The Book takes physical form !

Seeds of Change - the book !Phil: While my writing colleague is swanning around Florida in her Daisy Dukes (Strange, because her favourite character in the programme was Rosco), I’ve been left to do all the work. Pity about this, because things have just got exciting as I have The Book in book form !

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, while these are real books, we haven’t bagged a publishing deal. Yet. You can’t head out to Waterstones and pick up a copy.

These are test copies I had produced via Lulu.com so we could hand them to test-readers for some feedback. While we could just chuck them some printouts on A4 from a local printer, this doesn’t give the feel of a book and it’s a whole lot less easy to read. You don’t want to be taking a ring-binder to bed do you ?

Actually as a method of getting your words on the page, this is pretty cheap. Each book cots under a fiver and for that we have 225 A5 pages and a colour cover, all perfect bound. In fact the “product” is good enough to sell on its own. The same day I received these in the post, I had a couple of copies of the test printed up by a local company and they cost me £10 each. OK, so I had them within half an hour rather than waiting a few days, but it made me wonder.

Anyway, if anyone is thinking of having a crack at Print On Demand publishing via Lulu, here are some hints:

  • What you see isn’t entirely what you get. The preview seems to show that you control the inside front and back covers. You don’t, these are blank. Your document starts from the front of the first printed page, which logically should be the title page. Don’t leave a blank first page like I did thinking it was the cover or the result looks odd.
  • The words on your A4 page in the wordy processor are the ones that fit on the A5 page. Mine came out in a font too small. It’s perfectly readable but again, looks odd.
  • A5 is the same height as a conventional paperpack but very slightly wider. Sadly Lulu don’t offer a narrower version so we’ll have to live with it. I’m being picky here as paperbacks come in different sizes.
  • There is no border on the front or back covers if you select the all picture option. Make sure you put your own border on or the text (as in this one) goes right up to the edge. Oh, and you get the barcode on the back whether you like it or not so format your image around it.
  • Uploading files works better if you are on Chrome than Internet Explorer, at least it does on my PC.

Despite the caveates, at the end of the day I am massively pleased with the results. Seeing your words in a real book is fabulous. I re-read a few bits marvelling in simply holding something with a shiny cover and a flat spine. Then I scribbled stuff in the margins, made the tweaks mentioned above and ordered 4 more copies. The bigger font pushed the price up over the fiver but I think they will be worth it. If all else fails, and we are many months away from this, I’ll link in the on-line shop to the blog and sell the thing direct. With a turnaround of 3-5 days, it’s not much worse than ordering from Amazon.

In the meantime I’m thinking about future uses for POD technology. Well until madame gets back from holidays anyway.

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3 Comments

Filed under Phil, Writing

3 responses to “The Book takes physical form !

  1. Catherine Sharkey

    In spite of ‘Madame’ being in Florida, how come she’s only written one blog so far?! This latest sounds good. Keeping it in mind for when I get to actually sit down and finish my own book. Maybe next year!

  2. To be fair, Madame has managed 5 posts and I’m sure will return fresh from her holiday ready to hit the keyboard. Mind you, the posts will probably mention the problems of having a suntan in the spring – something that inspired a little vignette in the book actually…

    As for Lulu, if you have a book in mind then do take a look at the site. The options seem pretty varied and at least you can produce something to show for all the effort. Good Luck !

  3. Andy in Germany

    I’d add to the above to be very careful about the cover design: the ‘crop marks’ on the cover making software aren’t always that accurate, so it’s best to avoid having a border in your design and to allow a fair bit of overlap until you have some experience with the setup.

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