Step 1 – register

You need to sign up at Lightning Source’s website ( by clicking Register and then Proceed to our new account page. Within a couple of days, you will get an email from one of their people asking some questions:

  1. How many titles do you plan to print with Lightning Source over the next 12 months?
  2. Do you own the rights to the title(s)?
  3. Have your titles been printed/published by any company other than your own?  If yes, by whom?
  4. In what format do you plan to submit your titles for printing?  (i.e. physical books for scanning or files?  If files, what type?  Are you familiar with creating pdf file?)
  5. Have you read and understood the File Creation link on our website covering Digital File Submission Standards, Cover Template Generator etc?
  6. Have you previously spoken to a sales representative at Lightning Source?  If so, with whom?
  7. All publishers are required to administer their own web accounts independently of any intervention by Lightning Source.  Do you agree to work with Lightning Source on this basis?

This is how I replied:

  1. One, maybe two.
  2. Yes.
  3. No.
  4. PDF would be best. And yes, I know how to create the files.
  5. I’ve only just seen this. I’ve downloaded the PDF and had a quick read-through. I understand it all, and will read it carefully while preparing my PDFs.
  6. No.
  7. Yes I do.

The person who sends you this email is your main contact and should be able to answer your questions. I found mine very prompt and good at answering questions.


Step 2 – Online sign-up

Once you’ve replied, you will be sent account login details, so that you can sign in on their website. The next bit is self-explanatory – you just answer a couple of questions online about the services you want. After that, you’re into the new account application. You can complete this online, or on a paper form. The first question here was so intimidating that I immediately decided to do the application on paper, where I’d be able to read through all the questions and see what was going on. If you choose this option, you will be presented with the “Pending Tasks List page”. From here, you can download PDFs of the application form and contracts for the services you’re interested in.


Step 3 – Complete paper application and contracts

The application form seems intimidating, and there are a few things on it that aren’t explained very well. Here are the ones I found difficult:

  • Primary account number – this is the number at the top of an email LS will send you once you’ve reached the “Pending Tasks” page. The email’s subject line is “Lightning Source Customer Application Materials. AWAITING APPROVAL.” The email doesn’t say that that’s what the number is, but it is.
  • Org ID – you can leave this blank, according to my LS contact.
  • Under “form of business” in section 2, she advised me to write “Micro publisher”.
  • If, like me, you’re just one person based in the UK, then you don’t need to pay US sales tax. In section 6, say ‘Yes’ to claim exemption and tick the second box down.

Send them all off to LS.

Two days after posting the form and contracts I got an email from Lightning Source to say that my account had been approved. The email was, as I’ve come to expect, a bit confusing, with a new main contact person, another contact for credit and blanks where another two kinds of contacts should have been. I was also told that I could now download some “how-to” guides.

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