It’s taken me a long time to get round to properly exploring “Lulu” – the publishing website, not the singer. My mum read about the site years ago and first told me about it, and I’ve had an account with them for ages without actually using it for anything much. I dabbled with uploading my first Nanowrimo novel but had so many formatting problems with it, I gave up. It was always one of those things I was going to get round to doing, but never did.
Then, towards the end of last year, with two writing-friends having 40th birthdays on the horizon, I had the idea of putting together a collection of 40 short stories to mark the occasion. It would just be for them, not for general release in the wider world (though some of the stories had already been published, or were about to be), but I’d have a go at uploading the text to Lulu and turning it into a proper book.
This time, I discovered Lulu had designed a template into which you could upload the text and deal with all the formatting issues before converting it to a print ready copy. There was opportunity to go through the latter to check all was well – and to delete and re-load the file if there was a problem. Next came the fun bit – designing the cover. Lulu has a variety of templates which makes the process pretty easy, and once you have the basic format in mind, you can switch between templates to judge which looks the most appropriate for your book. You can upload pictures as well as text at this point.
When you’re happy with the print ready copies of both the text and cover design, you’re good to go. Lulu takes you through paper grades and types of binding, and then all you need to do is decide how many copies you want to order, and pay the appropriate fee (which incidentally, is pretty reasonable considering your print run could in theory consist of a single copy).
I completed my upload and order mid-afternoon on a Tuesday. The copies of my book arrived in the post on the Thursday. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, and absolutely astounded by the speed of delivery. Whilst I doubt this is the way forward for self-publishers (price per copy is unlikely to be sufficiently competitive), if you simply want a few copies of your novel to give to family and friends, then I highly recommend it.
For more info, go to: http://www.lulu.com/gb