I’ve been fooling around with various self-publishing methods for a while now. I learned the ins and outs of Lulu while making gift books for my family, and frankly, that taught me ninety percent of what I needed to know for other methods, like Kindle or Createspace.
Formatting is always the prime issue. I compose my manuscripts in Microsoft Word, but methods of converting Word to workable text for publishing aren’t the best. For a real professional job, you need a real publishing program. I was fortunate that Adobe Indesign was part of the Adobe suite I had purchased some time ago (mostly, I use Photoshop and Acrobat in my regular work).
Indesign allows you to lay out the book as it will appear, with good tools for adjusting text for appearance, although the interface is more difficult in some ways than Word and it took a lot of learning. Fortunately, I don’t have to learn all of it, just what I needed to make a simple all-text black-and-white book.
Once you have that Indesign document, you can output PDF files that are accepted nicely by either Lulu or Createspace (the same file, actually). The Kindle plug-in I mentioned in an earlier post does fine for Kindle (.mobi) files that import quickly into Amazon’s publishing program.
The covers I did myself (the one seen in earlier posts was for Kindle). For the Lulu books I designed artwork for the “one-piece” option, that basically wraps a single cover image (text and all) around the entire book (even further if you’re using dust jacket layouts).
Next post: Taking those old Lulu gift books into the public space.
A quick P.S.:
Don’t go running out and trying this stuff with your favorite unpublished manuscript until I get to the end of this series. There’s things you need to know.