Learning notes from publishing on CreateSpace and Lulu

This page is a work in progress. Last updated 7th May 2009. These are not detailed instructions just tips -currently in not much order. All these things were learned the painfully hard way:

  • Lulu's project revision "wizard" is buggy. Forums full of unhappy campers, e.g. wrong book cover picture, wrong or unexpected ISBN (hasn't affected me). It recalculates the price of the books due to rounding errors ($19.95 becomes $19.97). If you revise a book, don't rush: check everything as you step through.
  • Createspace gives a choice of white or cream paper. Lulu fixes the colour by page size. The cream colour on Lulu's Melbourne-printed books is a horrible yellow. Supposedly better when printed in other places
  • There’s quite a bit of discussion on forums re fonts and font sizes, just google. Also you will have yr own preferences. Some people think a smaller fontsize, say 10pt, looks more academic, others like a bigger 12pt. It also depends very very much on the font itself: a 10pt of one font appears bigger than a 12pt of another.
  • I use 1.2 or 1.3 line spacing multiple
  • Generally accepted practice is to use serif fonts in printed text and sans-serif on screen. But the ITIL books are sans-serif as are quite a few IT books these days. I use Georgia for printed books and franklin for digital+printed books. Either way, sans-serif titles, such as Ariel, look good.
  • I liked all the white space in Introduction to Real ITSM, then someone accused me of “padding” the book. Sigh.
  • Use MS-Word. Don’t know any other tools with as many publishing features
  • Make sure you have a gutter on alternating pages: left on even pages, right on odd. I think mine’s about 1cm.
  • Word also has a facility to do a insert>break>odd page: the following page will be odd, i.e. right hand, good for a chapter title
  • Read the advice on the Lulu forums re pdf settings.
  • Always use file>print>pdf to create a pdf and then use the printer options to change stuff, especially the page size. Essential that pdf page size is same or bigger than word page size. Lulu will tell you what size to make page
  • Use this download or the Lulu forums to find out how to create ISBN barcode – there’s a website that generates them for you. This is a pain: CreateSpace does it automatically, Lulu should too.
  • Choose your book page size at the start, it’s a bitch changing later. I use Trade, 6”x9”, very standard, though aesthetically I prefer Royal – trade seems a bit common to me, don’t you know.
  • Get your description of the book right – it flows through to amazon and you can’t change it.
  • Lulu is very bad for getting books on amazon.co.uk or amazon.de – flaky, unpredictable whether it works or not
  • Support is awful, don’t expect too much intelligent advice. Use the Lulu forums.
  • Don't look at Lulu Dashboard! look at My Projects - important info
  • When upload new book pdf to Lulu you need to delete out the old one too
  • Lulu instructions are fragmented, all over the place, hard to find again. print them when you get them in emails or webpages.
  • Lulu complains on pdf upload: "contains images that range from 0.2 to 172 DPI, which may appear blurry and pixelated in print". B&W graphics seem to come up fine. Photos less so.
  • It is way too easy to delete a section break in Word - headers and footers that vary by section get all screwed up. I swear they sometimes reset themselves to "same as previous" too. Check over and over
  • One-piece cover pdfs: although they are wider than high, use Portrait not Landscape!!
  • Uploaded a new book cover and the image hasn't changed? Refresh the browser page
  • Published by Lulu distribution package: the instructiosn are incorrect. "All you ahve to do is add your ISBN to the copyright page". Wrong. You also have to add an ISBN barcode to the one-piece coverpage
  • use the createspace template to get book cover dimensions right. note with thick books Lulu may be thinner - lighter paper
  • If you use your own ISBN you will get stung $75 for GlobalReach distribution by Lulu. if you get a free Lulu ISBN, the extended distribution is also free. Go figure. And wait for it... GlobalReach is an EXCLUSIVE distribution. You may not list the book with any other publisher, eg createspace.
  • ISBN barcode generation Accept the "no warranty", use "90000" for add-on. Nothing else to change. Download the resulting pdf. VIEW AT 100% SIZE, then take snapshot of barcode with a few millimetres of whitepace (look on the back of any book) to paste in your cover. Get the location for the barcode from the template downloadable from createspace (or in the lulu instructions somewhere?)
  • With on-demand publishing you don't get stuck with lots of stock, but on the other hand you don't have a box of free giveaways - every freebie costs you - and it is a pain to send someone a signed copy (have to ship to you and then to them)

Don's PDF Pages
ISBN barcode generation
Createspace vs Lulu

Lightning Source

I am investigating moving my books to Lightning Source. I'll try one book - do a second edition - leave the first edition running for a while on CreateSpace & Lulu.