pricing & Payees in the header displayed at the top of the page.
  4. Scroll down to Payees for your book and click the Edit button to make changes to an existing payee.
  5. Click Save once you have finished and then proceed to the Review step.
  6. Review and confirm each section as needed and your information will be saved for future revenue payments.


Be mindful that any changes to your remittance information may delay payment of creator revenues depending on the schedule for the updated method chosen.


Splitting Revenue:

 

Some creators choose to work in collaboration with other writers, designers, editors, and illustrators. As such, Lulu provides the option to split revenue between multiple contributors when assigning payees to the project.

 

For each contributor that you want to receive revenue, a separate payee must be created with their contact information, tax forms (if applicable), and the payment method.

 

Each payee can be assigned a different percentage of the revenue, but the total percentage must add up to 100%.



Please be aware that only future revenue will be split. Sales recorded in your account prior to the creation of a new payee and revenue split will be unchanged and cannot be moved between payees.


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Sales & Payments Page


Creator revenues from all distribution channels (Lulu, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, etc.) are displayed on the Sales & Payments tab of the My Projects page of your account. There you can view your sales history and your total estimated unpaid revenue prior to any tax withholding based on today's currency conversions. 


The Date Reported column indicates when Lulu received the data regarding that sale (which can vary for channels outside of Lulu), while the Date Sold column refers to when the purchase was actually made. All purchases of your content will be displayed, included a Self-Purchase, which will be identified by the Yes or No in the respective column.


You will also see the title of the project and the price and what quantity was purchased. The geographical Region is indicated, along with the Channel (or platform) where the order was placed. These channels include:

  • Print Books: Lulu, Amazon, LSI, Hachette
  • Ebooks: Lulu, Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Libri, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, CoreSource, Gardners


Due to daily fluctuations in international currency conversion rates, the displayed revenue is estimated based on the retail sales and the creator revenues associated with each work. However, since publications are sold through retail channels in any currency that platform may accept, the exact amount paid to the author may vary slightly from the displayed, estimated revenue total.


The final payment creators receive is calculated based on the officially posted currency conversion rates on the scheduled "payday" – not the day on which the title sold.


Sales Reports


The sales report provides a detailed breakdown of each sale and the associated fees and revenue. For an explanation of each column and it's category meaning, please see the table below:



CSV Definitions
Reported DateThe date the revenue is reported to us in month/year format
Sale DateThe date the sale occurred
Self-Purchase (y/n)Indicates if the sale is a self-purchase (bought by the creator)
Product IDThe ID of the project purchased
Version #The version number of the project purchased
TitleThe title of the project purchased
AuthorThe author of the project purchased
FormatThe format of the project purchased
ChannelThe channel from which the project was purchased
RegionThe region from which the purchase was made
Sales CurrencyCurrency of sale
QuantityThe quantity of items purchased
List Price EachThe list price of the content sold - shown as per 1 quantity. Amount is in Sales Currency
Retail ShareThe retailer share amount - shown as per 1 quantity. Amount is in Sales Currency
Base PriceThe base price amount - shown as per 1 quantity. Amount is in Sales Currency

Net Revenue

The total (not per 1 qty) Revenue amount after deducting the Base Price and Retail Share, also known as Markup. Amount is in Sales Currency
Lulu ShareThe total (not per 1 qty) Lulu share of the Net Revenue. Amount is in Sales Currency.
Revenue After FeesThe total (not per 1 qty) creator revenue generated from the sale. Amount is in Sales Currency.

Withholding Tax Rate

The rate to be withheld from a sale and remitted to US Government, if applicable. Amount is in Sales Currency.
Withholding AmountThe amount withheld from a sale and remitted to US Government, if applicable
PayeeThe sale for the Payee. The sale of a Content with more than 1 payee shows multiple times in a report for each payee.
Payee PercentThe percentage a Payee is due on the sale if the revenue is split among 2 or. more payees.
Payee RevenueThe amount to be paid to the Payee in the sale currency. Formula is = ( Revenue after Fees - Withholding Amount ) x Payee Percentage
Royalties (y/n)Indicates if the Creator Revenue is considered a Royalty.
Paid (y/n)Indicates if the revenue has been paid to the Payee or not.
Payee Revenue CurrencyCurrency of payment.
Converted Revenue

This is the Payee Revenue converted into the Payment Currency. If an amount is not Paid (= n), the Converted Revenue is an estimation based on the most recent exchange rates. If an amount is Paid (= y), the Converted Revenue amount is the amount actually paid to the Payee.


Creator revenues are based on payments actually received by Lulu. This means that your revenues may be adjusted for refunds or fraudulent orders for which we do not receive payment. Lulu makes a good faith effort to pay you using the payment contact information you provide. If you change your payment information, it may delay your payment. 

 

All adjustments will be indicated in both the sales report you can download and the data displayed on the Sales & Payments page of your account.


Payment Overview

To view your history of payments in detail, click on the Payment Overview button. The records displayed can be filtered by date or payee in the menu at the top of the page, while information about a specific payment can be reviewed by clicking the Payment Details button. 


On this page, you can also generate and download a comprehensive report of the payment history for payees in your account. It includes details about the date, amount, and recipient of payments according to our records.


To download a sales report for a payee, select the name from the drop-down menu and click Generate and Download CSV of this list. This will prompt the download options for your browser and should save the spreadsheet to your device in the location designated by your personal settings.


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Selling Your Book


As the creator and publisher of your book, you control the availability, format, and earnings potential for your book. The visibility of that content can have a significant impact on the success of your publications.


Through Lulu.com, you can list your book for purchase on the Lulu Bookstore and through our retail partners via Global Distribution (if eligible). Once your project is set to General Access, anyone can find it in the Lulu Bookstore and you can begin marketing this new work right away. 

With Global Distribution, it can take 6-8 weeks for the print books and 2-4 weeks for ebooks to be fully listed and available for purchase on retail sites.


Our Marketing team provides some fantastic tips and resources on developing useful strategies on the Lulu Blog. We are also partnered with several organizations that provide professional marketing assistance, which can be reviewed on our Partners page.


Lulu Bookstore vs Global Distribution


You can list your  books on both Lulu and Global Distribution simultaneously. However, there are a few notable differences in the way sales are processed and reported, as well as the profit you can earn.


The Gross Profit for your sales is the amount leftover from the Retail Price after the manufacturing costs and distribution or hosting fees are subtracted. This amount is split 80/20, with 80% representing the creator's revenue and 20% standing for Lulu's share. For ebooks, the profit is divided 90/10, with 90% going to the creator and 10% going to Lulu.


Global Distribution channels receive a percentage of the sale before the Gross Profit is reported to us, which is then divided according to the rate described above. This typically means profit from sales outside of Lulu are much lower than sales made through the Lulu Bookstore.


You can review the breakdown of the retail price, production cost, and estimated revenue for each currency and channel by going using our Pricing Calculator or navigating to the Pricing & Payees section while publishing or revising a project:



If you choose to sell only on the Lulu Bookstore, then your Retail Price can be as low as the print cost, which would result in $0 profit for you. Some creators choose to list at the base price for personal or marketing reasons.


However, if you select Global Distribution, a retail markup increases the minimum price allowed and requires you to set your Retail Price at a higher rate to accommodate for any fees or promotions on those platforms.


During the publishing process, you can assign a Retail Price to your project in the following ways:


  • Set Price By Fixed List Price: This option allows you to pick a set price in each currency (AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, USD) for your book. It must cover the minimum of Print Cost and Distribution Fees.

  • Set Price By Revenue Goal: This option allows you to set a price for your book based on how much you want to earn in Your Revenue per sale.

Sales placed through the Lulu Bookstore will be indicated on your Sales & Payments page by the end of the business day. 


Print and ebooks sold on retail sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore do not immediately display on your Sales & Payments page. These sales are provided to Lulu through periodic sales statements received from each retail site. All sales from retailers are reported once a month.


  • Print Books

Retail print book sales can take from 6 to 8 weeks to post in your account, depending on when in the reporting cycle they are sold. Once Lulu receives the retailer's sales report your sales will appear on your My Projects > Sales & Payments page.

 

  • Ebooks

Ebook sales made through Lulu.com are displayed on your My Projects > Sales & Payments page once the payment is approved. Sales are reported monthly, but depending on the time within the reporting cycle your book sold, the sales numbers may be reported up to 8 weeks following the purchase.


When retailers report sales to Lulu, they also provide the information in the currency the order was paid for. For example, a book sold in Australian dollars (AUD) is reported to us in AUD and shown on your Sales & Payments page, while the estimated unpaid revenue indicates your preferred currency of payment. 


The final conversion rate is determined on the date of payment; therefore, revenue earned for a book purchased in different stores can vary.


Print Distribution Pricing:


If your print content meets the Mandatory Print Book Distribution Requirements, you will be able to have it listed with our associated retail distribution channels.


When setting the price for your print book, there are a few factors to consider when it comes to distribution. The final retail price for all currencies must cover the print cost and distribution fees, as well as take into account Lulu's share.


Here is a breakdown of how the revenue total is calculated for print books:

  • Print Cost: This is a set cost. Your list price must be at least twice the print cost in order to cover production and Distribution Fees.
  • Distribution Fees: 50% of retail price goes to distribution channel. There are no Distribution Fees for books sold on the Lulu Bookstore.
  • Gross Profit: Revenue remaining after Print Cost and Distribution Fees.
  • Lulu Share: 20% of Gross Profit
  • Your Revenue: 80% of Gross Profit


A minimum retail price is displayed on the Pricing & Payees step.


The retailer may choose to sell your work at the full retail price ($25.16 USD in the example above), they may offer a standard discount like free shipping, or they may run a special for a defined period of time such as 25% off all print books. 


The selling price set by the retailer has no effect on the revenue you earn from selling your book at the wholesale price – in other words, if your Retail Revenue is set at $5, you will make $5 for every book sold in retail channels, even if the retailer offers a discount.


Please see this article for more details on Print Book Retail Pricing.


Ebook Distribution Pricing:

 

Using our Global Distribution service, you can create and list your EPUB ebook on other retail channels. Your ebook must meet all retailer standards for sale on their site and must comply with Mandatory Ebook Distribution Requirements


All new ebook projects submitted to Global Distribution will include a one-time fee of $4.99 for the first time an ebook is reviewed for distribution. This fee does not apply to subsequent reviews for any revision you may publish. Nor does this fee impact the 90% revenue share you'll receive from sales of your ebook.


Unlike a printed book, ebooks cost very little to create and have no production costs associated with selling them. Because there is so little cost to produce an ebook, you can set the minimum price as free for all channels, excluding Amazon.



While most retail channels do not require a minimum, there is a unique maximum price*. Below, find the currency adjusted list of maximum pricing for an ebook:


USD

200.00

EUR

215.00

AUD220.00
GBP150.00
CAD200.00


* Please note: Scribd has a max payout of $12 regardless of whether the product is priced above that.


The revenue amounts for your ebook can vary based on the retail sites you choose. That is because some retailers (Lulu, Apple, and Barnes & Noble) act as sales agents, which means they sell your ebook at the price you set and then take a commission based on that price.

 

Other retailers (Amazon and Kobo) operate as resellers. They pay the wholesale price when the ebook is sold. Since these retailers are buying your book from Lulu at a set price, they can resell your ebook at any price they like, including a discounted price. Under the reseller model you will always make the same revenue as displayed in the retail pricing step for each ebook sold by that retailer, regardless of the sale price set by that reseller.


For more information about the Distribution channels your Ebook will be distributed through, see the Ebook Distribution Channel Information article.


Alternative Options

While many creators find great success with publishing and listing their book on Lulu, we understand that visibility and variety is important and strive to offer a range of alternative options for publishers of all types.


Aside from the main Lulu platform, authors can set their content up through a storefront they manage via the Lulu xPress app for Shopify. This e-commerce channel has granted creators greater control than ever before as they get to create and manage their own personal bookstore. For more information on selling through our Shopify app, check out this page


However, if a personal or business website is already in place, Lulu Print API is ideal for integrating our global print network with an automated POD fulfillment process managed via dashboard. We provide more resources and instructions for setting up the integration on this page.


For more details on the different options available to you as a creator and publisher, please visit our Sell resource page.


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