For those about to rawk, We publish you! - Part 1
At least that should be LuLu.com's slogan.
My good mate Khaled posted about discovering LuLu over on his site, saying he was going to order a sample from them to see if the quality was up-to-snuff.
Having had some experience with LuLu myself, I thought I would weigh in on this, and then thought "Hey! this would be a good opportunity to write a series on self-publishing." So here we go.
As I am sure you are aware by now, I am very much interested in self publishing. My main platform at the moment is the web, but I have been involved in real world publishing as well. Anything that gives the power back to the author/artist is of keen interest to me.
That being said, I have been a LuLu since 2003 or so, and have had 3 'books' printed by them. I can't say enough how high the quality is. If you are an illustrator or cartoonist and have ever thought of publishing, then listen up.
I have had 2 books that consist of just text, and one trade paperback comic printed through LuLu, all three pieces exceeded my expectations. But don't take my word for it, check these pics:
Applegeeks trade paperback, one of a kind.
I got tired of waiting for the guys at Applegeeks to release some 'dead-tree' versions of the comic, so I downloaded the issues from their site and printed my own. That is the important bit here, these are 72 dpi gifs from a website... just think of the quality if I had high res versions:"(Hey Hawk and Ananth, don't kill me, I just dig the dead-tree feel! I have been watching and waiting for you guys to produce something... so sue me.)": .
There are a couple more in my Flickr photostream, but I think you get the idea. Oh and don't go asking for one of these, I destroyed the digital version and there was only ever one dead-tree version printed. And now for something completely different.
Playing to the ego, print your blog as a book
So yeah I love to read books. I thought it would be fun to print some of my blog as a book, so I hit my database, imported into word, did some reformating and shot off to LuLu. One upload and conversion later this is what I got.
In each case, from the trade to the 'books' the quality was impeccable. If you print with color the paper weight and quality is very, very good. The covers are heavy stock comparable to the cover stock that you get with any paper back novel from your local book store. I have found the perfect binding to be well done and strong, even under pretty heave use.
All in all I have not found a more affordable, higher quality product from any other provider, including CafePress:"(I have ordered a book from them as well and it was no comparison)": . In contrast the paper and cover stock from CafePress felt flimsy and 'chincy', no where near the same league.
Well then if proof is in the pudding, that is some hot butterscotch yo. So far we have talked a little bit about the why of publishing through LuLu, if you are interested in the how check back later for part two of this little series. Next time we will talk about the different types of binding, color vs. black and white and the best way to create your PDF for uploading to LuLu.
In Part 3 we will take a look at the ISBN options open to you at LuLu and demystify them a little. We will then go over distribution and what that means to you as the artist/writer.
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