Laying Out A Book Isn’t As Easy As You’d Think

So I got the printed version of my first stab at a Lulu book and, as a book, it looks surprisingly good — quality binding, nice solid feel to the cover, good weight to the pages, dark and legible text inside. The problem is, the interior looks like one of the manuscripts that I print out when I’m editing. It quite frankly didn’t occur to me that I would need to:

  1. Change the font from courier to something reader-friendly
  2. Add the page numbering and book title in the header and footer
  3. Replace underlining with italics
  4. Insert the sort of pages you typically find at the beginning and end of a book — you know, a little blurb, a title page, a copyright page.
  5. Turn off double spacing, for crying out loud … jeez, what am I, a moron?

Also, the margins are too close to the inner binding, but that’s not on the list of things that didn’t occur to me, because it did. I just didn’t make them big enough. I’m correcting all these things and getting ready to try Lulu Book Revision 2. I expect this one to look nicer, but there will probably be a couple more iterations before it’s ready to go.

For anyone who’s waiting with bated breath for this to be ready (i.e., no one), I’ll drop you a teensy tidbit … it’s a vampire novel set in the mid or late 90s. It was actually written in the early 90s, but later updated to account for the newfound popularity of cell phones. (I am not, however, going to be updating it to account for wireless Internet, camera phones, etc. I have to draw the line somewhere.)

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7 Comments

  1. It’s a good tip re: layout and making sure that what you hand over to Lulu is as free of glitches and as readable as you can make it. I’ve self-published and the amount of time I expended on getting my camera ready copy pristine was mind-blowing. Good luck with your novel, I work the same territory (supernatural) and wish you the best…

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  2. Hi Cliff, thanks for the comment! I think it’s also beneficial to have someone else look at the document … I’m so used to reviewing double-spaced manuscript copy, I didn’t even realize I had left the Lulu document that way until my wife looked at the book and said, musingly, “Oh, it’s double-spaced.”

    Mind you, she won’t actually read the book … she doesn’t do gore. But at least she can flip through and proof it for me. 😉

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  3. Don’t you hate it when stuff like that happens? I’m going to go through Lulu again as well, and I’m having help with the formatting. I LIKE formatting stuff; I just don’t have MS Word.

    Good luck with the other formatting stuff. : )

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